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A Grizzly's Sly Little Joke

I know an old Indian who was terribly frightened by an old monster
grizzly and her half-grown cub, one autumn, while out gathering
manzanita berries. But badly as he was frightened, he was not even

It seems that while he had his head raised, and was busy gathering and
eating berries, he almost stumbled over an old bear and her cub. They
had eaten their fill and fallen asleep in the trail on the wooded
hillside. The old Indian had only time to turn on his heel and throw
himself headlong in the large end of a hollow log, which luckily lay
at hand. This, however, was only a temporary refuge. He saw, to his
delight, that the log was open at the other end, and corkscrewing his
way along toward the further end, he was about to emerge, when, to his
dismay, he saw the old mother sitting down quietly waiting for him!

After recovering his breath as best he could in his hot and contracted
quarters, he elbowed and corkscrewed himself back to the place by
which he first entered. But lo! the bear was there, sitting down, half
smiling, and waiting to receive him warmly. This, the old Indian said,
was repeated time after time, till he had no longer strength left to
struggle further, and turned on his face to die, when she put her head
in, touched the top of his head gently with her nose and then drew
back, took her cub with her and shuffled on.

I went to the spot with the Indian a day or two afterward, and am
convinced that his story was exactly as narrated. And when you
understand that the bear could easily have entered the hollow log and
killed him at any time, you will see that she had at least a faint
sense of fun in that "cat and mouse" amusement with the frightened

Next: The Grizzly As Fremont Found Him

Previous: As A Humorist

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