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

scratched.



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

Indian.





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