The Lady Found a Friendly Bear Cub
Many years ago, in an old manor-house on the border of a big forest, lived a lady, who once found a bear cub half dead of hunger. The cub was so small and helpless that the lady brought him home with the help of her old cook. The bear had now grown big and strong. He could easily slay a big cow if he ever wanted to do so. However, the bear did not even have the intention of harming any one, neither animal nor human.
The bear had grown up to become the most friendly bear. He would good-humouredly see the cattle graze in the field. He shared a good relation with the three horses that lived in the stable. Children loved to ride his back and many a times were found asleep in his kennel between his two paws. The dogs, too, loved to play all sorts of games with him.
What did the Bear Eat?
This bear had never tasted meat. He ate the same food as the dogs; bread, porridge, potato, cabbage and turnip. Bears are usually vegetarians, if they get a chance. They have, however, a special liking for fruits. This bear would spend his autumn looking at the ripening apples in the orchard and be tempted to eat them.
Unable to resist his temptation for apples, in his young days the bear would climb the tree to have a handful of apples. Bears are clumsy and slow in their movements. Climbing a tree is difficult for them. However, if the reward for climbing a tree is an apple they would put up their best show. Nevertheless, the bear realised that it was against the law to climb a tree. So, he satisfied himself by always being on a look out for apples that fell on the ground.
The Bear was put on Chains
Once, while climbing the tree, the bear had encountered the bee hives and had been hurt. As a punishment, he was put on chain for 2 days with a bleeding nose. The bear was hardly put on chain, except during the night and on Sundays. On Sundays, his mistress went to spend the afternoon with her married sister. He was put on chain for his own safety. It was not good to wander in the forest with all its temptations. The bear was also not a good sailor and once he and his mistress reached the shore with a great difficulty.
The Lady Scolds the Bear and Hit with Parasol
One Sunday, when the lady left to meet her sister, half way through the forest she heard the cracking of a tree branch. On looking back, she saw the bear coming towards her in full speed. She was taken aback and horrified. But, then, she got angry with the bear and started scolding her. She was really angry because the bear had disobeyed her and she had no time to take him back, nor could she have taken him with herself.
In her most severe voice, the lady ordered the bear to go back. She became angrier when she saw that the bear was not wearing his new collar. When the bear continued to disobey and sniff her, the lady hit him with her umbrella. She hit him so hard that the umbrella broke into two. The bear stopped for a few more minutes and then went back the way he had come from.
The Cook tells the Truth
In the evening when the lady returned, she saw the bear sitting in his usual place. The lady was still angry. The lady began to scold him and said that he would be kept chained for the next 2 days. At that point the old cook came out from the kitchen and told the lady that the bear had behaved in a most praiseworthy way. He sat in his chains the entire day and kept waiting for his mistress to return.