Bear and Girl were lying in the grass on the meadow outside the cabin, enjoying the warmth of the Summer evening and waiting for the stars to smile down at them.
“Do you think there’s life on other planets?”
“No way of knowing,” said Bear.
“Yes, I know that, silly. But do you think so?”
There was a long pause, then, “Oh, well, probably.”
“Will they be as…interesting…as you and me?” She asked.
“No, definitely not,” said Bear, “Especially not as interesting as you,” he said.
She giggled again, “Is there intelligent life do you think?”
“Oh, definitely not as intelligent as you,” he repeated.
She started giggling out loud.
“Oh, Stop it!” and she smacked his side – gently.
Bear was quiet for a time, then said, “Definitely not as interesting as you…”
She propped herself up on one elbow, leaned over and kissed his nose, then said, “Silly old Bear.”
They watched the sky quietly, waiting as the stars gathered in their thousands.
Bear started naming the stars and constellations, but it turned out that Girl only knew three of the constellations: Orion, the Big Dipper, and the Little Dipper – and Orion was nowhere to be seen in the Summer sky.
Bear cleared his throat, and said, “I'm sorry, Girl, but you have two of those wrong.”
Girl turned her head to look at him and said, “What do you mean?”
“They're not 'Big Dipper' and “Little Dipper', they're Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. And you know what that means, Girl?”
Girl sighed, “Yesss…”
Bear chuckled, “Go on.”
“They’re Big Bear and Little Bear.”
“Right. And who is Big Bear?
Girl moved and snuggled into Bear's fur, “You are Bear.”
Bear chuckled again, “And who is Little Bear?”
Girl lifted her head, “I don't know. Who is Little Bear?”
“Why you are, Girl. If you wish to be an honorary bear, that is.”
Girl turned her face to his fur again, tears in her eyes, and said, “Yes, please, Bear.”
Bear stroked her head, and said, “Then you are my Little Bear.”
“Thank you, Bear.”
“No, Girl…thank you. You are the star that lights up my life.”
After a while, the two friends got up and walked slowly back to the cabin. Girl changed and started to get into bed, then dragged her pillow and blanket out to the rag rug in the great room. “Bear?”
“Can I sleep with you tonight?
Bear chuckled his deep, throaty laugh, moved around a bit to make a crescent shape with his body, and said, “It would be my pleasure Girl.”
She laid her pillow up against his stomach, fluffed the blanket over herself, sighed, and said, “Good night, Big Bear.”
He chuckled again, and said, “Good night Little Bear.”
And the two friends watched the fire until finally, it pushed their eyes closed – and they slept.
They were happy – happier than they would have been in any other universe.