Bear and Girl were out walking in the forest one afternoon. The sky was blue, there were white puffy clouds, and it was beautiful. They were chatting about everything, and nothing, and laughing about it.
Suddenly, a wolverine walked out from behind a bush, stopped, and growled at them.
Bear shoved Girl behind him, and said, “Steady, friend. No one is here to hurt you.”
The wolverine barred its teeth and started walking toward them, growling.
And the wolverine sprung at them, trying to get around Bear to the Girl.
Bear leaped at the wolverine and brought him crashing down to the ground.
“Run, Girl, Run!”
Girl stood there, gaping.
She turned and lit out for the cabin.
Bear stood and, as he stood, pushed Wolverine away from him.
“Now, my friend, we can do this by both of us turning and walking away…or one of us is going to get seriously hurt.”
Bear stood there, reared up to his full nine feet, paws up even higher.
Wolverine growled a deep guttural sound, then turned, and, for a moment, Bear thought it was over.
Then Wolverine spun around and took off at a tangent, around Bear, and towards the Girl
Bear leaped out and came crashing down on Wolverine.
They fought, and the noise was horrible.
Finally, Bear wound up with both front paws squashing Wolverine into the ground, as Wolverine thrashed and howled.
“Now, have you had enough…or do I have to kill you? Because I don’t want to, believe me.”
Wolverine stopped and looked up at Bear, then ceased struggling.
After a time, he nodded.
Bear slowly released the pressure, and Wolverine stood up, shook himself, sneezed, then turned and limped slowly away.
Bear backed off slowly, one step at a time, watching Wolverine carefully.
Finally, he turned and started loping off towards the cabin.
It didn’t take him long to catch up to Girl.
He scooped her up, and put her on his back, then continued to lope as quickly as he could.
When they got to the cabin, he stopped and put her gently down. She turned and looked at him.
He nodded at her, “Yes, I know. But it’s nothing.”
“It’s not nothing! Come into the cabin, we need to fix you!” She urged him up the steps, got a pan of hot water, and washed his wounds.
Then she got some antiseptic powder from the bathroom and sprinkled it around the wounds.
“OW!” cried Bear.
“Oh, stop being a big baby, you big baby!”
“Hey! That’s not nice!”
Girl giggled, then stopped.
He waited, then finally said, “Yes, Girl.”
Bear turned and hugged her.
Then fell back to the floor.
“You would have done the same for me…wouldn’t you?”
“In a heartbeat, Bear.”
“I know. So why would you begrudge me doing this for you?”
She looked at him for a long time, then smiled, “Silly old Bear.”
And hugged him.
That night, Bear was settling down on the rag rug in the great room.
He had settled his head and shoulders in JUST the right positions when he heard a “slap, slap, slap…”
He sighed and lifted his head to see Girl coming towards him from her bedroom, wearing her flannel nightdress, and dragging her pillow and blanket behind her.
Her face looked sleepy – and clouded, as if she couldn’t let go of a nasty thought.
“Bear…can I … may I sleep with you?”
“You want to sleep. With me. On the rag rug. In front of the fire,” said Bear.
Girl looked confused, took some time to process all the thoughts, then nodded vigorously.
Bear sighed again, then said, “Sure, I’ve been waiting for you.”
He curled into a very large C and made room in the middle for her.
She quickly threw down her pillow (catching Bear in the face as she did so), scrambled down onto the rug, smooshed herself into his stomach, and sighed contentedly.
Bear tenderly pulled the blanket over her feet, which were sticking out, kissed the top of her head, and said, “Good night Girl. Sweet dreams. I’ll see you in the morning, OK?”
Girl didn’t answer directly, but snuggled even closer into his stomach, and sighed, a big smile on her face, her eyes closed.
Bear settled down again, finally getting his head and shoulders in JUST the right position, when Girl said, “Bear?”
He sighed, “Yes, Girl.”
“Thank you, Bear. For everything.”
Bear laughed deep in his chest. “You’re more than welcome, Girl.”
There was a pause, then “Yes, Bear?”
“Thank you back.”
Girl’s smile broadened, and she sighed deeply…
…and went to sleep.
Girl woke up and watched the light from the fire dancing on the ceiling. She knew it must be very early morning because the fire had not yet burned itself out.
She no longer felt sleepy but knew it was way too early to get up, so she watched the patterns form, break, and reform on the ceiling.
She sighed, contently, and realized that she was happy.
She knew that it could not last forever – nothing could. So she decided that she would enjoy it while it was here.
After a while, she slowly turned her head to look at Bear and was not surprised to see his big, liquid eyes staring back at her.
She smiled at him, and he rumbled his deep-belly chuckle back at her.
She slowly reached her hand up, and stroked his fur, gently, gently.
He was…magical. There was no other word for it. She felt an attachment that she would never have been able to explain to anyone else, that she, herself, would never have believed possible.
She knew that eventually, she would need to return to the human world, but she also knew that part of this world would go with her in her heart. And that she would always love Bear, even if he was a trickster sometimes!
Her smile deepened, and she stretched up and kissed him on the nose.
He raised his head slightly and licked her nose back.
He rumbled in his tummy again and smiled.
After wiping her face with her hand, she smiled again and kissed his nose again
Then raised her hand to fend off another lick!
Finally, she turned on her side, snuggled into his side, facing his eyes, shut her eyes, and said, “I do love you, Bear.”
Bear heaved a deep sigh and said, “Me, too.”
She chuckled, then took a deep breath, let it out very slowly…
…and slept again.
While the stars twinkled and smiled overhead in the night…