The Brown Bears

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

A tale about bears.

 

THE BROWN BEARS

 

Kodi and Mamie were two grizzly bears who were busy preparing a den to spend the winter. During the days prior to entering the den, the future parents ate everything they could find. The huge amounts of food they consumed were out of all proportion to what they would usually eat. They knew that if the snow and the cold weather lasted too long they would get hungry when it would be a nuisance to sally forth to get food. Mamie was going to give birth inside the cave that they had chosen for their den some time when the snow was thickest on the ground. They would keep up the preparations till the first snow storm. In the meantime they just kept on eating they never stopped. Kodi ate for himself, but Mamie ate for the cub or cubs that she was carrying inside her. Every day saw the bears piling up the leaves and other objects to make the den nice and cosy for the cubs’ birth. The sky lost some of its colour and the sun didn’t shine so often. The grizzlies knew that the days were closing in and they would have to get inside the den Kodi told Mamie to get going into the den before the snow became a storm. Mamie pulled her heavy frame into the cave and sat down on a thick bed of dried leaves, desirous of a long rest. Kodi went into the den and sat down beside her. From inside the cave the bears heard the howling of the wind, and felt secure and safe from the elements and their enemies. They both fell asleep and began dreaming of warmer weather and rivers full of huge juicy salmon.

Mamie’s two boy cubs made their entrance into the world one night without any trouble. Their parents called them Kisha and Zoshi they were licked over and then they consumed Mamie’s milk until they would leave the den. The four bears spent the hibernation in cosiness, and the cubs took their first steps inside, although nobody moved about too much. The two adult bears had only one thing on their minds, and that was to look after the cubs. The atmosphere inside the den was asphyxiating, the temperature was hot and dry. The cubs were not all that active, but still made their presence felt. All that anyone of them saw of the exterior, was a curtain of snow falling at the entrance. None of the bears defecated in the den and so it remained clean all the winter they were hibernating. Days and nights passed in the warm and cosy cave, and the cubs grew and grew. The silence was total and there were no sounds coming from the outside world to disturb the quiet monotony of the bears’ habitat.

Kodi woke up one day and felt the urge to see what was occurring in the big wide world outside. He left Mamie and the cubs sleeping and made his way to the entrance. The first thing he noticed was that the snow was beginning to become water and it was possible to see the colour of the earth making its first appearance after having been hidden beneath the snow for so many months. The dripping of the melting icicles was wonderful to his ears because it meant just one thing that spring had arrived. He stepped outside to enjoy the fresh air and looked around him. It seemed just a bit too early to let the cubs out, but it wouldn’t be too long before they were frolicking about amongst the flowers and the trees. Kodi’s head was full of things that he’d have to tell the cubs before they took a step outside. He stretched his arms and felt the almost imperceptible warmth from a still very weak sun on his fur. Kodi was a handsome grizzly and his fur had the silvery ends to it, giving him a glamorous appearance. He wondered who the cubs would look like. Mamie was a darker brown and didn’t have the radiant colour that he had. Kodi went back to the den with the good news that spring had arrived, but that it was still not the best moment to let the cubs outside. The cubs knew instinctively that things in their short lives were on the brink of changing. The curtain of falling snow that had hidden the entrance from predators had gone and now they were able to perceive colours beyond. Every day the cubs got nearer and nearer to the entrance and both Kodi and Mamie had their time occupied with making sure that they children didn’t run out on their own.

When the ground was quite a lot drier, Kodi and Mamie indicated to Kisha and Zoshi that the day had come to venture forth and see the world beyond the den. For the parents it was a blessing to get outside once again after being virtually asleep for the winter. For the cubs it was a big adventure.

There were all kinds of things to keep the cubs happy. They enjoyed everything they saw, and chasing other animals was one of them. The other young animals were nothing in comparison to the size of the cubs, who were unaware of this, just ran after wolf cubs, bunnies, and all the other babies The cubs wanted to play with them, but according to the parents of the other babies, that wasn’t on. Mamie was always with the cubs and she taught them how to find food. As the weather got warmer and warmer the cubs saw how things changed. There were cars that unloaded people and they had food with them. The food was alien to the cubs but nevertheless they tried all that their parents offered them. The humans had different ways of placing their food out of the bears’ reach but, somehow or other, Mamie or Kodi would manage to get at it. However high up the campers put everything, even the toiletries, after a while the bears won, and got what they wanted. Bears loved sweet things and were after getting honey, which was a great favourite. They liked condensed milk and all kinds of sweet food.

Mamie was a good mother and knew the tricks that could be played on bears, especially cubs that were not man-wise. She did her best to keep a permanent vigilance after having heard so many stories about disappearing bears. The main problem for Mamie was that the bears had no fear, and loved human food. She was worried that one day they would be too daring. Where Mamie, Kodi and the cubs lived during the spring and summer was a popular site for campers, who enjoyed taking photos of the bears and watching them running around and playing in the water and eating the food that they threw to them. Kodi’s family wasn’t the only family of bears in the area, and as there were more to be seen there were more people who visited. At times the bags of food were not strung up high enough, and the cubs and other bears were able to stand up on their hind legs and grab at a bag and pull it down till they had it between their paws. Mamie used to get upset when she saw these situations, and made a dash to get the bags clear of the ropes that were holding them and get the cubs out of the way.

The inevitable day came when the cubs saw some bags of food and rubbish within easy reach and with their usual rambling gait went to investigate. They stood on their hind legs and grabbed the ropes that held the desired bags. As they reached up they were bundled up in large bags themselves and placed in a container. The cubs weren’t used to the dark and set up a horrendous noise that echoed inside. They were afraid and wanted to be with their mother, back outside in the countryside playing with each other and the other bears they might meet. They cuddled up and after a while they fell asleep. Meanwhile Mamie had seen what had happened, but had been too far away to save her cubs. She and Kodi sat on the ground and moaned in grief for their lost cubs.

The container was attached to a driver’s cabin, and two unscrupulous men were up front, driving. They weren’t interested in the bears, only in the money they would receive by selling them to a zoo. The container arrived at a port and the container was loaded on board and the ship crossed a huge ocean till it arrived in another country where the only other bears they would see were more disheartened than they were. One day the two bear thieves opened the container and the sudden light made the cubs blink in pain and shock, after being in the dark for so long. A large man went up to them and looked them over, and then came another man who gave them some injections. That was the zoo vet, who said, “They are beautiful examples. We’ll have to see how they get on in captivity. Meanwhile they have been inoculated and now they’ll go to their new home.”

The zoo manager said to the men, “You’ve done a good job bringing such lovely creatures all that way. They’ll be given the best publicity possible, and that ought to attract a fair number of visitors. Here you have the agreed amount of cash. If you can bring us other animals don’t be afraid to get in touch with us. Good morning.”

“Good morning, nice to do business with you.” the men replied, and left counting the notes as they walked past the bear container to their own vehicle.

The container, which was barrel-shaped, was high off the ground and some people were amazed at it being on sight in the zoo.

Meanwhile the cubs had been pushed into their new home, which was nothing more than a dirty pit made out of cement - but at least they were still together. In the pit next to theirs were the older bears, whose dreams of escaping or of ever seeing green pastures again had practically gone out of their heads. When the older bears became aware of the cubs’ presence in the next pit, they set up a communication with them. The zoo manager knew nothing of it, and even if he had as far as he was concerned, the cubs were in his power and that was that. The cubs on hearing the voices of the older bears felt less lonely and more animated. As they got used to the horrid pit, they assumed an attitude of: if the older bears could put up with it, so could they. As for the older bears, the cubs made them start reminiscing about their childhoods, too.

 

The first year of the cubs in the zoo, brought people from far and near to gaze and gawp at them. The cubs had been warned by the older bears of what they could expect from the humans. On a board attached to the wall of the pit was a notice ‘DO NOT FEED THE BEARS’, but there was always one silly person who would try and wonder why the bears got excited. The older bears informed the cubs that they must always remain ‘cool’ and not rise to the bait. They had problems enough being limited to the pit. The amount of water available in the pit was not nearly enough for any good sized bear to swim in, so they didn’t. The advice the cubs received from their neighbours, meant that although they were meant to be the star attraction, in fact they turned out to be nothing more than animated real life bears. A teddy bear could be musical or talkative or even walk, but Kisha and Zoshi were alive enough, but not very lively. They were there, and nothing else. Groups of parents and children would arrive at the pit to see what the cubs were doing, but all the clever pair did was to sit with their backs to the wall and examine their claws like a woman examining her manicure. The older bears did exactly the same and so the bears, although photographed by the crowds, did nothing at all to merit anyone’s ogling whatsoever. When they did get up on their legs it was to roam around in the pit and never paid attention to those staring at them.

“Those bear cubs are like giant fluffy toys and not real at all. What do they actually do?” Children asked their parents.

“I’m not sure, but it’s obvious there’s not much for them to do in that bear pit.” parents would answer.

 

And so the years passed and Kisha and Zoshi went from being cubs to being full grown grizzlies. Some of the older bears had died, never seeing the wooded and mountainous landscape of their birth.

 

In the years that had gone by since the loss of Kisha and Zoshi, Kodi and Mamie had been able to have another two cubs. Grizzlies aren’t very prolific anyway, but they felt the absence of Kisha and Zoshi keenly.. It was a good thing that they knew nothing of the destiny of their children, but remained in total ignorance. The winters came and went, and the two, Kodi and Mamie, made their den and dreamt of when their first cubs had been born and were roaming around in the cave. Mamie would have been a very sad bear without the two new cubs to look after. The two new cubs gave Mamie the urge to go on living whereas otherwise she wouldn’t have even gone out to look for food, if it hadn’t been for Kodi, who pushed her out of the cave in the springtime to go to the lakes for salmon and other food.

 

The diet the zoo fed the animals was specially worked out by the vet, whose only knowledge of any animal was as a doctor. He had never left his country of origin, and had no idea that any of the large animals in the zoo were suffering from psychological causes, having been wrenched from their natural habitats. In the vet’s eyes the inmates of the zoo were well cared for, and they were according to the books, but the thing no one ever remembered was, that once they had been free and in the zoo the only people who were free were the ones who visited them to have a look and see what they were like. The older bears told the cubs that the lions and tigers spent a lot of the time walking up and down in frustration at being enclosed.

“At least we have a pit in the open. They are in cages,” the older bears said.

Kisha and Zoshi had spoken about how they could get away from the zoo, the older bears said, “There’s nowhere for us to go to. We are very far from our home, and so you’ll just have to resign yourselves to living out your lives here.”

Kisha said, “I like to think that one day we’ll be back home and with our parents in the mountains and the woods and free flowing rivers and clean lakes. I know it’s a dream, but for now it keeps the two of us going in our captivity.”

The older bears understood and answered, “It’s a lovely dream, and although we know that dream is not for us, we hope it will come true for you.”

 

What no bears knew, was that there were people in a far away grand city, who rescued animals from zoos. They couldn’t stand the thought of large animals being enclosed in places that were not meant for them. One day the old bears were aware of being carefully scrutinized by a group of humans. The people who were doing he scrutinizing belonged to an association that looked out for animals living in intolerable conditions in zoos. One of their departments was dedicated to caring for bears, and some of them travelled the world in search of uncared-for bears.

“Something’s going on here that has never happened before. These aren’t normal visitors. See how they’re staring at the pits and us,” one of the old bears commented.

“The humans always look the same to me. I remember our mother’s warmth and her warnings about distancing ourselves from humans. We didn’t, and here we are,” moaned Zoshi banging his back against the wall of the pit.

What Zoshi didn’t know, or ever would, was that his action was the one that dictated the bears’ future.

“That young bear is not happy at all. He’s suffering from his curtailed habitat. These animals must be let out and relocated in their natural environment. Let’s go and speak to the zoo manager. I bet he didn’t acquire these animals legally. Look how small that pit is! What on earth was he thinking of?” one lady declared.

The group took many photos of the cubs and the horrid pit they lived in. The manager, of course, had not a leg to stand on. The papers for the bears, especially the cubs, were filled out and were sent from one country to another, till it was all sorted out where the bears would go to live.

Finally the day arrived when the bears were sedated and placed on planes to be flown out of the zoo. They flew as great a distance as when they had gone to the zoo by sea; but that second time of long distance travelling, they went airborne. The identity of their original home was not on papers given to them by the manager, and the cubs were taken to a new habitat very much like the one they had been born in.

 

Kisha and Zoshi came out of the sedation in the open air, surrounded by grass, trees, and a blue sky above. They ran around and around in the open air, till they sat down exhausted. They were so happy that their dream had come true. When they felt more relaxed they took a look around, and saw there were other bears present. Two older bears went up to them and sniffed them. Kisha and Zoshi returned the compliment and sniffed the other bears back. They recognized each other by their odour. They all strolled off in the bears’ protected bear habitat. It was then that they found out that they had found their parents after such a long time, and Kodi and Mamie were more than happy to see them back. Kisha and Zoshi told their parents about their misadventures in the zoo, and how they had never forgotten their parents. Kodi and Mamie said that the whole area was a protected area for bears, and not to worry about strange men snatching them again. Kodi and Mamie presented them to some smaller bears and said, “These are your brother and sister.”

 

The memory of the ghastly journey across the sea, their experience in the pit at the zoo, was soon forgotten, as they were back where they should never have been taken from. The cubs returned as adult grizzlies, back where they belonged in the wild - albeit a protected habitat.


Submitted: December 21, 2014

© Copyright 2021 Georgina V Solly. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Tino Myren

Good story. I'll never see a cub at the zoo in the same way again.

Mon, December 22nd, 2014 3:36am

Georgina V Solly

Hello Tino
Thank you very much for your very comment. You understood the message of the story very well. I'm fond of polar bears too.
I see you are new member. Enjoy Booksie!
Have a good Christmas.
Georgina

Mon, December 22nd, 2014 6:57am

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