The Bear and the Gardener

Photo by Jessica Weiller

Hermit such wonderful man. He friend. We meet many months ago. He lonely. Sat long time staring into woods. He called for Abelie till he growled like me, stared up at child moon and woke my brothers and sisters. They say wolf coming to eat us. I say no. They push me from den into night, tell me to find sound. Then I find Hermit. He wept in garden. I called out to him. At first he scared. He run back toward his home. I try tell him I OK. No need be scared, but he run anyway. He run so fast he trip on Rock. He land with big splat on Rock. Then sound not like me no more. Sound like baby human. I approach him, lick his face and tell him it OK. He laugh through tears. He pet me. We become friends.

We stay friends many moons. My family not sure good idea. They say humans destroy home. Build cabins, start fires. Kill friends for fur. I say not this human. He good. He simple gardener. He only want friend. I watch while he sleeps. He give me honey and talk about Abelie. He say Abelie was wife. He say Abelie left one night late. He say she sail down sleepy river with his old friend. Now they together. He have no friends than me.

We go for walks sometime. I show him berries and places to swim. He say ‘Thank you.’ Tell me I good listener. I don’t say same thing for him. He never understand when I speak. He grow scared, but he no longer run away.

He sleep one day when big Bee come to bother. I try shake away Bee. I no want to wake Hermit so I no speak loudly. Honey from paw fall on Hermit forehead. Bee no leave. Bee could sting Hermit. I look around and find Rock. I say, “I crush Bee with Rock.”

I raise Rock high above head. I bring it down to smash Bee. Bee gone. I raise Rock and I no recognize Hermit. I drop Rock. I try to wake Hermit, but he gone too. I sit and cry. I lose friend. My brothers and sister hear me. They congratulate me. Human dead, they say. They celebrate. Try to cheer me up. But I know better. A fool for friend better than no friend some times.