While I Walked in the Woods I Met a Big Black Bear

Olivia and bearMy granddaughter with her golden locks and her bear

I was hiking in the Smoky Mountains National Park a couple of weeks ago when I looked up and there was a big black bear loping down the path toward me.
This, of course, put me in a curious situation. I have read that it was a bad idea to turn and run away from a black bear. He might think you’re scared, and he’d wonder what did that guy do to make him scared. Maybe something bad, the bear might think and he’d decide to be the one to make sure you didn’t away with doing anything bad.
Some people say you should turn around and walk slowly away backwards. Now, that sounded rather foolish to me because if you walk backwards down a mountain, you’re likely to fall down the slope which would not be a pleasant experience.
“Oh, hi. Have you seen any nice berries around here?”
Since the black bear asked such an innocent question, I decided I didn’t have to run away at all, which relieved me because I felt I was much too old to roll down a mountainside anyway.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I’ve been busy looking for nice big rocks to sit on and rest to notice any berries.”
“That’s okay. I’m not that hungry, but it is nice to know where the berries are growing. Just in case.”
He was about to lumber past me when I blurted out, “Excuse me for being rude, but isn’t it odd for a black bear to talk?”
“It isn’t rude at all,” the bear replied. He stopped and sat back on his haunches. “I like to hide in the dark near campsites and picked up talking from the humans there. My mother told me I’d regret the day I ever learned to talk human, but it’s not been bad so far.”
“You have frightfully good manners too.” My mouth flew open. I should have never used the word frightful in front of a big black bear.
He shrugged his massive shoulders. “The other bears don’t appreciate them. They say my manners are more boorish than bearish. I really don’t know what that means. I’m sure it’s not a compliment.” He sighed. “All I want is for someone to hug me, kiss me, stroke my fur and tell me everything is going to be all right.”
I was really feeling sorry for this lonely black bear. If there were only some way for him to find happiness. Then I thought of my granddaughter. She always made me feel like everything was going to be all right, with just with her big smile and giggle. Before I knew what I was doing I was telling the black bear all about her.
“She has golden curls but she’s much nicer than Goldilocks,” I said.
“Oh, I’d love to go to live with her! I bet I would never be sad again!”
I had really stuck my foot in my mouth this time. My daughter and her husband would not want a three hundred pound bear living in their home. And I don’t think the airlines would allow a bear to buy a plane ticket. I tried to explain all this to him, but I don’t he was thinking very clearly.
“Oh, I wish I may, I wish I might,” he gushed, “I could be a size smaller, just right!”
The bear held his breath, squinted his eyes, and wished as hard as he could. I didn’t believe what happened! Right before me, he began to shrink and shrink until he could fit in my hand. Only bad thing was as he got smaller his voice got smaller until I couldn’t hear him at all. I picked him up and carried him out of the forest.
When I got home I carefully packed him in a box and sent him to my granddaughter who loved him very much. I enclosed a note saying this little black bear wanted to come live with her, which is the truth. I always tell the truth.
And, late at night when all is quiet, perhaps my granddaughter will hear him whisper about the day he met her paw paw in the Smoky Mountains.

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