The Bear and the Travellers

By Traditional

Two travellers were on a long journey through the countryside. They were walking along a track on the edge of some wood, when, some way ahead of them, they suddenly spotted a great bear ambling towards them. They were not sure whether the bear had seen them, but not wanting to take any risks, the first traveller climbed up the first tree and hid amongst the high branches. The second one dropped his bags and fell to the ground, pretending to be dead. He’d heard somewhere that bears don’t like to eat dead flesh, so he thought this was his safest way to survive.

The bear reached the spot where the man was lying on the ground, who was keeping as still as he could, and doing his best to keep his breath in. The bear sniffed around his head for a few minutes, but did not seem to be all that interested, and went on his way. The second traveller gingerly climbed down from the tree to join his friend. “Phew!” he said, “That was close. From up there in the tree, I could have sworn that bear was talking to you!”

“He was”, the second one replied. “He told me to be more careful in future when setting out on a journey, and not to travel with someone who deserts you at the first sign of trouble!”