Monday, September 07, 2009


Bear and Wolf
photo source

A Story by Lou Gold

Once there was a small boy by the name of Little Bear. When people spoke to Little Bear they emphasized the word "Little" more than the word "Bear" because he was smaller than the other boys around. But he had a BIG spirit.

Little Bear had a not always happy life. Somewhere along the way his mother had lost his father. Although she was a very good mother she was often so busy providing and gathering that she just wasn't there when Little Bear felt that he really needed her. Often he was quite lonely. And in his loneliness he retreated into a dream. In his dream he saw a magical homeland far away on a mountain near an ocean, where the trees grow very, very big.

The lonelier Little Bear got the more his dream grew. One day his dream grew so big that Little Bear, thinking only of the size of his spirit, left home to find the home of his dreams. He really wasn't concerned about his body that day. Indeed, he didn't even take any warm clothing or food. He walked all day and at dusk he was far away, at the edge of a great woods. There, for the first time he remembered his body. He knew he was now cold and he knew that he was hungry. And, worst of all, he remembered that he was terrified of the dark.

Darkness came anyway, as it always does. Little Bear thought he would lie down and retreat into his dream, because his dream had always saved him from painful experiences. As he lay down he felt that he was against a large furry animal but he couldn't see in the dark. Soon a full moon rose. As it lit up the woods he saw that, indeed, he was lying against a great wolf.

He said, "Who are you?" and the wolf answered, "I'm the greatest she-wolf of them all. I have been traveling this land for many, many, many moons. This full moon is very important because tomorrow I will reverse my tracks and begin the long journey home. My home is on a mountain near an ocean far away where the trees grow very, very big."

Little Bear jumped up and down with glee and said, "Oh, Great Mother, that is the home of my heart! I am trying to go there. Won't you take me?"

The old she-wolf laughed at him and said, "You're small, you can't hunt, you can't provide for yourself, and you don't understand the ways of the four-leggeds. My paws are not meant for carrying. It's true that many years ago when I was young, before I had sixteen litters of pups, my back would have been strong enough to carry you but now it is too weak. No, you will have to stay here."

When Little Bear heard that he began to cry. There was just no way to hold back his sadness. Tears rolled down his cheeks and one of them fell on the great she-wolf. When it struck against her body it awakened in her a long forgotten mother's instinct and her heart opened to Little Bear's need. She said, "Well, there is one way I can carry you. After bearing sixteen litters of pups there is now a great emptiness inside me. You can crawl in there and I will carry you that way, but I must warn you, it is very, very, very dark."

Little Bear weighed his fear of the darkness against his great desire to find the home of his dreams, and he crawled in. At first the darkness didn't bother him at all because it was a warm and comfortable place, nurturing and renewing. But as time went on it felt as if he was growing bigger. First he called out to ask what was happening to him, but his words were muffled. As the growing continued, what he had felt before as comforting and nurturing now felt confining and suffocating. And Little Bear once again became aware of his terror of the dark. He kicked and screamed and flailed about, all to no avail. He went into a full blown panic and exhausted he fell asleep, the deep sleep that follows only the greatest of exertions.

Meanwhile, the great She-Wolf was slowly making her way across the country. She had been rather cranky and irritable the last few days because of all the kicking going on inside her, but now she was relieved because a calm had returned. But she wondered to herself, "My this load I am carrying seems heavier than any of the litters I have borne before." As more time passed it got heavier and heavier, and she thought, "This is heavier than all of my sixteen litters combined."

Her stomach grew until it was almost touching the ground. Yet she was still a full moon cycle away from the mountain that was her home. She moved very slowly and could no longer hunt. That last month was torturous but finally, exhausted, she arrived at the foot of the mountain. There she sat, pondering her dilemma, "How did I ever get myself into such a fix? I have not only put my own life at risk, but now there is another life that is in jeopardy too." She felt sad and depressed and hopeless.

As she sat there another full moon rose. Beautifully it lit up the forest and a wondrous, magical deer came out of the trees. He looked over at her and said, "Oh, Great Mother, I can see your dilemma. You thought you could rescue some one, who was acting foolishly, but you have only endangered your life and another's as well. But I also see that you acted out of your best intentions and deepest instincts."

He walked over and lay besides her giving himself away for her nourishment. Ravenously she ate every morsel of flesh of his great carcass. In an instant, a tremendous surge of energy flowed through her body. She sprang up and ran toward the trail. She ran hard and heavy, all night, the full length of the trail to the top of the mountain. As first light dawned she arrived at her home. There she sat, panting in exhaustion. She felt sick to her stomach and again she wondered, "I probably could have gotten up here by eating only one flank of that deer. Why do I always do too much?"

Her stomach felt like it was going to turn inside out and she opened her mouth wide to heave up what was left of the magical deer. But a deer did not come out. Instead, it was a full-blown man.

He stood in front of her - radiant, glowing, powerful - rubbing his eyes and when he opened them he asked, "Where am I?" The great She-Wolf answered, "Look around you!" And he saw the home of his dreams - his heart home - on a mountain, by an ocean, where the trees grow very, very big.

He sang. He danced. And a great thunderous laugh roared out of his body. It was such a beautiful laugh that it made the trees laugh and the flowers laugh and the critters laugh until the whole mountain shook with laughter. The old She-Wolf lying there looked up at him and felt an old stirring in her body that she had not felt in a long time. She thought, "Hmmm, I may yet find me a young he-wolf and make another litter of pups."

The beautiful man looked down at her and asked, "Great Mother, I no longer have the body of Little Bear. Who am I?"

She answered, "Your new name is Laughing Bear. Go now. Leave the mountain. Spread your laugh across this great land. Bring joy into the hearts of everyone you meet. And always remember the children who dream our future and the mothers who carry us home."

by Lou
25 October 1991

Gray Wolf II
Photo Source


Tracy Welsh said...

Yo I love This

Lou Gold said...