Why Bruin Has A Stumpy Tail 🦊🐻

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Once upon a time a sly fox lived in a deep forest which bordered a river. One fine winter day he was lying in the sun near a brush heap with his eyes closed, and he was thinking: “It has been several days since I had a dainty supper. How I should enjoy a fine large fish this evening. I’ll slip over to the edge of the forest and watch the fishermen as they go home with their day’s catch. Perhaps good luck will do something for me.”

Now one old man had caught a very fine lot of fish of all sizes. Indeed, he had so many that he was obliged to hire a cart in which to carry them home. He was driving along slowly when suddenly he noticed a red fox crouched under the bush near the road. He stopped his horse, jumped down from the cart, and carefully crept near the spot where he had seen Master Reynard. The fox, Master Reynard, did not open his eyes or move a muscle.

“Well,” said the old fisherman, “I do believe he is dead! What a fine coat he has. I will take him home and give him to my wife for a present.” He lifted the fox and put him into the cart among the fish. The old man then got on his seat and drove merrily on, thinking how pleased his wife would be with the fine fish and the fox. When they were well on their way, the sly fox threw one fish after another out of the cart until they all lay scattered along on the road; then he slipped out of the cart.

When the old man reached his cottage, he called out to his wife, “Come and see the fine fish I caught today. And I have brought you a beautiful gift, also.”

His wife hurried to the cart and said, “Where are the fish, my husband, and where is my present?”

“Why, there in the cart,” he replied.

“In the cart!” exclaimed his wife. “Why, there is nothing here; neither fish nor present, so far as I can see.”

The old man looked and to his great surprise and disappointment he discovered that what his wife said was true.

Meanwhile, the sly fox had gathered up the fish and had taken them to the forest in order to enjoy a fine supper. Soon he heard a pleasant voice saying, “Good evening, Brother Reynard.”

He looked up and saw his friend Bruin. “Oh, good evening to you,” answered the fox. “I have been fishing today, and, as you see, luck certainly found me.”

“It did, indeed,” answered the bear. “Could you not spare me one fish? I should consider the gift a great favor.”

“Oh,” answered the fox, “why don’t you go fishing yourself? I assure you when one becomes a fisherman, he thoroughly enjoys the fruits of patience.”

“Go fishing, my friend,” said Bruin, in astonishment. “That is impossible. I know nothing about catching fish, I assure you.”

“Pah, it is very easy, especially in the winter time when ice nearly covers the river. Let me tell you what to do. Make a hole in the ice and stick your tail down into it. Hold it there just as long as you can and keep saying, ‘Come, little fish; come, big fish.’ Don’t mind if the tail smarts a little; that only means that you will have a bite, and I assure you the longer you hold it there the more fish you will catch. Then all at once, out with your tail. Give a strong pull sideways, then upward, and you’ll have enough fish to last you several days. But mind you, follow my directions closely.”

“Oh, my friend, I am very grateful for your kind information,” said Bruin, and off he went to the river where he proceeded to follow Master Fox’s directions.

In a short time sly Reynard passed by, and he saw Bruin patiently sitting on the ice with his tail in a hole. The fox laughed until his sides ached. He said, wickedly, under his breath: “A clear sky, a clear sky! Bruin’s tail will freeze, Bruin’s tail will freeze.”

“What did you say, my friend?” asked the bear.

“Oh, I was making a wish,” replied the fox.

All night long Bruin sat there, fishing patiently. Then he decided to go home. How very heavy his tail felt. He thought to himself that all the fish in the river must be fastened there. In a little while the women of the village came to get water from the river, and when they saw the bear, they called out at the top of their voices: “Come, come! A bear, a bear! Catch him! Catch him!”

The men came quickly with great sticks in their hands. Poor Bruin gave a short pull sideways and his tail snapped off short. He made off to the woods as fast as he could go, but to this day the bears go about with a stumpy tail.

Good Follows Good

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There were many people at the bus stop. School was over, and the children were waiting for their bus. There were also big people waiting there.

Some of the big people were reading newspapers while others were talking. The children were laughing and playing. Everybody was doing something to forget how long it was taking the bus to come.

But nobody was paying attention to the old woman who was asking for bus fare. “Please somebody help me with a bus fare,” said the old woman, over and over again.

After a while, Willy came to the bus stop to take the bus. His school was over, and he was going home. He soon heard the voice of the old woman asking for a bus fare. Will saw her standing and holding out her hands. But he could see that no one was paying any attention to her. Everybody was talking, reading, laughing, or playing.

Willy stood there looking at the old woman. She was very old and held her back with one hand. He was sorry for the old woman. She looked too old to walk very far.

“One day I will be very old too,” thought Willy, “and I might need help like this old woman. Will people help me when I am old?”
Will stood there for a while looking at the old woman.

“I wish I could help her with a fare,” thought Willy, “but I only have my own bus fare.”

After a long time the bus came. Everybody ran to the door and pushed. They nearly pushed down the old woman as she held out her hand.
“Will someone please help me with a bus fare?” said the old woman as everybody pushed to get into the bus.

Willy wanted to go into the bus. But when he looked back at the old woman, he could not move. Everyone was leaving her at the bus stop. He felt very sorry for her.

Then Willy thought quickly, “She cannot walk very far. She is too old. But I am young and strong. I cannot be like the others who are not paying any attention to her. If I walk, I will soon reach home. It would be fun , too.”

Nearly all the people had gone into the bus. Willy walked over quickly to the old woman.
“Here is a bus fare, Miss,” he said. “Come quickly, and let me help you into the bus before it moves off.”
Willy held her hand and followed her to the door of the bus. As she sat down, she looked back and smiled.
“May God bless you, my son,” she said. “May you live and never want.”

The bus bell rang, and the door shut. Then the bus moved off, leaving Willy standing alone at the bus stop.
Will started to walk home. He walked on the back roads. This way his walk was not very long. Soon he was home.

Many days passed and Willy had almost forgotten about the old woman. One day he wanted to reach home early, So, after school, Willy ran quickly to the bus stop. As he ran, he saw a bus. The people at the stop were getting into the bus. He did not want it to move off and leave him. He ran and jumped into the bus so quickly that he forgot to look at the number.

After riding for a while, Willy looked out of the window. He was that the bus was driving on a road he did not know.
“Oh! I must be on the wrong bus,” Willy said to himself. He quickly rang the bell and got off at the next stop.
“Now I do not have any money to take another bus,” said Willy. He started walking down the road. He did not know where he was going or how he would get a bus fare.

Soon he came to a market. “I must go into the market and ask somebody to tell me how I can find my way home,” he thought.
So he walked into the market and looked around. He saw an old woman and a boy selling fruits in a corner. The woman was sitting and looking down into her basket.

Willy walked over to the old woman and the little boy. “Please, Miss,” he said, “Can you tell me how I can get to White Road?”
The old woman looked up at him slowly. To Willy’s surprise it was the same old woman he had helped at the bus stop.
“But wait!” she said. “You are the little boy who helped me one day at the bus stop. You were the only one who paid me any attention.”
“Yes,” said Willy. “How are you?
“I am OK,” said the old woman. “And this is my grandson, Albert. He helps me with my fruit basket.”
Willy and Albert looked at each other and smiled.

“What are you doing here?” said the old woman to Willy.
Willy began to tell her how he had taken the wrong bus and had to get off. He told her he did not know where he was and that he had no more bus fare. He wanted to know where he could walk to go home.

“Oh! I see,” said the old woman. “Well, here is enough money to take two buses home. Albert will follow you to the bus stop to catch the first bus. He will tell you where to get off to catch the other bus you need to get home.”
Willy did not know what to say. After a while he smiled. “I did not know I would ever see you again, Miss,” he said.

“Yes, Son,” said the old woman, “that is how life is. If you do good in life, good will follow you. Here are some fruits. They are very sweet.”
Willy was very happy that he had done a good thing. He did not dream that one day the same person he helped would be the one to help him.
Will thanked the old woman and said good-bye. Then he and Albert ran off to the bus stop.

Why the Wild Rabbits are White in Winter

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Long ago Wild Rabbit of the North land wore a brown fur coat, throughout the year. Today, when the long winter months come, Wild Rabbit changes his coat of brown to one that is the color of the snow. And this is how the change happened.

Wild Rabbit could not defend himself from his many foes. Almost all the animals,—foxes of all kinds, wildcats, wolves, wolverines, weasels, and ermine hunted Wild Rabbit for food. Then there were the fierce birds,—the eagles, hawks, and owls—they were always on the lookout for rabbits, young or old. The result was that with this war continually waged against them, the poor rabbits were having a hard time of it, especially in winter. They found it very difficult to hide themselves when the leaves were off the trees and the ground was covered with snow.

In those days of long ago the animals used to have a large council. There was a great father at the head of each kind of animal and bird, and these leaders used to meet and talk about the welfare of their kind. There were always peace and friendship among them while at the council. They appointed a king and he presided as chief. All the animals that had troubles or problems had a right to come and speak about them at the council, and if it were possible, all wrongs were remedied.

Sometimes strange things were said. At one council the bear found great fault with the fox who had tricked him and had caused him to lose his beautiful tail by telling him to go and catch fish with it in a big crack in the ice. The bear sat fishing so long that the crack froze up solid and, to save his life, the bear had to break off his tail.

But all the things they talked about were not so funny as the bear’s complaint. They had their troubles and dangers and they discussed various plans for improving their condition; also, they considered how they could best defeat the skill and cleverness of the human hunters.

At one of the council meetings, when the rabbit’s turn to be heard came, he said that his people were nearly all destroyed, that the rest of the world seemed to be combined against his race and they were getting rid of them by day and night, in summer and winter. Also, he declared that the rabbits had little power to fight against enemies, and, therefore, his people were almost discouraged, but they had sent him to the council to see if the members could suggest any remedy or plan to save the rabbit race from complete destruction.
While the rabbit was speaking the wolverine winked at the wildcat, while the fox, although he tried to look serious, could not keep his mouth from watering as he thought of the many rabbits he intended to eat.

Thus it can be seen that the rabbit did not get much sympathy from his enemies in the council. But his friends,—the moose, the reindeer, and the mountain goat—stood up in the meeting and spoke out bravely for their little friend. Indeed, they told the animals that they had laughed at the little rabbit’s sad story that if they continued to eat all the rabbits they could find there would soon be none left. Then these cruel animals would be the greatest sufferers, for what else could they find to eat in sufficient numbers to keep them alive, if the rabbits were all gone?

This thought sobered the thoughtless animals at first but they soon resumed their mocking at the poor little rabbit and his story. As they happened to be in the majority, the council refused to do anything in the matter.

When the moose heard the decision of the council he was very sorry for his poor little brother rabbit. He lowered his head and told the rabbit to jump on one of his flat horns. The moose then carried him some distance away from the council and said, “There is no hope for you here. Most of the animals live on you and so they will not do anything that will make it more difficult for you to be caught than it is now. Your only hope is to go to Manabozho, and see what he can do for you. His name was once Manabush, which means Great Rabbit, so I am sure he will be your friend because I think he is a distant relative of yours.”

Away sped the rabbit along the route described by the moose, who had lately found out where Manabozho was stopping.
The rabbit was such a timid creature that, when he came near to Manabozho, he was much afraid that he would not be welcomed. However, his case was desperate, and although his heart was thumping with fear he hurried along to have the matter decided as soon as possible.
To his great joy he found Manabozho in the best humor and the little creature was received most kindly. The great Master saw how weary the little rabbit was after the long journey so he made the little fellow rest on some fragrant grass in the sunshine. Then Manabozho went out and brought in some of the choicest things in his garden for the rabbit.

“Tell me all your troubles, little brother,” said Manabozho. “Also, tell me about the council meeting.”
The rabbit repeated his story and told all about the treatment he had received at the council.

When the Great Master heard how unjustly the little rabbit had been treated he grew very angry and said, “And that is the way they treated little brother at the council we have given them, is it? And they know we expect them to give the smallest and weakest the same kind of justice as they offer the biggest and strongest! It is high time for someone to report the council news to me if such unfair meetings take place. Look out, Mr. Fox, Mr. Wolverine, and Mr. Wildcat, for if I take you in hand you’ll be sorry little brother was obliged to come to Manabozho for help.”

The Great Master had worked himself up into such a furious temper that the rabbit was frightened almost to death. But when Manabozho saw this he laughed and said, “I’m sorry to have frightened you, little brother. But I was so very angry with those animals for ill-treating you that I forgot myself. And now tell me what you wish me to do for you?”

After a long talk about the matter it was decided that there should be two great changes made. First, the eyes of the rabbit should be so increased in power that in the future they would be able to see by night as well as by day. Second, in all the North land where much snow falls during many months of the year the rabbits of that region should change their coats for the winter season into a beautiful white color like the snow.

And the rabbits of the North land now have a much better time than they had formerly. In their soft white coats they can glide away from their enemies, or they can sometimes escape notice by remaining perfectly still on the white earth.

The Snow Queen

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This weeks story is about friendship. Gerda and Ray are best friends. One day Ray gets a piece of glass in his eye from a hobgoblin’s looking glass and it causes Ray to become cranky. When he is kidnapped by the Snow Queen Gerda sets off to rescue him. Will she be able to find him?

Nobody’s Dog 🐕

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Mama and I live in an apartment in a big city. I love my mama and she loves me. When I’m hungry, Mama makes me my favorite food. When I’m thirsty, she gives me what I like to drink. When I’m sick, she takes care of me. In the summer I cool off on our porch, and in the winter I snuggle in my soft, warm bed.

We both love dogs too, but we’re not allowed to keep one in our building.

Nobody’s Dog lives in our city, too. Mama and I see Nobody’s Dog when we walk to the park, go to the store, or wait at the bus stop. We see Nobody’s Dog in the snow….and in the rain. Sometimes I can see Nobody’s Dog from my window late at night.

Sometimes Nobody’s Dog is little. Sometimes Nobody’s Dog is big. Nobody’s Dog can be young like me or old like my grandpa. But Nobody’s Dog is always sad and lonesome.

Sometimes when Nobody’s Dog looks really unhappy, we invite him in. (Our landlord doesn’t mind when we say Nobody’s Dog is just a guest.)

First, we check to see if Nobody’s Dog is hurt. Then I wash Nobody’s Dog. Sometimes he likes it, sometimes not! When we feed Nobody’s Dog, he’s not fussy at all! Then we take Nobody’s Dog to the vet. (Will it hurt him when he gets a shot?) Soon Nobody’s Dog is warm, clean, and not hungry anymore!

The next day, we begin to find a home for Nobody’s Dog. We ask our friends to ask their friends. We put up signs at the grocery store. We put an ad in the paper. We always find the right person for Nobody’s Dog. Sometimes the person is little. Sometimes the person is big. That person can be young like me…..or old like my grandpa. Sometimes the person is sad and lonesome, too.

Now Nobody’s Dog is nobody’s dog anymore. Now he is Somebody’s Dog.