Thank you 3meterswell for the link. A delightfully rendered account of a harrowing experience.
Bear encounter stories, humorously rendered, are the essence of fine campfire stories. Almost a genre of their own. WildernessWebb had many such bear encounter stories, but without the actuality of attack. (BTW, Jedi, the artist formerly known as TheBob, recently sent me a copy of a book Called The Twenty-nineth Day about a bear attack. Decent read, but less humorous.)
Anyhow, it put me in mind of a story from Grey Owl’s book “Tales of an Empty Cabin” ( from 1936), a book I suspect most of us would enjoy. If you haven’t already read it, I’d recommend it. He has a chapter in there about a person he knew who was noted for his campfire story telling ability, Red Lauderville.
I’m a poor typist and need the practice, so I’ll excerpt a bit of that book, since it seems to be entertaining and in the vein of the story in the link. Laughter is good during social isolation, right?
For a long time Red Lauderville had been going to tell us a ghost story about a hen. He never actually did, and I am inclined to suspect that there was no such story; ghosts and hens don’t seem to belong in the same catagory, somehow. But he did tell us a story about a bear.
As I recall it, he was walking along beside a stream when he met a bear. It was a big bear. The bear was running, so to be sociable he ran too, in the same direction, of course, a little ahead of the bear. The bear, for some reason, had its mouth open; it had nearly fifty teeth in each jaw, with holes punched in its gums for more, and was making loud uncouth noises. (Red Made the noises.) Soon he came to a tree; the creek was on one side of him and the bear was on the other, so, not wishing to be in the way at all, Red climbed the tree. (He made hurried climbing motions, looking down over his back; we had all the action and the sound effects.) Lauderville stayed up the tree, and the bear, having thought of something, remained at the foot of it. Presently the bear went away, and Red commenced to climb down, when the animal returned, bringing with him a larger, and probably more experienced bear. They sat at the foot of the tree, looked up at him, and then commenced to mutter and mumble together, evidently talking the thing over. Red now made a noise like two bears would make if they made that kind of noise. He looked at me and asked if the noise had been correctly rendered; with a slight shudder I said it had. He had developed a practice of referring to me for support in any small point of natural history that came up in his stories, and I had been involved in several rather difficult situations. Well, after a lengthy conference the more talented bear went away, returning shortly with a beaver; (at this point I think that many of those present began not to believe the story). He set the beaver at the foot of the tree, but the beaver was not willing and the bears had to cuff him a couple of times before he would start to work; the bears were a lot bigger than he was, and there wasn’t much he could do about it. So the beaver commenced to cut, on the side furthest from the creek, under the supervision of the bears. It was a very big tree; by the time the beaver had got to the center of it nothing but the tip of his tail was visible. He came out of there, and prompted by his captors went to the other side, nearest the creek. There was no room for the bears between the stream, so the beaver had it to himself, Red noticed. Out of sight, he looked up at Red. The beaver winked at him. “So I knew it was going to be OK”, said Red, “beavers are no fools. So the beaver cut away at the tree, and pretty soon all I could see was the tip of his tail again, and knowed something was going to happen. The tree started to go; there was nowhere to go but off, if you get what I mean, so I stayed with the tree. And then I saw why the beaver had winked. The tree fell square across the creek and I landed on the other bank. The beaver jumped in the creek, and the two bears were left there looking foolish as a bag of cats.”