A Quest For Family

CRASH! A dark, furry, brown creature crashed into the clearing and ran off into the deep, dark night. It was a grizzly bear, and the forest it lived in was ablaze behind them. Plus, the grizzly (soon to be mama bear) was actually pregnant, and the cub would be out soon.

There had been a drought in California for a long time, and the forests had practically been waiting to be set on fire. And one finally had. The choice wasn’t good, as it was a giant forest filled with animals of all sorts, and the firetrucks’ sirens just made them more confused than ever. Some of them started running around and getting themselves roasted to crisps. Others ran off, trying to get out of the forest. Along with them was the Mama grizzly bear, trying to escape from the flickering flames, not to mention the loud siren noises, and making sure the unborn cub was safe.

The next morning, all was quiet. The fire was gone, but little wisps of smoke was all around the place, and everywhere you looked you would see burnt trees and scorched grass and dirt. Not many trees were left of the forest. But at the near border of the forest, there was a perfect circle of trees that had been left unscathed. In the middle of this peculiar clearing, there laid a dead grizzly bear. It had been seconds away from death, yet it still died.

When some humans came to try to clear the wreckage, they found the grizzly bear, lying down in the grass, dead. They called an animal specialist there, and it could tell that it had given birth there. No signs of the cub, boy or girl, anywhere. People didn’t think much of it. They thought the cub must have died, getting scorched by the fire by accident as soon as it was born.

In truth, the cub was alive unwell, as 1. it had nothing to eat (no mother milk), 2. it was lost, and 3. it was alone. The cub was scared, but managed to find a warm hole at the bottom of a tree to sleep in, and found a surviving bush that sprouted berries on it. After trying to eat for a bit (it was supposed to just eat mother’s milk only, not other things), it curled up and fell asleep at the hole in the tree.

After spending a few months trying to finish the berries on the bush, it could finally eat them easily and found a stream a ten minute trod from the tree home. When he visited the stream, he found some salmon and trout swimming in the water, unaware of the fire a few months ago. The cub tried in vain to catch some to eat, but only got a trout. Still, it was the most delicious thing he had ever eaten and as he ate, he thought about his mother. He wondered, where was she? Did she get burned? Did she go to heaven? Did she die because of something else? As far as he knew, she died because of the fire. All of a sudden, he wanted a family. He needed a family! Overcome by sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness, he retired to his tree, trying to hide tears, and fell asleep.

After a year living in the tree, he found he couldn’t fit in it any more. Sadly, he decided to explore the world to find a home, starting by walking along his stream. Remembering once he had overheard a little girl had sung a song about this moon river and traveling the world by his stream, he sung it in his head as he walked along the stream (He didn’t know english).

Moon River, wider than a mile,

I’m crossing you in style,some day,

La la, la la la laaaaa

(he couldn’t remember this part)

Lalalalalalalalala la,

Two (one?) drifters, off to see the world,

there’s such a lot of world to see,

We’re after the same rainbow’s end,

Waiting ‘round the bend,

Moon River and me.

After singing the song, he felt better and settled down for the night, dreaming about moons and streams and meeting a family.

The next day, he got up early and decided where to go. Would it be north, south, east, or west? He decided south. He began walking north. Soon, he realized his mistake and began walking the other way. He knew that animals could tell different directions— well, he could! MOST of the time. He wondered why they could and how. He couldn’t make heads or tails of it, so he took a little nap. The nap lasted longer that expected, as he woke up the next day.

He traveled for two years, two months, and two days, eating fish, berries, roots, and sometimes grubs. It was quite remarkable how fast he traveled, he had already crossed into South America, and into Peru at that. He found a nice forest there, and decided to settle down there for a bit, for a change from traveling. He thought about all the difficulties he had experienced, including a chase with wolves and getting battered by salmon tails. It had been a very tiring trip, but it was almost worth it-all he needed was a family to live with. Exhausted from the journey, he fell asleep….

“Hello? Hello? Can you hear me? Hello?” A voice said in a weird language (English). The young grizzly bear, who had still wanted to sleep more after the journey from California, rolled on it’s back and made a sound like this: “Grouwlllcchhh.”

“Oh,” said the voice. “Right, you’re a bear like me, so I’ll have to speak bear! Growwwllluchiaulll? (Who are you?)”

The young grizzly bear opened his eyes and saw another young grizzly bear staring down at him.

“Growwliciasuwla,” he said (I don’t have a name.)

“Hmmmm… I’ll have to teach you English!” said the other cub. “My name is Paddington, so your English name shall be Padton!!!”

He took “Padton” back to the den where he lived, and introduced him to his family. Luckily, they decided to take him in, and Padton looked around at the faces smiling at him.

He thought, Home. Yes, home. And home it was.

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