“The Bear in the Tree”*

Posted by jlubans on January 04, 2016

Not too long ago, a mother bear taught her newborn cubs to respect Nature and to share with lesser creatures. She taught them well. One cub, Ozols, excelled in his kindness and love of Nature, out-Assisi-ing St. Francis of Assisi. But – there’s always a but - his peers' love of Ozols caused a great envy in a wicked wizard living in the forest.
One day, Ozols was gathering blackberries in the wizard’s meadows. The wizard, in spite, (remember he was wicked and a narcissist) turned Ozols into a tree.
Everyone wondered where Ozols was. Then one day, a tiny bird, a wren, landed on a tree in the forest and was surprised to see a familiar face.
“Is that you, Ozols?”
“Yes, it is me”, whispered the tree. The wren, happy, let loose a liquid, rolling whistle that resonated throughout the forest.
“The wizard did this. Can you help,” asked the trapped Ozols?
The little bird, remembering Ozols kindness, simply said, “Of course.”
Now, you might be wondering how could a tiny bird do anything? He knew to ask others for help. Soon, a mighty number of the wren family gathered to hear the news about Ozols. That night they flew to the wizard’s hunting lodge and, in concert, began to sing, jerking the Wizard out of his warm and cozy bed. Outraged, he tore open the front door but saw no one - shortsighted, he refused vainly to wear glasses and it was pitch-dark. He slammed the door and went back in, hiding his head under a pillow. The wrens started in again; the noise from a dozen different wren songs was a deafening cacophony and went on all night. The next night and the next the wrens came back. The wizard could not sleep – and with dark circles under his blood-shot eyes, finally gave in, pleading, “What do you want?”
“Free Ozols”, the little bird told him.
And so, Ozols was a bear again – free to live his life in the forest. The wizard? Well he’d learned if he was to get any sleep, he’d better quit being a jerk.

*A fable on Monday. My Friday Fable will return as usual on Friday. I came across the bear face tree in the photograph on an early New Year’s Day off-trail walk; it inspired this fable/fairy tale.

© Copyright John Lubans 2016, text and illustration.
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