Oban's Myths & Legends
The Boy Who Loved Bears
Native American - Pawnee tale
retold by Oban
A long time ago a Pawnee hunter was returning home after a day's hunting when he saw a baby bear all alone in the forest.
The bear cub looked very frightened and was crying for its mother.
Feeling sorry for the bear cub the hunter picked it up, held it in his arms and gently stroked its fur.
“Did you lose your mother little one?” said the hunter as he stroked the fur under the cub’s chin.
The cub began sucking on the hunter’s finger.
“I think you’re hungry too,” said the hunter. He reached into his bag for the last of the food his wife had given him that morning, and fed the cub.
As he held the cub in his arms, the hunter thought about his pregnant wife and the baby they were expecting any day now.
“Little one,” he said to the cub. “If ever my son or daughter is alone, I pray there will be some one there to help them, like I have helped you.”
The hunter put the bear cub down, then tied a small medicine bag filled with sacred leaves around its neck as protection. The cub curled into a ball on the ground. The hunter stroked the cub’s fur until it fell asleep, purring.
The hunter covered the little bear with leaves to hide it.
“Sleep well, little one. I pray your mother will return by the time you wake up,” whispered the hunter to the sleeping cub.