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Lucas Weismann

The Friendship of Fox and Bear

Once upon a time, there were a pair of friends- Fox and Bear- who loved each other dearly.  These two friends met once when Bear was fishing for salmon as bears are known to do.  Bear was strong and Fox was clever and the two would make each other laugh and laugh as they wandered over the wide expanse of the forests of the world.

It turned out however that Bear was not from the same part of the forest as Fox.  For indeed, in those days, the forest covered most of the land and had not been chopped down to make paper and houses and pencils for people to write stories with.

This gave Fox and Bear a great idea. They would travel the wide world together and teach the other animals how to be partners like they were.  For, not only did they share well and enjoy things together, but they both scavenged and each knew where to find food that the other could eat.  That, and they could do it playfully and with panache!

At first, Fox was apprehensive.  How would this work?  It was much more dangerous for her to travel than it was for Bear.  Bear was huge!  Bear, for his part was worried.  He needed so much more food than Fox that surely she would have an easier time traveling than he would.

And so, unable to go farther west (as Fox lived as far west as the Great Western Sea), and not wishing to go North (because like most of his kind, the cold made Bear sleepy), they decided to brave the parched deserts to the South.

While on their travels, things grew difficult for them.  Water was scarce and the heat was quite intense.  After some days suffering like this and surviving and small hares and twigs, they decided to travel only at night.  At first, Fox was disagreeable, for she hated being too hot almost as much as being too cold, but then she saw that it was right and from then on, they sought shade where possible in the high desert.

After some days of this, they managed to find a congregation of creatures by the water’s edge.  Word had gotten around that a Bear and Fox were seen, though the only words they local creatures had for it was Red Coyote and Fat Mountain Lion.  For indeed, there are no bears or foxes traveling in that part of the world, and they had certainly never been seen together.

Well, Fox and Bear tried to show the desert animals how they worked together as friends, but most of the animals didn’t seem to see the point.  Moving through the day was hot and tiring and working together just meant there would be less water for each of them.  How silly of these two to come to the desert to show them how to behave in the desert.

And so, a bit discouraged the Fox and Bear went north to where they knew that bear could find some nice salmon to eat.  Oh and while they were at it, perhaps some blueberries (though fox didn’t particularly like them).

After a few days of travel and once the weather got cooler, they realized some things.  Perhaps their knowledge wasn’t universally applicable.  Maybe they had some specialized understanding that would help them better to survive in their environments.  As with most of their realizations, Fox and Bear both contributed.

Fox got the head start on the thinking, being a quicker thinker.  Then, when Bear understood better, he started to pick up momentum.  It was like their experience in the heat, they realized.  They would never think to avoid the sun in their cool climate where the dryads made sure the trees provided the necessary shade!  Perhaps in an area of no dryads, (or no trees, added Bear), they would need to avoid the sun as being too much of a good thing.

As they walked back North, they thought about this for awhile in silence before either of them spoke again.  Next time would be better.  Next time they would find a way to show the others the advantages of working together.

And so, the two friends returned home to the area where Fox lived on their way to the salmon spawning grounds to try to show their friends what they had learned.  This time, it seemed to work better.  Otter was a bit playful and Chimpunk was a bit squirrely, but in general they seemed to see how working together could make a partnership with attributes that balanced because they were different, not because they were the same.

That’s when Fox and Bear really figured out what made them work well together.  It wasn’t that they believed the same thing, or that they were the same.  No, that tactic worked for the Wolves as they hunted under The Moon’s pale light.  This was an amiable partnership, not of equals, but of equivalence.

Bear provided muscle, Fox provided distraction.  Bear was solid and unstoppable if roused and Fox was a brilliant tactician.  Bear loved to snuggle with Fox’s floofy fur and Fox loved the  way Bear made shade and a sort-of mobile den, where anytime they snuggled it felt and smelled like home.

And so they went on to the salmon spawning ground and many places besides, teaching any who would listen how to be good partners for each other until winter came and Bear went to his rest (as all sensible bears do).  Then Fox went back to her home and they decided to make plans to travel once more, when summer returned to the land.

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