The Man and the Bear
Reading time: 3 minutes. Word count: 400 words.
A kind man, seeing a serpent overcoming a bear, went to the bear's assistance, and delivered him from the serpent. The bear was so sensible of the kindness the man had done him that he followed him about wherever he went, and became his faithful slave, guarding him from everything that might annoy him.
One day the man was lying asleep, and the bear, according to his custom, was sitting by him and driving off the flies. The flies became so persistent in their annoyances that the bear lost patience, and seizing the largest stone he could find, dashed it at them in order to crush them utterly; but unfortunately the flies escaped, and the stone lighted upon the sleeper's face and crushed it.
The moral is, "Do not make friends with fools."
For the man who saved the bear
from the dragon's mouth, the bear
became a sort of pet.
When he would lie down to rest,
the bear would stand guard.
A certain friend passed by,
"Brother how did this bear
get connected to you?"
He told the adventure with the dragon,
and the friend responded,
what your companion is. This friend
is not human! It would be better
to choose one of your own kind."
"You're just jealous of my unusual helper.
Look at his sweet devotion. Ignore
But the friend was not convinced,
"Don't go into the forest
with a comrade like this!
Let me go with you."
Leave me alone."
The man began imagining
motives other than kindness for his friend's concern.
"He has made a bet with someone
that he can separate me from my bear." Or,
"He will attack me when my bear is gone."
He had begun to think like a bear!
So the human friends went different ways,
the one with his bear into a forest,
where he fell asleep again.
The bear stood over him
waving the flies away.
But the flies kept coming back,
which irritated the bear.
He dislodged a stone from the mountainside
and raised it over the sleeping man.
When he saw that the flies had returned
and settled comfortably on the man's face,
He slammed the stone down, crushing
to powder the man's face and skull.
Which proves the old saying:
IF YOU'RE FRIENDS
WITH A BEAR,
WILL DESTROY YOU.
WITH THAT ONE,
IT'S BETTER TO BE
Questions. Make sure you can answer these questions about what you just read:
Source: E. H. Whinfield, The Masnavi (1898). Weblink.
Languages / Anthropology 3043: Folklore & Mythology.
Laura Gibbs, Ph.D.
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