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The Legend Of The Little Bear From Braşov
written by: Cornelia Paun Heinzel
translated by: David Whelsh
The storm unleashed impetuously and raged furiously as if all the elements of nature awoke suddenly to life here in the Cheile of Râşnoavei. The trees were twisted with inclined branches almost to the ground. The wind, the cold and fast rain tore defenseless bodies of trees.
At the forest edge, near a bushy shrub, Martina The Mother bear was just giving birth. It seemed like the pains of labour were synchronizing with the relentless storm. The explosion of bright lightning and bewildering thunders seemed like announcing the end of the world, but a new life blossomed slowly and suddenly a delicate and cute little head of a brown bear appeared. On his little forehead, a tiny silver star could be seen shining. The mother bear enjoyed having her special cub around, sensing that it shall become The King of the Brasov Forests but saddened at the same time. She thought that because of his unusual star, he will always be a prey desired by some people. "I'll call him Fearless," she told herself. And soon, his little brother followed, a cute little bear just as his brother.
Wise Martina soon began to slowly teach them everything she knew about the forest, how to feed themselves, where to find food, the fruits which are edible, where the mounds of ants and other delicious insects, which they could enjoy were. But the small bear cubs only wanted to play and spoil each other.
The cubs loved to eat raspberries and climb to the highest peaks of the trees in the forest, although their mother warned them how dangerous it can be.
Winter had shortly arrived and the bears were preparing for hibernation. There was a break in their unsettled lives. Spring sunlight found the two little bears, weak. Martina carried on to find ample food to help them grow. She's done brilliantly in the forest and she thought that they will do the same way.
Soon, the two little bears will meet the greatest danger of all, the human.
Martina thought to prepare, teach the cubs how to sniff the human from a distance and advised the cubs to stay away from him, warning them that he's dangerous. But the little bears were not really taking into account her advice.
The following summer, the forest in which Martina and the cubs lived was ceded by The Forests Service, and the owner, immediately organized a hunt for foreigners, for profit. They were mainly following wild boars, rabbits, and pheasants in the area. But a little bear would have not been bad either. Even if the shooting nor the capture were legal. Who would notice?
One summer morning, one of the hunters noticed and followed the little bears. He saw the silver star on the little bear's head and chased them. They were lucky because of their smart mother bear. She saved the little bears by taking them to a protected area, a cave hidden among the rocks where they could not be found.
Since that day, the hunter could not get the little bears out of his head, especially the one with the silver star on its forehead. He came back to Romania regularly for hunting in the following summers too. But the mother bear was too smart, fiercely guarding her cubs so that people couldn't find them.
The man did not succeed in seeing them, although he wished to very much.
Always thinking about the bears the hunter had a clever idea. He brought with him hunting dogs and skilled chasers.
The Mother Bear had no escape. She was cornered, like never before. There was no escape. But she tried to save the little cubs which had grown, but not enough to fend for themselves.
After a long search, the hunters had found her. The man skillfully aimed and pulled the trigger. The Mother Bear fell to the ground. Her gaze turned desperate to the cubs. Her eyes told them to flee. And they understood the parental message and followed it diligently. But, the small cub, Mischievous, who ran slower, was caught by the man. It wasn't the little bear desired by him, the one with the silver star on his forehead, instead it was his cute little brother."I'm happy for now with him and the The Mother Bear" the man thought.
- "I will sell the cub to a zoo. And I will take the Mother Bear with me to England as a trophy. Her flesh I'll leave to you," the man said to the other hunters. "I'm happy with that. For me, such hunt is something unique. In England, it is not allowed to cut a tree from the forest because authorities will immediately come and take drastic measures. Hunting, not at all ..."
Fearless, ran and ran and found himself alone. Only then he realized what had happened. Big and painful tears flowed from his black eyes.
"What am I going to do alone?" He said.
"Will I handle it? I must! I am the only son of Martina, the smartest bear in the forests of Brasov"
In the months to come Fearless fought fiercely for his life and managed to survive. He was as smart as Martina and grew rapidly, becoming a fully grown brown bear and the majestic silver star on his forehead became bigger and brighter. At night, it reflected under the moonlight and all the wild animals in the area recognized him. Soon Martina's certainties and forecasts came true.
He became The King of Braşov forest.
One morning, he was awakened by pounding noise. He looked around and saw in the distance, people were building a house. It was the first house in the area.
In the following days, several constructions appeared. More trees were cut down in the forest as more land was cleared and the houses appeared one after another, just like mushrooms after the rain.
Soon the woods of his childhood had disappeared almost completely. There was nowhere to make dens, there was nothing to eat. Birds, animals, all the creatures of the forest gradually left the area.
Fearless thought to himself that he had to move his lodge, migrate to more wild, more welcoming territory. This territory was no longer his.
From Cheile Râşnoavei, he bravely took a stroll through the forests and soon reached an unknown area, with vegetation, but also with many hotels. It was Poiana Brasov. He realized it was risky for him to stay there, so the following days he continued his stroll forward, and in the evening he came to some twisted serpentines. He had climbed Mount Tampa. From there, there were many pale lights in the darkness. They were right from the city center. From the first serpentine, he saw that he could get right on the street. "It's not good at all here," said Fearless.
"I have to keep on going. This place is not a good solution. I'm not safe here." However, he did not find anything to eat on his journey. And he headed for the opposite side of Tampa's slope. In the valley of Răcădăului, where he had reached, there were many blocks, and beside them, garbage containers.
"There will definitely be something to eat there so I will take care of myself" said Fearless famished.
He slowly descended to the containers.
He began to look fiercely at the first in his path, guided by the smell. He had to find something.
Suddenly, from the balcony of the first floor of the building, near the garbage containers he saw a person studying him carefully. At first scared, thinking about his first meeting with a man, which turned out to be tragic, but his natural animal instinct, something inside him told him that this person was good and was not going to hurt him.
It was Alexandru, a ten year old boy who had just finished his lessons and was admiring the forest before him, from the balcony. Alexandru was the smartest student in his class, Olympic at mathematics. But because of this, he was often very lonely. His colleagues envied him and did not want to be friends with him. They mocked him and treated him only with wickedness. "It's the price I have to pay for the mind with which I am endowed," he thought.
"There's a little bear with a silver star on his forehead", Alexandru said to himself. "He is special, just like me and that's why he is a loner. From today on, he will be my best friend".
The next evening, at dinner Alexandru could not hide the joy and told his parents:
- "Dad, I saw a little bear yesterday with a silver star on his forehead next to the garbage."
- "Be careful, it can be dangerous. For sure he is not alone. If the Mother Bear sees you she will attack you. This is not something to play with," said his father.
- "But he is very cute. He can't hurt anyone," the boy explained.
In the coming days, Alexandru's father was invited by a friend of his, a business owner, to a dinner held in his villa in Râşnov.
-"My old friend, from England, is coming. You will meet him too," he said.
The party was in full swing and guests busily telling about unusual occurrences from the hunts that they have
participated over time.
-"The thing that struck me most in the woods was a little bear with a silver star on his forehead," the Englishman said, "and no one thinks it exists. Everyone thinks I'm making stories up, but I've seen him with my own eyes, a few summers ago."
- "A little bear with a silver star on its forehead?" Said Alexandru's father surprised. "My son saw a little bear like that the other day in Răcădău, next to the garbage. And I thought he was fooling. My Alexandru has a very vivid imagination, so sometimes I don't believe what he tells me."
- "It's the bear I've been chasing for a long time!" the Englishman exclaims.
- "That is not my land," said the owner. "I can not help you at all. You can do it on your own if you really want it."
- "I'll go tomorrow to the area only to see it," said the Englishman decisively.
And the next day, he climbed up on Tampa's serpentines looking for Fearless. He carefully checked as he crossed
the serpentines, examined all bushes only if, only if he could find him.
And, at last, the miracle happened. The thirsty little bear, was trying to drink water from the creek that flowed from the mountain.
The Englishman approached the bear and tried to - catch him with a rope.
Fearless felt the danger, scared hit the man to defend himself with his paws and began to run.
John, for this, was the name of the man, was wiping off the blood that had risen from the scratches on his face.
- "What happened to you? Who scratched you so hard?" asked the owner when he met him.
- "The bear that I was looking for. I found him and look what he did to me," said the Englishman.
- "We can use this. We will notify the media that a bloody bear attacked an English tourist in the area. When it comes to foreigners, Romanians will do anything. All newspapers will take the news. We can get legal consent to hunt him.
In the following days, a group of hunters were sent into the woods to track the bear.
- "I want to go with you," said the Englishman. "Because I was the victim."
Fearless took refuge towards Dealul Melcilor. It was not a pleasant area for him. It was a territory that was consistently pursuing pit-bull fights. Animals, fierce and ruthless, began barking immediately when they felt his presence nearby. But for now, there was no other solution. He could hide in one of the catacombs in the hills, designed during the war for the city's population to shelter during a bombing.
But now the homeless children lived there. The only possible solution for him, seemed to be the mysterious cave that his mother Martina had told him about. There was an underground water in which a little boy had disappeared many years before. The firefighters who came to rescue him, never came out of the cave. A group of foreign researchers, equipped with sophisticated, state-of-the-art equipment, dove into the mysterious water, but none of them came back to the surface. Fearless decided that in the infinite depth of water will be the place of his salvation, where he will not be hunted and where he may be free forever.
He heard the barking of the hunting dogs, and felt the people's proximity. He moved faster, but in vain. The hunters were getting closer to him.
Then Fearless walked into the cave, advanced to the infinite water and... jumped...
The men were on the brink of entering the cave when they saw the animal throwing himself into infinity. They looked helpless. He had disappeared from their eyes, he had become free and no one could ever hunt him. The news of the disappearance of the little bear spread out very fast.
Alexandru was most affected by it. He had lost forever the most faithful friend. He slept unhappy thinking about it.
One night, a loud noise woke him. The furious wind and heavy rain had abruptly opened the windows of his room. A sudden storm with terrifying thunder and lightning flashed brilliantly. Alexandru heard a soft grunt and looked through the window into the valley, there was shining in the darkness, a silver star, falling softly. "It's Fearless," thought the boy happily. "He missed me. He came to see me. But now no one can follow him to hurt him. He is finally free..."
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
This is a story. Events, the characters are fictitious, and any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental.
Ph. D. Cornelia Păun Heinzel debuted as a writer in the review "Asymetria" France and as poet in "AGERO Stuttgart" Germany, as collaborator of the magazine and Press Agencies' ACES OF ROMANIA "NURNBERG. She is a member of Press TRANSATLANTIC, of Union Hispanomondial of Writers and POETAS DEL MUNDO, writer and collaborator to reviews of USA, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Malaysia, France, Germany, India, Spain, Italy, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, Mexico, El Salvador, Peru, Albania, Australia, Portugal, Island, Denmark, Belgium, Romania.
She has published six books and over 200 articles, both in her country and abroad, including poems in French, German, Italian, Arabic, Turkish...