Cautionary Tale

An old bear would come into the village at the beginning of winter and settle down in a warm corner behind the bake-house wall. There he would sleep the cold months away contentedly with a smile on his face. The villagers passing by would glance at the bear and be cheered by his smiling countenance. Until one day a young girl came, looked at the bear, and said, ‘I bet he is not as cuddly and happy as he appears. I bet he is dangerous’. So she poked him with a stick. The bear waved it off without opening his eyes. She poked him again. Again he waved it off, still smiling, as if he were ridding himself of a bothersome fly. So she poked harder until he woke up. When he opened his eyes, and saw the young girl poking him, he flew into a rage and chased her down the street. The last words she was heard to utter, before he sunk his teeth into her windpipe, were, ‘I kept telling everyone he was dangerous, and no one believed me’.