Cler Bear and the Honey Tree
Cler Bear wanted honey! She woke up in the morning wanting honey. When she went to eat her breakfast there had not been any honey for her oatmeal. Mama Bear had put some of her very best berry jam on the oatmeal, but it wasn't honey.
Daddy Bear had not brought home any honey for over a week! They had eaten all the honey and now Cler Bear wanted honey. All she could think of that morning was the sweet taste of honey. She could almost taste the sticky sweetness of the last honey Daddy Bear had brought home.
She went with Mama Bear to pick berries but her mind was not on berries. Her heart was not in picking berries; she wanted honey. There were several other bear families in the berry patch and Mama Bear was busy picking and talking. She did not notice as Cler Bear got closer and closer to the edge of the berry patch.
Cler Bear could hear the bees singing in the flowers at the edge of the woods. She quietly walked to the flowers and watched as the bees gathered nectar and pollen to take back to their home to make honey. She thought that she might be able to follow one back and find some honey.
As she watched, sure enough, one of the busy bees turned away from the flowers and began to fly toward the woods. Cler Bear almost had to run to catch up with the bee. It zig-zagged around the trees, it flew over brush that Cler Bear had to run through. It was very hard to keep the bee in sight but they finally came to a tree that had lots of bees buzzing around.
Cler Bear could smell it- honey! Sweet golden, sticky honey. The tree must be full of it. There was so much that some was leaking out of a crack in the trunk of the tree. There was plenty of honey for both the bees and for Cler Bear. She hoped the bees would be willing to share.
Cler Bear saw a bee standing at the opening that all of the other bees were using to go in and out of the tree. It seemed to be checking the other bees as they went in and out so she thought it might be the Mother Bee or the Father Bee. She would ask if they would share the honey.
As Cler Bear walked up to the tree suddenly there was an angry sound that started coming from inside the tree. All the bees on the outside began to make angry sounds. When Cler Bear called out to the bees they just made louder, angrier sounds.
Suddenly one of the bees, buzzing angrily, flew right at Cler Bear's face. Another bee started flying around and around her head. One flew up and landed right on her nose, then it sat down as only a bee can sit down and Cler Bear felt a sharp stinging pain in her nose that made her cry out.
Why were the bees so angry? Why were they making such awful noises? Why were they trying to sting her nose, her ears, and her eyes? All she had done was come to ask them to share their honey.
She had just wanted a taste of honey and now she was in very deep trouble. Nothing she could do would stop the bees from buzzing around and stinging her. The only thing that stopped them was her thick fur, but in the places that the fur was not thick they were really stinging her.
Cler Bear decided that the best thing she could do was run away. These bees were very angry and they did not want to stop and listen; so she ran. She ran as fast as she could. She ran so fast that she did not pay attention to where she was going. Cler Bear kept looking back and the bees were still chasing her.
Suddenly she felt herself falling. Then she was tumbling down a steep bank and landed with a big splash in the water at the bottom. The stream was deep and it ran very fast. Soon Cler Bear was being tumbled around in the water. She did not know how long she was pushed and tumbled along by the water.
Finally, she bumped into a log and was able to hold on. The only good thing she could think of was that the bees were gone. When she was able to get the water out of her eyes and see, she saw that the log was laying partly in the water and partly on the bank. Very carefully she climbed up on the log and scooted her way to the shore.
It was only after she was on dry ground that Cler Bear realized that she was lost. She did not have any idea of where she was. She had never been this far from home before. She had never been away from home without Mama Bear or Daddy Bear. She was lost and had no idea how to find her way home.
Cler Bear laid down in the grass on the bank of the stream and began to cry. She cried because she was frightened. She cried because she was lost. She cried because she was still hurting from all the bee stings. She cried and cried.
As often happens when we cry really hard for a long time she became tired and sleepy. Cler Bear fell asleep right there on the bank of the stream. It was a long time before she opened her eyes. When she did for a little while she did not know where she was. Then she remembered the bees and running away. She remembered falling into the stream and being swept along in the current. She also remembered that she was lost and she was afraid again.
Cler Bear was sure that no one would ever be able to find her. She was supposed to help Mama Bear pick berries and she had sneaked away. No one even knew she was gone. No one knew where to find her. Cler Bear began to cry again.
It was starting to get dark. She was going to have to spend the night out here all alone. She was also very hungry but she would not get any dinner tonight. It was going to be a long lonely, scary night.
Then she thought she heard a sound. It sounded like someone calling. She listened but did not hear it again. "It must have been the wind in the tree branches," she thought. Then she heard it again. It was someone calling! They were calling her name. Someone was looking for her!
Cler Bear began to call, "Mama, Daddy, I'm right here. I'm beside a stream. Please hurry, I'm alone and afraid."
She kept calling at the top of her voice. She could hear someone answering. It sounded like Daddy Bear! He was looking for her. He was calling for her.
Cler Bear called out, "Daddy, I am going to come to you."
Daddy Bear answered, "No, stay where you are. The woods are thick and it is dark. I will find you if you just stay still and keep calling to me."
It seemed like it took hours before Daddy Bear finally appeared on the top of the bank of the stream. Cler Bear could not think of another time in her life that she was so glad to see anyone. She climbed up the bank and ran to Daddy Bear.
He hugged her tight. He hugged her tighter than she ever remembered being hugged. She thought she saw tears in Daddy Bear's eyes. She wondered why he would be crying.
Daddy Bear called out that he had found her and they began to walk home. It did not take as long to get home as she thought it would. She had been so lost and afraid that she did not know where she was. Now that she was with Daddy Bear she knew that she had not been as far from home as she had thought.
Daddy Bear did not ask her about how she had become lost. All he kept saying was how happy he was to find her. He sounded like he was having trouble talking, like he was almost choking. Cler Bear wondered why Daddy Bear sounded so strange.
When they got home Mama Bear ran out of the house and picked Cler Bear up and hugged her very closely and tightly. She squeezed and squeezed. Cler Bear thought Mama was going to squeeze all of the air out of her. Mama Bear was crying, Daddy Bear was crying, Cler Bear was crying. Everyone was crying, but they were happy tears.
After a while all the others left and there was only Daddy, Mama, and Cler Bear left standing in the yard. Mama Bear asked, "Cler, why did you run off? Where did you go?"
Cler Bear did not want to talk but she knew she had to answer Mama. "I wanted some honey. I saw some bees and followed one of them to a big tree. I was going to ask for a taste of their honey, but they became angry and stung me and chased me away. I don't know what made them so angry I was trying to be polite and ask just like you taught me."
Daddy Bear said, "Cler, those were wild bees. They did not know that you were being nice, they did not know that you were only wanting a little taste of their honey. They thought you were going to steal the honey and maybe even wreck their home. Sometimes others are not nice and they do those things. The bees were only trying to protect their home."
It was too dark to see outside so they all went into the house. As Cler Bear walked into the door she saw the table. And can you guess what was on the table? Yes, there were jars and jars of Honey! There were more jars of honey than Cler Bear had ever seen before.
"Where did all the honey come from," she asked.
Mama Bear answered, "Daddy has been helping farmer Ted move his bee hives and farmer Ted paid him in honey. If you had asked I would have told you that we would have plenty of honey tonight."
We won't talk about what happened next but you may be sure that Cler Bear knew that she would never run off again. Daddy and Mama loved her but they made sure that she learned that lesson!