“The Bear Who Loved To Hug People” by Ruth Ainsworth. ♥

Okay this is a story I read earlier & I loved it !
Also, everyone tagged here reminds me of this. xP
Its so adorableee !

There was once a Bear who lived in a cave in the mountains. He was a mountain bear. He ate fruit & berries and did no harm to anybody, but he had one bad habit. He would hug people. He only hugged them because he liked them, but they did not know that. His furry arms were so strong that he hugged much too tightly. Some of the people he hugged were never the same again. They were quite flat when he let them go, & lopsided.

Not many people went along the rough track that passed the door of his cave, but he never failed to rush at them, his arms outstretched, to give them a loving hug.

The people living near dared not pass that way or let their children go along. They used, instead, a very long, steep, rocky path that led them right up on the other side of the mountain. It took much longer & was difficult to find at night or in the snow.

The mothers were particularly worried about their children who emerged from the bear’s hug quite a different shape, flat instead of round, with snub noses which completely changed their expressions.

The men of the neighborhood met together to decide what to do for the best. Should they catch the bear & put him in a cage in a zoo ? Or should they shoot him & make something useful out of his fur, a coat or a rug ? They decided, rather sadly to shoot him, & the wife of the man who shot him should be given the skin for a fur coat. They were upset about this, but there seemed no other way out. They could not risk their little children being deformed & it did not seem as though the bear would change his habits.

About this time, a poor man who lived far away on the other side of the the mountain, decided to go & visit his old mother who lived down in the valley. He had saved downy goose feathers yo make a deep, billowy feather bed to give her as a present. One day, he left home and traveled over the mountain with the new feather bed rolled up & strapped o his back.

When he got near the cave where the bear lived, he bear smelled him coming & came lumbering out into the sunshine, his furry arms outstretched. The traveller remembered hearing stories of a bear who hugged people & called out loudly :”Lord Bear. I’ve brought you a present. I’ve brought you something warm & just made to be hugged. Wait while I unstrap it from my back.”

The bear waited, because he was a good natured fellow & when the bed was unstrapped, but still in a roll, he took it in his arms & gave it a tight, close hug.

It did not struggle or cry out. It melted into his arms with softness & warmth. “Keep it,” said the traveller, shaking with fear. “Keep it my Lord, I made it for you.” This was not really true as he had made it for his old mother, but a man may change his mind. & the bear did not know about the old mother.

So he kept it & carried it into his cave & hugged it ever night, when he went to sleep. This satisfied him & he quite gave up hugging other people. The men in the neighborhood gave up the horrid idea of shooting him, too. Even the smallest children were now quite safe when passing his cave door alone.

All the cold, dark winter the bear dozed in his cave under the snow, his feather bed tightly in his arms. When the spring came with flowers & birds, he woke up & was lucky enough to meet with a wife, a young bear just old enough to get married. So if he felt like hugging anybody, she was always near at hand & loved to be hugged.

As for the feather bed, they kept it in the cave & slept on it. This was much more comfortable than lying on the hard, rocky floor.

The End. xD

Crappy picture, but it was in the book. xD

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