Many seasons had passed; spring, summer, fall, and winter four times over. Then finally the giant tree transformed. The bark of the trunk shed and peeled. Sap spewed out and ran down to the soil below. Slowly, layers of bark gracefully fell away from the tree. A being slowly took form. A few more layers shed away, and in the centre of that great tree, a young boy let out a startling cry. The cry bounced through out the whole valley. The winds picked up and the sun sliced through the smoggy sky. The trees stood taller then ever. The animal’s spirits lifted; there was a feeling of overwhelming happiness and enlightenment over every living thing.
While that cry rattled the mountains, it also awoke a great spirit from its den, Grandfather Bear. He slowly crawled his way out of his hillside home.
“That crying! Where is it coming from?” Grandfather Bear asked himself. Off he went to investigate.
When Grandfather Bear got close to where he heard the noise come from, he slowed his pace and stood tall as half a tree, just to get a whiff of what was ahead. It was an odd, earthy smell, mixed with flesh.
Drawing in closer and closer, he was surprised to find a small human boy. With rage filled eyes and drawn claws, his fangs hung, as a waterfall of drool poured out Grandfather Bear’s Mouth. He jumped back on his muscular hind legs and let out a great roar. Toppling back down, he dashed towards the defenseless child.
“Your kind has brought us nothing but pain and sorrow, for that I will take your life, foolish boy!” Grandfather Bear yelled.
Just as Grandfather Bear…
”Wait, wait, wait, Grandpa!” My grandson asked. “The animals can talk?”
“Long ago they could, and we could understand them as well. They helped us and guided us for many years. We used to watch them and learned many things from them, like what we can and can’t eat, and where to go, and not to.” I replied.
“I sense you have interrupted my story so you can go out and chop some wood for the fire pit outside. I will bring the teapot and honey.” I instructed him.
“Damn. I’m sorry, Grandpa. I was just confused that the bear could talk. And I’ll get right on it!” He rushed towards to door.
I sat in quite as I watched from my big bay window. ‘That young man has much in store for himself. I sure am lucky to have him sit around with me all the time. And when he’s told to do something, he jumps up with no lip to give.’
I respect him a lot for that; he sure makes living easier.
Watching all that hard work made me feel lazy; I ever so slowly got out of my chair to get the teapot. I grabbed the pot and the tea bags, and then headed out to the fire pit to join my grandson and his well-built fire.
“Good job, my boy. Here, put the teapot on for me, will you?” Just as I said before, with no questions asked, he grabs the teapot and throws a few bags in with it.
“All right, Grandpa. Can you please continue the story?” My Grandson asked with excitement in his voice.
“All right, you did get the fire going so seems fair enough to me. Now where was I… oh, right.” I replied.
Just as Grandfather Bear came close enough to strike a fatal blow, the roots of the giant tree suddenly unearthed. The long roots swung and whipped at Grandfather Bear.
**Grandfather Bear what are you doing?** the Great Tree asked. **This Boy is here to help us, to pave our way to salvation. I’m aware you’re old and angry at the humans but if you kill this boy you’re no better then them.** The Great Tree rumbled.
“How dare you protect such a horrible being? They’re the ones who distorted Mother Nature; they took all our food! The lands changed; and it’s all because of THEM.” Grandfather Bear roared.
**As I said, I understand your pain and hurt. But Mother Nature herself sent this boy. That is why I stand guard. I’m withering away and you must take the boy and teach him the ways of the lands, the laws, and the way of life… This is my last breath… take him, raise him, teach him, or leave us to be blinded as well.** The Great Tree whispered as it faded.
Feeling as if he had no choice in the matter, Grandfather Bear watched as the Great Tree began fall apart and decay. His leaves faded to gold then a lifeless brown, the bark peeled as if it were being shaved. Creaking and moaning flooded the surrounding area as the Great Tree swayed back and forth. Then abruptly, the Great Tree toppled over with a big crash, and that is where it lays to this day.
On that day, Grandfather Bear took the small boy home; where he took time to teach him many things, such as how to follow the laws of the lands and how to treat the animals with respect. He was also taught how to speak the tongue of the lands, meaning that he was also able to speak with the animals. It was not just Grandfather Bear who taught the boy, but many of the other animals took part in his nurturing. Grandfather bear took him across many different lands, meeting many different animals. All of them taught their own special lesson.
As time passed along, the boy grew bigger and stronger. Once the boy reached the age of 12, Grandfather Bear sent him to a mountain so tall the clouds sat half way up the massive hill.
“Atop that mountain, my boy, you will be tested; the hike will be difficult. I will not be joining you this time Grandfather Bear said. “From here on you will start making choices by yourself.”
And just like that, the boy grabbed his things and was gone.
Just as the boy had made it to the base of the towering mountain, he noticed the skies being shrouded by a thick black cloud. The cloud rapidly creeped towards the boy as the skies became gloomy and dark with the sunlight fading into beams of light and then nothing.
For a moment everything stopped, the wind and the trees stood still. And just then suddenly a powerful wind smashed against his body. Rain fell like waterfalls pouring down to earth. The trees swayed violently back and forth, while branches snapped off sending them hurtling through the air. Off in the distance a series of white bolts scattered down towards the ground, while letting out an astonishing white flash. Where the spears from the heavens had landed, an orange glow burst open starting a huge fire in seconds. As the flames grew over the trees and into the sky, a horrifying bird with patchy wings and an ugly bent beak soared into the sky. With every flap of its giant wings, ash and small flames fell among the forest. The flames became so intense the heat began to vaporize the rain above leaving the ground to become dry as a bone. Looking around the boy realized he surrounded by a huge wall of fire. The lightning struck more frequently and louder. The giant firebird circled around as its eyes emptied with plumes of smoke. The raging flames grew hotter and brighter swelling towards the boy. Sensing the boys fear, the great firebird swooped down towards him. Just in the nick of time the boy jumped out of the way. Climbing back into the sky, the firebird turns and dives at the boy again. The fear and adrenaline starts to weigh in. Scared and not knowing what to do, the boy started to run. Dodging falling fireballs, crashing lightning and intense heat, his heart raced faster then his legs could move. While gasping for air, clouds of smoke burn though his lungs. His eyes sting and his sight blurs.