One day in the cold lands of Canada two friends went out hunting. They were tracking a moose through the great pinewood forests. Snow carpeted the ground and as they trod through it they heard no sound. They did not suspect that as they followed the track of the moose there were two eyes watching them.
The two hunters stopped, hoping to spot the flash of antlers through the trees. Behind them a dark shadow moved across the snow. Closer and closer it came. One of the hunters glanced round. 'It's a bear!' he shouted.
The huge grizzly bear, a mass of brown fur and claws, was almost upon them. Without a second's thought the two men ran. They knew that their only hope was to find a place of refuge. One of them pointed to a nearby pine tree, and ran towards it. As soon as he reached it he began to climb faster than he had ever climbed before. His friend however tripped over a root in the snow. He fell with a crash into the snow.
'Help! I think I've sprained my ankle!' he shouted.
The man in the tree looked round. He could see that the bear was still some way off. But what could he do? What should he do? He decided to carry on climbing.
The man on the ground lay quite still and held his breath. The nerves in his body tingled with fear as he could hear the 'scrunch, scrunch' of paws on snow coming nearer and nearer. The bear lumbered up to him, and began snuffle suspiciously round his head. The man could feel the bear's hot breath on his face. He didn't move a muscle. The bears claws scratched at the snow. Then there was a soft padding sound as the bear ambled slowly away.
'He's left me alone,' thought the man. 'he must have thought I was dead.' At once he felt a surge of pain in his sprained ankle.
High in the tree his friend saw the bear disappear into the bushes. He waited a few minutes until he was sure it was quite safe, then carefully climbed down. He ran quickly to his friend who was still lying flat in the snow. He helped the man sit up, and soon had helped him to bandage up his ankle.
Seeing his friend was none the worse for his meeting with the bear, the hunter who had climbed the tree said, 'I knew you'd be all right. I guess you were safer down there than I was up that tree.' Trying to cheer his friend, who still looked hurt, he added, 'Hey, that bear was so close he seemed to be whispering something in your ear. Come on, tell me, did he say something to you?'
'Well' the other replied, 'what the bear said was I should never trust a friend who deserts you when things get difficult.'