The Horse and the Bear, by Dawn Utech

Deep in the night, the full moon laid a blanket of silver light over the vast and rugged Shield’s River Ranch. Per usual, the river trout nestled in the rocks for a good night’s sleep, and fluffed up ruby and brown feathered pheasants hid in the bush to protect their young from nocturnal bandits. But for the low eerie calls of the elusive grey wolf, the August night was still and all was peaceful in Big Sky country. It was always at this time that the lone grizzly bear conducted his nightly security check around the border of the ranch. All the residents of the land knew that Mr. Bear would protect them while they slept. With his massive head and powerful dark brown body weighing in at 800lbs he was an imposing figure. No one would dare try to loot in his domain.

Just as Mr. Bear came to a rest during his nighttime routine he heard the heavy clomping of hooves and scattering of stones on the worn gravel road that lead to the sturdy metal gate of Shield’s River Ranch. His round ears perked up and he bolted like the wind to see who ventured to come upon his province in the middle of the night. There before him appeared a blue roan mare. He thought she was magnificent at 18 hands and so dark she was almost invisible but for the white underbelly the moon reflected upon. She came to a screeching halt. And, in due time, she held her head majestically high and allowed her black mane to cover her like a royal blanket. But, all the while she shivered deep in her bones with fear; wondering if she shall ever see the light of day again. With all the courage she could muster, she lied, “Good evening, sir. Dare I say what a lovely night it is for a run? I couldn’t help but take to the night and enjoy the warm summer air.” Worried with fear, Miss Blue was really out looking for her lost colt. Now she was hopeful Mr. Brown hadn’t eaten him and wouldn’t eat her, too.

“Good evening,” replied Mr. Brown. “This is my land and I wish you to turn around and go back to where you came!” he said, as he bared his long sharp teeth and raised his gnarly clawed paw to hold her off.

“Oh, dear!” exclaimed Miss Blue. “Please, please do not attack! I am looking for my innocent young boy. He wandered off after dinner and I have been looking for him since. I fear he might have come upon some trouble. I meant no harm, Mr. Brown! Please allow me to continue. I promise I won’t disturb you or your land!”

But before Mr. Brown could reply, a loud crashing sound came from the top of the knoll that they had been standing near. The crushing of tree limbs and birds screeching as they fluttered to safety broke the calm of the night. It seemed only an instant before a huge jagged boulder made its way right for them. Miss Blue froze in her spot on the road, but Mr. Bear rose on his hind legs, and, with all his might and gentle soul, pushed Miss Blue out of the way of the inevitable collision of stone and bone.

“Miss Blue, are you alright? I hope I didn’t hurt you! My goodness, that happened so fast!” Mr. Brown shook his head. “That boulder is sure to be a problem for Mr. Shields when he leaves for town in the morning.”

Amazed, Miss Blue stares at Mr. Brown for an instant. Her mind racing as to the bravery and concern her new ally had just displayed. At first she could only stutter a “thank you,” but, she quickly recovered and in her steady voice she whinnied with gratitude, “Oh, Mr. Brown, you are my hero! I shall be forever in your debt! Thank you for saving my life!”  – Just then, her naughty little boy rustled through the trees. Unharmed, but baffled and his jet black eyes as big as saucers, he gawked in awe as he witnessed this most unlikely friendship develop before him.


“The moral of this fable is to never judge a book by its cover.”

Three supporting morals:

  1. You will find good in people when you give them a chance without prejudice.
  2. Friendship is more of how you treat someone versus how similar you are.
  3. He who shows care for others before his own is a selfless act – a virtue.

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