Once upon a time, long ago there was a small bear born in a cave deep
within the great forest. Miria and Randi of the
great forest were the parents to the little bear, and had not yet named
him. Not being able to decide upon a name for the
little bear, they had decided to call upon the elders of the forest to
help in naming him.
So Randi called a meeting of the Elders within the forest walls. There were birds, elk, squirrels, foxes, deer and at least one of all the other forest creatures present for this calling of the Elders.
Elders of the forest gathered in the center of a large circle, and the younger members sat beyond the circle so they could listen to the elders speak. Randi the bear spoke of his new son, and told of how he seemed to be special in ways and words, and his thoughts on how the animals of the forest should name the little bear.
Miria soon appeared with the small cub in her arms, and the Elders each in turn approached him. The little bear never flinched or moved during this strange ritual. The Elders were very impressed, for the little bear held their eyes and gave an impression of knowledge beyond his years.
The oldest of the Elders stood as Miria was being seated and said, "I have thought upon this matter and feel that this new member of the forest shall one day bring wisdom and leadership, therefore, we shall carefully name him." And as the other Elders nodded in agreement, he said, "We shall wait for the naming of this cub, and watch him grow. He will show us by act and deed the name we shall use!"
As the weeks went by the little bear cub grew and played within the cave. One day as he played, his father said "I must begin the journey of Spring once again, for I have seen the robins near and heard the river frogs singing."
The little bear became very excited for at last he would venture beyond the walls of the cave into the forest. Miria, watching the excited cub, hoped that soon they would name her special child, for he was now going to be out and about with other small forest creatures, and she knew they would all have names to be spoken.
Soon the day came for Randi and the little cub to go out. As the little cub entered the world beyond his cave, a sight like none he could image met his eyes. Large trees lined the forest walls, tall as the eyes could see, and colors of every mention lined the ground.
Randi laughed at his sons wonderment and said, "Come my son, there is much to see this day."
So Randi and the little cub started their journey through the forest lands. As they walked Randi told the little bear about the things he was seeing. He told of the big trees and how they supplied some of the smaller animals with homes, bearing fruit for many, and giving shelter and shade also. He named the pretty flowers, and told how they helped animals to tell the seasons.
Randi and the cub had walked for most of the morning when they came upon the forest river. Randi told him of the importance of the river, how it was the main source of food and water for the entire forest, and that it too gave shelter to many of the forest animals like the beaver.
Dusk came upon the forest, when Randi and the cub finally made their way back to the cave to the smell of supper and fresh brewed tea. After dinner they sat drinking tea when the little cub asked, "Momma, what am I called? All the animals I met today are called by a name. I have no name to be called. Will I ever have a name of my own?"
Miria thought for a moment and answered, "Son, you are a very special little bear, and we have asked that your name be chosen by the Elders of the Forest. Just be patient a little longer and soon you, too, shall have a name of your own."
Days went by and still the Elders of the forest had not set a name for the little bear. Randi went out one day and asked the Elders. "My son feels out of place, and I must ask, have you chosen a name?"
On the same day, the bear cub had gone into the forest to play. While he was playing, a small group of children from the forest appeared. At first the little cub was afraid for he knew not what to say or do in the presence of so many different creatures.
One of the animals stepped out of the crowd and said, "Hi, I am Jimmy the Rabbit, this is Banjo the Fox, and Ace the 'Coon. Sitting on the log are Chuck the Woodchuck, and Blossom the Possum. Above you in the trees you will see Fanny the Robin, and Nibbles the Squirrel . Over there is Beaver Joe and Shantey the Groundhog. May we ask who you are?"
"I have no name," said the little cub, "for I am waiting to be named by the Elders of the Forest, and as of yet they have not given me one. Just call me cub bear till then."
"Come play with us cub bear, and we will show you some games," said Ace the 'Coon. Off they went yelling and romping in the fresh meadow grass. On and on they played - each game more fun than the other. The little bear had so much fun and made so many friends, he thought of how lucky he had been this day.
As the days wore on, the small animals of the forest found that no matter how daring the game, or how dangerous the play, the little cub would always be first to start the game. So Banjo started calling the little cub 'Ollie' for he found the name fit somehow.
On one daring game when it came to be the cub's turn, the animals yelled, "Come on, Ollie, we dare." On and on they yelled, until 'Ollie-Dare' just became their name for the little bear.
Soon it was time for each to return home, and as they went their separate ways, you could hear from everywhere,
- "See ya,
- "Bye, Ollie-Dare."
- "Come play
Miria, worried, started off for the Elders camp.
Miria and the cub came upon the Elders and Randi sitting by the great Elms near the forest edge. As they entered Randi rose in alarm. "Wife, is something wrong that you seek me?"
"No," answered Miria, "but I think you and the Elders should hear of your son's day."
The little bear held his head high and went to the center of the Elders Circle. He began telling them of his day, and how the small animals of the forest had given him a name. After he had told them his story, he sat down and waited as they talked among themselves.
The Eldest of the Elders soon stood and announced, "Thus is the name we shall call the little bear, for wisdom is as the children speak. He shall be called Ollie-Dare."
Cheers could be heard throughout the forest late until the early morning hours. For through the forest the story of how the little bear had received his name was told.
This tale would be told for many years to come, for this is the beginning of Ollie-Dare the Wise Old Bear."
©2002 Rebecca Morris
Watch for the next chapter in May !