The Lady Found a Friendly Bear Cub

Many years ago, in an old manor-house on the border of a big forest, lived a lady, who once found a bear cub half dead of hunger. The cub was so small and helpless that the lady brought him home with the help of her old cook. The bear had now grown big and strong. He could easily slay a big cow if he ever wanted to do so. However, the bear did not even have the intention of harming any one, neither animal nor human.

The bear had grown up to become the most friendly bear. He would good-humouredly see the cattle graze in the field. He shared a good relation with the three horses that lived in the stable. Children loved to ride his back and many a times were found asleep in his kennel between his two paws. The dogs, too, loved to play all sorts of games with him.

What did the Bear Eat?

This bear had never tasted meat. He ate the same food as the dogs; bread, porridge, potato, cabbage and turnip. Bears are usually vegetarians, if they get a chance. They have, however, a special liking for fruits. This bear would spend his autumn looking at the ripening apples in the orchard and be tempted to eat them.

Unable to resist his temptation for apples, in his young days the bear would climb the tree to have a handful of apples. Bears are clumsy and slow in their movements. Climbing a tree is difficult for them. However, if the reward for climbing a tree is an apple they would put up their best show. Nevertheless, the bear realised that it was against the law to climb a tree. So, he satisfied himself by always being on a look out for apples that fell on the ground.

The Bear was put on Chains

Once, while climbing the tree, the bear had encountered the bee hives and had been hurt. As a punishment, he was put on chain for 2 days with a bleeding nose. The bear was hardly put on chain, except during the night and on Sundays. On Sundays, his mistress went to spend the afternoon with her married sister. He was put on chain for his own safety. It was not good to wander in the forest with all  its temptations. The bear was also not a good sailor and once he and his mistress reached the shore with a great difficulty.

The Lady Scolds the Bear and Hit with Parasol

One Sunday, when the lady left to meet her sister, half way through the forest she heard the cracking of a tree branch. On looking back, she saw the bear coming towards her in full speed. She was taken aback and horrified. But, then, she got angry with the bear and started scolding her. She was really angry because the bear had disobeyed her and she had no time to take him back, nor could she have taken him with herself.

In her most severe voice, the lady ordered the bear to go back. She became angrier when she saw that the bear was not wearing his new collar. When the bear continued to disobey and sniff her, the lady hit him with her umbrella. She hit him so hard that the umbrella broke into two. The bear stopped for a few more minutes and then went back the way he had come from.

The Cook tells the Truth

In the evening when the lady returned, she saw the bear sitting in his usual place. The lady was still angry. The lady began to scold him and said that he would be kept chained for the next 2 days. At that point the old cook came out from the kitchen and told the lady that the bear had behaved in a most praiseworthy way. He sat in his chains the entire day and kept waiting for his mistress to return.

Word Meanings

Word                                                              Meaning in English

Manor-house                                                    castle

Slain                                                                    kill

Amiable                                                              friendly

Kennel                                                                dog house

Shuffled                                                              drag your feet

Porridge                                                             gruel

Ripening                                                            become fully grown

Wistful                                                               regretful

Temptation                                                       attraction

Beehives                                                            honeycomb

Solitary                                                              lonely

Gust                                                                    burst

Cracking                                                            excellent

Trotting                                                             jogging

Sniffing                                                              inhale

Parasol                                                               sunshade

Haunch                                                              thigh

Meek                                                                   humble

NCERT Solutions

Exercises (NCERT Page 57)

Answer the following questions.

  1. Where did the lady find the bear cub? How did she bring it up?

Ans. The lady found the bear in the forest in a half dead state because of hunger. The lady brought him up with love and affection as her pet.

  1. The bear grew up but “he was a most amiable bear”. Give three examples to prove this.

Ans. The bear was a very friendly bear.

(i) He was so big and strong that he could have easily slain a cow. But, he did not desire to do so.

(ii) He looked in a friendly manner at the cattle grazing on the fields.

(iii) He would play with dogs and children, alike. Sometimes they would sleep peacefully near his paws.

  1. What did the bear eat? There were two things he was not allowed to do. What were they?

Ans. The bear ate the same food as the dogs ate and usually from the same plate as them. He ate bread, porridge, potato, cabbage and turnip.

He specially relished apples. He was not allowed to climb up the trees and roam around freely on Sundays.

  1. When was the bear tied up with a chain? Why?

Ans. The bear was tied up with a chain when in the process of climbing the tree he was hurt by the bees in the bee hive. As a punishment, the bear was kept in chains for 2 days.

  1. What happened one Sunday when the lady was going to her sister’s house? What did the lady do? What was the bear’s reaction?

Ans. One Sunday when the lady was going to her sister’s house and was half way through the forest, she saw the bear rushing towards her in full speed.

The lady was furious on seeing the bear as she thought that the bear had disobeyed her. She, therefore, scolded the bear and asked him to go back home.

She also hit him with her umbrella. The bear stayed there for a few minutes, but then he went back the same way he came.

  1. Why was the bear looking sorry for himself in the evening? Why did the cook get angry with her mistress?

Ans. The bear looked sorry for himself because he had been waiting the entire day for the return of his mistress. However, when his mistress returned she did not have any love, but anger in her eyes.

The cook got angry with the mistress because the cook thought that the mistress was unduly scolding the bear.

Discuss the following topics in groups.

  1. Most people keep dogs and cats as pets. Can you think of some unusual pets that people keep?

Ans. Some people love to keep tortoise as pets. We have seen fish being kept in aquariums as pets. Certain others keep rats as their pets.

  1. The second bear did not attack the lady one because he was afraid of her. Do you agree?

Ans. The bears are vegetarians, if given a chance. It is possible that the second bear did not intend to harm the lady.

Despite being badly hit by the lady, the second bear waited for some time, opened his big mouth so as to say something and then went the same old way, from where he had come.

Questions and Answers

Very Short Questions and Answers

  1. What was against the law of nature?

Ans. Bears climbing trees was against the law of nature.

  1. Why could the bear not resist the temptation to climb the trees?

Ans. The bear was badly tempted to eat apples from the apple orchard. In his desire to have apples the bear was unable to resist the temptation to climb the trees.

  1. When does a bear get ill-tempered?

Ans. A bear, like a dog, gets ill-tempered when kept in chains for a long time.

  1. Where did the lady’s sister live?

Ans. The mistress’s sister lived in a solitary house on the other side of the mountain-lake. It was an hour’s walk from the dense forest.

  1. Whom all was the bear friendly with?

Ans. The bear was friendly with the dogs and horses that lived in his mistress’s house. He also loved to play with the children and amicably looked at the cattle grazing in the fields.

Short Answer Type Questions

  1. Why was the bear put on chain on Sundays?

Ans. The bear was put on chain on Sundays for his own good. It was not good for him to wander in the forest.

It was difficult for his mistress to take him to her sister’s house, whom she visited every

  1. Whom is this pet bear constantly compared to?

Ans. This pet bear is constantly compared to a dog. He ate the same food as the dogs ate.

He resigned himself to the orders of his mistress, like a good dog usually does. On being chained for a long time, like a dog, the bear gets ill-tempered.

  1. What reward did the bear get on being good in the absence of his mistress?

Ans. The bear had now got used to being a chained on Sundays. So, he accepted it without any protest.

His mistress tapped on his head and promised him an apple as a reward if on her return she found him to have behaved well.

Long Questions and Answers

  1. Was the lady mistaken in identifying the bear she met in the forest?

Ans. From the story, it appears that the lady was mistaken in identifying the bear she met in the forest. She, herself, as always had chained her pet bear.

The bear the lady met in the forest looked at the lady with cunning eyes. The mistress’s pet bear looked at everyone in an amicable way.

Also, the lady got furious because she thought that her pet bear had lost his new collar. In reality, the lady was mistaken in understanding that this was not her pet bear.

  1. Why did the old cook defend the bear?

Ans. On hearing her mistress shout at the bear, the old cook becomes angry with the mistress and comes to the bear’s rescue.

Also, she knew that the bear had not moved from his place the entire day and had behaved really well in his mistress’s absence.

The bear had been longing to play with her mistress and therefore, he kept looking toward the gate for his mistress to return.