Walking unarmed across a wooded waste,
Two travelers heard a bear.
One scrambled up a tree with frenzied haste;
The other could but stare,
Too old and plump to climb; then, with no sound,
Lay flat against a boulder, face to ground.
The bear came shuffling up, with small dark eyes,
Enormous, black and dread.
He sniffed the man; but, since he did not rise,
Decided he was dead,
And shambled off, because his kind would ear
No chance-found flesh, but only new-killed meat.
Out of the tree the climber, losing fear,
Now hurried to descend.
“Well, what did Bruin whisper in your ear?”
He mockingly asked his friend…
“This only: never trust the word or dee
Of one who, tested, leaves you in your need.”