Long, long ago, in the time of the Animals and Great Spirit, there were three brother bears. All three were a rich brown in color and their names were Inuit, Seminole, and Iroquois. But not all of the brothers were pleased with the brown color of their fur.
Inuit for example, hated his brown fur, for he was a very clean bear and the brown color always seemed dirty to him. He longed for a lush coat that was brilliantly white in color. One day as he was walking through his forest home he stopped at a stream to look at his reflection. “Ugh,” he cried, “Why must my fur be brown and dirty looking?” “Great Spirit,” He called out, “Is there a way to change the color of my fur?” And as if his prayer had been answered a strong gust of wind pushed him forward, knocking him off balance, and he fell into the water. Surprised by this clumsiness, Inuit regained his footing in the shallows and started back towards the shore. As he put his paw down on land again, he noticed something. His paw was white, not brown. Scrambling out of the water he turned to look at his reflection once more. Inuit cred out in glee, “My fur is white! Now I will know anytime I am dirty!” He continued to dance around, shouting up thanks to the Great Sprit. This is how the Polar Bear came to be.
Another brother who was not fond of his brown fur was Seminole. Seminole liked to hunt in the long, dark shadows of the forest, and having brown fur just simply didn’t blend in with his surroundings. Seminole thought that a coat of silky, black fur would be better suited to him. That way he could walk around undetected by his prey with no fear of being spotted. But he sadly realized he was probably stuck with his boring brown fur forever, and so he stopped to ponder this saddening thought on the banks of a small pond. “Oh Great Sprit,” he whispered, “Is there any way for me to fit in with the shadows I call home?” Seminole hung his head in defeat. Then, a great gust of wind sent him toppling forward into the water. As he surfaced and swam back toward land he wondered where had the wind come from? Pushing the thought of the mysterious wind to the back of his mind, he began to climb out of the pond. As he looked down to place his paw on the forest floor, he was shocked. His paw was black! Hopping out of the water he turned in circles looking at the rest of his fur, and it was all black too! He shouted up thanks to the Great Sprit and smiled for the rest of the day. This is how the Black Bear came to be.
Now Iroquois was the exception. He loved his brown fur. He enjoyed hunting for salmon and other fish in the river rapids. His brown fur allowed him to stand atop the rocks in the river and blend in perfectly, as the rocks were brown too. One day, after a successful fishing session Iroquois looked up to the sky and said, “Great Spirit, thank you for creating me with brown fur so that I may fish and enjoy life.” When the Great Spirit heard this He was pleased and was happy that Iroquois was happy the way he was created. And today that is why we know the brown bear by two names, the Brown Bear and the Grizzly Bear.
My name is Alyssa Lloid. I have been storytelling for about 5 years. I have told stories at Girl Scout camps in the summer, and also at libraries. (My aunt is a librarian) My Girl Scout Gold Award and Senior Project in high school were both on storytelling, both Native American legends and local legends from the areas I grew up in in Central Louisiana. This story is one I thought up on my own one early summer morning. I hope you enjoy it and happy storytelling.
“The fact of storytelling hints at a fundamental human unease, hints at human imperfection. Where there is perfection there is no story to tell.” – Ben Okri