Friendship of the Bear

Dr Ali Keyhani

 In the city of Tabriz , in the north west of Iran , an old man lived with his dancing bear. After sunset, in the city main square, the old man played his drum as his bear danced to the tune. When the people poured out of the mosque after the evening prayer, they gathered around the old man watching the bear dance. For every dance the bear performed, the old man gave a cup of honey to the bear. The bear ate the honey and the crowd roared with laughter. The people threw coins toward the bear. The bear picked up the coins and took them to the old man. The crowd chanted for more dance. Then the old man played a marching tune. The bear put his paws forward one at a time, pulled back his head, and moved to the beats of the drum. Again coins were thrown and the bear collected the coins, taking them to the old man, and waiting for another cup of honey. Every one knew the old man and the bear and families came every night to watch the same show and laughed at dancing of the bear as they did the night before.

 One hot summer day, the old man was resting under a tree. Soon he fell asleep and the bear stood guard over his master. A fly came and sat on the bear nose. He swiped his paw at the fly. It flew, returned, and sat on his cheek. He swiped again. The fly jumped in the air and sat on the bear forehead. The bear moved in slow motion to get the fly off his face. The fly flew and sat on his master forehead. The bear went over and swiped at it again. It flew and sat on his master cheek. The bear swiped at it again. The fly flew a short hop and landed on the master forehead again. This went on over half an hour. The bear became highly agitated. He stopped swiping at the fly and stared at it for a few minutes. Then he went over circled his master and looked around. The bear gaze became fixed on a large boulder. He went over, picked up the huge boulder, huffing and puffing came over his master waiting for the fly to land. The fly landed again on his master forehead. The bear aimed the boulder straight for the fly. When the people buried the old man, they wrote on his grave the story of friendship of the bear.