How Bear Came To bBe a Great Healer

as told by Bearpaw

A long time ago when the Great Spirits created all the creatures of the world they decided to grant special powers to all those that they had created. Wind gave flight to all the birds and insects. Water gave the power to move about in it's domain to the fish and crocodiles and turtles and the crabs and all the other creatures that live under water. As for all the other animals, they each learned their own secrets which are far too numerous to explain here.

Then the plants and stones called out and said "Great Spirits, how come we did not receive any special powers?"

The Great Spirits were very ashamed that they had forgotten them. Finally the Great Water Spirit spoke up, "We have not given anybody the power to heal, and it is a very important power. Honestly, we did not think anybody deserved such great power, but it seems that we have already given you great responsibility in making the environment for everybody else to live in; if you would not mind taking on another responsibility, you can have the power of healing."

And so each and every plant and stone was given a magic healing power and they were happy to keep the greatest secret of life.

One day, Bear was wandering around the woods, and he was very hungry. Bear had been declared one of the great hunters, so all the animals stayed away from him. But Bear only liked to eat fish, so he thought all the other animals were quite foolish to run from him.

However, he was indeed hungry today because he could find no fish. All the fish were either scared and were hiding or had already been picked up by other animals. Bear had tried hunting a few fish earlier in the day, but they had all gotten away except two or three that were not nearly enough to satiate his appetite. Finally bear became saddened and sat down on the ground to rest. A bee came by and sat down on an aster to eat. Bear thought to himself, "I have been able to follow bees to good food in their hives before, maybe this bee knows where there is food." While Bear was thinking, the bee flew away. So Bear decided to eat the aster.

"No Bear please don't eat me!" cried the little flower, "I'll tell you a secret if you promise not to eat me!"

"What kind of secret?" inquired Bear.

"I will tell you the secret of healing."

"And how would a flower like you know that?"

"Don't you know, all flowers have the power to heal. And stones do too." And so the aster gave all it's power to Bear so that he would know how to heal with a touch of his paw or his tongue(although nobody has ever trusted Bear enough to find out if he actually has such power). The aster also told him about the other plants and stones and what their healing powers were.

Then Bear said, "But what will I do for food, I am still hungry but I will not eat any animals but fish and now that I know your secrets, I would not dare eat you or your brethren."

So Aster replied, "I have one more secret for you; some plants can give you food. They are called the fruit-bearers. You will know them because of the fruit that you can eat, and you should not feel bad about it. You see, the fruit-bearers knew that animals would try to feed on them anyway, so they made sweet delicious fruits and berries that they hide their seeds in. That way when the animals try to eat them, they will take the seeds away and they will end up being planted elsewhere, and the animals get food, so everybody wins!"

Bear thanked the aster, and to this day, Bear is still a great healer and still eats only fish, honey, fruits, and berries out of respect to plants and animals(except the fish of course!)

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