Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The bear-lady story

The bear-lady story
(Favourite stories from Singapore)

Once there was a bamboo-cutter who lived with his wife in a small wooden house near the town. As they grew older. The man became bald while his wife began to lose her hearing and her eyesight.
One afternoon the old bamboo-cutter said, “I’m going to town to sell my bamboo.”
“EH?” said the wife. “What did you say?”
The man loudly repeated what he had said and then set off for town. “Yesterday she put salt in my tea,” he said to himself, “and this morning she put sugar in the rice porridge. Still, she says there’s nothing wrong with her eyes! Later, long after her husband had gone, the old woman it happened that an old sun-bear was walking in the woods behind the house. When he smelled the foo, the sun-bear began to feel very hungry. At first he thought the smell came from a pile of rubbish. He pawed through the rubbish, but found of the house and knocked loudly.
“Is that you, husband?” the old woman called out. “Come in and eat. The food is almost cold,” She put a large dish of porridge and some fish and vegetables on the table.
The sun-bear ate all the fish, all the vegetable and all the porridge. Then he went back to his home in the woods, happy that he had met such a kind old woman.
The next morning the bear again passed the house, and again he smelled food. When he knocked on the door, the old woman called, “Come and eat your breakfast before it gets cold,” so the bear ate the food she had cooked.
For the nest three days, the sun-bear ate all his meals in the bamboo-cutter’s home. Then one evening, as he was eating, the bamboo cutter’s wife called out from the kitchen, “There’s a hole in the roof. You’d better repair it before the rains come.”
The bear, which had just swallowed a mouthful of hot rice porridge, made a loud noise.
“Well,” said the woman, “it’s no use sitting there making rude noise, husband. The hole won’t repair itself.”
The bear went on eating quietly.
“you know, you’re beginning to smell, said the woman. “When did you last wash yourself?”
The bear was so hurt by these that he left the food half-eaten and walked off into the woods.
The next morning, the bamboo-cutter arrived home. “The bridge was swept away by a flood and so I had to stay in town,” he said to his wife. “But now I’m home, and I’m very hungry for rice and fish.’
“Fish?” said the woman. “but you’ve been eating fish every day, for the last few days.”
“How could I when I was in town?”
“Well,” said the woman, “Somebody’s been eating.” Just then there was a knock on the door. The bamboo-cutter went on see who it was. There stood the sun-bear! The old man chased the bear away and laughed. “Do you know something?” he said to his wife. “You’ve been feeding that old bear.”
When the old woman heard this, she fainted.

Source: Favourite stories  from Singapore by Irene-Anne Monteiro and Jenny Watson

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