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Classic Myths

Page: 12

THE GREAT BEAR IN THE SKY

In a moment a thought seemed to come to him, and springing up, he ran to his mother's chair on the porch and said: "Mother, is there any story about the Great Bear? How did it get up there among the stars? Is the North Star the Bear's eye? Does his nose always point to the North Star, the same as the two pointers in the Big Dipper?"

"Now, my boy, you will be surprised again when I tell you that there are two bears in the sky, the Great Bear and the Little Bear. The wonderful North Star is in the tip of the tail of the Little Bear."

"Now, I know there is a story about them, just as there was about those three beautiful ones you showed me in Orion's belt. You told me about Orion, now you will tell me about the two bears, won't you?"

"It is a sad story, Ralph, and you know you don't like sad stories. But I will tell it to you, and sometime, in the years to come, you may read it in a language that is as old as the story.

"Near a beautiful city on the other side of the world was a large forest. The trees in this forest were very tall, and their branches so thick that they made a roof over the ground below. One could wander for miles and miles in the shade of this forest and never find a house, or any living creatures but the birds and wild animals.

"Once on a time some hunters came back, after having been gone many days, and said that away in the heart of the forest they had had a glimpse of a beautiful snow-white bear. Not one of them had been able to get a shot at it with his arrows, and some thought it was only a dream. The story spread throughout the city, and all the boys and young hunters were anxious for a chance to win so fine a prize as the snow-white skin. Not for himself, oh, no, for whoever brought it home must hang it in the temple.


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