Let’s go cubs!
Later that day, Nanuq junior and Olga played with Helga. The mother bear and her new mate played with their cub, loving her from nose to paws. Helga wriggled with pleasure as Nanuq tickled the toes of her right hind paw. Olga watched her mate and cub playing together, Nanuq Junior stroking Helga’s belly and tickling her paws. Nanuq ran his paws all over Helga, the cub wriggling frantically, making sure she got a good massage from nose to tail. Olga watched contentedly, still amazed, despite Nanuq Junior’s record, that a male polar bear could be so gentle with her cub.
“I love you Helga,” Nanuq said softly, Helga reaching up with her forepaws to touch her adopted sire’s nose.
“Go on, curl up with her,” Olga suggested. Nanuq Junior lay down and gathered Helga to him, curling round her to keep her warm. Helga snuggled up to the male polar bear, loving his warmth.
“This is lovely! Hold me tight Nanuq, please,” Helga begged. Nanuq held her in his huge warm paws, the little cub working her paws into his fur.
“My paws are freezing!” She complained. Nanuq Junior kissed Helga’s nose and the cub settled down finally. Olga watched this, greatly moved by the male polar bear’s affection for her cub.
“I could never find another bear like you dear sweet Nanuq,” she thought, “even if I looked for a thousand lifetimes. I love you, I love you so much!”
“I love you Nanuq,” Helga said softly, burying her face in the large polar bear’s neck.
“I love you too Helga sweet cub,” the polar bear replied. Olga lay down behind but hard up to Nanuq junior, working her paws into the fur on his shoulder and resting her chin on her warmed forepaws in order to watch her cub cradled in the ice bear’s paws. The polar bear turned his head slightly, so he had one eye on his cub and the other on his mate.
“I’m a portable heating system now I see,” the polar bear said softly, his eyes smiling at the two brown bears.
“I feel I might burst with the love I feel for you dear Nanuq,” Olga said, “it’s as intense as the need to tell you of my cub’s birth in the den, but now, now, I want to kiss your nose and paws.” Nanuq junior looked down at the cub nestled between his chin and forepaws. Helga was sound asleep.
“Our cub’s asleep,” he said softly, “She needs her sleep Olga.” Olga looked down at Helga sleeping peacefully.
“I would give anything to be wrapped up in thick warm fur and held by those paws holding you Helga dear,” she thought. Olga suddenly felt paws round her, they were enormous! Olga felt herself being turned round, then embraced in warm fur, such warm fur, and the paws, beautifully soft paws they were! Olga found herself cuddling up to the massive creature that’d enveloped her in its embrace.
“I want more, I must have more!” Olga thought frantically, “my paws are cold; my body’s aching with the cold!” Olga’s nostrils were full of a scent, a scent which made her want to cry.
“Mama?” Olga asked faintly, “Dear mama?” The presence holding her in its paws kissed her on her nose. Olga’s eyes filled with tears.
“You died when I was a cub mama,” Olga said softly, “I saw your body, the hunters got you, and I saw you, saw you dead!”
“Only my earthly body died dear cub,” Olga’s mother’s voice said, “my spirit lives on in another bear, she is not me, but she cares for all creatures. This bear does not distinguish between species of bears or between any species at all when giving her love. She wanted to hug you, she felt the need to hug you, and so she’s doing what she wants. She is a young bear, a large young bear with gentle paws and disposition. I will only speak through her once, then if you want comfort, please go to her, you will know who she is.” Olga buried her face in thick warm brown fur.
“I need this hug; I need it like I needed my mama’s milk, please!” Olga begged silently. The paws embracing her tightened their hold on her.
“I will go now,” Olga’s mother’s spirit said, “but remember these paws, remember this bear, for she knows you from nose to tail, just like I know you.” Olga breathed deeply, melting into the huge embrace of this enormous bearlike creature.
“I never want this to end,” Olga thought. The paws released her, and Olga was back lying beside Nanuq junior, tears rolling down her face.
“Did, did you see who hugged me?” Olga sniffed.
“I saw something,” Nanuq said, “but it was almost out of my sight, and if I looked straight at the thing, I couldn’t see it. You were here all along Olga dear, you fell asleep.”
“No Nanuq, no, I wasn’t asleep, I wasn’t!” Olga replied, “I, I felt, felt, paws, big paws, lovely paws, my mama’s paws, but they weren’t mama’s paws, not quite mama’s paws. I felt cold and in need of a hug, and something, someone hugged me.”
“I saw something,” Nanuq replied, “but as I said, if I looked at the thing directly, it wasn’t there.”
“I felt paws, I felt paws!” Olga sobbed, “I smelt scent, my mama’s scent, but not quite my mama’s scent. Someone, something was comforting me. A voice said if I needed comfort, to go to a bear that was young but had soft paws and a gentle disposition. The voice did not give this bear’s name, or what she looked like, apart from the fact she is large.”
“”large female bear could be any of around seven bears here,” Nanuq said, “Allie, Brunetta, even younger Arki.”
“The fur was
brown, not white,” Olga said, “I remember that much. It was all a blur of sensations Nanuq, I felt
warmth, real warmth, like when you’re in the den with your mum, and you have no
cares in the world. It was a big warmth,
all enveloping from my nose to my toes.
I don’t know who this bear is who will give me comfort though, and I
don’t want to be imposing on bears who might not understand. I was told I would know this bear, for she
knows me, knows me from nose to tail. I
got rubbed down by
“What?” Helga asked, having woken and overheard most of the conversation.
Olga said, tears almost choking her, “it said, said, said that, that, this bear
did not distinguish between species. It
possible,” Theo said, padding into the den, “I had a hug from
“But, but, she’s, her kind, well, they’ve eaten my kind,” Olga whimpered.
you might need some help following your paws,” Theo mewed, “Olga, follow your
paws and they will guide you. If you feel deep in your heart that you want to
“Only getting ripped into shreds by an angry grizzly bear when I tell her some voice has told me to come to her when I want a hug,” Olga replied, “it’s ridiculous! Just imagine this, Kamchatka’s in her kitchen, and I go up to her and say, “oh by the way Kamchatka, can I have a hug, some spirit has told me to follow my paws and they will guide me to the one who will comfort me, and I think that one is you.” She’ll use her knife on me for sure! No Theo, I’m not going to her, nice bear though she seems to be.”
“You’ll learn in time,” the white lion said. Olga was sceptical, but couldn’t deny the intensity of her dream, if it had been a dream.
Later that day, Olga, disturbed by her morning’s experience, sort out Rowena for a private chat. Outlining everything to her, Olga felt rather silly.
“This probably all sounds like rubbish to you Rowena,” she said.
Rowena mewed, “it doesn’t sound like rubbish at all. Maybe you do need to talk to
“The bear, if it was a bear, was pretty quick on her paws to be in and out in five minutes, but my time with her seemed like hours!”
“Time slowed down for you,” Rowena mewed, “it happens when you find someone who cares for you like this bear does.”
“So she, it was a bear?” Olga asked. Rowena nodded.
“You have mentioned her name more than once today,” Rowena mewed, “she’s a bear who would usually instil fear into any brown bear, but this particular bear, well; she makes life sweeter for many.” Olga looked confused.
me you needed a hug,”
please,” Olga said faintly.
“I like that,”
Olga said, “thank you
guides all our paws,”
“I know your
“My mum died when
I was young,”
that’s horrible!” She exclaimed, “I
don’t like this story
“I went over
to my mum, and she was still breathing.
They wounded her but did not kill her outright. She told me,”
“I found her on the track,” the huge grizzly bear sobbed, “she, she had fought so hard! I could see that in her broken claws and the blood, so much blood. If she’d lain still, she would have lived longer, but she fought to get to me, as she said she would, and, and bled to death from her wounds. I, I won’t describe what I found, for, for it was too horrendous! All I will say is that the trail of blood was thick right back to where I’d left my mum.”
“I’m so sorry,”
Olga said softly.
Olga, thank you dear cub,” Kamchatka said instinctively, Olga gulping hard at
“Your mum was a
gentle bear,” Olga said firmly, “I know she was because you are gentle, you
“You aren’t my
“I cannot be
honest without saying I hesitated,” Olga
replied shame faced, “I thought, thought you would do things to me because,
because I would have come to you and said I’d been sent by a spirit. I thought you wouldn’t believe me, that,
that, you’d use your knife to do harm to me.”
“I must, must
“I can’t say sorry enough,” Olga said softly, please, Please Kamchatka, let me take your paw, let me show you, show you that I trust you!”
“I came to you
vulnerable then,” Olga said lamely, “in my waking hours I suspect, in my
sleeping ones I don’t, I’m an innocent cub again.
“I don’t want
you to leave,”
“I will, I
will!” Olga promised, the scent filling
her nostrils and making her tearful, “I will follow my paws mama, I
promise!” Olga buried her head in
“Let me bury
my face and paws in your fur
“I feel safe
here,” Olga said softly.
“I love you
Rowena watched everything, not interfering, just
watching. She knew of the brown bear’s
doubt, and was glad she’d been strong enough to same it to
“Rowena, Where’s my mum?” Helga asked an hour later, crawling into the lie up. Rowena hugged the brown bear cub tenderly.
“She’s safe, where’s your sire dear one?” Rowena asked.
“Nanuq went to
see his own sire,” Helga replied, “and I’m now hungry, so I came in search of
my mum. Rowena took a deep breath,
trying to form her next words. How could
she tell this cub of Olga and
“You stay here, I’ll find out if your mum is here,” Rowena mewed, settling the cub down, Helga’s eyes telling the lioness she was confused.
“But mum’s over there, I can see her in the paws of that huge grizzly bear,” Helga said, “can’t I go to her myself Rowena?” Rowena shook her head and placed a paw on Helga’s back.
Helga dear,” she mewed. Padding to
“I can’t wake them,” Rowena thought, “Eohippus does not want me to wake them. But there’s a hungry bear cub, and, and she needs food, but she’s not weaned yet.” Rowena padded back to Helga, who looked up at her with expectant eyes.
“Your mum’s unwell,” Rowena mewed.
“I’ll go to her,” Helga said.
“No Helga, not just yet, leave her,” Rowena pleaded. Helga crawled to her mother’s side, Rowena unable to stop her.
“Mum?” Helga asked, gently nuzzling Olga’s chin. Olga woke suddenly, staring at the tiny cub in front of her.
“Helga,” Olga said, “what are you doing here?”
“I was hungry, and Nanuq’s gone to see his sire,” Helga replied, “so I tracked you here by scent. The white lioness said you were ill, are you ill?” Olga shook her head.
“Rowena lied!” Helga yelled, “You laid Rowena!”
“No Helga, she did not lie,” Olga said gently, “I can’t produce milk for you at the moment, not at the moment, for, for, oh, never mind.”
“I’m not able to eat solid food yet mum,” Helga replied, “I’ll die if I don’t get food!”
“I don’t know why I can’t feed you now,” Olga replied, “but I can’t, maybe it is because I’m a cub.” Helga didn’t understand.
“But you’re not a cub!” She protested, “You gave birth to me!”
“Helga,” Rowena mewed, “come, I will feed you.” Helga looked at the lioness.
“You can’t, you haven’t had cubs, and you’ve got no milk for me,” Helga protested, “this is all wrong, all a trick, what’s wrong with mum? She says she’s a cub, but she’s not a cub, and now she won’t feed me! White lioness, what have you done to my mum?” Rowena could not explain what Olga was going through.
“Just come with me,” Rowena mewed, picking the cub up in her mouth. Helga gripped the carpet with all four paws, digging her toes into the pile.
“I’m not going with you, I refuse!” Helga screamed.
“Go, go with her Helga,” Olga said weakly, “I’ll be better soon, but for now, go with Rowena.” Helga reluctantly let go of the carpet and let the lioness take her back to her rug, where she and Helga settled down together.
“Your mum needs time alone,” Rowena mewed, “so I’m looking after you until she’s better.”
“But I’m hungry,” Helga said, “You can’t feed me white lioness.”
“My name’s Rowena,” the lioness said, “and maybe I can feed you, find my milk supply. Helga searched for, and found milk. Drinking busily, she soon forgot she was being fed by a creature she’d never usually meet in her entire life.
Meanwhile, Kamchatka and Olga lay curled up together,
“Can, can I tell
you about the death of my mother?” Olga
“My mum died of
natural causes,” Olga said, “she was a weak bear, but was my mother for all
that. Your tale is so much more tragic
than mine. I buried my mum’s body; you
could not do that
“I try to pay tribute to my mum by being as she was,” she said.
“You do that
“I try Olga, I try,” she said sniffing hard.
Meanwhile, Rowena and Helga lay curled together, the lioness cuddling the brown bear cub. Full of milk and very contented, Helga was fighting to stay awake.
“Your fur is so warm,” Helga yawned expansively, “so warm Rowena, I, I, I want to sleep, must sleep.” Rowena purred gently in Helga’s ear, the bear cub snuggling close to her, settling her head on her forepaws and closing her eyes.
“Sleep well little cub,” Rowena mewed, kissing Helga’s nose.
“I’ve found my
security, my safe place,” Olga said softly.
“I feel so
safe, so warm and safe,” Olga said softly.
“I love your
deep brown eyes and your wrinkled black paw pads,”
“I love having
my paws played with, stroked and kissed,” Olga said softly.
“Mama Bear kissing her cub’s paws,” she said. Olga gulped hard.
“But, but, I’m not your cub, I’m not your cub!” Olga protested, “though, though, I, I, no, I can’t give voice to that wish, it’s not fair, it’s fantasy, it’s wrong, so very wrong!”
“Wrong for you
to want to be hugged by a mama bear who wants to love you like her cub?”
“I can’t ask that, I can’t ask that of you
“It’s wrong,” Olga replied, “if, if anyone should be asking that, it should be you asking me, for you lost your mum in a far more violent and distressing manner. How old were you when you lost your mum?”
“About a year,”
“Seventeen months for me,” Olga said, “so there you go! Now, now I’m the one asking you, and it’s wrong!”
“How did it feel
when I played with your paws?”
really lovely,” Olga replied.
“There dear cub,” she said, “now how do you feel?” Olga smiled:
replied, “though I too have a cub, who I believe wants my attention.”
Olga found Helga asleep in Rowena’s embrace.
“I’m sorry Rowena,” Olga said. Rowena shook her head and motioned with her paw to the brown bear to lie down.
she said softly, “you needed to find
“Oh hello mum,” she said to Olga, “so you’ve decided to become a mama bear once more?” Rowena placed her paw over Helga’s mouth.
“Don’t say that Helga dear,” Rowena mewed, “you have no real idea.” Helga shook her head free of Rowena’s paw.
“You left me to starve!” Helga screamed at her mum.
“No she didn’t,” Rowena mewed, “your mum left you in Nanuq’s care; it was you who did not go to sleep when he asked you to. If you had, you’d still be asleep now, and Olga would be back with you in your den.”
“How do you know I would still be asleep?” Helga challenged.
“I know,” Rowena mewed. Helga, unhappy and frustrated, lashed out at Olga, the cubs paw catching the brown bear across her face.
“I deserve that,” Olga thought miserably, “I have not been good to this cub.” Helga’s eyes burned into her mum’s.
“You mum, left me, left me hungry! Rowena said I should have gone to sleep when I was asked to, but I wasn’t tired, and Nanuq left me too, and now you’re pretending to be a cub, and you’re no cub, you’re no cub, you’re no cub!”
needed to talk to someone,” Olga replied lamely, thinking that
“You would do
well to look to Helga now,” Rowena mewed, “look after your cub Olga, I’ll look
“Talk to me
“I can’t cope,
mama?” The lioness asked, using the
ursine term of respect.
“She was shot Rowena, and, and she tried to
get to me, she struggled down the track!
She died trying to find me Rowena!”
Rowena nodded, kissing
“Pay tribute to
your mama by loving bears like Olga,” Rowena said, “
“I try, try so
dam hard, so hard!”
“Olga wanted to
be a cub again, for a while,” Rowena mewed, “and you let her be that cub
“I remember that
day, so clearly, so clearly,” Kamchatka
replied, “I couldn’t save her Rowena, she fell, and she was injured, and she
told me to run, so I did, and two days later she’d not come to collect me, so I
went back to find her, and, and, there was so much blood, so much death! My mama was only young; I was her first cub,
her only cub.”
“I am grateful
for your words Rowena,” she choked.
Rowena,” she mumbled, “and for that I am very grateful.” Rowena kissed
“I love your
eyes,” Rowena thought.
“I must try
not to think of the manner of my mama’s death,”
“I think you
will be a mama to more cubs soon
“How can I be a mama to more cubs,” she said, “they all have mothers who are alive today?”
“I use mama to
mean respected mama figure, not mother,” Rowena mewed, “Snowy is that mama figure
at the moment, but I fear will not be for much longer. She is getting older, and won’t last long
Swarupa said, padding into the room, her eyes full of sorrow, “I, my sister
Sushanti and the community need your guidance now.” Rowena nodded to
“Go to her
“I need this,”
Swarupa mewed, “oh,
Swarupa’s nose, the tigress burying her head in the grizzly bear’s warm fur.
“Take all you
“We must arrange
“I’ll help carry her body,” the bear said.
that’s not your job,”
“Don’t let me go
Sushanti will need your help too Kamchatka,”
Rowena mewed, “
instruct the badgers to dig a grave for Snowy,”
The next day, the funeral arrangements were complete.
“It is a very sad time for us all,” she said, “but we must decide how we are to present ourselves at the funeral today. The cats will be doing their own thing, but we bears must conduct ourselves well. I suggest no standing at the funeral; every bear must sit on the ground. We are big and powerful for the most part, and sitting down will make us less threatening to look at. Agreed so far?” There were no dissenters, “right,” the grizzly said, “all cubs must attend, I know it will be hard on them, but they must attend the funeral. Births are community events, and so funerals should be too. By all means comfort the cubs, let them cuddle up to you, but they must be at the ceremony.”
“The next thing she’ll be advising us on is how we should grieve for snowy,” Geming spat under his breath to Weici.
“No Geming I
“I didn’t mean you to hear that!” The panda protested.
“You keep your mouth shut!” Arki yelled, her voice like thunder, “I will not have you saying stuff like that!” Geming whimpered an apology and was dumped on the carpet.
“I don’t like
“”I’ll go get her,” said Nanuq junior, padding after the cub and picking her up in his mouth. Returning to the meeting, he gently embraced his cub.
“I’m sorry if
what I did to Geming was seen as harsh,”
ritual washing? What else commander and chief?”
“Shut up!” She snapped.
“Hey, you Russian bitch!” Geming yelled, “We’re not in the
Eohippus sake!” Weici screamed, “Stop
“You will not be told how to grieve for snowy,” she said gruffly, “but I do think we bears need to be clean and well turned out. The cats will be, so why should we not be? I think we should wash our fur and paws before the ceremony. And if anyone has objections, then they can refuse to wash. It’s up to them. As leader of this family I am stating how I would do things, feel free to interrupt, to suggest other ways of doing things. Geming? Have you any ideas on how we should run things for our family group this day?” The male panda looked down at his paws, for he had no ideas of his own.
settles it doesn’t it,”
“I think we should wash our paws,” Arki said, “for our paws are what we use to communicate. If we are going to communicate clean thoughts, then our paws should be clean too.”
“You’re going round the bloody twist Arki!” Geming snapped.
“No I won’t, I bloody won’t!” The panda yelled.
“Get him out of
“Washing of paws
and fur is carried then,”
“The idea of
sitting down during the ceremony was a good one,” Allie replied, “for we bears
are huge, and would dwarf anyone else.”
Later that day, the bears and other woodlanders washed their
fur and paws. Carefully each washed
another, everyone making sure everyone else was clean from noses to paw
pads. The badgers even got in on this,
seeing the sense in
All the community gathered in the wood, the boss having
taken control of cameras and computers for the duration of the ceremony. Tigger and his cubs, both adopted and natural
sat at the fore of the feline group, the ursine family headed by
“We commit snowy to nature,” Honeyfur said solemnly as she undid the cords securing Snowy’s body to the backs of the two bears. Gently, Snowy’s body was placed on the ground, and then the bears lowered it into the grave. This done, they padded noiselessly to their group.
“We be gathered here to remember and celebrate the life of Snowy half tail,” Honeyfur began, “she be a great influence on many of us, indeed, she leader of community in times long past. Snowy be mother, mama and leader, she also be great friend to many. Though difficulties she had, she was good mum to Bianca, Swarupa and Sushanti, and mate to Tigger too. Snowy half tail also mother snow leopard cubs, both of which have gone to Eohippus before this day.”
“Blanche snow leopard would never have been accepted by Eohippus,” Tigger thought angrily.
“Now we take a few minutes to think of Snowy as each of us knew her, as mum, as friend, as mate, however each knew her. Swarupa, who’d held it together until then, suddenly wailed with grief, frightening Helga, who screamed with terror!
“Shh it’s okay,” Olga said gently, cuddling her cub. Helga wriggled frantically, and then pointed with her paw.
“Over there, there’s something in the trees!” She yelled.
“There’s nothing,” Olga said, not looking up from her contemplation of events. Helga balled her paw into a fist and punched her mum on the nose!
“Ouch!” Olga snarled, looking up suddenly, “you
horrid, oh, oh, Oooh! There is something in the trees!”
“What on earth is going on?” Honeyfur demanded.
“There’s a ghost
bear, she’s heading for
“I’ve come for
snowy,” the huge grizzly said, “and also to implore my only cub to do her best
to look after lost cubs.”
“I will mama, I
will,” she said faintly.
“I told you
here!” Honeyfur commanded
“Bury snowy and let’s get back into the house!” Samson snapped, “we can’t’ be doing with all this shit!”
were the ill chosen words of a cub
If you are not
my mama, then, then you must be eohippus,”
“Do I really need
to answer that?” The voice said, “Take
it from me
“What was all
that shit in the wood?” He asked
angrily, “are you some witch
Rowena mewed, “you are too quick to jump to conclusions.
“This better be bloody good!” Samson roared.
“Helga saw my mama’s spirit because her eyes are those of a cub, Olga saw her for the same reasons, now you did not see my mama because you don’t want to see her.”
“Next you’ll be
telling us you had a meeting with Eohippus,” Samson snapped.
“I did, I did Samson!”
“Oh for Eohippus sake!” Samson roared.
“Sammy!” Fleur yelled.
“I can’t help
who communicates with, through, or to me,”
“You’d better keep your head down!” He growled, “What you did to Helga was disgraceful!”
“It wasn’t my
“That was the
spirit of Kamchatka’s mother,” Olga replied, “
“I don’t like
“Don’t say that
Helga love,” Olga said gently, her voice cracking, “
“She is!” Helga replied, “She brings horrid spirits to the wood, and she talks to them, and they kiss her nose and hug her, then it gets worse, then, then, I’m scared, then, it’s horrible all over again, but worse, and worse, and worse!”
“You used to
“I did, before she brought her mama to the wood!” Helga yelled.
Olga replied, “
“Oh,” Helga said faintly, “oh dear.”
“I’ll go, I’m
“I want to
“You are keeping
to your mama’s teachings
“You should be
back with Shuang,”
“I saw your
mama’s spirit,” Kuan-Yin said, “for me it wasn’t shock, for I see many spirit
in daily life. I joined paws with Rowena
lioness you see, and she big spirit lioness.
She keeps my eyes like those of a cub to the spirit world, so I see
“Thank you Kuan-Yin,” she said softly, kissing the panda cub’s nose.
“I come for
Rowena lioness teaches me to have eyes like cub, all curious, all open to many
ideas,” the panda replied.
“Now that what
“I love you
Kuan-Yin,” she said softly. Kuan-Yin giggled cubbishly and kissed
“Hug me, love
me, for I want that,” the panda said.
that!” He yelled, “For I know you give
love with your paws.”
that!” He said dreamily, “My paws are
“Give me those hind paws!” Kuan-Yin commanded,
there?” The brown bear asked.
Olga tackled her cub about her problems with
“No, I’m not
listening to you mum!” Helga whined,
“You lied to me, you said you were a cub, and you aren’t a cub! You play silly
games with me mum, and I won’t stand for it any more! I hate you! You live in a fantasy world where
“She was planning to spring this on us, she’s our enemy mum, and a grizzly bear can’t change sides!” Helga screamed.
“Who have you
been talking to?” Olga asked. Helga did not want to tell her mum of the
nightmarish dreams she’d had, of the brown bear who wagged his paw and warned
her about going with
“Noone,” Helga said, staring at her paws.
“Who have you been talking to?” Olga asked, not believing her cub for one minute.
“I had, had a
dream; a brown bear told me
“Talk to Rowena about this,” Olga said, “we must talk to the lioness!”
“No mum, no, not her!” Helga protested, “She’s one of them, she’s a messenger from the other side!”
“Rowena’s lovely,” Olga protested, “she fed you you ungrateful cub! Now stop being so stupid!” Olga whacked Helga’s paw with hers.
“I don’t like
“Well I hate her, she’s a witch, a witch I tell you mum!” Helga screamed.
“”What have I
done to you Helga dear?”
“You brought that big bear to us, she was going to take you away!” Helga screeched.
“That big bear was my mama Helga; she wanted to talk to me. We joined paws, and I now know she is at peace on the other side. You though dear cub, are not at peace. I can feel this strongly.”
sorcery!” Helga yelled, using words
noone had known her to use before. A
wild look in her eyes, Helga jabbed her paw at
“She’s unwell,” Olga thought, “for Helga doesn’t know these words, let alone latten!”
“I know who’s been getting to you dear cub,” someone said. Helga looked up, straight into the eyes of a huge grizzly bear.
that bear from the wood,” Helga said, “
“You have been sorely used dear cub; a brown bear has used your impressionable mind for his own ends. Come closer dear cub and tell me, tell me what’s troubling you. Helga found herself going to the grizzly, her paws taking her to the massive bear’s side, the bear now lying down.
“I saw a brown
bear, a male brown bear,” the brown bear cub said, “he told me, told me that
“Touch my paw Helga dear,” the huge grizzly said. Helga felt no fear this time, just curiosity.
“Okay,” she said, touching the bear’s massive right forepaw.
“Do you think I am your enemy?” The grizzly asked.
admitted shame faced, “no grizzly mama I think you are a friend. My mum thinks a grizzly is her friend too, is
“Only she can
decide that,” the grizzly replied, “now Helga cub, make your peace with
“How can you be part of her?” Olga asked.
“your mum is
part of you Helga, whatever she teaches you, the love she gives you, how she
hugs you with her paws, is part of her which she gives to you. Now when
“I hope he doesn’t,” she replied, “I felt like you were my enemy, but deep down, I knew you weren’t.”
“I love you
Helga, don’t ever forget that,”
mum, she, she said come to you if I felt lonely after her death
Kamchatka,” Bianca sobbed, “I’m here,
I’m lonely, please, please don’t hurt me!”
“You’re safe here, totally safe,”
“Mum lay down to
sleep, and never woke up!” Bianca
“It’s going to
“Not much of
the spiritual side of the tale,” Bianca replied, sniffing hard, “she just
taught me treat others as you’d like to be treated. Tell me
be answering that, not you
answer,” Rowena said, padding into the room, “for
“Mum’s spirit is with you in every paw print you place on this earth,” she said, “Snowy taught you how to be, she guided your paws before you had the knowledge to guide them yourself, but all paws are guided by Eohippus. So mum is with you, you are with her too.”
“It is said you
saw your mama’s spirit,” Bianca said, “Will I see Snowy’s?”
“I cannot answer such questions,” the grizzly bear replied. Bianca buried her face in the bear’s thick warm fur.
“Hug me tight
“So now what
with your job with the cubs, and midwifery too,” Olga said, “you’ll be
resigning from the kitchen staff
“Boris can take
my place,” she replied. Sushanti looked
“Her pads are
rough and tough,” the tigress thought, “but I know she can be gentle with her
forepaws. Sushanti touched
“Nice bear paws
“I like your paws,” she mewed.
“I like my paws
“Let’s go,” Bianca said heavily, getting to her paws and padding from the room. Sushanti hesitated, torn between staying with the grizzly bear and going with her sister.
“You want to
stay with me for a bit?”
“I’d, well, I’d like that,” she mewed. Kamchatka rolled onto her backside, and then began to play with the toes of her left hind paw with her right fore, holding the hind paw with her left fore.
“You like playing
with your paws don’t you,” Sushanti asked.
“I do, I really
do,” she replied. Sushanti watched as
the toes of
“Now you’re a mama to
not just your own cub, but to Helga, a brown bear cub, and even a panda
cub,” she thought dreamily, the
sensations from playing with her paws soothing her, “this paw play is good
stuff,” Kamchatka thought to herself,
“thank you mama for showing me how to play with my paws.”
“Paws first, fur
second,” she’d said.
“What on earth is going
on?” The grizzly bear demanded. The figure, unsteady on its legs, advanced
towards her, swinging the red stick it held in its hands. More weird sound came from the stick, and
“Go away!” She shouted, her voice filling the room.
“It’s me, only
me!” Orson whimpered.
“Orson!” She yelled, “What the hell are you doing?”
“I found a costume in
here with full helmet and lightsabor,” Orson replied, “it was a costume from
Star wars, darth Vader is the name of the character. He carries a lightsabor with
a red blade; he’s the leader of the empire troops.”
“You bastard!” She moaned, her whole body shaking.
“I used to dress up
when in the circus,” Orson said, “and this was too good an opportunity to
“What the hell’s going on?” Rowena asked, padding into the room. Orson told her.
“Orson,” Rowena said
“How can I be a threat in a silly costume?” Orson asked.
“It was that red thing,
the red thing!”
“Keep that dam
thing away from me!”
“I might be a
“No Orson, leave my paws, leave them!” She snarled. Orson padded away, deflated and upset.
“I was only playing a game!” He whimpered.
“I know that
“Get out of my
“It’s not his
Orson’s idea of a joke or a game is horrible!”
Rowena mewed, “but he doesn’t know. He
thinks you know all this stuff about super heroes, but you don’t
“I thought, thought you were acting
scared,” Orson admitted, “it was only when you ran at me
me?” A voice asked.
“Hello?” She asked, blearily looking towards the door. In front of her stood a polar bear, he was a
“What can I do
“I, ah, um, I’m,
well, I’m lost.” The polar bear said,
“I’m looking for a place to sleep, and, and a lioness, she told me, told me,
well, she said, said you had room, she thought you had room for one more
bear. But if you haven’t, I’ll quite
“Ah, um, my
name?” The male polar bear gabbled, “um,
Conrad, uh, yes.”
“I’ve never known a bear to be so unsure about his own name,” she said. The male polar bear stared at his nervously twitching toes.
unsure of my own name, I’m not!” He
thank you grizzly mama,” Conrad gushed.
term mama again,” she thought, “but used as a term of respect. It’s all contextual I suppose, or is it so
obvious I’ve had a cub?”
“Tell me your
well,” he began, Kamchatka pushing over
a bowl of water, which he drank from thirstily, “thanks,” he said, “well, my tale, um, er, well, not
much to tell. Living in a wood near some
game reserve on the Kamchatka peninsula after swimming from
try and relax,”
“I can’t,” he
said, “How do I know you’re a friendly bear, that once I’m relaxed you won’t
call the rest of your friends and beat me up?”
“Fair one,” she said, “I was once as you are now.”
“How could you
have been a polar bear?” Conrad
“It doesn’t matter,” she said. Conrad looked round the lie up, spotting the screen and keypad.
“You have much
technology here,” he said, “I know this, for I am from a zoo originally. I was released into the icy wastes, and then
found my way back to here, to captivity, well, sort of. I don’t like humans much, but I like the
certainty of a warm place.”
“This place is
owned by a human, though we don’t see him much,” she said. Conrad looked
“What a bear!” He thought.
“You like me I
“Oh, I’m sorry!” He whimpered.
“No need to be sorry,”
“I’m the one
holding you close,”
“I don’t even know her name, and she’s driving me crazy!” The polar bear thought.
“How can I love you if I don’t know your name?” Conrad asked.
“I can’t help
this, I want this!”
“Hold my paws
tightly if you want to,” Conrad said
gently, which Kamchatka did, squeezing Conrad’s fore and hind paws hard,
pressing her pads into his with everything she had.
“What we did
“All we did was hug and hold each other,” Conrad replied, “we didn’t mate.”
“I thought we
both lost total control,”
“We did,” Conrad replied, “but it wasn’t time for mating, we knew that, eohippus knew that too.”
know of Eohippus?”
“I do,” Conrad replied, “she guides your paws, and mine.”
“My paws wanted contract with yours Conrad, and they want it even more now. If I had eight paws rather than four that would not be enough contact!” Conrad grinned.
“I know what you
mean,” he replied, kissing
on the floor, pawing at each other!”
Conrad exclaimed, “Paws everywhere! Look!”
“It was lovely,” the female grizzly bear replied.
lovely?” Conrad asked.
“I couldn’t think of any other words to describe what I felt,” she replied, “if we can recapture that, I will be one happy bear. Maybe a happy mama bears one day too. Conrad grinned:
“When our paws tell us we want a cub, we’ll have a cub,” he said gently, taking her forepaws in his.
“Loves a bear
I’ve only known for an hour and a half wrong?”
“My paws don’t think so, do yours?” She asked.
they don’t,” Conrad replied, “
“I love these paws,” Kamchatka said softly, kissing the pads of all four paws, Conrad sighing contentedly as Kamchatka loved him through kissing and caressing his paws.
“I can’t wait
to hold your paws in mine
forward to it too,”
“I do, I love
it!” He replied.
“I feel the
same feelings Conrad,”
“I could live
here,” Conrad said, “
“You’ll live in
peace with us for sure,”
“What makes you say that?” He asked.
“Just a feeling
enough, enough running, enough hiding, enough shit, all shit, so much shit in
my life, oh
“I will wash
you to welcome you into the life of the ursine family, and into my home,”
“Come on then, let’s go to the bathtub and wash together.”
“I love this
bear so much,” she thought as her paws ran over his face and neck, travelling
down to his body, legs and paws. When
she encountered a paw,
“How, how did you know?” He asked.
“When, when I
sleep,” he said, “I have the most dreadful nightmares, they exhaust me every
night. I wake emotionally shattered and
“What you saw on the ice was terrible,” she said, “the cub you saw killed by its own mother suffered greatly, but the mother was suffering too. She had no milk for her cub, so she killed her own cub to save him from dying a horrible death. She did not want to kill him, but she knew she had no choice.”
“She was my mate, it was my cub!” Conrad sobbed.
“Your mate had no milk for her cub, she could not feed him. She barely gave birth to him. Your cub died in her warm paws, mama polar bear smothering her cub as quickly as she could before he knew anything.”
“The birth of
the cub was horrible, all screaming and beating of paws! She had a horrible time of it,” Conrad
sobbed, “and then, then, seeing she had no milk, she killed her own cub!” I heard everything, all her cries of pain,
the cub’s whimpering cries, and then mama’s grief as she smothered the cub. She emerged from the den and walked away from
me. She, she then jumped into a seal’s
fishing whole and sank out of sight…”
Conrad buried his face in
“Make it stop,
make it stop!” he screamed, “every
night, every time I close my eyes, I’m back on the ice, I can feel the cold
beneath my paws, hear my mate’s screaming cries as she gives birth to the cub,
hear the cub crying out to her for milk and her whimpering with grief as she
realises she’s unable to feed her cub!
The cub’s cries stop then, but, but mama bear, she cries out with
anguish as her cub dies in her paws.
Then, then she’s out, on the ice, walking away, then diving into the
fishing place, then I’m finding her body, silent and stiff. I carry her back to the den and find the cub,
unharmed but lifeless. I see the cub’s
face in my dreams every night! His eyes,
closed, paw tiny but whole expression asking me why? Why did he have to die? I can’t answer that! Every night, every night he asks me this
question, and it tears me to bits. Maybe
if I was brought up in a different way it would not affect me, but I was a coo
cub, I saw what could be done to help weak cubs. I suppose I had a misguided idea that polar
bear cubs survived in the wild to a greater extent than they do. Tiny eyes, tiny paws of a tiny cub!”
“What the hell are you doing to my cub?” Allie snapped, barrelling into the room.
“Oh Eohippus!” Allie
begged, sinking to her knees in her lie up and clasping her forepaws together,
“I nearly did that male bear terrible harm!
My cub made me take a second look, and I now see the same expression in
his eyes as I had in mine when I lost my own cub on the ice! Give me the strength to see that bear needs
to express his grief, that he is lonely without his mate and cub.” Allie had seen everything, so she knew her
outburst was purely motivated by the sight of
“Allie?” A voice asked. Allie looked up, straight into the eyes of the polar bear who’d been hugging her cub.
“I’m sorry,” Allie said, “sorry for shouting, for everything. I didn’t take the time to find out what was going on, even though I’d seen everything. You need my cub for different reasons than mothers to need her. You lost your cub on the ice, and I have lost a cub that way too.” Allie found herself telling Conrad all about the birth and death of her first cub. The story poured from her, she showed him video of her re-enacting the cubbing and everything. Conrad watched everything, then, when it was over, he hugged Allie tightly.
“You ran from the bathroom because you saw in my eyes what I saw in yours just now,” he said. Allie, crying, nodded.
“You are now
how I was then!” She sobbed, “I’m sorry,
so sorry for shouting, for disturbing you and
“It’s Conrad,” the male polar bear replied. Allie threw tear soaked paws around Conrad and hugged him tightly.
“My mate killed
herself after smothering her cub,” Conrad said, “she, she just couldn’t cope
with the realisation she couldn’t feed her cub!
I saw her Allie, I saw her take her own life!” Allie, shocked anew by these words, felt her
own tears dry. This bear needed her,
“You buried your mate and cub,” Allie said, “Conrad, that was merciful, as were your mate’s actions towards her cub. I’m sure the cub felt nothing, knew even less. Mama bear’s labour might have been difficult, but it goes that way sometimes. I’ve had difficult cubbings, but they’ve turned out okay.” Conrad and Allie watched the birth of younger Arki, Conrad’s toes curling as hard as Allie’s had as he watched the video.
“Ouch,” he said, “very much ouch!” Allie nodded and smiled.
“I’ll bet you’ve never got as close to a female bear in labour,” she said. Conrad had to admit he hadn’t. He’d only heard his mate’s labour, seeing nothing.
that you get paws on with mothers in labour,” Conrad said, “
“Which video did you see?” Allie asked. Conrad smiled:
“Your mate’s very talented,” she said.
“My mate?” Conrad asked. Allie grinned.
“She loves you with everything she has,” Allie said. Conrad smiled hugely.
“If I asked her to be my mate, do you think she’d accept?” He asked. The answer came in the form of huge forepaws reaching round and embracing him.
“I will be your mate Conrad, I will, I want
to, I must!”
”I want to be there with you if you have my cubs!” Conrad said impulsively.
“I want you
there too Conrad dear,”
amazing, I want more, so much more!”
“I love you
“I love you too,” she said, amercing herself in his hug, burying her face in his warm fur.
Conrad breathed, “I am safe here, safe and warm.”
“You are safe,” she said, “for noone here will harm you.” Conrad embraced the female grizzly as tightly as he could.
“Playing with each other’s paws again?” Younger Brunetta scoffed, “yuck!”
“Who are you
to tell us what to do?” Conrad
“You are not welcome here!” She snapped at the female brown bear.
wherever I wish to go, for we’re all one big family now, or so I’ve heard
“I happen to think you are a bloody pest!” Conrad snapped.
“Oooh, “bloody pest ay?” Younger Brunetta goaded, “is that the best you can come up with? Loser! Loser! Loser!” Conrad’s control snapped. Leaping to his paws, he flew at the young Brown bear and floored her!
“Listen bitch,” he snarled, “you leave me, my mate and our paws alone! Our lives are for us to live as we wish; paw play is what we do. We are not hurting anyone, least of all us, so things are sweet for us, though not so for you if you carry on with this shit! You keep harassing us; we’ll turn our paws to other things rather than playing! Am I quite understood?”
Younger Brunetta whimpered a reply which the male polar bear obviously didn’t like, for his paw smashed down on her nose. The brown bear screamed with pain. For the male polar bear had whipped her with his toes, a devastating slap which takes speed and aggression to perform.
“No you go, and never darken our door again!” Conrad screamed at younger Brunetta, the brown bear crawling away, for she was too dazed to walk.
“Who is that?” Conrad asked, furious from nose to paw pads.
“The Bain of my
character that,” he said, “well; she won’t be troubling us again.”
“Swift paws you have there,” she said.
“I didn’t want
to hurt her, but she wouldn’t listen to anything else,” Conrad replied.
Brunetta lay in her lie up, whimpering and rubbing her face with her forepaws.
“Dam Kamchatka and her mate!” She whimpered to herself, “they both hate me so much, and I can’t work out why!”
“You got on the wrong side of Conrad I see,” Brunetta said coldly. Her cub spat at her.
“That polar bear’s a menace!” Younger Brunetta yelled.
“No he’s not,” her mother replied, “Conrad’s gentle, but you angered him. You got your paws burnt because you put them where they weren’t wanted. You play with your own paws, but hate seeing others playing with theirs. Brunetta let them both be themselves!” Younger Brunetta couldn’t answer her mother’s arguments. In fury, she got up and walked out of the lie up.
Meanwhile, back in Kamchatka’s lie up, Conrad and
“I love you so
“I love you too
“You like me
touching your paws?”
“I love you
touching my paws!” Conrad said
passionately, “I want more, must have more of this!”
“You didn’t put
up much of a fight,” Conrad panted.
“I had a go,” she replied, “but my heart wasn’t in fighting, though you and I got a lot of paw contact during that game. Conrad smiled, for he could feel how much contact they’d had, all four paws were tingling nicely.
“We mated,” Conrad said, almost disbelieving his own actions.
because it was time to,”
“I will be with
you during the birth of our cub,” Conrad said, “I promise I won’t leave you
“I want you with me,” she replied, “I want you to see a healthy and lively cub born.”
guarantee that,” Conrad said soberly.
that, and so do I,” she replied gently, “I hope our cub will be born healthy
though.” Conrad kissed
“So do I Kamchatka, so do I,” he replied.
Meanwhile, Yi Jie was feeling uncomfortable. She and Liang had mated some time ago, and now it was time for her to give birth to her cub. Panting hard, she paced about her lie up, occasionally sitting down and rocking back and fourth, or rolling on the floor and kicking the air with all four paws. Whimpering and whining, she tried to have the cub alone, but forgot all that when a savage contraction gripped her. Screaming, she gripped her right hind paw in both forepaws and held on tight, squeezing her hind paw as hard as she could.
Owwww! Owwww!” Yi Jie screamed.
Hearing Yi Jie’s scream, Conrad
“Oh wow, how amazing!” He thought, his eyes taking in
“How’re things?” He asked during a lull in contractions. Yi jie looked up at the sound of the voice and screamed with fright, the shock bringing on another contraction. Screaming, Yi Jie gripped the toes of her right hind paw with both forepaws and nearly broke them as she held on tightly.
“Get him out of here, get him out!” Yi Jie yelled.
“But, but,” he said, fighting back tears, “I won’t hurt anyone!”
“I know that Conrad,”
“Scream away if it helps,”
“This is a big cub, a big cub!” Yi jie panted, “Must, must push, got to push, owww! Must push!” Yi jie strained hard, pushing again, and again, and again, rocking back and fourth while squeezing her right hind paw with both forepaws.
“Ouch! Ow, ow, ow ooowww!” Yi jie yelled, rolling from side to side having drawn her hind legs to her and crushed the toes of both her hind paws in her forepaws.
“This is awful!” Yi jie screamed, pushing down hard, holding tightly onto her hind paws with her fore, “The cub’s stuck, it’s stuck!” Yi Jie yelled.
“It’s coming, coming!” The poor sow panda whimpered.
“Let it come, let it come Yi jie, pant my dear, pant and grunt, don’t push. Yi jie panted and grunted, but fought her urge to push, letting her body do its thing. Conrad watched enthralled as he saw the cub’s forepaws and head emerge, Yi jie panting and wriggling, and the toes of her hind paws curled tightly as she struggled to give birth to her cub.
“Now push a little,”
“We need help here!” She shouted, hoping someone would hear her. Conrad, now committed, padded into the lie up and lay down ready to catch the cub in his paws.
“Now Yi jie,”
“You’re beautiful!” He whispered to the tiny creature.
“Who said that?” Yi jie demanded, [panting and sobbing, her whole body aching and sore.
“My friend who just caught your cub,”
“Leave my cub alone! Give her to me!” She yelled.
“Here, here’s your cub, I’m sorry!” Conrad sobbed, leaving the cub on the rug and bolting!
“Conrad wouldn’t hurt your cub,”
Meanwhile, Conrad collapsed in
“I only wanted to help!” He screamed to the four walls, “I wouldn’t hurt the cub; I love cubs, especially bear cubs! Believe me Eohippus, please, please believe me!” Conrad eventually cried himself to sleep.
“Conrad, dear Conrad,” A voice said gently.
“Hmmm? Ay? what?” Conrad asked, waking slightly.
“I’ve come to you,” the voice said.
“Who has come to me?” Conrad asked, “Eohippus?”
“No,” the voice said, “my name’s Jinghua, I’m the panda cub you caught in your paws. My mama forgives you, and she sent me here. Kamchatka gave her a real telling off for screaming at you, and when I told mum how gentle you were with me, and how soft and warm your paws were, mum had to agree. Now I’m here, and you can stroke me and play with my paws!” Conrad sat up and looked at the tiny panda cub.
“Dear Jinghua, dear cub!” Conrad sobbed, hugging the large cub in tender paws. Jinghua kissed Conrad’s nose and forepaws, laughing with pleasure as Conrad hugged her.
“I love you and
“I love you too Jinghua,” he said sincerely.
“Yi Jie said I’d find our cub in here,” Liang said, padding into the room. Conrad looked up from where he’d been examining Jinghua with great interest. He’d heard panda cubs were born with grey fur, but this one already had the classic panda colouration. Conrad knew the cubs born to the community were already well developed due to good food and no predation, hence the more strenuous births due to larger cubs. Conrad had just reached Jinghua’s paws, and was examining her left fore with his right fore when her sire walked in. Conrad looked up at the panda, expecting to see him rigid with fury, but the large boar panda was smiling broadly.
“I wonder who it was who sired Jinghua?” Liang asked. Conrad grinned, relief flooding through him.
“He’s just glad I love his cub,” the
polar bear thought.
“You were wonderful!” She said. Conrad smiled.
“I have my talents,” he replied, “and catching cubs is a new one I found today.” Yi Jie padded in soon after and sat down opposite Conrad, making sure the pads of her hind paws touched his.
“Your paws are still hot from your efforts to give birth to your cub Yi jie,” Conrad said, curling the toes of his right hind paw round those of her left hind and pressing his pads against hers.
“I’m sorry Conrad,” Yi Jie said, the messages the polar bear’s hind paw sent to her own hind paw making her want to cry, “I should have realised, that, that, well, Kamchatka would have a friend that was very like herself in nature. You were fascinated by the birth of my cub because it was a birth, not interested to see what damage you could do to me and my cub.”
“I would never hurt you or your cub,” Conrad said, “were you to go into labour now scream louder and crush my paws ten times harder than you did Kamchatka’s, I would never hurt you or your cub. I’ve seen one dead cub, and mama bear, and, and, “he gulped hard, “and, I, I don’t wish to see another.” I Jie looked into Conrad’s face, the look in his eyes upsetting her so much she covered her face with her paws to hide her own tears.
“my grief is deeper than words could
ever articulate,” Conrad said faintly,
“I think of that mama bear and cub every day and night, they never leave me,
but with Kamchatka’s help, the grief will become less painful, and I will move
on, now, when we have a cub of our own.”
“Love my cub,” Yi jie said, Conrad squeezing the toes he held in his, Yi jie smiling at his pressure.
“I will Yi jie, I will,” Conrad replied, “how can I not when you delivered her right into my paws?” Yi Jie nodded, removing her paws from her face and looking directly at Conrad.
“You haven’t washed your paws since my cub was born,” she said, “I thought you would have,”
“You told him to leave and he left,” Liang said, “Conrad went to his lie up and cried himself to sleep. He’s had no chance to wash his paws yet.
“I’m sorry Conrad, for shouting at you, for being so awful to you,” Yi Jie said, her voice cracking.
“I couldn’t just stand by and watch you suffer,” he said, “I had to help you, and help my mate too. I wouldn’t change a thing. That was a very special time.” Yi Jie grimaced, but then, thinking back, smiled.
“I felt safe knowing someone was catching the cub,” she said, “for I was pushing so hard I thought the birth would be so explosive the cub might be injured.”
“No Yi Jie dear,” Conrad said, “you
pushed as hard as you could, but the cub came into the world slowly. Jinghua is a big cub, and you had to push
really hard. The birth was slow, and I
helped by pulling Jinghua into the world while you pushed. At one point you strained hard, Jinghua’s
head and forepaws emerged, only to vanish again when you relaxed. So I knew I had to help as
“I know all that,” Yi jie replied, “for I saw the video that was why I sent my cub to you. I saw it all; I saw the struggle we both had. Thank you Conrad.” Conrad gently put Jinghua on the rug beside him, and, releasing the toes of Yi Jie’s left hind paw, gathered her to him in his forepaws, hugging her tightly.
“Jinghua’s birth was natural enough,” Yi jie replied, “I used no drugs, no aids other than my own paws and the paws of my birthing attendants. Yes, Jinghua’s broth was a natural one. Assisted yes, but natural.”
“Conrad and I love Jinghua Yi jie,”
“I’m glad of it, gladder than I can tell you,” Yi Jie replied. Meanwhile, Liang, listening to all this, was sitting down, quietly crying into his paws, the emotion of the whole thing overcoming him. Suddenly he leapt to his paws, ran to Conrad, and with Yi jie getting swiftly out of the way taking Jinghua with her, Liang first embraced Kamchatka and then Conrad, the boar panda’s hug urgent and all enveloping.
“Thank you both, thank you, thank you,
thank you!” Liang repeated, obviously
wishing his embrace was as big as that of the bears he was hugging.
“I think Liang’s overwhelmed by it
“That’s so sweet!” Yi Jie laughed. Jinghua, lying on her back as she was, expressed her approval by waving all four paws in the air, Liang noticing all four of Jinghua’s paws had brown soles.
“Thank you for helping my mate
“It was a pleasure, a real pleasure,” they said. Jinghua crawled to Conrad and hugged him tightly.
“I love this polar bear,” Jinghua said.
“I love you
too,” Conrad said softly. Liang looked
“You two have done us pandas a great service,” he said, “Yi Jie and I am very grateful to you both.”
“We’re one big
“I can’t put
into words how I feel about you two,” he said to
“Same here,” she replied, “now, now I know what Conrad did for me and Jinghua, I don’t know what I was thinking when I sent him away.”
“That’s all over now,” Conrad said gently to the sow panda.
Jinghua’s got brown soles to her paws, just like me!” Liang said.
“One brown soled paw here,” Conrad said, gently stroking the panda’s toes with his.
“Now look at my paws!” Jinghua invited. Conrad released Liang’s right hind paw, and examined the boar panda’s left hind, then his right fore and left fore with gentle care, before transferring his attention to Jinghua.
“Yes,” he said, gently examining Jinghua’s, to him, tiny right hind paw by sight and touch, “you two both have brown soles to all four paws. Your mum though Jinghua, she has black soles to her paws, “I saw them while she gave birth to you.” Jinghua laughed helplessly as Conrad tickled the toes of her right hind paw.
“I love it when you tickle my toes!” She laughed. Conrad blew on Jinghua’s paw pads, the cub screaming with laughter.
“You have big paws for a cub Jinghua,” Yi jie said, “I really had to push to deliver those hind paws!” Jinghua reached with her forepaws for her left hind paw and explored it carefully.
“I suppose it is large,” she said, measuring her forepaw against her hind. Yi Jie nodded and smiled:
“Every straining effort was worth it though,” she said, gazing lovingly at Jinghua.
“I vote we all
get washed,” Conrad said.
“Mum kept your arrival quiet,” she said to Jinghua, who grinned and splashed her older sister in cubbish humour.
“I want you to meet your nephew,” Shuang said to the tiny cub, who stared at her.
“I didn’t know I had such a big family already!” She said, guessing Shuang’s words were family related. Kuan-Yin wandered in, saw the tiny cub and ran to her, rolling her over in the water and tickling her paw pads, much to Jinghua’s delight. Soon she was getting her own back on Kuan-Yin, the larger panda cub letting the smaller one handle his paws and roll him over without resistance.
“Kuan-Yin looks just like you did when Conrad pushed you onto your back and examined your paws Liang,” Yi Jie said, “did you enjoy being handled by a polar bear or something?”
“I enjoyed it hugely,” Liang replied, “Conrad is so gentle, and I wanted to find out how gentle he was, so I relaxed and let him do what he wanted with me and my paws. He is gentle Yi Jie, so gentle!” Yi jie smiled:
“You looked like a cub in his paws,” she said laughing, “just likes a cub hardly able to wait to have his paws stroked and tickled!” Liang smiled:
“Bet you want that too,” he said, “I’ll bet you anything that if you hadn’t been so suspicious of him, you’d have let him play with your paws during your labour.”
“In hindsight I would yes,” Yi jie replied.
bear’s paws are as soft and gentle as
“I’ll be putting my cub’s life in his paws very soon,” she thought, the idea making her pause.
“Just thinking Conrad dear,” she replied.
“Thinking of the
birth of our cub?” Conrad asked.
were all of our cub’s birth,” she admitted.
Conrad smiled and took
okay,” he said, “I promise you’ll be okay.”
“I love you
Weeks passed, in which Jinghua and Kuan-Yin became very
close friends, and
“Are you sure
you didn’t mate with
“Ooowww!” She moaned, “This is getting violent. Tell you what Conrad, re-enacting cubbings
was never as painful as this!”
the start,” she puffed, “I know, know its going to get worse, arowowowooooowww
ooooowwwwwwwww!” She yelled, rolling
about on the rug, her forepaws gripping her right hind, the toes of her
forepaws showing white with tension.
Rocking back and fourth,
really got to push, push, push push!”
“I want to sit
down and brace my paws now!”
my forepaws,” Conrad suggested, knowing then he’d be able to keep an eye on the
emerging cub. Soon Kamchatka had the
toes of both of Conrad’s forepaws clamped in the toes of her hind paws, Conrad
lying on his chest and bracing his hind paws against the wall while
well,” Conrad said, glancing down to see if things were progressing.
“I’ll have to
help you like I did Yi Jie,” Conrad said gently.
“No Conrad, get, get Arki, she’ll pull the cub! I want you with me!”
“But there’s no
time!” Conrad pleaded.
“Dam you Conrad;
I don’t know why the hell we mated!” She
screamed, cursing the male polar bear in the worst terms she could think
of. Conrad looked at the cub’s face as
“I know Conrad,
I know,” she said, “but I didn’t want it to be like this!” Conrad looked round at the sound of padded
paws entering the room.
me?” The half grown polar bear cub
asked. Kamchatka looked into
“Let Conrad help
“When I count
to three, push down hard Kamchatka,”
again, one, two three!”
“Now for the
hind legs and hind paws,” Conrad said, “one more push
“Get out dam
“What do we do now?” He asked, “The cub’s not breathing!”
“Give the cub to
female bear cub!”
“Let him hold
her for a bit,”
“I want my cub!” She whimpered.
“Your cub is
understand you bitch, you horrid bitch!”
bears eat their own cubs!”
“I won’t, I can’t eat my own cub!” Conrad sobbed, kissing the nose and paws of a very large and lively female bear cub, who giggled cubbishly at his antics.
“He’s kissing my
nose and paws, and it tickles!” The cub
hurt your cub,” a voice said, “
instincts with as much effort as you fought to have the cub Kamchatka,” her mama’s spirit advised, “for Conrad’s
distress at your words is as great as your instinct to protect your cub. He’s already suffered two tragedies in his
life; now you have what he and you both want, believe in him
“I will mama,
yourself with him, be the bear he loves
him mum,” the cub said suddenly.
“What?” She asked, “Please explain.”
at your words is as great as the pain you felt giving birth to me,” the cub
replied, “you hurt him with your words because you know they are untrue. Your words tear Conrad apart with as much
force and pain as my birth caused you to bear and bring to bear.”
they were reaching for me, to destroy me!”
Conrad sobbed. It was only then
“You ran from
“I ran with our
cub, protecting her from a threat to both of us.
“You promised me, promised me you’d not be like this!” He sobbed.
“I don’t mean
to be like this,”
right!” Conrad sobbed, “So when you’ve
beaten me up, possibly killed me in your fit of stupidity, you will come to
your senses when your paws are covered in my blood and say it wasn’t your
intention to do me harm?”
“Don’t say that!” She pleaded.
“But you were about to murder me!” Conrad screamed.
“It wasn’t you,
not you; I was stopping a threat to my cub!”
“I have been
so stupid, so very stupid!”
“Feed me then,”
the cub said, “then it’s time for you to find the bear whose now in more pain
than you ever were while giving birth to me.”
“You know more than you’re saying little one,” she said softly.
“I know my
sire’s very upset,” the cub replied,
“and I know you were going to do him harm, harm that neither me, or you could
forgive yourself for if you’d carried out your crazy wishes. I know my sire loves me and you too, for he
helped me and you when he helped me into the world. I felt his paws holding me while you gave
birth to me, and while you strained hard to deliver me into this world, your
mate, my sire, held onto me with tender paws, pulling gently to help me out
into the world, pulling gently while you pushed, but holding me still when you
caught your breath. I could hear and
“Maybe I need
to watch a video,”
distraught,” Rowena said to
“How do I show
him I mean him and our cub no harm?”
“Go to him and
give him what you hold most precious,” the lioness replied.
“You mean, mean give him my cub?” She asked.
“If you think
that’s what it takes to resolve things,” Rowena replied.
dead meat!” He screamed.
“You promised me you’d never have another cub!” Boris screamed.
“Paws off my cub!” Conrad yelled, picking Boris off his paws like he weighed nothing more than a feather and throwing him down on the floor! Conrad was beyond angry!
“You, leave, my, cub, alone!”” Conrad yelled, slapping Boris about the head with his paw in time with his words. Boris crawled away, whimpering and crying.
“Did you tell
him you’d never have another cub?”
“Of course not!”
“I should kill him for what he did,” Conrad said, “he was about to kill my cub after all.” The cub herself lay whimpering in the corner of the lie up.
forfeited the right to live,”
“You are no community bear,” Conrad said, “Boris; you have forfeited the right to live!” Boris knew attacking his half sister was a stupid jealousy driven act, and realised this male polar bear would give him no quarter.
“I’ll bet the zoo cub can’t kill me!” He goaded. Conrad snorted with disgust, rolled Boris over, placed a huge hind paw on the bear’s chest, took Boris’s head in his forepaws, then, with a jerk, swiftly broke his neck.
“Eohippus, please forgive me for what I have just done,” Conrad whispered fervently. Walking away on heavy paws, Conrad came face to face with Rowena.
“I understand you are the spiritual leader of this community,” Conrad said, “and if what I’ve done this day offends you, I will beg you to let me kiss my cub’s nose and then I will leave and never set paw in here again.” Rowena touched Conrad’s massive paw with her smaller one.
“You defended your cub,” the lioness replied, “Noone is punished for that.”
“I killed my mate’s grown son cub though,” Conrad said softly, “surely that’s wrong?”
seeking to kill sister is very wrong,” Rowena replied, “its Boris who cast the
first stone, you who defended your cub.
“You saved our
“Give me your
paw,” Conrad said gently.
“You are still weak from the birth of our cub,” the bear said, “so you were not strong enough to fight him off.”
little one,” he said, sitting down and picking the cub up in his forepaws and
hugging her to him, “I’m so sorry you were put in danger by my walking away
from you and my mate. I truly didn’t
“You aren’t to blame for this,” she sniffed, “noone but Boris is to blame for this! I didn’t know he was going to react like he did to me giving birth to another cub! Boris is the one who launched the attack on our family, only he is to blame for this. Please Conrad; you must believe in yourself, in the love you have for our cub, for I do now, now, now I’ve seen what I should have seen from the beginning of my labour.” Conrad looked into the cub’s closed eyes, gazing at her face, and then turning her onto her back to look at her paw pads. Gently, he raised the cub to eye level and kissed the pads of all four of her paws, the cub silent but receptive, realising something grave was happening to her.
“I move that we
name this cub right now,” Conrad said, “I think we should name her to reflect
both our, and now our cub’s heritages.
The Russian heritage and the Native American heritage.
“The fusion of two heritages in one name is not unheard of here,” she said, “What do you propose her name to be?”
“I think we should try for a name which gives our cub a guide for the future and states how we feel about her now,” Conrad said.
“So for the guide for the future,” Conrad said, “how should we name our cub as her given name?”
“I think the name Adsila, which is a Native American name meaning blossom should do very well, for I think our cub will grow to be a fine she bear,” Conrad replied.
“You bears do come up with some real
tongue twisters for names,” Rowena said laughing. “Eke, eke, eke something, Adsila I can just
about pronounce, but that first name?
“Try this,” she suggested, “try saying the name Catherine, then Katarina, then Ekaterina. Build it up like that.” The two bears watched as Rowena silently mouthed the names to herself.
“Ecatherine?” Was all she could manage.
“No silly!” The cub laughed, “Ekaterina!”
“Try putting on a Russian accent,”
“I’m an English speaking lioness!” She complained.
“Look,” Ekaterina said, “If I can say my own name, and I’m a cub, surely you can say it too?” Rowena felt like a cub again. She was totally stumped by this one.
“I can’t cop out by calling her Adsila,” Rowena thought, “that would be so school maamish. But I can’t get my tongue around the cub’s first name! Ka, Katie, something like that, oh sod it!” Ekaterina laughed merrily.
“Now I don’t think your name is silly is it?” She asked. Rowena went to the newborn cub and touched noses with her.
“No, I’m not named silly,” the lioness said, trying not to laugh, “my name’s Rowena.”
“Well,” the cub said, “Rowena and Ekaterina sound almost the same. Try saying Ek, then ‘aterina,, then my whole name. Rowena closed her eyes thinking hard.
“I can’t say it!” She whimpered her anger at herself plain to all.
“Aw poor silly Rowena,” Ekaterina said. Kamchatka wondered if the lioness would take much more of her cub calling her silly, but it was clear Rowena felt very silly indeed.
“I can’t say your cub’s given name!” Rowena mewed, “I just can’t get my tongue around it!”
“Just call me Adsila if you can’t manage the first bit,” Ekaterina suggested. Rowena growled to herself, furious that she could understand all of Eohippus’s teachings, but could not get her tongue around a simple birth name.
“Why are you growling?” Ekaterina asked. Rowena smiled:
“I’m angry at myself,” Rowena said, “I can’t pronounce your name, but I can understand the teachings of a higher power just fine.” Ekaterina crawled to Rowena and hugged her as best she could, the white lioness smiling broadly.
Samson watched the goings on in
“Russian names are such a pest to pronounce!” She sighed.
“Ekaterina isn’t so difficult,” Samson mewed smiling broadly.
“You are such a pest sometimes Sammy!” Rowena said with mock exasperation. Heavy padded paws entering the room made the lions look up. For a few seconds, the tigress entering the room looked like snowy half tail, but then the lion’s vision cleared.
“I thought you were snowy, for a minute,” Rowena said to Bianca. Bianca smiled sadly.
“You’re not the only one to think that lately,” she mewed, “but I’m not identical to snowy.
“Look in a mirror,” Samson advised, “then you might revise that.” Bianca looked into a mirror on the wall, a photo of snowy half tail beside it on the wall.
“I do look like snowy,” the tigress
gasped, “no wonder I’ve been confused with her.” Bianca turned from the mirror, her eyes
meeting Kamchatka’s, who was padding in to the lie up carrying Ekaterina in her
mouth, the newborn bear cub dangling limply from
“Settle down here,” Samson said to
“We all saw the birth of your cub,” Samson said, “and we also saw what happened afterwards too.”
“Boris meant my cub harm,”
“You had to protect your cub,” Samson said, “Conrad; to let your cub die would have been a greater crime than the death of your cub’s attacker while you fought him in defence of your cub. Forget Boris, for he forgot his mama, and hated his half sister.” Conrad breathed deeply, trying to fight back memories of the dead polar bear, the only bear he’d ever killed.
“I never thought I could kill anything!” Conrad said, his eyes telling everyone how close to the edge he was.
“Take your cub in your paws and hug her,”
“I must concentrate on this cub,” Conrad thought. Looking down at the cub in his paws, Conrad examined her from nose to tail, looking at her face, with its black nose, closed eyes and trusting expression, to her fat little body all covered in white fur, to her large paws with their black paw pads and tiny toes ending in sharp little claws.
“I love you Ekaterina,” Conrad said softly, kissing her nose and paws, the cub laughing with delight at his antics.
“”I love you too, but I can’t kiss your nose or paws,” the cub replied, “I’m too small!”
“I’ll lie down, and you can explore me with your paws if you want,” Conrad said. Ekaterina smiled and wriggled free of Conrad’s embrace. Conrad lay down on his side, the cub finding his nose by quite literally bumping into it with hers, the male bear and his cub now nose to nose. Conrad flicked his tongue out and licked his cub’s nose, much to her amusement.
“So we’re nose to nose now,” she said, rolling onto her back so she had both forepaws free to examine as much of Conrad’s head as she could reach. Conrad felt his cub’s paws exploring his nose and mouth, the sensation of her paw touching his nose making him sneeze, much to the cub’s delight.
“That’s so funny!” She laughed. Conrad grinning as a sneezing fit overcame him. Once this was over, Ekaterina felt her way over Conrad’s body, clambering all over him, feeling her way over ears, shoulders, legs, belly and paws, Conrad at one time tossing Ekaterina into the air with his forepaws, before rolling quickly onto his back and catching her in his forepaws, the cub laughing helplessly at this.
“You’re so funny!” She said.
Conrad embraced her tenderly,
“I don’t go a lot on throwing our cub into the air Conrad,” she said.
“She was safe enough,” Conrad said, “but I won’t do it again.”
“Oh dear!” Ekaterina whimpered, “That was so much fun!”
“No it wasn’t!”
“Enough time for me to roll onto my back
and catch her safely,” Conrad replied, “it’s a zoo trick. We polar bears were always throwing each
other into the air and catching each other.
It was fun!”
“I think I’m gonna throw up,” she said.
“I remember we got hold of a blanket once, threw a young cub in it and tossed him in the blanket!” Conrad said suddenly.
“Tossed him in a blanket?”
“Yeah,” Conrad replied, a light in his
eyes, “two strong bears on their hind legs held a blanket between them, and a
smaller bear, usually a half grown cub would get in, or be thrown into the
blanket. We’d then toss him in the
blanket to see how high we could get him to fly without dropping him.”
“Oh, yuck, the thought of being thrown into a blanket and tossed into the air!” She moaned to herself, “ugh, how horrible!”
“You’re not practising any of those
things with our cub!”
“No, no Conrad no!” Two bears, Conrad and Nanuq junior stood either end of a blanket, the corners of which they held in their forepaws, the blanket unfolded between them. The lowest part of the blanket was about six inches off the floor, and nestled in the blanket lay Samson, the lion eager for this cubbish sport.
“Now, with a will, Ready, one, two three! Away!” The two bears chanted, Samson flying up to the ceiling on the “away!” Kamchatka saw him spin in the air, Samson screaming with delight as he flew upwards and then was caught in the blanket on the way down.
“Only here would you see polar bears
tossing a lion in a blanket,”
“That was so amazing!” Samson yelled, falling out of the blanket and collapsing on the floor as his paws could not support him yet. Kamchatka watched with horror as Olga, grinning hugely, got into the blanket, and the tossing started all over again! Olga flew up like a shuttlecock and came down quickly, being caught in the blanket. Screaming with delight, she submitted herself to four more rounds of being tossed before, Conrad, concerned for her safety, called a stop to it.
“I’m going to be sick again!”
“No Olga, no, please,”
Come on, just once,” Olga encouraged.
“No, no no no!”
“I’m not tossing anyone against their
will,” Conrad said, “I did it once and it was not very nice. I refuse to toss
“Can I have a go?” Ekaterina asked.
“No, no, no it’s not okay, it’s not
“We are having a bit of fun,” Conrad
said, “We won’t toss anyone in the blanket who does not want to be tossed. I won’t toss Ekaterina in our blanket.
“Seeing Olga launched into the air by you and Nanuq junior was horrible!” She wailed.
“Olga got into the blanket of her own
free will, as did Samson,” Conrad replied.
“You play your stupid games, but leave me and our cub out of it!” She sobbed.
“I won’t involve our cub in the blanket
games,” Conrad said.
“You learned some bad habits in that
zoo you were born in,”
“If the game is played with the consent of everyone involved, then its fine surely,” Conrad said. Kamchatka buried her face in her paws, for Conrad was right.
“Just don’t involve our cub until she can see what’s what,” she said.
“I won’t endanger our cub,” Conrad
later, Ekaterina’s eyes opened, but
“I’m going to wave my left forepaw in front of your eyes Ekaterina,” Kamchatka said, “Can you see it? Reach out and touch it?” The cub remained still.
“I can’t see your paw mum,” she said. Kamchatka looked into her cub’s eyes, they were clear enough.
“Stop messing about!” She snapped, “Ekaterina, you must be able to see my paw, it’s big enough for Eohippus sake!”
“No mum, I can’t,” the cub replied.
Ekaterina screamed as her body slammed into the wall.
“What’s the matter?” Conrad asked, padding into the room. Kamchatka, too upset to reply, waved her paw at Ekaterina, who was now picking herself up off the floor.
“Mama hit me,” was all the cub
said. Conrad looked down at
“Why hit our cub?” He asked, “What did she do wrong?”
“Blind polar bears have survived in the wild,” Conrad said, “indeed, I knew one. He was good at catching seals and things by ear, scent and touch. If you’re worried about her on that score, there’s no need to be.”
“Why are you so calm about it?”
“Concerned yes,” Conrad replied, “but upset, well, a little, but she will cope, and so will we. It’s just like she never opened her eyes at all really.”
“But she misses so much!”
“We found each other by touch,” was
“My cub’s blind,” she said, “and I so wanted a normal cub!” Conrad looked at his cub, then closed his eyes and reached for her, finding her with his paws, the cub responding to his touch.
“Mum’s paw hurt me,” Ekaterina said, “your paws though, they comfort me Conrad.” Kamchatka squealed with anguish and fled from the lie up, leaving Conrad alone with Ekaterina.
“I did nothing wrong, and mum hit me!” Ekaterina whimpered, Conrad hugging her tenderly.
“Mum doesn’t understand, she is upset about your situation.
“But how can you be so calm?” Ekaterina asked, “Mum said she wanted a normal cub, surely you wanted one too?”
“I don’t worry about you being blind,” Conrad replied, “It’s not a problem for me.”
“I’m glad it’s not a problem,” Ekaterina said. Conrad minutely explored his cub with his paws.
“You can love me with your paws, so why can’t mum?” Ekaterina asked. Conrad embraced her tenderly:
“Your mum loves you as much as I do,” he replied softly, “she’s upset, and she wishes she had never struck you with her paw.”
“I’m sorry for lashing out at you,” she thought miserably, “Ekaterina, I lost my temper, and I shouldn’t have lost it. I am sorry!” Kamchatka closed her eyes, trying desperately to sense the world through her remaining senses of touch, hearing and smell. Padding forward, she could hear she was passing Conrad, and reaching out with her left forepaw, she touched his left hind.
“Conrad, Ekaterina, I’m sorry, so
“Love me with your paws mama,” Ekaterina
“Come to me Ekaterina, please,”
“I love you Ekaterina,”
“You hit me mama,” Ekaterina sobbed, “I
did no wrong to you.”
“I should not have hit you Ekaterina
“I’m a healthy cub, I’m a normal
cub!” Ekaterina whimpered, “I just can’t
see, that’s all that’s wrong with me! I
need love like any other cub!”
I’m sorry for that too,”
“Give me a hug mum, please!” Ekaterina begged. Kamchatka embraced her cub tenderly, wondering if she had the right to touch her cub after what she’d said and done.
“Conrad plays with me, so why can’t
you?” Ekaterina asked.
“I don’t know why I can’t play with
“You can be a mama to other cubs, but not to your own?” He asked.
“What have I done?” Ekaterina asked plaintively. Conrad, very upset, gathered her close.
“You’ve done nothing; mum’s not feeling too well at the moment, she’ll be better soon.” Conrad didn’t dare speak his inner thoughts.
“I hope she’ll be better soon.”
“I’m so confused, so upset!”
“Tell me about it,” Rowena said
“There is no problem with your cub,”
Rowena mewed; “her being blind is not a problem, as we live in safety
here. Conrad can help her, as can you if
you put your paws to good work. You
loved your cub before this, so love her now.
She needs you as much as she ever did.
“I can’t cope, I can’t cope!” She wailed to herself.
“You can’t cope with a blind cub?” Someone asked. Kamchatka looked round, straight into the sightless eyes of a large tigress.
“Shock at the realisation your cub is
blind is one thing,” Namrah said, “but for bears and us big cats too, our cubs
are born blind, and so coping with that should not really be a problem. Your cub will grow up using other senses to
discover her environment, to learn about the world. This community already uses its paws to find
out a lot about the world, and sight loss does not affect the paws. Kamchatka, you have lost touch my dear, and
for that I am really sorry.”
“I have done much damage,”
“go to Conrad and Ekaterina and show
them you love them,” Namrah said, “get
paws on with them, for I believe you loved Conrad via the paw the first time
you two met. love kindled by the paw can
be sustained by the paw, that’s what Tigger showed me.” Kamchatka fled from the lie up, tracking her
mate and cub to the great room. finding
them sitting together, Conrad’s paws protectively embracing his cub,
“They look so peaceful,”
“You must hate me Ekaterina,”
“I’m feeling wretched,” she thought, her whole world seeming to
collapse around her. Turning,
“What is it that makes you so sad my
“What’s making me so sad is that my cub
is blind, and I can’t cope with that!”
“is there more?” her mama asked.
“is there more? Course there bloody well is! You know dam well there’s more mama, if you thought that was all I had to say you’d have shut up and left me to cry! There’s more, so much more! I know what I feel is wrong, that Ekaterina is the way she is and nothing’s really changed from a week ago when she hadn’t opened her eyes. Now though, when she’s opened her eyes, she can’t see a dam thing! The worst of it is mama, that I hit her, I hit Ekaterina in anger, accusing her of lies and deception when she was telling the truth. She flew across the room, and, and crashed against the wall, I hit her so hard and she never saw it coming! Most cubs would have dodged my paw, but she couldn’t! the look on her face as she flew across the room, one of total astonishment and fear, that I will never forget! I feel such a lowlife now, why should my cub lie to me now when she’s never lied in the past? I hit her, I hit my own cub for no reason!” that’s why I’m so sad mama, for I know I’ve done her harm, Ekaterina, my only cub! she tests me now, testing my paws, working out if I’m going to harm her. Conrad’s paws though, he plays with her easily. He can handle Ekaterina with gentle paws, play with her paws he does, tickle her toes and blow on her pads until she’s laughing so hard she’s crying. I wish I could laugh along with her, but what I did to her haunts me mama, it tears at me every minute since I struck her with my paw! I struck her with anger and grief for what I’d lost, not for what she’d lost. I was sad for me, not for her as she’s not sad at losing her sight, as she never had it. I took my anger and grief at the hand life has dealt my cub out on Ekaterina herself, and for that I am truly sorry, but I can’t undo the blows I’ve struck. Ekaterina begs me to love her with my paws, but I can’t, for I can’t put away the sense of loss I have when I think of her situation.”
“I’m going where my paws will be put to
better use!” he yelled.
“I’ve ruined everything!”
“I can’t stand this much longer!”
“Only you can make it stop
“I want to use my paws!”
“use them then Kamchatka, use your paws
like your cub does.,” Conrad said
gently, patting the sole pad of his mate’s right hind paw, Kamchatka whimpering
as she felt the messages coming from his paw.
“I love you and our cub Conrad,”
“hey!” she squealed, “Ekaterina, paws off my paws!” Ekaterina clambered over her mum’s body, ignoring her protestations, scrambling to her mum’s head over the grizzly bear’s hind legs, body, to her forepaws, then to her nose, kissing it with gentility.
“Ekaterina, dear Ekaterina, sweet
“mama, hold me mama!” Ekaterina begged, Kamchatka, her eyes still
closed exploring her cub with her forepaws, her hind pedalling the air as if
pedalling her hind paws could speed up the exploration conducted by her
forepaws. Kamchatka brought her hind
paws up, able to touch the large sole pads on both of Ekaterina’s hind paws
with the toes of both her own hind paws.
Ekaterina pressed her pads against her mama’s toes,
“Ekaterina, dear Ekaterina,”
“your eyes are closed mum,” the cub said, “just like mine, but you found me as Conrad said you would.” Kamchatka, breathing deeply, smiled at her cub and kissed her nose.
“I can find my cub with my nose and paws,” she said gently. Ekaterina snuggled into her mum’s hug, the messages from Kamchatka’s paws unmistakable now, her mama loved her with everything she had.
“I’ve found you with my paws!”
“I love you mum,” Ekaterina said, her mum hugged her tightly. Conrad padded into the room, sitting down and watching Kamchatka’s exploration of her cub’s body, her mangled and bloody left forepaw obviously hurting her, but the grizzly bear clearly hardly gave it a thought.
“Let’s clean that paw up,” Conrad said softly, “
“come on then, let’s go clean my paw,”
“I’m sorry,” he said softly, kissing her nose.
“I can’t believe you’re being so gentle with me,” she sniffed, “after all I’ve done to you and our cub!” Conrad kissed Kamchatka’s injured paw, the grizzly bear gulping hard.
“I was so upset that you would not love
our cub as she is,” Conrad replied, “my
paws refused to make contact with yours, but now, now your paws have made
contact with your cub’s, I will come back to you, my paws letting me come to you.”
“I was misguided,”
“I want us both to play with Ekaterina,
you and me, to play with our cub, to tickle her paws together, to show her
we’re one with her, one family.”
“I want it too Conrad, I want that so
“I love that,”
“I love it too,” the cub replied.
“how does having your right hind paw
held by your cub feel
“It feels wonderful, just
“That tickles!” she squealed. Ekaterina and Conrad laughed merrily, the cub kissing her mum’s paw pads.
“let’s wash mum!” Ekaterina suggested. Conrad and Kamchatka were both up for this, so
very shortly, Kamchatka was lying comfortably on her back in the bathtub, her
cub and mate working on her face, body and paws, washing, massaging, rinsing,
patting, exploring and loving her from nose to tail.
“I love this, I love this!” she whispered.
“We love it too mama,” Ekaterina said, kissing her mum’s nose,
Conrad grinning and kissing the toes of
“Agreed,” he said. Kamchatka felt all her stress flow from her in that bathtub, for she could let it all go, everything flowing from her paw pads into the water to be washed away.
“I love the way your sole pads bunch up
when you curl your toes mum,” Ekaterina
“I should teach you how to play with your hind paws really,” she said.
“Conrad’s already taught me how,” Ekaterina replied, “he taught me so that one
day I might be able to show you what progress I’ve made, and maybe play with
your hind paws too. I’ve played with his
hind paws, and they are so cuddly, just like the rest of him. Mum, I believe you had cuddly paws once, and
want them to be cuddly again.”
“I do want to have cuddly paws again Ekaterina,” she choked.
“Your paws want you to let them be
cuddly like they used to be,” the cub
replied, “I can feel that very strongly.”
“Lovely soft paw pads you have
“But it was a family affair, and not pride or community business,” Samson replied, “the bears keep their internal troubles just that these days, as do we lions. We are a community, but only when the collective is threatened, say, a crime committed by a big cat against a bear. That kind of thing. Otherwise, we’re separate families.” Samson looked troubled.
“Kamchatka was biting her own paw fleur, she was harming herself!”
“She was at rock bottom Sammy,” Fleur mewed.
“Yes, but, but now, now she’s not, just look at her now!” Samson said.
“I love you Ekaterina, I love you so much, I’m so sorry dear cub, so sorry I caused you pain.” Ekaterina snuggled up close to her mum, loving her warm paws and soft fur.
Conrad padded into the bathroom, sitting down beside
like to show you a special place,”
“tickle my toes would you?” she asked, “well I can curl my toes, like this!” Conrad laughed as Ekaterina curled her tiny toes, catching his larger ones.
“Now you can’t tickle my toes!” the cub laughed. Conrad gently tugged at his trapped toes, Ekaterina holding on tightly.
“I can make you let go of my toes,” Conrad said grinning at his cub.
“Bet you can’t!” Ekaterina challenged. Conrad, smiling broadly, brought his other forepaw over and stroked the pads of his cub’s right hind paw, Ekaterina releasing her sire’s toes. Ekaterina laughed helplessly as her toes relaxed.
“I loved every minute of that,” the cub said. Conrad kissed the sole of his cub’s right hind paw, Ekaterina sighing with contentment.
to the pool complex,”
“That was amazing!” Ekaterina said, clambering out of the water, her mum and sire following.
both have wrinkled paw pads!” Conrad laughed, “I saw them, I saw them!”
love paw pads,”
“I do, I
do!” he replied.
having my paws touched, played with and kissed,” Ekaterina said, “I can’t get enough of it, I
want more!” Kamchatka and Conrad smiled
“I want to hold your paws properly in mine, but my paws are too small!” Ekaterina said. Helga ran in then, chased by Olga.
cub found her paws she’s a pest!” Olga
mum?” Ekaterina asked, pointing her nose
at Helga. Helga, remembering Ekaterina
couldn’t see her, broke off tickling
“My name’s Helga, I’m Olga’s cub,” the brown bear cub said. Ekaterina felt warm paws holding her own, they felt like cuddly paws, like her sire’s and mama’s. Helga felt Ekaterina’s tiny paws in hers, gentle paws they were, the paws of an innocent cub, a cub who relied on her paws more than most, for they seemed to be asking her questions. Helga closed her eyes, uncomfortable with what she was feeling, but unable to let go of the younger cub’s paws. It was then she realised what she was feeling, the probing but gentle and respectful touch of a blind creature.
“I didn’t know, I’m sorry,” Helga whispered, Ekaterina soothing the older cub’s discomfort.
“My paws are my eyes, I thought yours were too,” Ekaterina said. Helga gulped hard.
“I, I can, I
mean, my eyes work properly, I know yours don’t, so, so you use your paws. I thought, thought I used mine to a great
extent, but not like you use yours. It
was a shock that’s all. I don’t mean to
be reserved, I just wasn’t expecting to feel what I did. I inhabit a different world to you, a world,
where, well, we don’t use our paws as much as we should.” Ekaterina kissed Helga’s nose, breaking the
older cub’s control on her emotions.
Ekaterina shook her forepaws free of Helga’s and tried to embrace the
older and larger cub. Helga felt herself
recoiling, Ekaterina’s paws were too powerful for her.
Helga doesn’t want to be hugged,”
“What did I do?” Ekaterina asked, “I said nothing to her.”
cope with your touch,”
“But I asked nothing!” Ekaterina whimpered, “I just wanted to embrace her, and she ran off crying!”
“let me take your paws,” Olga said. Ekaterina let the brown bear take her paws. Olga started back, dropping the cub’s paws.
“they ask questions of me I don’t want to answer!” she screamed, turning and running away.
you’re asking them too much?”
“If I am, I don’t mean to,” Ekaterina replied. Kamchatka took hold of her cub’s forepaws, feeling their message instantly.
them to use their paws too much,”
“but they ask me to use something I can’t,” Ekaterina replied, “they can use their paws, but they don’t want to. I can’t use my eyes. How is it that you and Conrad respond positively to my paws?”
want to use our paws like you do,”
“You mean they’re scared of my paws?” Ekaterina asked. Kamchatka and Conrad looked at each other, Conrad nodding to his mate.
“But I’m no threat to them, I won’t hurt them with my paws!” Ekaterina said, getting upset.
asking them to be more honest with their paws,”
Conrad said, “me and
“Basically the world you live in frightens most other bears,” Conrad said.
“But you can see Conrad, why doesn’t my world frighten you?”
“Because I have learned to use my paws,” Conrad replied, “I don’t fear using paws like some do. Some say they use their paws, but do they really use them?”
“is it that
they don’t like the idea of me needing to touch more of them than just their
paws to find out about them?” Ekaterina
“Yes,” she said, “they don’t understand it. Helga wants to understand it, wants to let you explore her with your paws, but Olga doesn’t. Helga just needs time, and she’ll let you touch her, Olga might not.”
Meanwhile, Olga and Helga were talking in their lie up.
“Ekaterina’s paws are scary!” Helga whimpered, “they wanted to take me into dark places, places I could not get out of! She’s horrible!”
“have you ever touched Tigger’s or Namrah’s paws?” Petra said padding in, “they feel the same as Ekaterina’s. The thing is, Ekaterina lives in a different world to us. She can’t see a thing so she uses her paws to find out about her world.”
“You sound very comfortable with all this
“I have touched her paws,”
“I’ll bet she’s adopted you as her aunt,” Helga scoffed, “everyone adopts fat old
“That’s disrespectful!” the grown
brown bear snapped, “
“who knows how old she is,” Helga
said, “she’s ageless, or so
“Shut up!” she snapped.
“Are you going to make me?” Helga
challenged. Petra leapt upon the half
grown cub, Helga screaming as
“You bully!” Helga whined.
“Don’t call me fat or old!”
“Ooowww ouch!” she shrieked.
“Lions can slap,” Olga remarked.
“Shut up mum, just shut up!” Helga sobbed.
“now I’m going to talk to my adopted niece,”
“that dam lioness is a bloody flea-bitten, mangy moggie!” Helga yelled.
“Say that again, I’ll break your toes one by one!”
“I told you grizzly bears were our enemies mum!” she yelled.
“You bloody fool!” she snapped, “I’m not your enemy, I just don’t like you insulting my family that’s all!” Helga stared up into the eyes of the massive grizzly bear.
“Where’s your cub mama?” she
“now, where were we?” Olga asked. Helga sat up and looked at her mum:
“I was ranting about Petra, though I don’t know if that’s such a good idea now,” the cub said
“I know I was dead against it at first,” Helga said, “but now, since, since thinking back over what I felt when I closed my eyes, I can see why Ekaterina might want to touch my face, neck, belly, legs paw pads and toes. she can’t experience them any other way. I can see your body, I know what you look like, but Ekaterina doesn’t. we can examine each other’s paw pads and toes by sight, but Ekaterina can’t. We can watch videos, but Ekaterina can’t.”
“Howe are we going to show her what happens during the birth of a cub if she ever watches those?” Olga asked.
“Someone will have to tell her what’s happening, or let her get paws on
with them while they re-enact parts of the video, like
“Well if you want to do it, you can!” Olga snapped, “I’m not.”
“I will then,” Nanuq Junior said, “I don’t mind.”
“You?” Helga asked, “but you’re male!”
“wasn’t it ever the way in theatre that the gender roles were reversed?” the male polar bear asked. Helga laughed.
“I’d love to see you acting out a cubbing!” she whooped.
“if neither of you will, then I’ll show Ekaterina what she’s missing as best I can,” the male polar bear replied, “for it doesn’t take much to hold a hind paw in one’s forepaws and curl your toes while bouncing about a bit. it’s quite a release actually. I’ve done it.”
“Tell me you’re joking!” Olga said. Nanuq Junior shook his head.
“You know how much I love playing with my paws Olga. From time to time I’ll have a bit of paw time, where I play with my paws, stroke the pads of my hind paws, play with my toes, hold my hind paws in my forepaws, push back against my forepaws with my hind paws, roll onto my back and grab my hind paws in my fore. I’ve got video of it somewhere. It’s only a step from that to adding a bit of rolling about, curling my toes a bit and panting. I remember while I was in discomfort with a stomach upset, I began rolling about on the floor holding my hind paws with my fore and straining hard to pass whatever it was making me ill. Of course nothing happened, but I did all that. Okay that’s the closest I’ve got to labour pain, but it was pretty painful. I just imagine that if I want to re-enact a cubbing.”
“have you no inhibitions?” Helga asked her sire.
“Um, there are things I won’t do, but they come under the heading of indecent or illegal acts, not strange behaviours. I will do anything if it appeals. Roll about like a cub, crawl on all fours, let cubs tickle my toes, tickle and play with my own toes, pretend my forepaws are stuck to my hind, all that.” Olga smiled, for she’d seen some of the pretend play Nanuq junior and senior got into. They would get their paws into a right tangle and pretend they were stuck, then it was a battle of imaginations as to who freed themselves first. Lots of curled toes, pad contact, rolling about on the floor and snarling went on during those games, which sometimes could last for an hour or more. Starting with one bear chasing another to get his paws, and once the bear being chased had been caught, the bear doing the catching would find his quarry had surprisingly sticky paw pads, or strong toes with which to catch his paws. once that was done, it was a job to free the two bears, which they took time over, making as much noise and protest as they felt a struggle to free eight paws warranted. Nanuq Junior told Olga and Helga all about his and his sire’s antics, Helga realising to be so open with her paws was okay, to play act was okay too!
“I almost want to try it now,” Helga said, “try acting as if my paws are stuck to each other, I want to roll about on the floor and kick my paws in the air, and, and I want Ekaterina to know all about it too!” Olga stormed off.
“playing these games within a family is one thing, taking them outside the family is another!” she snapped.
“Are we?” Nanuq Junior asked, “we’re the ursine family, all of us. Pandas, brown bears, grizzly and polar bears. Come on Olga,. Try to delight in your cub’s enthusiasm for this.” Olga walked away, Helga looking at her sire.
“I’ve seen those videos,” she said, “I know how paws on you and your sire get, it’s lovely Nanuq, really lovely! The game when you pretended your hind paws were stuck to Nanuq seniors, you two spent hours working the toes of your forepaws into any little gap you could find between your hind paws to free yourselves, toe by toe, inch by inch you freed each paw. There were some hard parts too, freeing your sole pads looked painful, you were working your toes around the sole pads of one set of trapped paws at a time, working the toes of your forepaws into a little gap, then pulling, wiggling your toes, then pulling a bit more, panting and puffing with the effort.”
“That was all imagined effort,” her sire said, “we could do it now, sit down and play that game.” Helga sat down quickly.
“Come on then,” she said, “show me, show me!” Sitting down, Nanuq Junior pressed his hind paws flat against his half grown cub’s, feeling her pads touching his. Their paws were much the same size, so that wasn’t an issue.
“once you’re comfortable, just relax and concentrate on the feel of my
paw pads against yours,” Nanuq Junior
advised. Helga did so, trying to imagine
her hind paws glued to her sire’s.
Ekaterina, Kamchatka and Conrad wandered in then, and were soon
involved, Nanuq telling
“Now because Ekaterina is exploring what’s going on with her paws,” Nanuq Junior said, “we’ll have to take things slowly, so not to hurt her.”
“slow working of toes between stuck paw pads, and gentle tugging to free our paws sounds great,” Helga replied, “we can concentrate on acting trapped too.” So Nanuq and Helga sat opposite each other, the pads and toes of their hind paws pressed together, while Ekaterina explored the scene with her tiny paws.
“I can feel how tightly your paws are pressed together,” Are they stuck together?” the young cub asked.
“You try and free us,” Helga suggested. Ekaterina tried by working the toes of her right forepaw between the sole pads of Helga’s left and Nanuq’s right hind paws. she could not get her toes even close to separating the trapped paws.
“I can’t do it!” she whimpered.
“now we’ll have a go,” Helga said, “Ekaterina, this is only play, but there will be snarling and puffing as we try to free our hind paws, okay?”
“I thought there might be,” the young cub replied, “but okay, I’ll be gentle when exploring, try not to get in your way.”
So the game began, first the two bears tried leaning backwards, pulling their hind paws apart, with much snarling and grunting, of course this didn’t work. Then with Helga attacking her left hind paw with her forepaws and younger Nanuq attacking his right hind with his forepaws, the two bears tried to pull their paws apart toe by toe, inch by snarling, wiggling inch.
“This is hard work!” Helga panted as she worked the toes of her left forepaw down the slight gap between her and her sire’s trapped left and right hind paws. meanwhile, Nanuq Junior was working on the other side of the same paws to his cub, with his own left forepaw. Ekaterina felt the two bears working their toes into little gaps, then when they’d worked a little way, they’d physically try to pull their paws apart, jamming the toes of whichever forepaw was handy into any little gap they’d created. The two bears would then pull gently at their hind paws while wiggling the toes of their forepaws into the widening gap with desperate urgency until their strength ran out, then they’d relax, their forepaws holding their hind paws apart, sweat pouring off them. Sometimes, their paws would slip, and the two bears work would be undone, the paws stuck as firmly as ever. Throughout all this, Ekaterina was paws on with the two older bears, loving every minute of their cubbish paw play and wanting to join in.
“Go on Helga, pull, pull your paw free!”
Ekaterina encouraged, while
“It’s gigantic!” the cub giggled. Helga leant down and kissed the cub’s nose.
“Now we’re going to free our other hind paws,” she said, “that will be a fight just as big as the first one was. now, here goes, wish us luck.” Ekaterina kissed the large sole pad of Helga’s left hind paw and tickled her toes a little, the older cub giggling cubbishly and rapidly revising her views.
“Now do your best you two,”
“We’ll try,” she promised. After more worrying at their trapped hind paws with the toes of their forepaws accompanied by lots of growling and snarling, Ekaterina could feel the sole pads of Nanuq’s left hind, and Helga’s right hind paw coming free, only the toes were still trapped. With a bit more tugging and wriggling, the two bears freed themselves, both ending up on their backs from the final tug at their trapped paws. Ekaterina leapt clear as the two bears fell apart, then was invited to get paws on with both of them, which she did, very paws on, feeling the sweat soaked fur and pads of the two large bears, who Ekaterina could tell had enjoyed every minute of the two hour game. Once the tiny cub had examined the fur and paws of both larger bears, actually clambering over them like they were climbing frames, which Helga and Nanuq junior loved as much as Ekaterina did, Helga lay back, surprised at how gentle Ekaterina was with her paws.
“Your paws are so gentle, so very gentle! Helga laughed merrily. Ekaterina kissed the pads of Helga’s right hind paw, the larger cub giggling with pleasure.
“Kiss all four of my paws if you want,” Helga invited, when what she really meant to say was, “I want you to play with, stroke and kiss my paws!” Ekaterina did as Helga asked, and Helga rolled over onto her side and embraced Ekaterina in her paws.
“I’m sorry I ran away from you,” Helga said softly, “I didn’t know then what I know now. I will help you Ekaterina, I will help you play with your paws, as long as you will help me play with mine.” Ekaterina promised she would help.
Ekaterina clambered all over Helga, feeling her nose, belly, legs and paws, the older cub loving the younger cub’s touch.
“You use all four paws to explore my fur and paws!” Helga exclaimed, “your paws are so gentle!”
“Thank you for letting me explore you from nose to tail,” Ekaterina said. Helga smiled and kissed her nose.
“you can explore my body and paws whenever you want,” Helga replied. Helga explored Ekaterina’s body and paws with her forepaws, then gently took her tiny hind paws in her larger ones. Olga came back somewhere in the midst of all this, but was quickly restrained by Kamchatka, who hustled her out of the room before she could say anything.
“You leave them to it!”
“I don’t like seeing my cub letting your cub clamber all over her like she was some kind of climbing frame!” Olga yelled.
“they are loving each other, cub to cub, learning about each other’s likes, dislikes and tolerances. They are learning respect for each other through play. Helga knows what Ekaterina needs to do to gain a full appreciation of herself as a bear. Ekaterina can’t see Helga, so she has to touch her! Touch her nose, her belly and her toes! Helga gives Ekaterina freedom to touch her, for she knows the cub will respect her dignity. Ekaterina now loves your cub even more than she did a minute ago. Ekaterina uses her paws like you use your eyes. Let her explore Helga, love her, enjoy her company and let Helga enjoy Ekaterina’s company too!” Olga stared at the screen on which she could see Helga tickling Ekaterina’s toes, the younger cub squealing with delighted laughter.
“Helga’s tickling my toes! Stop it Helga!” the young cub yelled, plainly giving Helga her hind paws to tickle.
“Ekaterina hates Helga tickling her toes!” Olga yelled, “I must stop her!”
“Ekaterina’s pretending she hates it, but she’s giving Helga her hind
paws to tickle, watch her! if you don’t
want to get paws on, use your eyes for Eohippus sake Olga!”
“I want you to touch my hind paws with your forepaws,” Helga said, “find all there is to know about them Ekaterina.” Ekaterina explored each of Helga’s hind paws with both her forepaws, feeling the wrinkled skin of the larger cub’s sole pads and toes, and how long her claws were. Helga even curled her toes so Ekaterina could feel how her pads bunched up.
“Thank you for letting me touch you,” Ekaterina said. Helga curled the toes of her right hind paw gently round those of her younger friend’s left fore as they explored them.
“It is a pleasure,” Helga said, and she meant it with everything she had. Helga was becoming hopelessly addicted. Letting another cub play with her paws excited Helga. She loved Ekaterina’s touch.
“Maybe we can play role play games like me and my sire do,” Helga said to Ekaterina, “how good are you at imagining you have a trapped paw?” Ekaterina smiled:
“My sire’s been teaching me those games,” she said, “I’ve freed his paws and he’s freed mine several times now. Helga, have you ever rolled onto your back and held the toes of your hind paws with your forepaws?” Helga released Ekaterina’s toes and turned round to face her.
“I have,” the older cub replied, “did you know that mama bears play with their paws when they are giving birth to their cubs?” Ekaterina shook her head.
“No, do they?” the cub asked, “why?”
“How does playing with your paws make you feel?” Helga asked.
“It soothes me, I love it,” Ekaterina replied, “ah, I get it now! So when mama bears are in pain, they play with their paws to make themselves feel good!”
“They do, but they will also use their paws as something to hold onto during the times when they really have to push against the cubs,” helga replied.
“Like at the end of my birth when mum pushed really hard to deliver my hind paws?” Ekaterina asked. Helga replied that this was indeed true.
“So mama bears squeeze and play with their toes, stroke their pads and grip a hind paw in both forepaws?” Ekaterina asked.
“yes,” Helga replied, “I can show you if you’d like, slowly so you can get paws on and feel what’s going on. Mama bears even curl their toes too, like you felt my toes curling earlier.”
“I suppose bears curl their toes in pain as well as pleasure,” Ekaterina mused.
“They do,” Helga replied, “ask my sire about the time he got food poisoning, he’ll tell you how hard he felt he had to curl his toes. I’ve seen video of his day of struggle against his own body, and it is dreadful viewing, as he’s in pain, but he acts much like a mother bear in labour acts. Rolling about on the floor, grabbing at his hind paws with his fore, clenching his teeth and curling his toes, all that. Forget he’s suffering from food poisoning, and he could be giving birth to a cub, there’s very little difference.”
“What is a video?” Ekaterina asked.
“It’s a recording of past events in sound and pictures,” Helga replied, “we video all births here,
even yours. So
“So you pretend you’re having a cub?” Ekaterina asked. Helga replied this was indeed the case.
“I touch your face, paws and body while you copy what’s going on on the screen, and that’s how I know what’s happening?” Ekaterina asked.
“yes,” Helga replied.
“But that’s intimate stuff,” Ekaterina said.
“not really,” Helga replied, “All
you’re doing is feeling me play with my paws and roll about a bit. the only bit which is really intimate is when
Conrad pulls you free as
This discussion pushed Olga over the edge. Screaming, she ran from the lie up into where Ekaterina was playing with Helga’s right hind paw. Leaping on top of her cub, Olga pulled Helga away, rearing onto her hind legs and lifting Helga high in the air by her left hind paw and shaking her! Helga, upside down, screamed with fear and pawed at the air with her forepaws!
“Put her down!”
“Mum, please, no!” she yelled, Olga snarling and biting even harder! Helga felt her mum’s teeth grind against the bones in her paw, the pain making her shriek and try to pull her paw away, doing more damage! Kamchatka, powerless to do anything, watched as Olga maimed her own cub.
“You’ll break her toes!”
“Now try and re-enact a cubbing!” Olga yelled, “you’ll be in too much pain to do anything! I told you paws off, and I meant it Helga!” Olga screamed, throwing her cub to the floor, helga landing heavily and crawling away crying.
“I hate you Olga, I hate you!” Ekaterina screamed, crying hysterically. Olga looked with disgust at the tiny cub.
“I think you are vile!” she snarled, making a grab for Ekaterina! Kamchatka, sensing danger to her cub, floored Olga and pinned her down!
“You want to try that again?”
“You couldn’t do anything to me,”
Olga challenged, you love me too much for that!” Helga watched, half wishing
“You’re horrible to your own cub, and have murderous intent towards mine! I cannot let that continue, for the sake of both cubs. Helga had her problems with Ekaterina, but she’s overcome them now. You refuse to see sense, and not only that, you are violent towards those who take a different view to yourself! This is unacceptable, and cannot remain the case. If killing you will save my cubs, then kill you I will!” Samson ran in, knowing he could do nothing, but fascinated by this sudden change of situation.
“I can’t let my cub re-enact a cubbing for Ekaterina!” Olga snarled, “it’s wrong to let Ekaterina touch her, for Ekaterina’s not family! She’s got dirty paws!”
“You reject her, you reject me also,”
“She hurt you Helga,”
“Kill her if you feel it’s right,” Helga panted, “I can’t think straight enough to do it myself!”
“Take Ekaterina’s right hind paw in your forepaws and she’ll lead you
“What you did was born of spite, of pure malice and disgusts me!” the grizzly bear growled, If you can do that to your own cub, what could you do to mine or to the cubs of other bears. I cannot let you live here. I cannot trust you to keep your filthy paws off cubs here, so banishment to the wood won’t help. Your death is the only course open to me.
“Get it over with bitch!” Olga
snarled, “before I retaliate!” suddenly
Olga leapt up at
“now you will die!”
“I’m sorry for your mate and cub Olga,”
“I saw it all,” he said, “I don’t
hold your actions against you
“I’m sorry I killed your mate,”
“Olga knew the risks and took them,”
the polar bear replied, “now let’s go on from here, for Helga has lost
nothing, and has gained a mum today, someone who will look after her with
everything she has. I know this, and so
does she. Go tend to your cubs
“Did you think you could get away with this Olga? Did you?” he asked out loud, “you are a fool, a dangerous fool!” Stepping over Olga’s body, Nanuq Junior left the room to find his cub
Finding Helga having her injured hind
paw bathed by Ekaterina, Nanuq Junior sat down beside
“I saw what Olga did to Helga,” Nanuq junior sobbed, “it’s, it’s horrible! Helga and Ekaterina, they, they were only playing Kamchatka, only playing! For Eohippus sake! Why? Why would Olga do that to her cub?” burying his face in the grizzly bear’s shoulder, Nanuq cried bitterly, “I don’t understand, I don’t understand!” the bear sobbed.
“I can’t answer your questions my dear,”
“Loving Helga is what I want to do,” the male polar bear replied, “I want to love her like I have been loved, with all four of my paws, with my hug and touch and play. I know how to play, I love to play, for Helga loves to play too. She’s a beautiful cub whether I see her or not, my paws tell me she’s beautiful, and I want her to remain that way. I want her to help Ekaterina if she wants to help her. I want to see her loving her life, loving her paws, loving her playtime! Paws are for playing with! I have no objections to Helga helping Ekaterina to experience her birth video. My only wish is that Helga does her very best, which I’m sure she will.”
Helga crawled up to Nanuq Junior and wordlessly sat down and lifted her injured left hind paw, the male polar bear cradling it in his larger forepaws and leaning down, kissing the cub’s now bandaged toes.
“My poor cub,” Nanuq junior sobbed, “my poor dear cub!” Helga withdrew her hind paw and Nanuq embraced her in his forepaws, taking her full weight in his forepaws, rolling backwards so he lay on his back, pulling Helga onto his chest, even though she was half grown, hugging her like a mother bear would, wrapping her in his forepaws, Helga gripping his fur with the toes of her three uninjured paws, while touching his belly with the toes of her injured paw.
“You are safe now my cub, totally safe, I promise!” Nanuq junior whispered, the brown bear cub snuggling hard into his thick warm fur. Ekaterina, touching the pads and toes of Nanuq junior’s right hind paw with her tiny forepaws, felt the larger bear’s toes curling with emotion, the pads bunching beneath her own toes.
“he really means it,” she thought, “and that’s lovely.” Ekaterina kissed the bunched pads and curled toes in front of her.
“Peace to you both,” Ekaterina said softly.
Feeling the touch Ekaterina’s kiss on his paw pads and toes, Nanuq Junior looked at the tiny cub.
“Can I hug her?” he asked Kamchatka, who nodded. Helga rolled to one side, allowing Kamchatka to place Ekaterina in Nanuq’s paws, the large male polar bear embracing the tiny cub with gentle loving paws.
“I like this,” Ekaterina said, “this hug is as warm as Conrad’s is.” Conrad, having watched all from his and Kamchatka’s lie up, padded in and sat down beside his mate.
“Is that okay with you?” Kamchatka asked, waving a paw at Nanuq junior.
“I was hugged by that male polar bear as we watched the going’s on from mine and your lie up. We comforted each other Kamchatka. Nanuq Junior is a close friend of mine. He has no malice in him and only wants the best for both his and our cubs.” Nanuq Junior rolled Ekaterina onto her back and was now tickling her paws, much to the young cub’s delight.
“Stop that!” the cub remonstrated, while giving the larger bear her hind paws. Nanuq Junior kissed the pads of all four of Ekaterina’s paws, the cub giggling with pleasure.
“You are as soft as my mama and sire!” she said, kissing Nanuq Junior’s nose.
“I love you little one,” Nanuq Junior whispered. Ekaterina snuggled up to Nanuq Junior, cuddling him as best she could.
“she’s your cub as much as she is ours,” Kamchatka said, “after all, we’re one big family here.” Nanuq Junior gulped hard, tears in his eyes.
“I love you,” he whispered to Ekaterina. Ekaterina buried her face in the larger polar bear’s neck.
“I know,” she whispered, “I know because my paws tell me strongly.” Ekaterina crawled off of Nanuq Junior’s chest, the massive polar bear rolling over onto his side and catching hold of one of her forepaws in both of his, examining it with the toes of one forepaw. Ekaterina laughed as she felt Nanuq Junior’s toes working over her tiny paw pads.
“your paws are lovely!”” the cub said, kissing Nanuq’s toes. Nanuq Junior sighed deeply, loving Ekaterina’s presence.
“My sister and I love you endlessly Nanuq,” Ekaterina said. Nanuq, feeling Helga’s paws enfolding his right hind paw, knew what the tiny cub meant.
“I love you both!” he choked. Conrad and Kamchatka watched Nanuq and the cubs, loving every minute of their interaction.
“I saw Ekaterina’s birth,” Nanuq
said, “I wanted to help Kamchatka, I wanted to hold her paws and stroke them
even if she curled her toes and braced her paws as hard as she could! I wanted to help so much!”
“When you’ve had your fill of hugging our cubs and they’ve hugged you all they want, you can explore my paws,” she said, “I will curl my toes and brace my paws, and you can stroke them.” Nanuq Junior touched the pads of Kamchatka’s right forepaw with his nose, then kissed them.
“I would like that,” he replied. Conrad smiled at Nanuq Junior and crawled over to him. Carefully, he gathered up his two cubs and held them close.
“My paws want to be touched,” Kamchatka said, “my toes want to curl up and be soothed by your paws!” Conrad smiled:
“I want that too, but I will wait my turn,” he said. Kamchatka rolled over, presenting the younger bear with all four of her paws, Nanuq Junior taking hold of her right forepaw, Kamchatka curling her toes as hard as she could, the polar bear working his toes into her pads, Kamchatka concentrating on curling her toes, feeling the polar bear’s love transmitting to her. when her paw had filled up, she relaxed her toes, panting with effort and relief.
“that’s one paw,” she gasped, but there are three more, and, and, owww! My toes are curling up already! Help me Nanuq, help me!” she whimpered. Kamchatka wriggled with discomfort, Nanuq Junior finding himself using all four paws to soothe her, working the toes of all four paws into the pads of her fore and hind paws in an effort to soothe the distressed grizzly bear. Kamchatka relaxed after five minutes of being touched by Nanuq junior’s loving paw pads.
“I love you Nanuq Junior,” Kamchatka said softly, the polar bear smiling broadly.
“how are your paws?” He asked, “are they soothed?” Kamchatka sighed deeply.
“They are,” she replied, “I love the way your paws worked on mine, you are wonderful!” Nanuq Junior grinned:
“My mama and sire should take full credit for that,” he said, “first my mama for introducing me to the delights of playing with paws, and my sire for letting me express myself through my paws. I love my paws Kamchatka, and I love yours too. I would like to feel Conrad’s paws too, for my mind tells me he wants his paws played with too.” Conrad settled the two cubs and crawled over to Nanuq Junior’s hind paws, touching his right hind paw with his right fore.
“My paws want to be played with,” he said, “they are desperate to meet the paws of the bear who loved the cubs they helped form.” Nanuq Junior curled the toes of his right hind paw round Conrad’s toes, the younger bear smiling broadly.
“I love this,” he said, kissing the toes holding his.
“it’s lovely to see this,” Samson said, having watched with distress as Kamchatka killed Olga, then with relief as the bears made their peace.
“I love Kamchatka, Conrad and our cubs,” Nanuq Junior said. Samson smiled with pleasure. He loved watching the bears. Helga looked at Kamchatka.
“Can I hug you?” She asked. Kamchatka drew Helga into a massive bear hug.
“I wondered when you’d ask, though you don’t have to ask,” Kamchatka said kissing Helga’s nose and embracing her tightly.
“I feel so safe here,” Helga said. Kamchatka kissed Helga’s nose and paw pads, gently examining each paw, and even more carefully examining her injured left hind paw, the feel of the bandage around her toes saddening Kamchatka.
“I tried to help,” she said softly, tears wetting the bandage. Helga wriggled until she was face to face with the larger grizzly bear.
“You did all you could,” Helga said softly, “I don’t blame you for any of this. I will be able to help Ekaterina, I want to do that more than ever now. I want to play with my paws while re-enacting a cubbing so Ekaterina can know what’s going on in her birth video.” Kamchatka held Helga close.
“I watched Ekaterina’s birth video, it brought it all back to me, all the pain and effort, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I must say, the sight of myself in labour made me take my right hind paw in my forepaws and play with my toes, I needed to do that.”
“I understand,” Helga replied, “for if I saw myself in labour, I would want to do the same as you. I know the power of my paws.” Kamchatka examined Helga’s paws, the cub had beautiful paws with black paw pads and brownie black claws. When she curled her toes the black pads bunched in the most endearing manner.
“I love the way your pads bunch when you curl your toes,” Kamchatka whispered to Helga, the cub giggling.
“I love it too,” Helga replied, “I caught sight of the soles of my hind paws in an angled mirror, and was amazed at how they looked when my pads bunched up. I know this sounds cubbish, but I couldn’t help curling and relaxing my toes over and over, watching my pads bunch and relax. I even got paws on with my paw pads, and it felt so good to feel my pads bunching and toes curling!” the cub laughed, “it’s probably sounding silly to you.”
“It’s not,” Kamchatka replied, “it sounds like what we should all do from time to time, get paws on with our own bodies. Too many of us ignore our paws, and I think it’s sad. I play with my paws often, and have a reputation for it I believe.” Helga grinned:
“You do,” she replied, kissing Kamchatka’s nose. Kamchatka giggled cubbishly, Helga snuggling closer.
“I watched the way your paw pads bunched as you strained to deliver Ekaterina,” Helga said, “your paws were shaking with the effort of pushing your cub into the world.” Kamchatka nodded.
“it was a struggle,” she replied softly, “I pushed as deeply as I could, right down into my tail, so far down, but sometimes made little progress. Other times though, the cub surged forward, only to be stuck at the final stage, when Conrad had to aid me. I strained, he pulled, and we got Ekaterina out into the world, but it was a close run thing. That last push, ooh, that was difficult, dredging up strength and ignoring horrendous tiredness and the knowledge I was going to cause myself more pain was hard to do. The effort was worse, I gripped the toes of my hind paws with my fore and heaved with everything I had, wriggling to free Ekaterina’s hind paws while Conrad pulled gently. I felt Ekaterina’s paws come free, and there was one final push against nothing. Then it was all over.” Helga held Kamchatka’s left forepaw in both of hers, feeling the grizzly bear’s need to tell her cub’s birth story.
“I love my cubs Helga,” Kamchatka said. Helga grinned:
“I can feel that,” she replied.
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