Time to think and time to play.
“Whose cub is that?” She asked. Olga raised her paw. Roxanne stared at her.
“You’re, well, um, new here?” She asked.
“yes,” Olga replied, “I am new here, well, Alaska found me under a bush, I was in the midst of giving birth to my cub,” Roxanne saw Allie and Arki drying their eyes with their paws, and clearly wanted to ask why they’d been crying.
“What’s wrong?” She asked. Arki smiled:
watched the most amazing video,” Arki said, “
“Mum, would you
show her the video of
wonderful!” She exclaimed, “The way you
“I just want to
“Stop tickling my paws!” Helga laughed, clearly giving Roxanne a paw to tickle. Roxanne kissed Helga’s right hind paw, which the tiny cub had just given her to tickle.
“Heehaw, that feels great!” Helga said, “Will you kiss my other paws too?” Roxanne smiled and did as Helga asked, the cub giggling with delight.
“So playing with my paws, as well as letting others play with them feels good, that’s something to remember!” Helga said. Roxanne smiled as Helga rolled onto her chest, crawled to her and touched the toes of her right forepaw with those of her left fore.
“Can I play with your paws?” She asked. Roxanne smiled and sat down, letting Helga explore her right hind paw, the tiny cub squealing with delight as she found a larger version of her own paw. Exploring Roxanne’s paw, Helga found the larger brown bear’s sole pad and toes, the tiny cub’s gentle exploration of her paw making Roxanne giggle rather like the little cub had. Roxanne smiled hugely as her toes were caught by the older bear’s.
“Your toes are bigger than mine!” Helga exclaimed. Roxanne smiled and curled the toes of her right hind paw gently round those of Helga’s forepaws, the tiny cub laughing merrily.
“Your sole pad is bunching up too!” Helga laughed, “That’s so lovely!”
“Your sole pads
will do the same if you curl your toes dear,” Roxanne said.
“My time with her is nearly over,” she said to her mum.
“I love you both,” she said. Olga smiled broadly.
“How was it giving birth to Helga?” Arki asked Olga.
replied, “I wanted nothing more than to sit up and take a hind paw inn my
forepaws and squeeze my toes as hard as I could, but there was no room! That time when I managed to put weight on the
toes of all four paws and push was great, but I was so unstable I could only do
it once. I really would have liked to
brace the soles of my hind paws against something, really push against
something as I gave birth to Helga, but there was no space. So I just had to push against the ground with
my forepaws and concentrate on the feel of
“I re-enact cubbings for other bears to show them what it’s like, or just for fun,” Olga nodded.
“I’m interested,” she said, “how would you have given birth to your cub?”
that!” Arki warned, “
“And I’m only too willing to watch her if she wants to re-enact the birth of a cub,” Olga replied, “Do you think I would get tired of watching cubs being born?”
“No,” Arki replied.
“I want to show
you how I would give birth to a cub,”
“What do you get
out of it?” Allie asked, “
“I love the challenge of re-enacting having a cub with very little guidance as to how to have the cub. I can improvise, I can challenge myself, it stretches my mind, and the pushing against my own paws strengthens my limbs and gets rid of any stress. I get high on doing a good job Allie.” Allie knew she’d been given a straight answer to a straight question.
“I’ve seen your
performance, and it’s bloody real,” Allie replied, “I can see you enjoy the
“I know your
cubbings haven’t always been trouble free, and for that I’m sorry,” she said,
“but most cubbings go well.” Allie smiled
“Can I touch
your belly?” Allie asked.
“I can feel a
cub in there,” Allie said, “There’s a cub ready to be born I think.”
“I want to have this cub,” she replied, “please, let me have it my way.” Allie smiled:
“Good luck,” she
“I can feel
the urge to give birth to this cub growing,”
”ah, ooowww! The
cub wants to be born!”
“Maybe, maybe playing
with my hind paw will help!”
“Got hold of my
right hind paw now,”
“Are you all
right?” Allie asked.
okay, but, but, it’s getting worse!” She
yelled. Allie and Olga watched intently
“I must, must,
must brace my hind paws against something solid!”
“Can I touch
“After the next
contraction, she can then, can, can touch my left hind paw!”
“Okay, come now
“Thank you Helga,
here, nearly here!”
“Ouch, ouououoch! Ow, ow ooowww! Kamchatka screamed, trying to pull her hind paws free of her fore, using the added effort to distract herself and gave herself more leverage.
“The cub’s head
is now out!”
One more push, just one more push!”
“Thank you,” she
“Don’t do too
many of those Kamchatka,”
though it was,” she said, “I loved every minute of it. I lost myself in my act, talking myself
through my cubbing, just as I had when I gave birth for real. I was on my own then, as now, I worked on the
idea noone was there to help me. I went
with the flow, and my body told me when it was time for the cub to enter the
world. I love my acting work
“I think you are
screwed in the head!” Younger Brunetta
yelled, “How on earth could you re-enact a cubbing? A painful, horrible
experience?” The brown bear ran in, and
“Am I right to do what I do?”
“I love the
thrill of acting out a cubbing,”
“Rowena?” She asked. Rowena smiled:
yourself if you were doing a good job,” she said, “you know you are, and so
does Eohippus. I saw what your
re-enactment did for
“I want to do the best I can,” she said, “I love my job Rowena.”
“I know you
do,” Rowena mewed, “I could see that in every action you performed. Go on, go on and help mothers to be have
“I am doing a
good job; I am doing a good job!” She
told herself, “look at
silly cubbing games then
“Get out of my
lie up!” She screamed. Younger Brunetta stood her ground until
“Catch me if
you can bitch!” Younger Brunetta
“I will murder you you horrid animal!”
“My paw pads
“Maybe it will stop you playing with your toes and stroking your pads then!” Younger Brunetta spat.
“I thought you
liked paw play!”
“I like it, but you are debasing it by playing with your paws while cubbing! If you feel you must re-enact cubbings, just get on with having your cub! Don’t play with your paws!” She screamed.
had a cub have you?”
“Well then you
wouldn’t know what it is like!”
“You are all
soft pawed bears now anyway!” Younger
Brunetta scoffed, “get you in the wood, you’d not last five minutes! You’d have sore paws before you’d walked five
Nanuq junior, having seen everything from the control room, stormed downstairs to deal with his sister.
“Get up,” he commanded, dragging her to her paws, “up, up up!” Younger Brunetta protested mightily, but her brother was angry!
“I want to teach you a lesson!” He snapped, “A lesson about cubbing and how paw play can help ease the pain and make cubbing easier!”
“How do you propose to do that?” Younger Brunetta snapped, “Make me have a cub?”
“No, of course
not!” Nanuq junior snapped, but you
could do worse than ask Olga about the birth of her cub,” Nanuq junior said,
“she’ll tell you. You can even watch the
video of her delivering her cub! You
then try to tell her and
“I just saw
relief?” Her brother asked, “For Eohippus
sake! Sister Brunetta, what the hell are you on about? Of course it’s pain relief! It’s distraction, it’s sensation, it’s
concentration, all that conspires to trick the mind into forgetting a little of
what’s going on inside. Do you think
bears would play with their own paws if it had no effect? Of course not! Wild bears even play with their paws somewhat
while they are cubbing in their dens.
Claw marks in the roof of a den mean the mother rolled on her back
pressing her paws into as well as digging her claws into the roof for support
during her labour, so don’t try to tell me wild bears don’t play with their
paws in some way or other! Olga is wild,
“I can’t ask such personal questions!” Younger Brunetta whined.
“Why not?” Her brother asked.
“Because, well, because
I hit Kamchatka across her face and she won’t talk to me now, and Olga, well,
she’s paw in paw with Kamchatka as it was Kamchatka who gave
said, padding into the passage, “wild bears do brace their paws against the
rooves of their dens during their confinement.
I know this, for I’ve done it.
Helga isn’t my first cub, I had one other cub a year or so back, and now
he’s gone on his way. I can tell you
that during his birth I was denned up properly, and I did indeed roll onto my
back during labour so I could brace my paws against the roof for support during
the worst contractions. I curled my toes
into the earthen ceiling, and also pushed with the soles of my paws as hard as
I could during the worst of my pain. Pushing
with my paws against the roof of my den was a great relief giver, as was
clawing at the roof of the den as a contraction spent itself. I left deep claw and pad marks in the roof
and walls of my den that cubbing season.
The den was a mess after the cubbing, but it was nothing a little
smoothing out with calmer paws couldn’t fix.
I left the paw pad and claw marks in the roof of the den however, just
so that when I was lying on my back with the little light coming in from the
chimney, I could look up and see the paw prints and claw marks on the ceiling
to remind me of what I’d gone through to have the cub I was cradling in my
paws. To remind me what a natural
process giving birth to a cub is. I
would recommend all mothers to brace their paws against something soft like
snow or earth during cubbing, then keep the impressions of their paw prints in
the earth or snow, just to remind them what they went through and how they
coped. If I could have denned up
properly before Helga’s birth I would have done, but it was not to be.
“I could show
you how fierce a mother’s paws can be, if you want,”
“You just want to hurt me don’t you,” she said, “You want to teach me a lesson! That’s why you offer to do such things!”
“If you won’t
listen to words, maybe actions will speak louder,”
“Let me do this,” Olga said, “I can go wild, really wild, for I remember the pain of cubbing, and I would love the chance to get rid of my pain.”
“We are trying
to teach her a lesson, not kill her,”
angry aren’t you Olga,”
“Yes, yes yes
yes!” Olga snapped, “I know what you’re
trying to do
“Brace you Sister Brunetta, for there’s a rough ride ahead, no matter who demonstrates the power of a labouring mother bear’s paws,” Nanuq junior said. Younger Brunetta looked at Olga’s paws, the brown bear sitting down so she could get a look at her paw pads. Flexing her toes, Olga made it quite clear what she wanted to do to younger Brunetta’s paws.
“I won’t deliberately go out of my way to hurt you, despite what I really want to do,” Olga said, “but be warned, if my pain gets too intolerable, I will squeeze your paws hard, hard enough to break your toes.”
“Olga will get like Allie was during her flashback of her cub’s birth in the lie up,” Nanuq junior said. “I know she came very close to breaking the toes of one hind paw during that. She’s bruised the toes of both hind paws that are for sure.” Younger Brunetta looked scared.
“Okay, okay, play with your dam paws!” She screamed.
“I want you to
Later that day Olga met with
“You’re like a cub with a new ball of string,” the brown bear said to the grizzly.
“I know I am
Olga, and I will stop acting out cubbings as often as I am now, but it’s so
much of a release of stress to act out a cubbing.”
“Your pads are hot,” she said, “did you?”
“Yes, after my
run in with younger Brunetta, I braced my paws and quite literally pushed the
horrid feelings out of my mind,” Olga nodded and stroked
“You know the
power of the paws, as do almost all community members here,” the wild brown bear said, “I know how
powerful paws can be too.”
“I know what
was hard work,” Kamchatka said, “I know that,
said, “we have a visitor, “you remember me telling you about
“I remember,” she said, her breath short, “I think she helped a brown bear have her cub under a bush, that was a long time ago though wasn’t it?”
“No mum, only yesterday,” silver mewed.
“I remember Arki and Allie are they still here?” Whitie asked, “They’re dead now probably.”
“No, Allie’s not
cub?” Whitie asked.
“So it was Allie’s cub that saved the brown bear mother and her cub then,” Whitie said. Silver replied:
“Yes mum,” Whitie, confused about time and day now, could hardly remember the beginning of a day which started at seven AM when it was only ten AM. Now she was seriously confused.
“You are a strong cub, strong bear cub,” Whitie said dreamily, “I had a strong cub once, one cub, Namir his name was, but he’s left me now. I can feel, feel your strength in your paw little Alpaca,”
“I am so sorry
for getting your name wrong,” Whitie mewed, “shortly after my cubs were born, I
got a virus, and it attacked my heart, and my brain. I can’t hold recent events in my head, and
time goes so strangely for me now. I
feel I’ve been awake for hours but it’s only an hour after I woke. Allie seems old to me, probably because I
think of her like me, but she’s not, she’s got health on her side, and long may
she have it. I’m dying
“You should not have come up here!” She snapped, “Who the hell do you think you are?”
exploring, and I found my way up here!”
“Allie only had five cubs,” Silver snapped, one on the ice before she came here, Orsa, Bjorn, Younger Arki, and you. Where was the sixth cub?”
“Her spirit went
to Eohippus yesterday,”
“Where mum’s has gone now,” Silver said, feeling the polar bear cub’s deep understanding of the current situation.
“I must tell Snowy about this,” Silver mewed.
“No need Silver dear,” snowy half tail said, padding stiffly into the room, “I know what’s happened. Whitie prepared me for her passing last night. She said she hadn’t long to go until her paws took her to Eohippus.”
Whitie had to make contact with one more cub before she left us,” Silver said,
“and that one cub happened to be you
“Go in peace,”
“You’re not meant to be saying things like that!” She yowled, “Rowena’s meant to be saying stuff like go in peace! Who the hell do you think you are?”
“She can say
what she wants,” Rowena mewed, padding into the room, “
“I heard you’d
helped a mother brown bear have her cub, is this true?”
“She was in a bush giving birth to her cub,” Alaska replied, “I helped her have her cub, I helped her by massaging her hind paws, she did really well!”
accounts you did well too,” Silver mewed.
“I love Helga
very much Silver,”
mum, someone’s got to tell the badgers,”
Allie said, “
“Whitie was a
lovely leopard,” she sobbed.
“My cub needs to see something happy now,” Allie sniffed, “she can’t keep seeing death. She needs to see life, play with a cub and tickle its paws, feel the pressure of a bear’s hug, all that, she must feel that now.”
“You go to her
Allie, go now!”
“I’ll go find her a huge pot, right now,” she replied.
“I had to help
“You did the
right thing,” she replied, “
“Yes, very sure
about that,” Allie replied, kissing her cub’s nose. Silver watched Allie and
“You were very
kind to my mum
“You, you, I
mean your paw, it feels like Fleur’s does.
You’re a polar bear cub, I know you’re a polar bear cub
“Big, soft and comforting?” Allie asked. Silver nodded, tears in her eyes.
believe none of this affects you
“You shouldn’t be seeing stuff like this,” Allie said softly.
“I suppose she does,” the polar bear replied.
“I think we
need to talk
“Go with her
Down in Fleur’s lie up, the big cat and polar bear cub settled down together.
“Some of the
community have been comparing you with me,” Fleur said, “
“I felt I just
had to do what I did,”
that,” fleur mewed, “your treatment of Olga and her cub, the way you helped
Olga through the birth of her cub under the bush. It’s not just Olga who’s saying this, it’s
everyone! I hear it
“Oh, oh! For Eohippus sake! Oh, oh dear!”
“It, its okay, its okay!” Fleur gasped, bracing her hind paws into the carpet with as much force as she could muster in an attempt to keep her paws on the floor.
“It’s okay, okay!” Fleur panted, her eyes tight shut, “ooowww! Ow, ooowww! Yowowowowwww!”
“I’m causing you
“Not pain, not pain, I don’t know what it is!” Fleur roared, “I want, want, want to, oh, I don’t know what I want to do!” Fleur mewed.
“What on earth’s going on here?” Samson demanded, running into the room.
“I’ll, try, try, Oh Sammy! I’ll try putting it into words when it’s over, more like when I can cope!” Fleur whimpered, “Which might be never!”
“What did I
your fault,” this is wonderful!” Fleur
panted, “Just, just turn it down
“How can I turn
anything down when it was never turned up?”
“Don’t think about anything, clear your mind, please!” Fleur begged.
“I can’t, I
mean, I have Helga to think of, then you, then mum, and everyone else,” Alaska said, “and as for poor Silver losing
her mum like that. She’ll need help
too!” You’re not doing too well yourself
fleur, I want to help you too,”
“Get a grip
fleur get a grip!” She thought
cope!” Fleur sobbed, “It was too much
“It wasn’t hurting me,” fleur mewed, “quite the opposite, but it frightened me how pleasurable holding your paw was! It flowed from you in enveloping waves, and when you thought of me in particular, the feeling filled me completely! I could not do anything! Bracing my hind paws and pushing hard like I was having a cub was the only thing I could think to do, but even that didn’t help! I had to kick you away, break my hold on your paw, if I hadn’t done that, I would have gone mad!”
“But I did
“The only one
who can cope with this is Rowena,” fleur mewed, “she’s strong enough to cope
with this. Go find her.”
“Come with me,” she mewed softly.
“Fleur went crazy because she met her match,” Rowena said.
“I meant she’d met the one who is as caring and gentle as she is. She was overcome by your innate compassion for others.
“I’m no saint,”
“She felt in the touch of your paw pads what we all feel from her every day. The thing is, fleur has never felt such strong emotions. She’s met her successor as a medic. You want to help anyone and everyone, and fleur thought she could see it, but the emotion she felt in the touch of your paw confirmed it to her. Don’t worry about her reaction, just do your thing.” Fleur padded into the lie up, looking exhausted.
“Come and work
with me,” she said, please
“Go with her,” Rowena said.
“Can I touch
“Muddy brown fur
with black spots and pinkie black paw pads,”
“I hate my paws!” She wailed. Alaska looked down at Fleur’s left forepaw, then her right fore, then left hind, then right hind, fleur curling and relaxing her toes as her distress increased.
“I like these
“I love your
“I know, I
know!” She sniffed.
“Squeeze my paw
if you want to fleur,”
it’s okay, it’s okay!”
“I’ll be okay
in a while,” Fleur mewed, sniffing hard, “I’m just being silly.”
“It’s not silly
“They’re not so bad,” fleur admitted.
“I don’t think anyone but Samson has done that with more gentility,” fleur mewed.
“I’ve wanted to
hold your paws for a long time fleur,”
know how I feel about my paws, or used to at any rate and wanted to help me,”
you’re right,” she replied, “but I can’t say, because I don’t know.” Fleur, now used to the intensity of
“I, like Samson,
love you from your nose,”
“You can do
anything you want with my paws,” fleur mewed.
“This is wonderful!” She mewed, trying not to curl her toes, even though she wanted to.
“I could get
addicted to this, seriously, incurably addicted!” Fleur mewed, wriggling with pleasure.
“Fleur tried to
explain to me,” Samson mewed, “what she felt was almost unexplainable.
explain it Sammy,”
massage my paws?” Samson asked.
“I would love to,” she replied.
Samson lay down,
“I want more of
this, much more!” He mewed, and
“I want food,”
Eohippus, you called me to do this job,”
“Use your paws
“She won’t wake,” he mewed.
“She needed her
“Oooh, um, ah, this is nice,” she mewed, “warm paws, good sleep and a calm mind.” Fleur yawned again, stretching her fore and hind paws, curling her toes, and then stretching them to their greatest extent.
“I love the way
fleur is when she’s half awake, the way she rubs her eyes with her forepaws and
the way she flexes her toes,”
“You like my paws
I see,” she mewed.
“What I really
“Paws on with
me?” Fleur asked dreamily, “I’d like
“I love you
“Do you know how
I feel about you?”
“I know, I know,
because, because I felt it as soon as your paw touched mine!” Fleur sobbed.
“I could give birth to a cub with your help and it would be a pleasure,” fleur mewed.
“You’re not in
cub are you?”
“No, but I can
act,” fleur replied, whispering into
“I love you
fleur, I love you!”
“Is she transferring power?” Allie asked Rowena.
“No,” Rowena mewed, “just meeting a kindred spirit. Fleur’s met someone she can trust implicitly.”
“Fleur has let
“I can tickle your paws fleur, tickle your paws!”
with a kiss to her toes,”
“You’re a Rogue
for tickling my paws,” fleur yawned, very contented with her lot.
“We’re going to make a great team you and me,” fleur mewed.
Meanwhile, in another lie up, Helga lay on her back playing with the toes of one hind paw. Not yet able to sit up, this was the only way she could play with her hind paws, and Helga was not going to let a mere thing like sitting properly spoils her playtime. Olga watched her from the other side of the lie up, Helga obviously thinking her mother was asleep.
“Playing with your toes again Helga?” Olga asked. Helga dropped her right hind paw suddenly.
“Um, well,” Helga gabbled. Olga padded across to her cub and lovingly traced the pads of her right hind paw, Helga laughing as her mum’s touch tickled her pads.
“Mum that tickles!” Helga laughed. Olga smiled and tickled Helga’s other hind paw, the cub screeching with laughter.
“Stop it mum, stop it!!” Helga wriggled, kicking with all four paws. Olga embraced Helga tenderly, the cub becoming still. Olga then kissed Helga’s nose and the pads of all four of the cub’s tiny paws, the cub laughing merrily.
“Aw mum,” Helga said, “you taken a soppy pill today?” Olga smiled and blew gently on the toes of her cub’s right hind paw, Helga giggling with pleasure.
“Is it okay for me to play with my hind paws?” Helga asked. Olga gently stroked the pads of her cub’s left hind paw while she thought about this.
“Yes it is,”
she replied, “we adult bears does it all the time, I know
“I’d like to
meet Kamchatka again,” Helga said, “she’s so gentle, as is
“Would you show me how you play with your paws too?” Helga asked. Olga smiled and replied that she would. Sitting down, Olga guided her cub’s forepaws to her hind paws, then Olga took her left hind paw in her left fore, Helga exploring both her mum’s fore and hind paws as she made herself comfortable holding her hind paw in her fore.
“I bend my left hind leg, reach forward with my left forepaw, then turn the paw so my toes can touch the sole pad of my left hind paw,” Olga said, Helga’s forepaws exploring everything as she described the process of holding her left hind paw in her left fore, “then, then, if I stroke the sole pad of my hind paw very gently, touch my toes Helga, what happens?” Olga asked. Helga felt her mum’s left forepaw stroking the sole pad of her left hind, and then found her mum’s toes.
“Keep stroking your paw mum,” Helga encouraged. Olga smiled and continued to massage the sole pad of her left hind paw, relaxing her paw totally. Helga smiled as her mum’s toes relaxed, curling slightly.
“Your toes curl as you stroke your paw pads!” Helga whooped.
“So do your toes curl when you stroke your paw pads?” Olga asked. Helga smiled and tenderly squeezed the toes of her mum’s left hind paw.
“They do, they do mum,” she replied. Olga wiggled her toes which her cub held in her tiny paws.
“I love this paw contact Helga,” Olga said. Helga kissed the toes of her mum’s left hind paw.
“I love you mum,” she said gently. Olga felt her emotions welling up. Helga felt her mum’s toes curling hard expressing her emotions. Helga smiled and kissed the bunched pads of her mum’s left hind paw, Olga laughing merrily.
“It’s great to
see a mother and cub playing with each other’s paws,”
“I love you mum,” Helga said to Olga. Olga wiped her eyes with a clenched forepaw, unable to keep her emotions in check.
wonderful,” she sniffed.
“My toes are
“Must hold on, hold on tight!” Helga snarled.
“I must free my
“Try to control your paws!” She gasped, “Helga, try to control your toes! They’re squeezing the life out of my toes!”
“I can’t control
them; they have a life of their own!”
Helga replied as the toes of her right hind paw relaxed momentarily and
control my toes!” Helga whimpered. Olga smiled at
“Thanks mum,” she
“You love paw
“Mum kisses my
“I was only
playing when I squeezed your toes with mine,” Helga said to
“So was I,” she
replied. Olga looked up as
something for you
“I will wait
whatever you have with the greatest anticipation,”
“I know this
“It’s a treat
for you after what you’ve done for Whitie and Olga,”
you’d like that,”
“I love your
“I love you
more than I can put into words,”
curling the toes on both hind paws Kamchatka,”
do that when they get emotional,” she replied.
“I love you so
much,” she whispered to
wonder who gave birth to her,” Allie said, padding into the room.
“We both love her dearly, that’s for sure,” she said.
“You are so
helping mothers have their cubs,”
“I’ll still be
doing the food preparation,”
“Hi Theo dear,”
“I remember your
birth,” Theo mewed, “it was wonderful
“You have big soft paws
“I take regular baths just like mum and Samson do,” Theo mewed. “Shower first to get myself cleans, then, then, the best bit. Soak for ages in a large tub of warm water with soothing oils and gentle relaxing scent. Ah, sounds good even now.”
“You’ve only just got
out of the bath Theo,”
“I know,” Theo mewed, “but I still adore my bath times.
“You’d be in there until
your paws got wrinkled like prunes,” Clarence mewed, padding in after
“You can’t talk Clarence,” Theo protested, “you stayed in the bath with me the whole time; indeed, it was I who had to drag you mewing and kicking out of the tub!” Clarence grinned, for the white lion was correct.
“I like the water, just
like my mum does,” he mewed, “fleur loves her bathing times too, and her paws
are wrinkled by the time she emerges, I’ve touched them Theo, I know!” Theo had also touched Fleur’s paws when
they’d been wrinkled by water, and this seemed to endear him to the large cross
bred cat even more. Fleur was vulnerable
under all that fur.”
“I know you and fleur
have a special bond
“Fleur’s paws are a
source of uneasiness for her,” Theo mewed, “I know this, and she’s now opening
up about it, spoke to me today about them, and showed me her pads too. Fleur’s beautiful from her nose to her paw
“I know Theo, I know,” she replied.
“Mum played with Theo and me in the bath pool earlier,” Clarence said, “she rolled onto her back and waved her paws in the air, something she’d never usually do. Has she become less self conscious about the soles of her paws?”
“I think she has,”
“I think this cub needs a bath,” he said. Fleur squealed with mock protest:
nooooo’o’o’ooo!” Drawing her paws to her
and curling into a ball, fleur began to shiver with mock fear. Theo and Clarence grinned at
“Leave me alone!” Fleur whimpered.
“You’re coming for a
bath my dear,”
“Thought that would
silence you little one,”
“You certainly know how to break my stride,” she said, “I was so shocked at being lifted up; I completely forgot my earlier protestations.
“Now time for your bath
“Bears are the best,
the absolute best at washing themselves and others,” she declared with absolute
certainty. Fleur, still standing in the
water at the edge of the bath pool, looked down at her toes beneath the
surface. Lifting a forepaw, she slapped it
“Let’s now compare paw
pads,” Clarence suggested, “Drying our paws is not allowed! Let’s go into the shower room and compare paw
pads to see who’s got the most wrinkled pads.”
Fleur grinned. She liked this
game, though knew she wouldn’t have liked it a day ago.
“You bears have wrinkly
paw pads anyway, so how will we tell what’s water wrinkled pad and what is
normal wrinkled pad?”
“I dried one hind paw
and have kept one wet,” she said, “look, touch my paw.”
“Now I’ve shown you
mine, can I look at yours?” She
asked. Fleur eagerly rolled onto her
back and presented her paws for examination.
“I love your paws,”
“I’m beginning to love them,” fleur mewed, “but it’s taking time, after years of hating my paws it’s taking time for me to love them.”
“Your paws are beautiful Fleur,” Samson mewed, padding into the room. It was clear he’d been bathing in scented water. Samson smiled at fleur, his teeth white and very clean.
“Here’s the king of clean lions!” Theo mewed.
“Just because I enjoy bathing,” Samson mewed. Fleur grinned at him.
Meanwhile, in Leo and
“Time for bed I think Elsa,” he mewed, rubbing his eyes. Elsa looked up into his face.
“But, but, the fun was just getting started!” She complained. Older Leo smiled:
“For you maybe
dear Elsa,” he mewed, “now, let’s gets your teeth clean, wash your face and
paws and settle you to sleep.” Elsa
mewed in protest, but reluctantly followed Leo to the shower room where he
washed her face and paws, something she could do herself, but loved him doing
for her. Then she made use of the
relieving place and washed her paws again in the paw bath provided. It was then Leo took Elsa to the kitchen and
“I will sleep well now,” Elsa mewed. Leo hugged his cub, hoping she could feel the love he felt for her in the touch of his paws on hers.
“I feel safe now, so safe,” Elsa mewed. Leo’s purr rattled the windows. Elsa relaxed into her sire’s hug. It was at times like this Leo thought of the lioness who’d given traumatic birth to Elsa. The struggle to give birth to the cub he now cradled in his paws often played in his head. The growling, grunting, roaring, sweat soaked efforts of Older Elsa, then the decision Older Elsa and he’d had to make over Older Elsa’s life, then the convulsive birth of the cub, then his vigil by his cub and mate’s bodies. Leo didn’t realise he was crying until the cub the circumstances of who’s birth had upset him wiped his eyes with her paw.
“Leo,” she said gently, “don’t cry dear sire. Older Elsa wouldn’t want you to be upset. You did the right thing for her and for me too!” Leo gulped hard.
“I know, I know,” he sniffed, “but, sometimes, sometimes, the scene comes back to me, and I can’t help getting emotional.” Younger Elsa hugged her sire as tightly as she could.
“I’m here now,”
she mewed, “it’s all over, and I’m healthy and love my family, whether they are
adopted or not. I know you’re not my
father, but I know you care for me, as does
“We all love you Elsa dear,” he mewed. Elsa picked up Leo’s left forepaw and examined his pads and toes, Leo grinning hugely. Leo fell asleep soon after, the touch of his cub’s paw soothing him. Elsa thought back to that dark time when she had been cold, wet and frightened. She remembered a place of darkness with cold paws and drenched fur. Shivering, Elsa cuddled up to her mother for warmth, but her mother’s body felt cold, wet and very still.
“Mum?” Elsa asked, nudging her mum’s nose with hers. Her mum didn’t react; there was no breath, no sound, not like before she was born, and no tongue to kiss her nose. Elsa clung to her mum’s wet fur and cried inconsolably.
“Elsa, dear Elsa,” Leo purred gently, “Hush my dear cub.” Elsa clung to Leo, weeping into his mane.
“I thought, thought I was, that, well,” Elsa mewed. Leo kissed her nose.
“I know what you were dreaming,” Leo mewed.
“But it was no dream,” Elsa mewed, “it was real, so, so horribly real!””
“It was for me too Elsa love,” Leo choked.
“But, but I felt my mum’s fur under my paws and everything, I was cold and wet!”
“It was a nightmare Elsa love. A vivid flashback.”
“Will I forget it when I’m older?” Elsa asked.
“I can’t answer that Elsa love,” Leo
“Hug me mum, please!” Elsa begged.
“Leo and I love you dearly Elsa
Simba and Rowena watched from
another lie up. Simba, seeing
“Are you jealous of her?” Rowena asked. Simba knew that to lie to his half sister would be impossible.
“What do you think?” He snapped, “That bloody cub, she’s intruded into our lives!”
“Simba,” Rowena said gently, “that,
“bloody cub,” as you refer to her is your half sister. Elsa’s mother was your mother and
“It was lioness Tembi who poisoned
“Younger Elsa’s mother died giving birth to her Simba, you don’t mean you wish that cub dead?” Rowena asked.”
“Yes, yes I do!” Simba roared, “Nature meant for that cub to
die, Older Elsa could not give birth to it, so she, and it, were meant to
die! It was only down to
“Oh, Rowena, You’re right,” he mewed softly.
“Look at me Simba,” Rowena mewed. Simba shook his head and looked down at his paws.
“Rowena, I can’t,” Simba mewed.
“Look at me Simba,” Rowena mewed. Simba shook his head. Rowena turned to her brother and lifting her left forepaw, balanced Simba’s chin on the back of her paw and lifted it up. Simba made no protest, offering no resistance. When their eyes met, Rowena’s eyes told Simba what she felt.
“You’re meant to be impartial!” Simba whimpered.
“I have a duty to guide the paws of those who are not on the right path,” Rowena mewed. “Your paws are not on the right path, indeed, you seek to turn the paws of others from the right path. Simba, why do you seek to deny others the love you had and still have?” Simba knew what she meant.
“I’m sorry Rowena,” Simba mewed.
“Don’t speak to me about being sorry; speak to the one you wish dead. Confess your thoughts to the cub which you hate.” Simba gulped hard.
“I can’t do that!” He mewed.
Suddenly Simba saw
“Rowena,” Simba asked, “has, has mum heard everything we’ve been saying here?” Rowena looked at the panel below the screen, and saw that the mic was on.
“Um, ah, yes,” she replied. Simba turned and fled! He didn’t even get as far as the
“Mum, I’m, I’m sorry!” Simba screamed.
“You horrid animal!”
“Mum, I thought it was private between me and Rowena. She’s given me enough punishment!”
“No Simba, no she has not!”
“I was only thinking of killing Elsa, I didn’t actually do it!” Simba wailed.
“Planning is a crime too,”
“I hate Elsa because she’s the offspring of my loathsome mother!” Simba roared, “Elsa deserves to die!”
“I am also the offspring of your
loathsome mother too Simba,”
“NO mum,” Simba mewed; tears rolling down his nose, “no.”
“Elsa will live Simba,” Leo said padding into the room. Simba looked up, but didn’t see Leo. He saw a lion with a white coat that looked like Leo.
“Older Theo?” Simba asked. The apparition smiled.
“So you do recognise me,” the spirit replied, “I thought I might put in an appearance, as I believe Older Leo is having some difficulties at the moment, as is his cub. Simba, you were rescued by a lovely lioness, one who gave you everything she had, and now you are on your paws, you seek to deny others that help?”
“I suppose I wanted to do just that,”
Simba mewed, “for older Elsa is our enemy.
She it was who gave birth to
“Elsa knew no better,” Older Theo mewed, “she wasn’t enlightened, did
not know that white lions are just as healthy as tawny ones. She cannot be blamed for her actions. She was a simple lioness. She gave birth to her cubs, and if they did
not look right, she pushed them away.
How could she know what
Meanwhile, in the bathroom, fleur
was tending to an injured lioness. The
lioness had limped into the wood an hour ago and collapsed on the track. When
“Help, Mercy. For Eohippus sake, mercy.” Now fleur was cleaning the lioness up, and found she had deep puncture wounds on her flank and that her right forepaw was crushed beyond repair. The injuries to her paw were old, but still painful.
“What happened to you?”
“She doesn’t want to talk
“Look at me Tembi,”
“I’m nothing to you,” Tembi mewed, “
“How can I hold anything against you
“You are very strong
“If I let hatred and loathing continue for years it eats into me,”
“What if she’s never strong enough to survive?” Snowy asked.
“We help her until she’s as strong as
she’s going to get, then we turn her out,”
“You’re once daughter cub is more merciful than I could ever be,” the tigress said.
Later that day, Rowena spoke with
“Mum,” Rowena said, “your decision regarding Tembi was most merciful. I know your tale, and commend you for your restraint and mercy.”
“I remember every last bit of what she
did to me,”
“Noone can be entirely merciful until
total and sincere apology has been given by the offending party,” Rowena mewed,
“and I can feel none coming from Tembi.
You are offering Tembi what the community offers to injured creatures,
and that is all.”
Meanwhile, Simba was prostrating himself at Elsa’s feet, telling her what he’d wanted to do to her. The cub was a bit mystified at all this remorse and apparent craziness, but Petra had told her that was how things were done round here. Simba told Elsa he’d wanted to kill her and the reasons why he’d wanted to kill her. Elsa, while upset, did not grasp the full extent of the situation.
“Well, as long as you’re not going to kill me now, I’ll be fine with that,” she mewed. Simba promised he would keep his paws off her unless it was to hug her. Leo nodded and dismissed Simba, the disgraced lion running for peace and quiet in his own den.
“I don’t want to abandon our paws completely though,” Helga said, “they’re important to us.”
“I’ve got an idea,” Boris said, “how about if we use our paws to try and work out who’s who?”
“What are you on about?” Roxanne asked.
“Well Boris replied, “we bears use our sense of smell to identify each other long before paws come into contact, So what if we got something from the kitchen, herbs or something, got a cloth and dipped them in the herbs, then draped it over our noses so we had no scent clues. Then it would be down to our paws to tell us who was who by exploring each other’s paws and guessing. It’s a kind of “how well do we know each other’s paws?” Game.” Nanuq junior, while not officially a cub, still played with them, and was up for the challenge.
“I wonder what
“So you want me to put a bag of herbs on
a string, so you cubs can mask your sense of smell to play a touch only
“We’d keep our eyes closed, so we don’t
need to cover those,” he replied.
“We all were cubs once,” she thought, bringing out a bag of herbs and putting it into a little string bag.
Returning to the lie up, Nanuq junior grinned and, taking the bag in his teeth, flicked it over his nose, breathing deeply, he found he could not smell the other bears in the room, even though he could see them.
“Right, I can’t smell you now,” he said.
“Close your eyes Nanuq,” Boris said. Nanuq junior did, and the bears moved places.
“Fore or hind paws?” Olga asked.
“Hind,” Roxanne replied, “easier all round. So Nanuq waited for the signal to start his exploration of the assembled bear’s hind paws. The signal for him to start was a bottle cap thrown onto the rug by one of the bears. Nanuq junior felt his way to the first set of hind paws and found them to be large, very large! Nanuq was under strict instructions not to tickle the pads of any paws he came across, so was firm in his touch.
“I think these paws, with their rough large pads and scuffed nails belong to Olga,” Nanuq junior said. Olga curled her toes round Nanuq’s, confirming his answer.
“Now for the next set of paws,” Nanuq junior thought. Finding his way to a smaller set of paws, Nanuq found tiny toes and softer smaller pads on an all together smaller paw. Grinning, Nanuq lowered his head and kissed the toes of the paw he was exploring. Helga tried not to gasp with emotion, biting down on her left forepaw to stop herself.
“Helga’s paw I think,” Nanuq said. Helga removed her forepaw from her mouth and said:
“Yes, and Nanuq, kissing my toes felt lovely. Nanuq smiled and kissed the toes of Helga’s other hind paw. Helga loved Nanuq junior’s attention.
“On with the game you two,” Olga said. Nanuq correctly identified Boris’s paws, then Roxanne’s.
“You can’t be misled can you,” Roxanne said. Nanuq junior smiled and removed the herbs from around his nose.
“I love paws,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lioness Tembi’s treatment had nearly finished, and she was close to being returned to the wood. Fleur let her eat, and then led her to the door.
“Walk away from here and return to the wood Tembi,” she said. Lioness Tembi limped from the house.
Meanwhile, Nanuq junior and Olga sat together. Olga was a young brown bear, she and Nanuq being roughly the same age. Helga had stayed behind after the game finished, and now sat listening to the talk between the two older bears.
“Nanuq,” Olga said, “this might sound strange, but, but, could I tell you something?” Nanuq junior nodded.
“Go on,” he said.
“I want, well, need to, have an urge to, well, an urge to talk about the births of my cubs.”
“You want to describe them to me you mean?” Nanuq junior asked.
“I’d like to, but, but if you don’t want me to, I quite understand,” Olga babbled.
“I understand your need to share that experience,” Nanuq junior replied, “and I would be only too honoured to hear you describe the cubbings to me.” Olga touched his paw with hers.
“But, cubbings intense, it’s painful. Male polar bears don’t get involved with it, usually don’t.” Olga said.
“This one does,” Nanuq junior replied, “I will get my paws as dirty as you wish to get yours Olga. I’m not afraid of cubbing. Tell me, even act out the cubbing if you need to. I’ll be here for you.” Olga squeezed his paw.
“Thank you,” she replied. Helga pricked up her ears.
would like to know too,” she said, “
“It affected all of us deeply Helga love,” Olga replied.
“So where do we start?” Nanuq junior asked.
“First let’s start with how I felt,” Olga replied, “I felt vulnerable,
scared, and was in the worst pain, including when I’d trapped my paw that I’d
ever felt. Contractions had me screwing
my eyes shut clenching my teeth and curling my toes. I wanted to scream, but the fear of discovery
made me whimper pitifully instead. I
wanted to scream Nanuq, open my mouth and roar my pain, but I could not! It was only when I heard
“So you wanted to scream and push with everything you had?” Nanuq junior asked. Olga looked into his eyes.
wanted to then, and I want to now,” she replied, “I felt fear and terrible pain
during the birth of my first cub. Indeed
the pain was worse because of the fear.
“Go on mum, let it out,” Helga said gently. Nanuq gently stroked Olga’s paw pads, the brown bear curling and relaxing her toes.
“I want to brace my paws and scream!” Olga sobbed, “I must, must do this Nanuq! Oh, please Nanuq, stay with me!” Nanuq junior kissed the curled toes of Olga’s left hind paw.
“I’m with you Olga, come on, let that anger and pain go. Let it go, let the pain out with everything you have. Scream, wriggle, brace your paws, curl your toes, cry, beat your paws on the floor, do what you need to. I’m here for you.” Olga panted, then, whimpering, she pulled her left hind paw free of Nanuq junior’s grasp and drew her hind legs up to her, gripping the toes of both hind paws with her forepaws and squeezing them hard.
“Oououououowowowoouch!” Olga wailed, “ow, owww! Owwww!” Helga looked at her mum and then at Nanuq junior, who was rubbing the bunched pads of Olga’s hind paws.
“Push if you need to Olga, push my dear,” Nanuq junior said gently. Olga whimpered, braced her hind paws against Nanuq junior’s and wailed with pure unadulterated pain and fear.
“I’m ready to push, to have this cub, but the fear I feel is too much to let me push with as much strength as I’d want to, I want to push, but I can’t!”
“You can, you’re safe, totally safe,” Nanuq junior said gently. Olga gasped, wriggled and pushed hard against Nanuq junior’s forepaws with her hind paws, pushing with all her strength.
“I must push some more, much more, got to push more!” Olga yelled, pressing down hard into Nanuq junior’s paws, pushing and heaving as hard as she could, trying to push his forepaws away with her own hind paws, while gripping his toes with hers and screaming hysterically!
“You can have this cub the way you wanted,” Nanuq junior said softly, “go on Olga, do what you wanted to do in the den, let it all go!”
“I can get rid of this pain; I want this pain gone now!” Olga screamed. Nanuq junior leant down and kissed the bunched pads of Olga’s right forepaw, the she brown bear screaming into his face!
“Ow! Owwww! Ouououoch!” Nanuq junior rode out Olga’s mental pain, stroking her sweat soaked paws and soothing her as best he could.
“That’s it, that’s all done, finished!” Olga panted. Nanuq junior smiled broadly.
“Thank you Nanuq dear,” Olga said gently. Nanuq junior kissed the pads of all four of Olga’s [paws, soaked in sweat though they were.
“I’m sorry I’m in a mess,” Olga said. Nanuq junior smiled broadly.
“I think you’re beautiful just the way you are,” he said, kissing her nose and taking Olga’s left forepaw in his.
love you Nanuq junior,” Olga said, “I was in a trade off between concealment
and giving birth in the den, now though, now I can have a cub with total
confidence, able to express myself as I want to, and it’s all thanks to you
Nanuq junior, for you give me the security to do what I really want during the
birth of a cub.
“I do love you Olga,” he said, gulping hard, “I love you and Helga dearly. From nose to paws both of you! I want to protect both of you!”
“Will you play with us too?” Helga asked. Nanuq junior nodded and smiled.
“I will, I will!” He replied. Nanuq junior kissed the top of Helga’s head, the cub laughing merrily and batting at his nose with her paw.
Meanwhile, Simba was not having such a good time. Hiding from the world in his lie up, he wished the world would just go away.
“I’m putting my paws in all the wrong places,” he thought miserably, “I can’t help feeling jealous towards Elsa, that’s how I feel! She’s come into our lives, and turned mum all cub crazy once more. Giving birth to Theo I can understand, for she was desperate for a cub of her own, but now she’s got one, leave the others to fend for them!”
“Your thoughts poison you Simba,” Arki remarked. She was walking past the lie up and sensed the white lion’s mood.
“No they don’t!” Simba roared, “what rubbish you talk Arki!”
“Trust me,” the polar bear replied, “bad thoughts poison your mind and you’ll never love anyone ever again if you carry on with them. You will die prematurely, and be known as a miserable lion throughout your short life.”
“Sod you Arki! Screw you!” Simba roared.
“I’m sorry for you,” the polar bear replied, “really sorry.” With that she padded from the room. Simba, feeling sick, realised he was about to vomit. Running to the relieving place, he vomited violently, losing his breakfast.
“I feel worse now!” He screamed.
“Simba, please,” Leo said padding into the room, “try to accept little Elsa. She’s done you no wrong, and holds no ill will towards you. You could roll on the rug with her in play, she’d like that very much, but you choose to hate yourself and her. My cub is no threat to you Simba.” Simba looked at Leo.
“He looks so much like older Theo it’s scary,” Simba thought.
“Older Theo and I are of the same breed of lion Simba,” Leo said, “athletic body, with rather fat cubbish paws. I like my paws very much.” Simba looked down at his paws; they were slender, rather feminine paws really.
“I’d much rather have your paws,” Simba mewed, “at least yours don’t look like a lioness’s.”
“I’m thought of as a cub on account of my paws,” Leo mewed, “that’s hilariously funny I think. Other creatures see my paws and immediately think, “Hey he’s a big cub!” I’m no cub! But I don’t mind others thinking I am.” Simba smiled for the first time that day.
Meanwhile, back with Olga Nanuq junior and Helga, things were calming down a bit. Olga, now certain of her standing with Nanuq junior, started to look at the polar bear. Nanuq junior sat back on his backside, letting Olga examine him from nose to paw pads. Watching Olga’s eyes, Nanuq junior wiggled the toes of each paw as her eyes fell on it.
“I love your face, paws and body,” Olga said, “You’re handsome Nanuq junior, and lovely to me and my cub.” Nanuq junior smiled broadly.
“Can I touch your paws Nanuq junior?” Olga asked. Nanuq junior smiled and nodded.
“They’re yours to touch, tickle, and stroke and explore,” he replied. Olga crawled over to Nanuq junior, feeling that to walk would be inappropriate. Nanuq junior watched her, his eyes loving her every move.
“Choose a paw,” Nanuq junior invited. Olga sat down opposite Nanuq junior and picked up his left hind paw in her forepaws, balancing it on her right hind leg and looking down at the male polar bear’s pads and toes. Nanuq junior wiggling his toes and then curling them made Olga smile.
“I love the way your pads bunch up when you curl your toes,” Olga said. Nanuq junior smiled at her and covered her right forepaw with his massive left fore.
“I too like the way your paw pads bunch when you curl your toes, and you were doing a lot of that earlier,” Nanuq junior said.
“I wanted to show you my paws and me in my worst moments,” Olga said, “in case I gave you the wrong impression of me.” Nanuq junior smiled and squeezed her right forepaw with his left.
“I love your eyes, ears, nose, body, legs, paws and tail,” the polar bear said, “I just wish you’d been curling your toes with pleasure rather than pain.”
“I will be curling my toes with pleasure soon,” Olga replied, “look down at my left hind paw.” Nanuq did, and saw Olga’s toes tightly curled with the intensity of her emotions. Nanuq junior leant down and kissed the curled toes of Olga’s left hind paw, the female brown bear gulping back tears.
“Being with you is heavenly,” Nanuq junior said. Olga leant forward and kissed the male polar bear’s nose.
“You are perfect dear sweet Nanuq,” she said softly, “perfect from your nose to your toes.”
“I feel the same about you Olga love,” Nanuq junior replied, “I love you and your cub and think both of you are beautiful to look at, even better to hug, and indescribably lovely to play with.” Olga and Helga laughed merrily, and then Helga crawled to her mum and began to explore her left hind paw. Olga released Nanuq junior’s right hind paw and drew back, finally picking her cub up in her forepaws and shuffling forward so the pads and toes of her hind paws touched Nanuq junior’s. Nanuq junior curled the toes of his right hind paw around those of Olga’s left hind, and she curled the toes of her right hind around his left. Placing Helga on her back in the middle of the space between their outstretched hind legs with her paws in the air, Olga let Helga go. The cub looked up into the faces of the two grown up bears, while they gazed down at her with gentle expressions.
“Helga’s eyes opened a day ago,” Olga said, “she was very quick at opening her eyes Nanuq junior.” Nanuq junior smiled and lowered his head, Helga reaching up to touch his nose with her left forepaw. Olga leant down too, and Helga touched her mum’s nose with the toes of her right hind paw. Olga blew gently on the pads of Helga’s right hind paw, the cub laughing helplessly.
“I love that!” She whooped, “I love it mum!”
“Can I blow on your paw pads little one?” Nanuq junior asked.
“Why do you ask?” Helga asked, “I’m your cub too.” Nanuq junior couldn’t stop tears rolling down his nose and splashing onto Helga’s face.
“You’re not my cub, not really,” Nanuq junior sobbed. Helga reached up and tried to pull Nanuq’s face down to her level, the male polar bear not resisting. When she could reach his face, Helga wiped away his tears with her paw.
“Now I’ve got my paws wet with your tears, you can blow on my pads and toes to dry them Nanuq,” Helga said. Nanuq kissed Helga’s forepaws, and then blew on her pads, Helga grinning happily up at him.
“I love you Helga,” Nanuq said softly.
“I love you too Nanuq,” she replied.
“Why is it
“Yes,” Helga asked, “I’ve been wondering that too. Also, Allie was very expressive during her
labour, mum wasn’t, until
“Your mum not being able to express her pain and fear was because of the likelihood of intruders hearing her cries and threatening her and you,” Nanuq replied, “Allie had no such concerns, as your mum had no concerns earlier and felt able to let her pain and fear out today. Also, because there are no threats here, the mothers to be can concentrate on their bodies, feeling everything. Whereas in the wild they are scared and unable to concentrate on having their cubs. Mothers can express their pain here, whereas in the wild they find it more difficult.”
“I wouldn’t have let go with just any bear though Nanuq,” Olga said, “you gave me the courage and security to let my pain out. It’s you who have made this bear very happy. But why are the cubs here born so much larger than Helga was? That I can’t work out.”
“The food is plentiful and we are warm and safe,” Nanuq replied, “so the
cubs grow big and strong inside their mothers and the births are that much
harder, though with help, as you found Olga when
“Nanuq,” she said, “would you help me have cubs in future?” Nanuq junior grinned:
“Let’s bring little Helga up first, then we’ll try for cubs,” he said. Nanuq junior looked down at Helga, the brown bear cub looking up into his eyes and, gently removing her right hind paw from her mum’s grip, waving all four paws at him.
“You are so beautiful Helga,” Nanuq junior said softly.
“I think you are gentle and very sweet Nanuq,” Helga said. Older Nanuq padded into the lie up, smiling at his Son cub.
“I’m so pleased for you,” he said to the bears. Olga, Helga and Nanuq junior smiled broadly.
“Thank you,” they said.
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