A brown bear arrived in the house today. At first Snowy Half tail looked nervously at him, wondering if he was about to eat one of her snow leopard

cubs, when the bear thrust out a paw to her, and snowy had to respond by taking his paw in hers. Tolstuka remarked to snowy that the bear was as large

as she was, so wouldn't need protecting. Snowy knew she'd lost all control when Whitie touched the bear's paw with hers and asked him if he would hug

her. the brown bear, named Bruin, embraced Whitie gently, while Snowy looked on, unable to protest with her usual vigour. One of the otters foolishly

said she'd wallop the brown bear if he came anywhere near the snow leopard cubs, but quickly revised her declaration of war when she saw, one, how large

the bear was, and two how big his paws were, as well as how gentle he was with the leopard cubs, whom he seems to treat as if they were his own cubs.


a few days later:

bruin was asleep when the dogs helped his mate onto the bed, where she lay down beside him and took one of his forepaws in both of hers. Snowy told the

female brown bear that Bruin had missed her like crazy.

Meanwhile Bruin crashed through his usual hellish dream. he would wake in a room, and realise his mate wasn't with him. going crazy, he would crash about

in his search for his mate, then, unable to find her, he would lie down and weep pitifully. Bruin would wake properly with tears rolling down his nose,

the reasons for which the other animals didn't understand, thinking him a bit weak for a bear. Only snowy knew the reason for bruin's nightmares, for

he'd told her everything that went on in them, for it was always the same. now he was in the same dream, crashing round the empty room, but with the added

torment of his mate's scent being everywhere, but she could not be found. Bruin struck out furiously with all four paws, trying to tear down the wall

in his mind's eye. this was worse than usual!

bruin woke sobbing and yelling that his mind was playing tricks on him and he couldn't cope any more. snowy and Bruin's mate both held him down while he

thrashed about, clawing at snowy half tail, his mate, and the quilt with all four paws. When he finally surfaced from his dream, Bruin looked round him

at the assembled animals, at the Labrador, who regarded him with misgiving, at the spaniels, who ignored him, at the husky dog, who stared straight back

at him, at Reynard the fox, who looked disgusted, at the otter, who, still sleeping, remained undisturbed by his antics, and finally at Snowy half tail

and her two Snow leopard cubs. the two cubs had sort refuge beneath the quilt when bruin started yelling and flailing about with his huge paws. Not even

Whitie, who'd held bruin's paw, could face him when he was in, one of his moods, as she called them. Bruin saw snowy digging with her forepaws to extricate

her cubs from beneath the quilt. once she'd dug both whitie and her sister out, she turned to him, grinned and lazily waved a large forepaw. totally

confused and still very upset, Bruin looked to his right. Seeing a female brown bear lying beside him, Bruin rubbed his eyes with a forepaw and looked

again. the bear was still there, and she looked just like his lost mate. Bruin stared into the eyes of the female bear, unable to say anything.

"I think you two have met before," snowy said.

"I think we have too!" Bruin blurted, "but I can't be sure, I want to be sure, but things don't happen like that!"

"I'm sure bruin dear," the female brown bear said, "they called me Brunetta." Bruin and his mate hadn't had names during their former lives, but

they'd known each other very well indeed. Bruin and his mate had stroked each other from ears to paws many a time, and both of them had enjoyed it hugely.

Bruin found that his mate's soft spots were behind her ears and the pads of her paws. Stroke them, and she'd fall asleep instantly. Brunetta knew Bruin's

soft spots, basically anywhere, he just loved being stroked.

"how did this happen?" Bruin asked. snowy hid a smile behind a huge forepaw.

"You snowy!" Bruin exclaimed, "you told someone didn't you!" snowy nodded, her smile widening.

"What I said to you was confidential!" Bruin snapped, "but I know that if you hadn't told someone, my mate wouldn't be here now, so thank you Snowy,

thank you very much!" bruin crawled over to snowy and embraced her fiercely. Whitie and her sister laughed merrily at the bear's antics.

"I couldn't let you suffer," Snowy said to Bruin, "I know you couldn't have told anyone of your longing to see your mate." to his shame, Bruin had

to admit he had tried to block out the past, which hadn't worked. Snowy gently pushed Bruin away, and Brunetta took both of his forepaws in hers. Bruin

shook one forepaw free and took Brunetta's paw in his.

"welcome home," he said. Brunetta and Bruin curled up together, brunetta burying her face in Bruin's shoulder.


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