Learning how to be cold and wet.





Bruin must have slept for he was woken by thunder and rain.  Surfacing from sleep, Bruin realised how bad his shelter was when he saw as well as felt water filling his refuge.  Soon his hind paws were wet, and Bruin began to feel real cold.  Moving slightly, Bruin felt his paws sinking into the mud.  Putting his head out into the rain, he saw that the rain was coming down hard.  Bruin retreated back under the bush and realised he’d have to get used to being constantly wet and cold.  Miserably, Bruin looked down at his paws, they were already muddy and wet, and would be cold very soon too.  He knew his treatment of Ringo had led to this.  Bruin also knew that getting back into the house wasn’t going to be easy.  Leo hated him for attacking Ringo, so Bruin knew he couldn’t appeal to the lion for help.  He reasoned it would have to be one of the badgers he spoke to when they went for a walk in the wood.  Bruin knew Constance, and Brock her mate, were often to be found walking in the wood.  He knew he’d have to wait for them to find him, and that could be days away.  Bruin thought about Ringo.  What had triggered his behaviour towards the ocelot.  He realised he didn’t know, he just hated the tiny cat.  Bruin felt his paws sinking into the mud and realised he would have to get back into the house soon if he was to survive.  Crawling from the shelter of the bush, Bruin made his way slowly to where he could see the back door of the house, just beyond the tree line.  There seemed to be noone at home, but Bruin knew the animals seldom showed themselves at the windows.  Entering the garden via the back gate, Bruin crawled over the grass, his fur and paws now thick with mud and leaves.  Bruin was approaching the back door when it flew open, and a plastic milk bottle flew out, catching Bruin on his nose!  Bruin yelled with surprise and pain, as the bottle was full of water, and had struck and drenched him from nose to tail.

       “That hurt!”  He wailed, the door crashing shut.


Leo left the back door after lobbing his missile.

     “Bloody bear,”  he grumbled, “how dare he show his face around here!”

     “What did you throw at him?”  Theo asked.  Leo flexed his paw.

     “A four pint plastic milk bottle,”  he replied, “I filled it with water for good measure.”  Theo looked uncomfortable:

     “Was that really a wise thing to do?”  Theo asked.

      “No,”  Leo replied, “but it felt bloody good”

      “That’s not very nice,”  Hop along said.

    “No it isn’t, I agree,”  Leo said, “but I’m entitled to revenge for what Bruin did to Ringo.”



Bruin lay on the grass, wet from his nose to the toes and pads of all four paws.  Feeling miserable and with his paws heavy with water, Bruin crawled away from the house.  Lapping water from the overturned bottle, Bruin hid beneath a bush.  Now more wet than ever, Bruin used the rest of the water to wash his fur and paws as best he could.  Splashing water over his forepaws, he washed his face to clear the mud.  Once that was done, he used the rest of the water to wash his fore and hind paws, working the water deep into the fur on the soles of his paws and between his pads to clean his paws properly.  There was nothing more Bruin hated than mud caked paws.  This done, Bruin settled down beneath the bush.  The rain had stopped for the moment, and things were looking up weather-wise.  Bruin slept despite the cold.  He was woken some hours later by a paw touching his.  Looking up, he saw a snow tiger looking at him.

      “I saw you out here,”  the tiger said, “I’m the tiger who came with the ocelot.”  Bruin remembered the white tiger.

      “Have you come with news of more punishment for me?”  He asked.

     “no,”  the tiger replied, “more to say that I’m with you on this one.  That ocelot’s a pest!  He’s really annoying, what with his prowling round the house at all hours n’all.  Mind you, the badgers are just as bad!  They are forever patrolling the house at all hours of the day and night too!”

      “Yes okay,”  Bruin replied, “but how can you help me?  I can’t climb drainpipes, nor get through narrow gaps like you can.”

     “I’ll clamber back up the drainpipe I slid down, and then get in through an open window at the top.  You go to the back door, and I will let you in there.  You will be warm in a very few minutes Bruin,”  the tiger replied.

      “You are so stupid cat,”  someone said.  Then Bruin saw the tiger collapse onto the grass.  Looking round, Bruin saw Constance standing on the grass, looking down at the tiger she’d just knocked unconscious.

       “He’s so stupid,”  she said to Bruin, “mouthing off about his plans to snowy.  Snowy told me, and I dealt with him.  Now he’s busted, and so are you.  You will have to do a lot more to get back into the community than sneak into the house and hope we don’t notice.  What you did to Ringo was disgusting in the extreme, and you will not be able to redeem yourself that easily.”

     “Someone threw a full bottle of water at me!”  Bruin wined.

      “That was Leo,”  Constance said, “you must understand how upset he is about what you did to his cub.  Be thankful the top wasn’t on the bottle.  Now that would have really hurt.  Oh by the way, nice clean paws you have there, glad to see the water came in useful after all.”  Bruin looked at Constance.

     “Look Constance,”  he said, “I don’t want to be out here!  I know I did wrong throwing the ocelot out of the house, but I hate him so much!”

      “Why do you hate him?”  Constance asked, “he’s done nothing to harm you.  You didn’t give him a chance to prove himself.”

     “I just don’t like him,,”  Bruin replied.

    “But you physically threw him out of the house!”  Constance said, “you deserve no sympathy.”  The tiger began to wake up.

     “My head hurts,”  he moaned.

     “So it should,”  Constance replied, “I have hard paws, and you deserve everything you got for plotting to get Bruin into the house by the back door!”  The tiger moved his head a little and wished he hadn’t.  the garden spun and then turned upside-down.  Whimpering with distress, the disgraced snow tiger laid his head back on the grass.

     “I feel so ill!”  he whimpered.

     “I’ll get Clarence and Tigger to help carry you into the house,”  Constance said.  Then she had another thought.

     “”No I won’t do that,”  she said, “As you are out here now, I will leave you here with Bruin, then maybe you both can learn a lesson.”  With that she walked away.  Bruin watched Constance shamble away.

     “well, now what do we do?”  Bruin asked, “we’re stuck out here, my paws are already freezing!”

     We’ll have to curl up together for warmth ,”  the white tiger said, “bury our paws in each other’s fur, that kind of thing.”  Bruin was horrified at the thought of curling up with another male, but knew he’d have to do so to survive.  The tiger and brown bear curled up together beneath the bush, the snow tiger doing his best to insulate Bruin from the worst of the cold.  Rain started falling, and the bush refuge became waterlogged.

     “My paws are all wet, yuck!”  the white tiger complained.

     “I’m rapidly getting used to it,”  Bruin replied, “just let them get wet.  That’s all you can do.”  Soon however, Bruin and the snow tiger were massaging each other’s paws to keep feeling in them.  The two outcasts shivered their way through the day.  Night was a different matter.


The tiger and bear must have slept, for when they woke it was dark.  Their bodies and paws frozen, they tried to get some warmth back by rubbing each other down from nose to tail.  They loathed to call what they were doing massage, due to the implications of the term, but that’s exactly what they were doing.  The massage brought warmth back to them, but they knew it was only temporary.

     “We must try and get back into the house!”  The tiger mewed, “It’s horrible out here!”

     “How can we?”  Bruin asked, “I’m thrown out for booting the ocelot out of the house, and you’re out for trying to help me get back in.  We’re finished!”

      “maybe not,”  someone said.  Bruin looked round him and then saw who’d spoken, it was Whitie.

     “What are you doing out here Whitie?”  Bruin asked.

     Constance sent me out here,”  the snow leopard cub replied, “she says you and the snow tiger can redeem yourselves if you do a few things.  Which will be spoken of when you get back in the house.”  Bruin and the snow tiger followed Whitie to the back door, where she let them in.  Doing their best to wipe their paws on the mat, the bear and the snow tiger padded into the house.  When they entered the living room, Bruin and the snow tiger met with a reception party, who had soapy water to wash their fur and paws, and towels to dry them off.  Once the bear and the tiger were washed and dried, they settled down to hear their punishments.


Matilda looked at the two disgraced animals.

     “You two have done bad things,”  she said, “I’ve never seen or heard of such dreadful behaviour!  Bruin, you attacked a defenceless creature for no reason, and as for you master snow tiger, you plotted to get Bruin back in by the back door.  Bruin will be punished severely for his crime.  He will be sent out into the woods for a week, to live like a wild bear, to get cold paws, to feel what it is like to be alone.  You tiger, will be banned from playing with the other cubs for the same period, and you will help the otters with preparation of the veg fish mix.”  Matilda knew the tiger cubs hated getting their paws dirty, and now this one would have to.  Bruin hid his face in his paws.

     “I can’t do a week out there!”  he whimpered, “my paws are already painful from the day and a half I have already spent out there.  He held his left forepaw up for inspection, and the scuffed and sore pads were plain to see.

     “how would it be if you were forced to apologise to Ringo?”  Leo asked.  Bruin looked at the ocelot nestled between Leo’s paws.

       “I can’t apologise to him!”  Bruin snapped, his hatred for the cat surfacing.

      “out you go then,”  Isaac said, shoving bruin out of the house.



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