Little bear Honeypaw

Guido AERTS

Isn’t that a funny name for a bear?
Maybe not, because bears are fond of honey.
How come this little bear got his name?
As soon as bears are born they can walk around. Most animals with four paws can do so, such as horses, calves, kittens, puppies and sheep but also wild animals such as lions, tigers and bears.
That is why mummy and daddy bear allow little Honeypaw to walk all by himself. He runs through the woods and prairies and rolls down the hills like a thick brown ball.
In the fields he discovers all kind of animals. Green grasshoppers, black bugs and ants crawl around on the ground. In the air he sees butterflies, flies and even damselflies.
Damselflies have a long abdomen and light blue wings. When they fly they look like helicopters. Now and then a fly sits on the nose of the bear. He then shakes his head to chase it. On a place with a lot of flowers he notices small animals that totally disappear into the flower. He hears them buzz and sees them fly away.
At home, he asks mother bear what kind of animals they are? She tells him: “They are bees. Human beings keep them in huge beehives with a lot of small rooms. In these rooms they produce honey. When they crawl into flowers they find sweet nectar and pollen. They turn the nectar into honey and they feed themselves with the pollen. They produce such a lot of honey that human beings and the other animals can eat it. Human beings keep the honey in glass jars. Not all bees live in beehives. They also build rooms in trees are in other places. Other animals can then find and taste their honey.
Bears have big claws. The places where bees hide their honey are strongly build. When the bear wants some honey, he will have to use his claws to break the construction. Of course it is not very pleasant for the bees, but as they have plenty of honey, they leave the bear alone. So, that is why we called you Honeypaw. When you will be tall you will certainly put your claws into the honey.”
Little bear sighs after this long story about bees. Though he is still small, tomorrow, he will try to find some honey.
The day after, he rolls down the hills again and sees a huge plant with plenty of flowers filled with bees. He tries to follow them when they fly away in order to find out where they will hide their honey. He sees how they enter into green wooden boxes. Suddenly he sees a man who is dressed in white clothes and a big hat with a veil. Honeypaw quickly hides in the bushes. Out of the boxes, the man removes frames of which a yellow substance is dripping. Could this be honey wonders little bear.
The white man now brings the frames to a stable. Little bear climbs on a bench and looks through a window. Behind it, he sees a row of jars. The man takes a bike and rides away. He leaves the door open, so Honeypaw can go inside.
On a table are some open jars with a golden liquid. Little bear stands on his hind legs end tries to hold himself at the table with his forelegs. With his long nails he hits one of the jars that falls on the ground. The glass is broken. Little bear smells the sweet liquid and puts his paw in it. He then licks his paw and tastes something he has never tasted before. This is so good! Is this honey? It must be. He gets greedy and licks the jar with his long tongue. There is a sharp piece of glass that cuts his tongue.
This hurts real bad and little bear runs outside and hurries home.
Mummy bear takes care of him and asks: “How did you hurt your tongue?”
Little bear confesses everything and says: “Honey is the best there is in the whole world.”
Mummy bear laughs and says: “You see, we choose the right name for you, Honeypaw, but you have to eat with you paws and be more careful when you use your tongue.”

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