It was in the warm days of summer, and the Leader of the Clan had called for his fellow warriors and families to come back during the time of the new moon. Ominous signs of distress were apparent, as the members of the Clan had searched out distant fertile ground to plant crops and hunt for game over time, and the trails back were now greater with each succeeding year.
The Clan Leader needed a sign, that in the Dark of the Moon, all would be well with the family, as they made their individual ways over trails marked by the blazes on tree trunks, to the streams that were full of trout, back to the hidden wilderness settlement where only the brave could feast and tell tales of the wisdom gained from their time away.
The Clan Leader looked up to heaven and dreamed of the Coyote, who from decades before, its soul was released, for help in this sign. In the darkness of the sky, with only the stars overhead, the Clan Leader called out to the soul of the Coyote, for the time was near, and only a few warriors had yet set camp along the hills to watch over the settlement. They were Farmer, and the other, known as the Fuzzy Uncle.
That early evening, the sun was settling below the tree line of the western mountain. Sarah, known by all as the Princess of Knowledge, was tending the fire assisting the Clan Mother known as Shari, in making preparations for the evening feast. It was Princess Sarah that first sensed that something was wrong. Along the shadows of the trees of the western slope, Princess Sarah noticed a bear, black in color, was making its way into the camp.
Sarah screamed out the alarm, and both the Clan Leader and his son, a fierce tribal leader named Jesse, went quickly into the lodge to grab weapons of choice. While the Clan Leader mounted a powerful and sure-footed stead, Jesse took aim and sent an arrow at the bear as a warning, which was now wandering through the camp of the Fuzzy Uncle, where a satchel of fermented barley lain, waiting to be cooled inside the lodge, so that later it could quench the thirst of Clan members.
The bear knew that fermented barley would bring high spirits and joy to members of the clan, so it reached out, and without breaking stride, snatched the pack, and headed down the dusty path, where he thought he was safe. But, the bear did not know that the Clan Leader was stalking him, and tracked his every move away from the wilderness camp.
All of a sudden, there came this thunderous racket and hollering from down the dusty path. The Clan Leader spotted the bear with the stolen rucksack of the precious elixir, and fired over the head of the bear, less wanting to hurt it, but also, to not upset the high council who governed over the territory.
One…two…three…four…came volley after volley of anger from the Clan Leader. No bear was going to steal precious fermented barley from this camp! The Clan Leader cursed the bear, and promised on his soul to protect the camp from all predators.
The bear, knowing he met his match with the Leader, saw the evil of his ways. It dropped the satchel on the pathway, and wondered to a brook nearby. But, by this time, Jesse came from around a pine tree, and fired one more arrow, which grazed the bear as a final warning.
It roared back a defiant howl, forded the brook, and swiftly moved up the northern flank of the mountain, only to gaze back one more time at the camp, now a joy with the fact that no one was harmed, and that the elixir was safe and back in the hands of the family. Farmer and the Fuzzy Uncle were not so persuaded, and so, that evening, they stayed in the relative safety of the lodge.
As each day passed, and more of the clan made their way through the many trails to the camp, the story was again told of the brazen attempt of this bear. Worried that the bear might again return, on the night of the great feast, a large campfire was made. The clan circled the campfire, with their jars of fermented libations, waiting for a sign, perhaps from the Coyote whose soul was released many years before.
As the hours passed, the fire was replenished, and red embers drifted into the cool sky that was shimmering with many stars, out of the northwest it came; a streaking yellow point of light never seen in the territory heavens before. It passed silent directly overhead; never blinking among the other stars, then within minutes disappeared over southeast hills. The Clan Mother, who was concerned over the safety of her family, asked an Elder, full of wisdom, for guidance.
The Elder, deep in thought, took a long twig, and made many markings in the dirt near where everyone sat by the fire. He then twisted his head and gazed at the heavens for many minutes, and when he looked back down, he saw all of the faces that waited for a reply.
Speaking with authority, the Elder, told ancestral lore to the clan, of a dog star, and how the Coyote must have found favor from the warriors of doing the righteous deed of scaring away the bear that stole the liquid barley. This streak of light must have indeed been a sign from that dog star. After he spoke, there was only silence around the glowing fire, and the Elder, parched from thirst, took a jar of fermented barley that was by his side, and emptied it as an offering to the soul of the Coyote for the safety of the clan.
Thus, the legend that became known as the Beer Bear was born.
Sharis' Flower Garden drew some outside visitors this year...Flamingoes from Cheektowaga!
Robins' recipe for great
The Annual Horseshoe Tournament - Chairman, John Major