Walter Strasser

A polar bear on the way to Insor




For Chiara (who I had to make a little younger for the story) and for Mia (who stays as she is)


Despite the countless dangers that threaten him behind this door, he feels a strangely comforting inner warmth as he nervously sniffs the massive, dark wooden door. Unusual noises reach his ears: a crackling, a cracking, an excited hum of human voices. He asks himself: What kind of place is this? He hesitates whether he should actually dare to go inside this strange-smelling cave. Maybe there is a danger lurking there, something sharp, something hard, something evil that he hasn't figured out in his confused thoughts of the last few days. He does not know. He feels lonely and lost, so close to this strange world.

An angry and greedy polar bear wouldn't hesitate, but a level-headed polar bear like First of four could never take such important decisions lightly. Breaking into a human cave, simply has to be carefully considered.
So he first looks through one of those beautifully glittering things in the wall. In there, around a fully laid table with lots of steaming food, sits a family of people happily filling their bellies. The astonished bear sees a father grinning broadly at the end of the table, a mother with an admonishing index finger, two little girls who are teasingly arguing, and a dog lying bored at their feet. From the corner of his eye, the bear sees them laughing happily, making jokes and eating. All the way outside he smells the pungent scent of food, candles and all sorts of odds and ends that he doesn't know. With huge eyes he absorbs the light from the lamps that illuminate the walls and furniture. Near the wall is a flickering box that makes strange noises and he can't figure it out at all. He briefly looks at the many pictures of the family on the wall. He sees them smiling, waving, posing. Then he knows that he has a real family in front of him, how they are happy, how they belong together, how they love each other. Exactly how he had always wanted it.

Encouraged, First of four steps resolutely to the front door. He doesn't know the rules - how should he - and doesn't know that the way to enter someone else's home is to knock on the door and wait for someone to say 'come in'. First of four has never heard of such noble customs before. He simply takes a deep breath as if he were about to blow an annoying fly out of his fur, tenses his strong muscles and strikes with his powerful paws. Once. Twice. 3 times. Like a cocky child tearing up a paper boat.
The door crashes open and First of four steps trembling into the room. When he crosses the threshold, he no longer understands the world. Never in his wildest dreams would he have expected something so beautiful.
First of four is really delighted, and as his mother taught him, he first roars an unmistakable “Rooooaaaaarrr!” into the room. So loud that the house shakes.
And since, as everyone knows, twice is more effective than once, he roars again: “Rooooaaaaarrr!”

Well, maybe a little too loud for a greeting, but the bear has nothing other than a greeting in mind .



First of four, who spends his everyday life on the edge of the inhospitable Arctic is still a young bear. He is just three and a half years old. He did not come to this strange human cave to plunder, rob or eat. Oh no, First of four would never do something so disgusting. He just wanted to pay a friendly visit to the residents of this house. He would like to know more about some of the things that touch his heart and make him curious. He expects a lot of information from these small, delicate two-legged creatures, a species that believes itself to be so infallible that it is capable of ruling the world.
First of four had watched the humans closely. He quickly realized how clumsy and fragile these two-legged creatures are in the wild. He acknowledged this with a broad, satisfied smile. People avoid the ice. They live on ice-free meadows, bare beaches and between jagged rocks. They are timid and prefer to seek out homes that they have previously put together with painstaking, detailed work. He doesn't understand why these people - like himself - don't just find a cave to survive. That would be much easier and safer. Based on all his knowledge, he wouldn't have really believed them capable of such nonsense. But it's definitely worth a try, thought the bear.


First of four has never tried human flesh. He is a level-headed bear who likes to keep his eyes and nostrils open, but just as likes to look down in violence. First of four knows no lust for blood. He also has no desire for meat. In fact, First of four, just finds meat disgusting. In his cozy, damp cave he has created a small cucumber garden that is thriving. He loves these cucumbers very much. He fertilizes them with his fresh piles. Because of the constant moisture, he never has to water them. There is little light in the cave, but this particular type of cucumber thrives in the dark.
This morning after getting up, like so many times before, he sat on the plateau in front of his cave for hours. He had been munching on one of the cucumbers, enjoying the fresh, cold wind. People rarely come near him. But he can constantly watch them from a distance as they hunt seals or birds with their loudly thundering sticks. But so far they have never targeted him himself. It's true, he had thought, nobody, really nobody, would advise you to get close to a human person. They are sneaky and extremely dangerous and will stop at nothing. But since bears, especially polar bears, are stubborn, unteachable and also quite brave, nothing and no one could stop First of four from going down to the house.


And so he stands there, lost, but his smile, characterized by a wide gap in his teeth, shines. The bear, aware of the people's stares, opens his mouth to say something, but before he can utter a single word, the small, delicate creatures jump up as if on an invisible signal and storm out of the room, hollering. Their hands twirl merrily in the air as they flee down the hallway toward the back exit. The dog appears to be in his later years. His movements are sluggish and it becomes clear to the bear that the poor dog only has three legs. With a limping gait that reveals both his tenacity and his vulnerability, he follows people as quickly as he can. Which isn't very fast, as the bear has to admit pityingly. So the dog limps down the aisle, whines and tucks his tail for safety. Then the dog is outside and the back door slams: “Rhump”.

The bear can barely close his mouth in astonishment. “Uh oh!” As his mom used to say, “Close your mouth, it smells like trouble.”
The chairs and a chest of drawers tipped over. Dishes, glasses and pictures lie broken and scattered on the floor. He looks at the beautiful shiny floor that he has scratched with his sharp claws. Then he turns his gaze to the bulky entrance door, which hangs in tatters in the frame, and sighs regretfully: "Oh - oh dear mine, dear mine."
He hadn't wanted any of that. It would never have occurred to him to hurt someone or scare them like that.
He sinks heavily to the floor in one corner of the room. He closes his eyes and wishes his mom was with him - or his brothers. Oh, if only everything were like it used to be before...yes before.
So while the bear is sinking into his sadness, he doesn't notice how the back door opens a crack and the three-legged dog limps back into the room, accompanied by heroic yapping. The dog has recovered surprisingly well and confidently hops down the aisle on his three legs. He is hardly impressed by the sight of the supposed beast. The dog, whose hackles stand up slightly and whose tail points like a hand to twelve o'clock, looks around. With a self-confident shake, he surveys the devastated room, his gaze marked by astonishment. An impertinence of unprecedented proportions, he thinks. And to show who is now in charge in the house again, he says indignantly:

"Oh you dimwit, how dare you!"
Secretly he's a little happy that this mess can't be blamed on him for once. The bear briefly raises its head and makes a quiet and timid “Rooaarr!”

The dog, completely unimpressed by the ridiculous rumble, replies: “Oh, shut up!” Whereupon the bear, completely perplexed, snorts through his nose and says indignantly “that is -”.
There was no way the bear expected the dog to react so confidently and rudely. His gaze wanders uncertainly around the room as he tries to organize his thoughts. »Don't have to be mean right away. What’s wrong with that dog?” he whispers, trying to calm himself down.
Of course the dog is not afraid. Or, well, if he has, it's not his intention to show it. And - it's worth mentioning how offended the three-legged dog now feels. Because without support, his people threw him into the clutches of the monster
I'm not a complete mess, he thinks and looks not at the bear, but at an invisible point on the wall. They would easily sell what was left of me to a can factory.

Lovely family.
He says loudly to the bear: “I always thought you were intelligent animals. When I look at you and this, I have my doubts.”
The dog limps around the dining table twice on its three legs and sniffs the air. “Everything’s still there,” he grumbles contentedly. It seems the bear didn't come in here for the food, he thinks.
To show those traitors out there, how seriously he takes his role as protector of the house, the dog growls and bares his teeth. So loud and intense, that they definitely can't ignore him outside.
First of four now flinches and retreats into his corner. He says tearfully: "I didn't know that people didn't like bears in their caves."
“So you didn’t know that?” says the dog mockingly.
"I didn't think about it."
"So you didn’t?”
"Really not."
"Then you're either a rarely stupid bear, or a rarely brazen bear."
First of four sniffles and rubs his ears sheepishly with one paw. "I didn't mean any harm to anyone."
“Unfortunately that’s not what it looks like here.”
“Yeah, do you think this mess you made with your big butt is pretty? Why do you even want to come here? You can't just crash into a people's house, scare people and smash the house at the same time!"
»It really wasn't on purpose. I just wanted to chat a little.”
"Chat? Maybe not loot it?” asks the dog suspiciously.
“Oh, I beg you,” says the bear, vehemently rejecting this suggestion.
»That answers my question from before. Obviously you're a stupid bear. Well, no offense. Apparently you are still a young bear. Not very familiar with the dangers and shoals of life. I promise you one thing, such a careless entry into a finger man's house can quickly cost you your fur. I guarantee you that, if a fingerperson gets you in the sights of his rifle, he'll blatantly blast you over the edge and lay you on the floor in front of his bed - dead!”
“It’s terrible,” and the bear shakes violently, “don’t people allow themselves to be convinced somehow?”
"Convince? From what?"
"To talk to me."
»Do you have roof damage? The finger people have fingers to screw with you. So why should they talk to you? They pet us and give meaningless orders. They want us to bring sticks or run after a ball. They’re really happy about it – these people. Most trivial entertainment – that’s what they say.”
Following a sudden inspiration, he asks the bear: “Can you dance?”
“Never tried it before.”
“So you’re not a dancing bear?” The bear shakes his head regretfully.
"Too bad for you - it would be extremely helpful with the whole thing."
»I can try it...”
“You shouldn't expect anyone with a half-normal head to talk to a bear. Nobody is that tired of life. What’s your name anyway?”
“First of four,” says the bear. And suddenly he beamed again. Because the name is always the first step to better communication.
“First of four?” asks the dog, not very pleased, “that means there are at least three more of your kind hanging around here?”
“Oh no,” says the bear sadly, “I’m all alone. No one accompanied me.”
"Then you ran away?" Children do that every now and then.”
"I didn't run away and no one accompanied me... no one is there anymore."
"Your father will still be out there somewhere - and your siblings..."
"No nobody."
"They're below."
"Below? What is that? What does that mean? Below! Where down below?”
"I don't know it. My mom explained to me that my siblings were all already there and that she would be going there very soon too. This world just wouldn't be the same anymore, she said. The ice, it was the ice, she complained again and again. And now she’s gone and left me behind.”
"Hmm," ponders the dog, "it almost seems as if your decision to come here wasn't so rash after all."
“Do you think people could help me?”
»Oh boy, the finger people are completely unsuitable for such important tasks and challenges. Although they have very practical fingers, they also use them for picking their noses. So you can't tell too much about such creatures. However, I'll see what I can do - unless...?"
“Unless you’re just looking for a ruse to eat us all.”
"I would never do that."
Although the dog is suspicious by nature, he cannot detect insincerity in the bear's eyes. So he replies: “Well, I believe you.”
"I would never eat a human being."
»Look at me, obviously I'm a dog and not one of those mindless human beings.«
"I'm well aware of that," the bear chuckles and says: "I'm an independent, self-sufficient person and always carry my provisions with me."
"You can't be serious."

"Of course, just look at my cucumber!"
The bear puts his paw under one armpit and pulls a cucumber out of the thick fur. Similar to cucumbers as we know them, only the color is a dark, unappetizing gray.
This is getting better and better, a bear eating cucumbers, the dog thinks.
“Cared for carefully, these cucumbers are a real delicacy,” the bear smacks his bulging lips with relish. “Would you like to try some?”
»On a cucumber? No, really not. I have something more tempting on my nose.”
The bear has no idea about the dog's desires and doesn't notice the drool that has been running out of his mouth the whole time.
“I would certainly taste it,” says the dog forgivingly, “but look up there – you’re taller than me, describe to me what you see.”
He points his wet snout towards the table.
"I don't really know what you mean?"
»Just look there – at the table, nestled among all the human junk. The finger people not only use their fingers to kill, they also use them to conjure up delicacies from what they have killed. Amazing but true. So what do you see? I can sniff it out, but I'd like to see firsthand what edible things are up there."
The fact is, the dog's sense of smell is no longer the best, and the excitement of the moment could easily deceive him. All the effort wouldn't be worth it for a paltry sandwich. So he pushes the bear a little: “Well? I'm waiting?"
“I don’t need to see it,” says the bear calmly, “I can smell it.”
He closes his eyes and sniffs the air.
“All right, then tell me what you smell, you stupid bear,” demands the dog impatiently. He can't wait to dig into the food.
“I smelled it outside on the way here,” says the bear proudly. »It's something like a stew - with meat, potatoes and vegetables. A colorful variety of spices that I don't know. But there are no cucumbers.” He licks his lips and looks at the dog with pity.
“What a surprise,” the dog mocks, “in times gone by I would have sniffed out every single ingredient nineteen kilometers into the wind. Today my sense of smell can't even reach from the table to here. But your cucumber - or is it your armpit sweat? - I'm telling you, it's hanging in the air." He wrinkles his nose and gives the bear a reproachful look. The bear feels a little uncomfortable and retreats deeper into his corner

“Well, don’t take it so hard,” says the dog in a soothing voice, “perhaps I was a little too direct. As you've probably noticed, I'm not a dog who submits easily. I have my pride and dignity that I don't want to give up. I am a dog who respects himself and also expects respect from others. I owe my high intelligence to my noble German family tree. I am a well-known white-haired German Pomeranian, in direct line to the old nobility with “von und zu”.«
The dog straightens his back, raises his muzzle to the sky and barks loudly and clearly: "May I introduce myself: Wilhelm - Wilhelm von Wangenschmatz - German nobility... of course! As anyone can easily see, I have long, dense fur - and underneath it is a thick down that protects me from the cold. In my younger years - admittedly a while ago - I was characterized by my agility, cheerfulness and sociability. I was and am rather suspicious of strangers and therefore well suited as a guard dog.«

The bear looks at him with wide eyes without saying a word. He is impressed by the little dog who talks so much and knows so much. He has never seen a dog like this.
"Before you try to ask me what cruel circumstances force me to strut through life on three legs, let me tell you that, in my homeland, the rabble has to stop in their toot-tuts, when the nobility crosses the street. But here, in this Barren 
wasteland only very few people show their respect to the aristocracy. And that's just how it happened. Blown me off the road like a dead leaf... Well, it's been a long time and I'm getting along quite well. If you want, you can call me Wilhelm, but - under no circumstances Willi - that should be clear right away. It’s enough for the mindless two-legged creatures to call me like that.”
“Willi is a pretty nice name,” the bear remarks sensitively, barely able to imagine what it must be like to live on just three legs.
“I warned you!” the dog replies, pulls up his lips, growls half-heartedly and says forgivingly: “Well, you’re forgiven. Maybe you're wondering how I, a noble European, ended up in this inhospitable area, well, what can I say. It's the result of human missteps and confusions - that's all you need to know." He pauses briefly and lets out a deep sigh.
“Did you have a sad life?”
"Sad? Well, not really. But we don't lead a life as unfettered as a bear knows. Whether here or there, whether 'von und zu', dogs are now just people's beloved companions - without self-respect or assertiveness. Sometimes I wonder why we gave up on ourselves so much. Even the nobility somehow and at some point forgot themselves. We allow them to trim our tails and our ears. Castrate us, deform our noses, put our strong bodies on thin legs. We allow ourselves to be locked in baskets and cages, led on leashes and collars, and distracted with balls and sticks. We let them train us, praise us, punish us, feed us and pet us. We let them take away everything that defines us, what makes us dogs. They want us to work for them, to guard and protect them, to be their best friends, their cuddly toys, to love them unconditionally - no matter how terribly they treat us. We usually do that too - it's our nature. If we defend ourselves against their mistreatment, perhaps scratching them lightly, they react in anger at our supposed betrayal by knocking our teeth out of our mouths. You bears haven't completely given up on yourselves yet, that's commendable. I could tell you terrible things… but you’re too young for that.”
“This is terrible!” the bear exclaims in shock. “How can you endure this?”
"We endure it because we have to," replies the animal with a sigh.
The bear nods, his eyes shining with new understanding and determination. “Can’t you find the strength of a bear within yourself?”
"That's the attitude," says the dog with a sympathetic smile that seems sincere despite the circumstances. "We have no choice. We are bound to the finger people, just as you are bound to the whims of nature. By the way, it's about time we showed everyone out there that we didn't fall asleep over a cozy coffee and honeycake chat.«
The bear, who, given his age, is not yet open to such difficult topics and whose thoughts are understandably as erratic as a delicate gazelle on a morning excursion, giggles and says: “I almost like honeycake more than my cucumber.”
»That's what you look like. You honeycake bear.” The dog also smiles and doesn’t think it’s so bad to have a bear in the apartment anymore. He thinks: You could easily get used to this fool.


The bear looks at him lovingly and asks: “What should we do?” The dog sighs and says: “We? Well, basically I have nothing to fear. Either a reward or a kick in my backside. There will probably be one of the two. It just depends... but one thing is clear - they will definitely shoot you in the fur. You have violated her honor..."
"I didn't do anything to them."
»They don't care. If they're hungry, they'll destroy you. If you threaten them or wander into their territory, they'll crush you. And if none of that applies - then they call it sport and you're done too. People are happy as long as they can kill something.«
“But do they also crush dogs?” asks the bear.
“I wouldn't bet on it ,” replies the dog, “on honor and conscience. Hard to find among these two-legged creatures. It's hard to trust them. If you were a bear, they would treat you like a wandering hoodlum or man-eater. Just wait and see, soon we'll hear a crash and the back door will open... Bears are just not lap dogs - that's well known in the area. I'd like to say otherwise, but they show something like kindness to a kitten, but certainly not to a mighty bear.'
The bear hasn't been feeling well for some time now. "I'm just a little bear, not fully grown and hardly dangerous."
“They don’t care,” says the dog.
"What should I do now?"
“I’m thinking about that right now,” says the dog with a businesslike expression, "We don't have many options, I'm sorry to say. And we're just wasting time here, so my suggestion: let her know for now that you're still here and still pretty grumpy."
The bear growls - but only quietly; he says, "I really don't have the motivation to do that at the moment."
“Oh,” says the dog, slightly annoyed, “are we already feeling uncomfortable? But you should have thought about that beforehand. Go over and look out the window. We should know better what they're up to. First you come in here like a tornado, tearing everything down, and now when it matters most, you retreat. You forgot you're a bear?"
Reluctantly and with difficulty, the bear rises from its crouching position and creeps lazily towards the window. There he crouches down, groaning heavily, reluctantly opens his mouth and says timidly: “Brum brum!”
»Oh, dear dog paw - you're not in a petting zoo here. Please get up and look out the window. They should look into your dangerous eyes.” The dog, groaning, pulls himself over the chair onto the table, where he immediately unabashedly attacks the food.
“But if I don’t feel like it,” says the bear defiantly.
The dog smacks his lips and says with full cheeks: “Who is the expert here for well-staged drama? So please do as I tell you!”
"It's okay," says the bear, a little surprised at the violent words against him. “Then I’ll take a look.”
The bear stretches and stretches up just enough to be able to look outside through the flashin glass. “What do you see?” the dog asks, bored but greedily gobbling.
"The two big people and the two small people who violently beat their bodies with their own arms and hop from one leg to the other."
“Fine, really fine.”
“She looked at me.”
"The girl. It looked me right in the eye.”
“Which one, the small one or the taller one?”
"The taller one."
»Chestnut head – of course.«
»It seems as if it is not afraid. It smiled.”
“This beast, chestnut head thinks everything here is just fun. Wait a minute - you really shulde bare your teeth.”
The bear twists his mouth, shows his considerable gap in his teeth and says: “Ofay.”
"She's foming foser."
"What? What are you talking about? Look at me.”
“Why fhen?”
»Well, that's right. Keep it up and you'll be hanging on the wall faster than you can say peep."
"Oh shut up, when you grin like that, her heart melts, she thinks you're a teddy bear."
"I like fer", says the bear defiantly, and somehow flattered.


Bare your yellow teeth properly,” the dog admonishes him fiercely. “Little Chestnut head deserves it no other way. She ties bows in my hair and paints my toenails - she deserves a rub down."
Reluctantly, First of four bares his fangs and licks his nose with his thick, pink tongue. He feels really horrible when he sees the girl freeze in shock. “Poor, poor baby, I think she’s crying,” says the bear sadly.
“It won’t do any harm,” says the dog happily and jumps down from the table, full of food. »If you're hungry, feel free to help yourself. There’s still plenty left.”
»Oh no, I don't even like my cucumber anymore. The poor human child.”
»A valuable principle for life: Before you decide to initiate a change in this world or take a significant step, as you are doing today, you should not only be willing to take a risk, but also be open to learn new things. Often the learning process is not as pleasant as one would like. There are just too many unpleasant things and inconvenient truths in this world..."
The dog should tell the bear about these unpleasant facts. But when he looks at the bear, like a heap of misery, crouching under the window and looking into its sad face, he has doubts. In his eyes he recognizes this infinitely lonely lament for his family, for the present, for the future. The dog shakes his head sympathetically. Can he tell the bear that their species is threatened with extinction, that they are still hunted for their fur, that climate change is melting away the ice cover that is so vital to their survival? The dog has lived in this inhospitably cold area long enough to know about polar bears. Everyone here knows the fact that polar bears are solitary animals and occasionally eat the cubs to get the females ready to mate again. Even the females are not safe from hungry males.
All of this, as well as the true meaning of 'down', is what the dog would have to explain to the bear. The dog clears his throat, wiggles, jerks and clears his throat again. He thinks it's logical and it is right not to hide anything from the bear and not to put any dreams into his head.
On the other hand, the bear is still so young, and what else but dreams could you offer a young bear in this futureless situation? The dog sits completely still for a while. It seems as if he listens to himself until he decides to push reason aside in order to open up a new, different, better world for the bear. “To Windsor,” he says into the silence.
“Wha-at?” asks the bear.
“It looks like a thought just occurred to me. To Windsor. You should definitely go to Windsor.”
The bear now beams again and says: “To Insor?”
“With all your problems, there is no better place for you than in Windsor!” says the dog with the necessary emphasis. He looks at the bear out of the corner of his eye to see how it resonates with him.
“Insor?” the bear murmurs dreamily.
“Windsor,” the dog corrects him.
“Oh yes, Insor, that sounds really cute.”
»Okay, whatever you say. Say what you want. Insor – Windsor. That's fine with me." The dog rolls his eyes and asks: "Do you like drinking tea?"
“Yes, why not?” the bear replies, a little mockingly. He says artificially: “Every now and then I like to drink a frop of Fea.”
"Ah," says the dog. It's obvious that the bear has never had tea before in his life. “I have it on good authority that you are not the first bear to feel brave enough to make contact with a fingerperson. Well, as I recall, it wasn't a polar bear like you, but a brown bear."
“A brown bear?”
"That's right, a brown guy, quite elegant, with a red hat and blue coat."
“And you think this person would also greet a white bear like me? Without running away from me in fear?”
“Such a person is not afraid of anything. Especially not in front of a – well, an acceptable white one.”

"Thank you."
“Well, no thanks.”
“What were they talking about?”
»Oh, I haven't the slightest idea. It was probably about tea, a sandwich and a handbag...”
First of four clears his throat and says, “This is what happens when you meet a brown one. Extremely original – tea, a sandwich and a handbag. I don't want to present myself better than necessary, but mentally we are far superior to the Browns."
“There isn’t a brown one present who would deny that.”
“Well, I’d take a chance,” says the bear confidently.
The dog coughs and says, “No need to fluff you up. He was just the first. You don't have to be ashamed of being second somewhere. The high-ranking personality won’t care…”
"High- ranking fersonlity...?"
“Well, the Queen, you fool.”
"Queen? … Of what?"
“From Windsor. I'm listening to a monkey, you dont know the Queen of Windsor?"
“I know the president of the world,” says the bear, “well, at least by name.”
»And what's in it for you? The president wouldn't invite you to tea in his life."
“Why not, does he not like fea?”
“He prefers to drink whiskey, and I can't say whether he's that good with bears. I wouldn't like to risk it. As president of the world, you don't have that much time to drink tea - or sip whiskey. Or time to meet a clumsy polar bear for a chat. He has enough to do keeping order in the world.”
“Is he having fun with it, the President?”
"Fun? A president of the world doesn't need to have fun. Just like he doesn't have to be lovable. He has to know where to go..."
"And ? Does he know where to go?”
"No idea. He’ll probably know.”
"And the Queen of Insor, does she know where to go?"
“She drank tea with a bear, what do you think…?”
“Yes, she knows where to go, without a doubt,” says the bear with anticipation and relief. “How do I get to Insor to this bear-friendly Queen?” asks First of four and the dog answers without hesitation: “Well, by bus - motorbus of course, how else?”
Astonished, the bear twists his mouth into an infinitely wide smile and asks: “By dus?”
“What?” asks the dog, thinking he didn’t hear correctly.

»I've always fanted to fravel with the dus.«
“Say… I don’t understand a word.”
“Sorry dorry.”
“Well, it’s fine, as long as you’re having fun.”
The bear is now smiling a little less blissfully and is excitedly sucking on his cucumber. “So – when is he going to go - the Dus?” he asks.
»Well, always go slowly with the young horses. We still have to work on you a bit. I have to prepare you for an adventure like this.”

»Well, what do you think? Do you think the bus driver would just let a clumsy polar bear get on his bus?”
"He does not?"
The dog rises and jumps with remarkable dexterity

He puts three legs on a low bench and announces: "This requires a certain degree of finesse in the planning."
"Oh dear," sighs the bear, "I was always only the fourth in the planning."

"Why can't I doubt that," replies the dog with a dry undertone.
“To fupid too…” the bear mutters, disappointed.
»You say it, my friend, you say it. But don't worry, these people aren't so smart that we couldn't outsmart them. Do you know? - it's our eyes that make the difference..." The dog puts on his most sincere look, throws it at the bear and says: "It's not bad, is it?"
The bear grins and says: “Makes fomething.”
"You could now add a quiet whine and gently lick the person's hand. How many hearts do you think I'll melt with this? Of course you can't do that, only a dog of the old nobility like me can do that. A bear better not lick the backs of your hands. I have a better tactic for you.

The other one had a hat. We have to stick with this tactic. It was very clever of him - for a brown one, I mean."
“Oh well, so…”
"Watch out. Do you see that hat over there? A person of the world must always wear a hat. Only people with hats are allowed to teach others, give orders and be self-centered. A policeman can be a nice guy in private, but once he puts his hat on, it's better to take cover from him."
The bear nervously sniffs his cucumber. He says defiantly: »Oh, I don’t really know. I think, well, how should I put it- I guess I'm just not the type of bear - to wear a hat.«
»I understand«, says the dog, gritting his teeth. »But look«, he says, »a hat like that is really pretty and suits everyone. It all depends on how you wear it and how you move with it. You are a fearsome and powerful bear, how could a hat like this not suit you? Of course you have to stand on two feet. But you can do that easely. And you have to hide your ears well under the hat. People don’t have ears as beautiful as we do.”
“But,” the bear begins, as he carefully and a little awkwardly pulls his hat over his head. »Am I also forced to chat with the bus driver?«

"I'm not particularly talkative," the bear admits, with a hint of hesitation in his voice.
“Well, that could actually be a hindrance. You're really not the most talkative. But look there on the sofa, do you see that little device? This is an iPhone - that's what people call it - I call it a quack- frog because it only makes shrill and annoying noises. Take it and if someone speaks to you on the way or on the bus, hold this quack - frog close to your nose and pretend that you are busy with something extremely important. And as grumpily as you can, you say: “Grumble grumble!”
“Frumble frumble!”
“Grumble grumble—you fool!”
"Sorry forry."
»People are very sensitive. If they don't understand something, they always ask twice. So just don’t challenge them.”
“Grumble grumble,” says the bear.
"Just as. People like to be deceived and distracted by implied importance.«
“I wonder what happened to the lovely girl, I so frightened,” says the bear dreamily. “Would you say sorry to her on my behalf?”
"I don't talk to people," says the dog indignantly, "it's enough if I have to listen to them."
“Don’t you?”
»But you can do it however you want - if you expect something from it. But the hat looks great on you - you could almost think you were one of them."
“Really?” If a bear could blush, First of four would be glowing like a traffic light right now.
"I'll give you a paw on that." Before the bear can ask what that means, the dog rushes. »Go ahead now. You don't look all that human, and it's not necessarily wise to linger longer than necessary after trashing their apartment. Once they come in here with their banging sticks, you're done for."
“Oh dear!”
"Well -"
"Well then - " says the bear with trembling knees.
"Well then - " says the dog.
"-I'll be on my way."


With a crooked look, his hat on his head, his cell phone pressed to his muzzle, the bear looks out through the splintered door. “Do you see something?” asks the dog. "Nothing - just the usual - trees and the road I walked here on."  "No difference from before? No people, no car? You're in luck, they're all at the back of the house. Then I would set off now. Just follow this road for a bit, and up there, between the trees at the little wooden hut, that’s the bus stop.”
The bear rises from its crouching position. The backs of his knees crack violently, he too often does not stand up on his two hind legs, and in a standing position reaches almost to the top stop of the door. The hat has shifted slightly. The snout is suddenly frozen like granite, there is no smile on the lips. But the eyes light up with expectant interest.
“I’m coming over to visit again,” says the bear, who is visibly bothered by the tension.
“Well, I guess you will,” says the dog a little grumpily. He just doesn't expect to ever see the bear again. Somehow this whole strange story would probably dissolve itself shortly. A little disappointed, the bear would retreat to his den, he would sulk for a while, but ultimately, the dog is convinced, the bear would stay away from the human world, like all wild animals do. He himself wouldn't want to meet the bear again. The dog thinks quite sensibly that he belongs in his world and I belong in mine. Mine is the world of people, his is that of loneliness and cold.

And then- it looks like the dog just remembered something. “Stop, stop!” he shouts quickly. »I still have to teach you how to address the Queen when you meet her. She is a Queen after all. So to your subjects - all old nobility like me, you say 'How do you do' with your nose turned up and you greet the Queen herself with 'Your Royal Highness', combined with an elegant curtsy."
First of four is completely overwhelmed by this last minute information. “That sounds pretty difficult,” he says.
“Nonsense, that’s really easy: ‘How do you do’, ‘Your Royal Highness’ and don’t forget to curtsy,” repeats the dog.
» - and don't forget to curtsy. All right, then I'll be on my way," says First of four, now even more anxious than before.
The dog watches the bear as he staggers unsteadily on his hind legs along the street, as he pushes his hat back a little by the brim and nervously turns his head from one direction to the other to look for impending danger . The setting yellow sun makes his white-gray fur glow and at that very moment the dog has the unlikely impression that the bear is taking a few prancing steps on the pavement. I can't believe it, he smiles.


A stone of relief falls from the bear's heart - he would have made it in no time, just a short distance and he would have reached his destination. And then - wait a little longer - and presto the bus would take him straight to Insor. The meeting, he imagines, would take place in a palace, a beautifully gleaming ice palace. At this thought he lets out a whistling sound from his butt in excitement. Holy crap, he thinks, this is going to be a thing. And just now, under the influence of all these wonderful thoughts, a stranger rushes towards him. A tall, bearded person, wrapped in fur and clunky shoes, moves in slow motion, as if he were in a terrible hurry, but couldn't move properly. “A bear!” shouts the man, completely out of his mind. "A bear! Did you hear it too?”
“What?” grumbles First of four, with little interest.
“Over with the Austrian family. This beast is said to have torn three of these nice people apart and eaten half of them!”
“A bear?” wonders First of four. “What kind of bear?” he whispers, more to himself than to the stranger. “I only know one bear in this area…?”
And then it dawns on him.
So that's it. This stupid blabbing about how he had put people in danger and even given in to the temptation to devour people. This not only makes him really angry, but also terribly sad. And so, with tears of disappointment in his eyes, he does as the dog suggested: He shoves the quack-frog in front of his mouth and says loudly and angrily: “Grumble, grumble!”
The man breathes heavily and shakes his head at such open callousness. »Well, I would like to have your lightheartedness! I hope for your sake that the beast doesn't run into you," he says and just hops on eagerly like an astronaut on the moon.

The bear, still in shock, sits down on the small wooden bench in the bus station. It creaks and squeaks quite a bit as he places his massive bum on it. He watches the man go, sad and downright disappointed. He sniffles gently and pulls his cucumber from his armpit. He smells and licks her wistfully. He would never hurt anyone - ever! That's the truth, he murmurs. They have no right to make up interesting stories about myself.

First of four thinks about all this with a heavy heart and thus closes his world to the outside world. So he doesn't notice the girl striving towards him as delicate and light as a petal. A pretty, pale child, tightly wrapped up to the top. The girl looks at the bear in a friendly and attentive manner. She smiles shyly and pushes some of her auburn curls back from her forehead with her hand in a thick mitten. “Are you sad?” it asks the bear quietly. “Sad?” grumbles First of four, looking darkly into the distance. He isn't really aware of the girl's presence yet. There always has to be something new, he thinks and says harshly: “I don't want to talk, I don't want to explain or I don't want to listen. I don’t want to be in this ruthless world anymore.”
»Oh, tell me, you're sad and angry! - Why are you angry? We had fun there before, we did, didn't we? But you know, sometimes I'm really angry - some strange, unfair moments often make me angry at others - including myself. Sometimes my mom is really angry at me - because I've done something bad. Well, not really anything bad - just a little stupid thing maybe, but my mom can also be pretty angry with dad and my younger sister - and with Willi, of course. I don't like it when mom is angry. I don't like it when anyone is angry at all. Maybe you actually did something stupid back there in our house..."
In the house? Willie? Now the heavy cloud of gloom in First of four moves a little to the side and reveals the blurred view of the girl who says in a mysteriously cheerful tone: “I know exactly who you are. I quickly threw something on and followed you. You're him..."
“Him?” the bear murmurs, confused.
“Well, the bear!”
"The bear? The one who broke into a house and killed three people!”
"Hmm," the child says, confused and says, "No, I don't know anything about this bear."

"Well, then you know, for a human being, but very little."
"I only know of one bear who smashed everything in our house and scared me when he looked out the window - but actually, despite his unrestrained roar, he seemed pretty nice to me so far."
“Nice?” repeats First of four and turns to the girl. The cucumber almost slips out of his paw.
“Chestnut head?” he breathes. Just before he lets himself be carried away with more words, he remembers the dog's well-intentioned advice, pulls himself together and makes as grumpy as he can: "Oh, grumble grumble!"
“Oh, grumble grumble, huh?” asks the girl, completely flabbergasted. Her astonishment at these rough manners is obvious.
“Grumble grumble,” says First of four again thoughtlessly.
»Grumbling grumbling, now without the 'oh'? - really? That’s all a smart bear has to say?”
The bear then puts a paw in front of its mouth and mutters in a low, husky voice: “Sorry dorry.”
“Well, all right, you little mumbler. This is the right beginning for a conversation between two rational beings," replies the girl. She smiles and nods in agreement. Her eyes light up with joy. She takes off a fur mitten, raises her left hand in amusement, and blows on her colorful fingernails. “Do you like the color?” she asks carelessly.
The bear, whom she affectionately refers to as a 'little mambler', even though he is certainly twice her size, replies with careful reserve: “Very pretty.” He secretly admires the girl’s bright red nails, but remains determined to keep his role of as crumpy man. He's also still a little offended.
“Would you like me to paint your nails so pretty?” the girl asks, while clouds of white breath drift in front of her. The bear looks at her in surprise, as if thinking about her question. It is a moment of silence, in which the two beings, however different they may be, feel a connection.
“Grumble grumble,” says the bear - almost defiantly.
»Don't you like me? You gave us all a real scare earlier - but I still like you. It seems to me that you're still a little young, my little mumbler." Her voice sounds warm and as relaxed and light as a soap bubble, "I've been going to school for a while." She says it as if that's all for now clarified.
"What's your name?"
“First of four,” the bear murmurs.
“Oh, what an extraordinarily beautiful name.” The girl smiles kindly and extends her hand to the bear. The bear takes the hand in his paw and shakes it gently.

»My name is Chiara Waxuan, but lovely bears can call me Chiara. Waxuan is my middle name and I am seven years old, but almost eight. And as my dad always says, pretty smart for my stupid age. But I'll tell you what, sometimes I think my dad isn't necessarily the brightest himself. He understands very little about girls who are seven, almost eight - well, only a man." She giggles mischievously and winks at the bear.
The two are silent for a brief moment. Then the girl with the two first names says: “Can I?” and sits down on the bench next to the bear - without waiting for an answer.
"You're good," she says encouragingly, "as long as you don't shout so stupidly, you make it easy to like you."
“Oh,” says the bear sheepishly.
“Don’t you have to go home,” asks Chiara. And when the bear doesn't answer, she says: "Just stay here, my little mumbler. I stay with you. There's something waiting at home that I don't want to look at at all -!" She grimaces and shakes her head.
She is aware that her mother would be in a particularly bad mood today. She turns to the bear and asks: “Where do you want to go now?”
“To Insor!” First of four answers briefly and firmly, with renewed enthusiasm.
»You want to go to Insor? That’s pretty dangerous,” she warns him.
“I know,” says the bear and shakes off all the gloomy thoughts with a brief shrug of the shoulders.
»Well, I wouldn't dream of anything so dangerous. How do you get there – to that Insor?”
Happy and excited, First of four says: “fith the Dus!”
The girl raises her eyebrows in surprise and says, “What?”
“I’m tafing the Dus,” the bear repeats firmly.

Chira giggles and says: "So you're one of a kind."

The two sit very close together for a while. First of four would like to put his paw around the girl's shoulder to warm her, but doesn't dare. The girl then asks: “Why do you want to travel to this Insor so much? Or don’t you want to talk about it?”
"Oh, I'm quite willing to talk about it," replies the bear, "but I'm not entirely sure whether the friendly Wilhelm 'von und zu' would approve of it."

He seems a little unsure.
Oh, that's how it is, thinks the girl and looks at the bear. She says gently: “Don’t worry, Willi is a good dog. A real wuss, but he'll understand that you want to share your story with me."
“The noble Wilhelm 'von und zu' was of the opinion that there was only one person in this world who would be willing to talk to a bear,” reports the bear.
“Oh really?” asks Chiara as she looks up at the bear. »And who could that be? Who would be brave enough to talk to a wildly dangeres roaring bear? Yes, who?'
"Only the Queen of Insor, no one else," the bear replies in a firm voice and full of passion. »I would like to gain her wisdom and tell her what is important to me. I would tell the Queen many wise things. But I would never speak as stupidly as the brown one. You have no idea how lonely I feel? It's quite painful to be so alone all the time... I would ask her to help me -"
“Oh, poor thing,” Chiara sighs sympathetically and gently strokes his fur, “my little mumbler.”
"My siblings," the bear continues quietly, "my mom - all the other bears I knew - went below- and never came back."
"Below? Strange. And they didn't come back? Could it be that you think they died? You know what it means to die?”
“Is it something useful?” the bear asks hopefully.
»Useful? I can't say it. My dad thinks that we all have to die someday, and when that's the case, we'll be buried deep down in the earth and from there we'll travel along sweet and winding, fluffy paths to another - better world."
“For examfle by the Dus?” asks the bear, taken aback by this news.
»Yes, maybe - why not? But tell me – why do you think that no one except the Queen would want to talk to you and help you?”
“Oh yes, of course, he put this nonsense into your head. Well, i think I’ll pull his ears out.”
“Please don’t,” says the bear, horrified, “we have such beautiful ears, you can’t do that!”
“Well, I'm not doing it, I'm just joking. By the way - " the girl said like a spontaneous idea, "if you haven't noticed - "
"I! I'm talking to you. Well, I'm not a Queen and I don't come from this strange place of Insor - wherever that may be. You should think this through a little - "
“Oh!” the bear says again, dropping his cucumber and his quack - frog in surprise.

Oh,” says Chiara, “I didn’t know that bears liked to talk on the phone.”
“Uh,” the bear replies sheepishly.
»My dad thinks I'm too young to have my own stupid device like this. He believes that children should stimulate their imagination not through gadgets but through their own thoughts and ideas. There is hardly a trace of imagination and happiness to be found in these devices. I want you to know that my dad comes from a pretty small country dotted with huge mountains. Not just hills or icebergs like we have here, but mighty mountains that reach into the sky. If you want, you can touch the clouds with your fingertips from up there. They look like cotton candy and taste like it, if you just lick them a little.”
The bear can no longer close his mouth in amazement. “And my mom,” Chiara continues, “comes from one of the most beautiful and bright countries in the whole world. Not like here, where it is always dark and there is little sun all day long. In this country you would have to sweat a lot in your fur because it is so hot all day long and at night too. There is never snow and certainly no winter.«

The bear looks at Chiara with wide eyes, fascinated by her stories and the diversity of the world she describes.
“In the country where my mom comes from, there are three huge towers and a mighty ship has been placed on top of them…” Chiara continues.
“A ship?” the bear interrupts the girl, shocked. »I don't like ships that much. They drive around and fish everything away. We don't know what to eat. Anyway, where can you travel on a ship that stands on three towers?”
“Oh, silly you,” laughs Chiara, “you can’t sail around on a ship that easily. It's just a hotel, but it's also a ship. And around three thousand people live there.”
»Three thousand? But that’s a huge number”, the bear marvels with wide eyes.

You can say that out loud,” Chiara confirms with a smile.
“Three thousand,” the bear repeats. But Chiara could just as easily have said twenty or one hundred and fifty thousand three hundred million. Every number the girl utters would makes the bear tremble in awe. The bear only knows the meaning of a single number - four.

But a ship that doesn’t float in the sea,” he says, “what’s the Purpose of that?”
"Purpose? What purpose is it supposed to serve? It's just beautiful to look at - and people live in it," replies Chiara.
“Oh, I can’t imagine it,” admits the bear.
“Well, if you'd enjoy it, I could record it for you. I’m really good at drawing, you know.”
“Would you do that for me?” the bear asks hopefully.
"Why not? Next time we see each other, I will bring you a drawing. And you know what? I'll draw a picture of all of us. From you, from Mia and also from me. Even from Willi, although I'm a little annoyed with him for telling you such dangerous things. Please, you can then hang the pictures on the wall in your cave. This is a common practice for us humans. We create pictures of our loved ones and hang them on the wall. So we can always look at them when we feel longing or when we are all alone at home," explains Chiara lovingly.

»When I first entered the house I saw it - so beautiful.« First of four has tears in his eyes that glitter like twinkling stars, and his upper lip trembles with emotion. »Oh, I would really like a picture for my cave. It's really very barren and empty there at my home. Would you really do that?”, he asks. His voice trembling with excitement.
“Yes, of course,” says Chiara with a radiant smile that breaks through the gathering darkness. "What do you think? We're friends now. And you know what? Not only am I good at drawing, I'm also a talented musician. I play my organ, not according to notes, but quite well according to numbers. I can do 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star', 'Itsy Bitsy Spider' and a whole bunch of other songs. And believe it or not, I dance ballet. Do you know what that is, ballet?”
“Hmm,” says the bear, “is that where a lot of people run after a ballet?”
“Oh, dear bear,” Chiara giggles, “what you mean is just a simple men’s game. Ballet is a form of dance. It is very beautiful and elegant. I'd love to show you, but I'm just wrapped up too tightly. Normally, when dancing you wear a light leotard, tights - if you want, a tutu skirt - or both together. And the most important thing: ballet shoes. These shoes are specially made for dancing ballet. That shoes allow you to dance on your toes..."
“uhhhu on the tttoooeees?”
“…Yes, on tiptoes,” confirms Chiara with excitement and pride in her voice. »It is an art form that represents an enormous challenge and requires a lot of practice and endurance. Imagine balancing all your weight on the tips of your toes! This is exactly what makes ballet so unique and fascinating. My mom says ballet combines power and elegance in a way that you can't find in any other art form." The bear looks at Chiara with wide, amazed eyes, visibly impressed by what he hears.
“That sounds really amazing,” he says, “I can’t wait to see it.”
Chiara nods, her eyes shining with enthusiasm. "I'm sure you'll love it, my little mumbler, ballet is really something extraordinary." She looks into the distance, her thoughts wandering to the beautiful ballet performances at her school that she has already taken part in. The memory of it brings a glow to her red-frozen face. She can't wait to share this valuable experience with her new friend.
“One day,” she says quietly, “we will go to a performance together. “You will then see how magical the ballet really is.” She pauses briefly and looks at the snow-covered landscape.
“If only it weren't so cold, I'd show you how I can do the splits. Or you know what? I can even put my legs behind my head. I'm as flexible as a candle that's been left in the sun for too long. Like a stupid snake, as my sister often says. But you know, she's stupid herself and just jealous." She laughs and the bear can't help but laugh with her. »You would be amazed and it doesn't hurt at all. It’s all just practice, you know.”
The bear is impressed by so much passion in a childlike human being
“And you know what else?” Chiara continues, “you should think about it, a bear and a little girl dancing ballet. Well, what do you think of?”
The bear looks at Chiara. He seems to think about her words and perhaps even gain a new perspective on the world.
“Well, think about it.”
"No, I can't think of anything."
“Well, circus!”
»Circus, don't you know what a circus is? Circus is the best invention in the world. There is a tent where people come to see the tricks of the animals and the artists. There are lions jumping through rings of fire, elephants dancing on their hind legs, clowns making funny jokes and acrobats flying through the air. There is music, laughter, applause and excitement. There is everything your heart desires. You could be the biggest and strongest bear to ever perform in a circus, you could balance on a ball, juggle with your paws, even ride a bicycle. And me, together with my sister Mia…”
"Is she nice?"
"Who? Mia? She’s nice, of course, but she’s also my sister.”
Ciara rolls her eyes, an expression that shows how annoying little sisters can be sometimes.

»She could be your trainer who teaches you everything and rewards you with treats. We would be the stars of the show, everyone would admire and love us. We would have a wonderful life in the circus. What do you think of it? We would be the most adorable duo in the whole world. I, Chiara… the first and only ballet dancer who can float above the ground…”, she says with a sparkle in her eyes.
“Can you really float above the ground?”, asks the bear, his eyes wide in amazement.
“No,” replies Chiara, “but don’t tell anyone.” She winks at him and her laugh is contagious. The bear can't help but laugh with her, his chest vibrating with mirth. It is a moment of pure happiness that they share with each other.

Chiara is no longer a baby. Of course, it is clear to her that the story about the circus is just a dream that she started to give the friendly bear a spark of hope.

“At the circus you can cheat a little”, she says with a mischievous smile. »We are the most incomparable and enchanting duo in the whole world. Our name, emblazoned in gold letters on a huge plaque, is proof of our uniqueness: ‘Chiara Wanxu - the floating dancer, and her mighty little mumbler.”

But now, contrary to Chiara's expectation that the bear would be happy, he says with a hint of sadness in his voice: "Oh, I don't know. I'm already having trouble standing on two feet. How could I ever ride a bike or juggle a ballet with my paws?”
»Hmm, we'll have to think about that. Can you shimmy along a rope or stand on your head?”, asks Chiara thoughtfully.
»Oh dear, I'm afraid not. I can't do anything like that, I can't even dance. I'm just a stupid bear of no use.”
“You can’t say that, everyone can do anything. You must never say that, everyone is good for something. Understood? You see, one person can do one thing, the other can do something else. Maybe you’re a master at somersaulting,” she encourages him.
»A somersault? Yes, I can do a somersault,” he says. His voice trembles with excitement. "But that might be too simple for the circus."
"Too simple? Well, tell me. Too simple, yeah, what do you think? You know, my dad may be the smartest person in the world, but he can only somersault if I help him and give him a push. And my uncle, well my uncle, I'm telling you. He can't do that at all, you can't tell anyone, just in confidence, his stomach is a bit too big for a somersault.«
She squints at the bear's stomach, but in such a way that the bear, with his not very small tummy, doesn't notice.
“Well, you see, that’s it. The circus is our future. I still have to talk to mom, it will be a little complicated, but with dad's consent it will work. I’m telling you, I have an easy time with dad.”


The girl simply has a heart as soft as a bunny's belly, even if she can of course be hard and merciless at times when it comes to expressing her opinion.

"Do you know what I've been thinking all day today?" she says. “I really thought it was some kind of party you and Willi were having in the house. And of course it often happens that something is broken at a party. This happened to me when I rocked my chair too hard on my last birthday. Then the fun was over. I caught my finger. It really hurt for days…”

Sometimes it seems to the bear that he must be the stupidest bear that has ever existed. Because just as he is just now wondering what a party could be again, in all his winding trains of thought he understands very little about the world. Instinctively, when he doesn't feel completely safe, he hides in his cave, nibbles on one of his cucumbers and does what he loves to do - he thinks. About this and that. Nothing really important, but not just nonsensical either. Just like bears are.

“Of course, if you think that me and our beautiful future in the circus are not that important and that it is much nicer in Insor than here with us, then don’t let that stop you. As the saying goes: You shouldn’t stop travelers because they might decide to stay with you permanently and that’s certainly not what we want, right? But, you know what? I could just accompany you - to Insor. What do you say to that? That would be a thing, a real supi duppi thing – that would be the case.”
The girl laughs loudly and, a little tired from all the talking and the day's exertion, snuggles deep into the bear's cozy fur.

"You'll see, this will be an adventure like a sweet bear has never experienced before", says Chiara very slowly and quietly. The mouth remains open, the eyes are already closed. In the quiet and loving manner so typical of children, she simply slumbers away on the bear's mighty chest. Some strong gusts of wind hit the two of them. First of four pulls the sleeping child a little deeper into its fur. “What a remi demi day,” he whispers. »Yes, what a wonderful Remi demi day it was today.«

Then he hears a quiet chugging, accompanied by a rickety old bus. From the row of trees to the left of the small wooden house, the bus moves slowly towards them like a snail. “Oh, the Dus, he's foming!” First of the four calls out excitedly and tries somehow to free himself from the sleeping girl's grasp. He resolutely turns up the brim of his hat.
When the bus comes to a stop and the double doors hiss open, the bear thinks about how the dog suggested to him that he should greet all well-born gentlemen properly. Since he is firmly convinced that someone who is able to drive such a large bus must simply be a high-class person, he curtsies slightly and says with his nose at the top: "How diddle do."

The Bus driver, who thinks it's completely silly and just wants to get ahead quickly, says grimly: "How diddle what?"
Now First of four is a little unsettled and wondering whether he did something wrong.

Well, what’s going on now? Do you want to come or not?” asks the jittery bus driver impatiently and shivering a little because the cold is coming in through the open door.
First of four fears that the bus might continue without him and quickly places one of his paws on the lowest step of the door. When he tries to pull his massive body up, he flinches away. Through the huge, dirty front window of the bus he has a tree-covered view of the house he so clumsily entered just a few hours ago. He thinks for a moment and turns his head. His gaze falls on the sleeping girl.

Enveloped in the shadows of her dreams, it whispers softly, "My little mumbler, where are you?"
First of four can no longer hold back his tears. He has never felt so much affection before. His heart beats faster, his thoughts whirl around wildly. Amid the shadows and silence, he begins to understand that love sometimes appears in the most unexpected forms.
The bear withdraws its paw. He looks at where his quack - frog lies, a small smile playing on his lips. He doesn't need it anymore. He has found his own strength, his own voice. And with a final, triumphant “Rooooarrrr” he shows everyone his unwavering determination.
“Well, sorry, it was just a question. If you don't want to, you've got it," says the driver, visibly annoyed. He just can't stand Troublemakers on his bus, so he shakes the cold from his body and hastily presses the button for the electric door, which hisses shut in the bear's face.
The bus then just chugs along, now a little faster. Towards Insor. To stick with the truth, the bus only has three stops until the final stop in the next town. But the bear doesn't know that.
The bear has no reason to be sorry about what happened in the last few hours. Maybe he's a little ashamed - but he's not sorry. If people hadn't made their caves so tiny and fragile, nothing bad would have happened. And in general, if people were a little more open and trusting towards strangers, a nice little but promising conversation could easily have developed between them.
He follows the bus as it disappears in the distance. The gurgling of the pleasant engine still echoes in his ears. He thinks of the picture the girl promised him to draw, and of the invisible circus that only he and Chiara can see, with its music, with its colors that make his eyes light up. It almost tears his heart with joy to experience these miracles, but at the same time the fear weighs heavily on him. He is well aware that the angry finger human beings with their long, banging sticks that bring death and destruction will never be stopped by dreams and will now come very soon.

He would like to capture in his heart these moments with the three legged dog Wilhelm and the sweet Chiara with her sister Mia, whom he would have loved to get to know better. 'Little chestnut head': her laughter, her joy, her confidence, her amiability in manner and nature, the pretty face with the white front teeth lightly resting on the lower lip, the red-frozen nose and the bright red painted fingernails, all of this fills him with a feeling of happiness and gratitude. He presses himself very quietly and carefully back onto the creaking wooden bench, where he hugs the sleeping girl with his powerful paws and presses her to his bear heart, which is beating wildly with affection.





All rights belong to its author. It was published on by demand of Walter Strasser.
Published on on 01/11/2024.


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