The Bear Trainer and his Cat– a Tuesday Tale

A bear-trainer and his animal were lost in a blowing storm and begged shelter at the only cabin they could find in the mountains.

The householder did not seem at all frightened by the enormous bear but tremblingly warned the trainer that all the trolls of the hill were coming to his house that night– as they did each year– to eat him nearly out of house and home.

“And if I can’t stop them from starving me to bones, how can I offer you safety?”

The trainer assured the old man he’d look after his own safety if only he had a roof over his head, and the householder allowed him in.

As soon as he had laid out on the table all the food he had, the skinny old man climbed into the loft to hide. The trainer had his bear lie down behind the stove, and sat down beside it himself, to thaw the ice from his fingers and toes.

An hour before midnight the front door blew open and in came a swarm of wrinkly-skinned trolls, gray as the mountain and tall as the trainer’s waist.

Without seeming to notice him, they fell on the food at the table, quickly consuming a mound larger than their whole group. A young troll, satisfied sooner than the others, was playing with a long sausage in the fire when he noticed the bear behind the stove.

“Does kitty want a sausage?” he shrieked, poking the bear’s nose with the burning meat.

The bear rushed out with a roar and chased all the screaming trolls from the cabin. When another troll, larger than the rest, peeked in the door, the trainer called, “Sic ’em,” and the bear got rid of that one too.

A year later, the old man was working outdoors when a single troll asked from behind a rock, “Have you still got that big kitty, master?”

“Oh yes,” said the old man, thinking quickly. “And she’s had seven kittens since then.”

“Then you’ll never have us back for guests!” said the troll.

And the old man never did see them again.

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