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Snow-blindness causes Eric Polar Bear major concern

 Composed from an idea from Leah Woodworth, R.R.# 5 Bridgewater.

 The wind had blown at gale force all day. The snow had been whipped around and around until "white-out" conditions existed.

 The polar bears had huddled together to wait out the storm - all, that is, except Eric. Eric had decided that morning to travel to the open water further west to catch fish.

 "There is a storm brewing," warned his grandmother earlier. "You better stay right here."

 "Oh Nan, it is just a little wind, it won't be anything. I'll be home before the storm gets worse, if it does," assured Eric.

 "I think Nan is right," agreed Aunt Mavis. "She said her bones were sore and when that happens, we always have a terrible storm."

 Everyone in the family agreed with Aunt Mavis and Nan, and there was much discussion about hazards of being away from the group in bad weather. Eric had his mind set on the fish he would catch and that was that. "I'll bring you back some fish and you will be having a grand meal at suppertime," Eric assured.

 "That boy would never listen to anyone," said Nan. "He takes after his father's side."

 "I'm sure it was his mother's," said Aunt Mavis, who was Eric's father's sister.

 "We are not stubborn," demanded Nan, glaring at Aunt Mavis.

 "Really!" said Aunt Mavis chuckling.

 Eric had said goodbye to his family and set off. The weather was chilly, but Eric's fur made him warm as toast. As he walked he sang a little song. "Oh, I'm going fishing. Yes, sir-re. For fish I am wishing, yes, sir-re. They will make my tummy feel so good and fill up the tummy, like I know it would."

 In fact, Eric was singing so loud that Marya Penguin could hear him approaching, before she could see him. The song travelled on the wind and sounded over the barren land like magic, where only silent or wind is usually heard.

 "Someone is happy," thought Marya. "You wouldn't think someone would be singing, with a storm brewing."

 The wind had picked up, but Eric wouldn't be long he assured himself. "I'll just get myself one big fish, eat that, and take a couple home for the family. They think I'm a baby and can't take care of myself."

 Eric picked up his pace a bit, soon approaching the open water that he had been seeking. He immediately dove in and within minutes had a big fish. He tossed it on the shore and then proceeded to get a couple more. His fishing was done and he would start home now, because the wind was really howling.

 When Eric pulled himself out of the water, cold made him shiver. "The temperature has dropped," he thought. He shook himself and sent water formed in ice needles flying all over the place.

 Eric put the fish into his mouth and started for home. "I'll eat when I get back home. I don't think I better linger any longer.

 "Nan's bones were right about the storm being bad and all."

 Eric stared into the storm, but all he could see was white. Suddenly he couldn't see at all. A condition called "snow-blindness" had claimed him and everything disappeared. He was miles away from the group, and now he couldn't see. With the cold and wind, Eric feared the worse.

 "Help!" he called naturally, but having not seen anyone on his way here, he figured it was useless.

 Marya heard the call for help as she huddled with a group of penguins, who were her family. Someone was in trouble. She strained to hear again to get the exact direction of the call.

 "Help!" called Eric again, frightened and unsure what to do.

 Marya left the group and made her way toward the sound. The "white-out" conditions caused her to work herself slowly toward the sound, and she literally bumped into Eric.

 "Come with me," she said. "My family is huddled together to keep out of the storm. You can get warmth from us, and protection from being alone."

 Marya guided Eric back to her family and the penguins supplied warmth and encouragement to the polar bear, who could only hear, not see his rescuers.

 Eric slepted and when he awoke the storm had stopped. His eyes were better and he left a fish for the penguins for their help. He hurried home with the two others to tell his Nan that he would listen to her bones from now on.

 Question about the story: How many fish did Eric get from the open water?

 Send answer to: Storytime, c/o Verna Dunlop, R.R.# 1 Moser River, NS, BOJ 2KO, or e-mail the answer to Prizes will be sent to those sending in. State age.


  February 20, 2002  
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