In a realm of magic, in a time of heroes; lived a young black bear. She loved all things that bears love, berries, chasing small animals, sleeping, and of course magic. She would sneak into the village and watch the travelling magicians and wizards.
From the bushes she’d watch them as they made people disappear and then reappear, changed eggs into birds, and pulled rabbits out of hats. There were different kinds of performers, those that used genuine magic and those that used illusion and sleight of hand. The best ones combined both.
One day while she was hiding in the bushes she hear a young boy ask how the wizard had learned magic.
“Well my boy! I learnt magic from the greatest magic school in the world. The illustrious Pigmole.”
The little bear had been trying to teach herself magic and she could do some decent sleight of hand but couldn’t do any real magic, no matter how much she practiced. She was convinced it was because she needed to be taught.
Saying goodbye to her parents, she set out on a long walk to go to Pigmole School of Magic and Mystery. Along the way she met a large black crow.
“Where are you going little bear?” asked the crow.
“I’m going to become a powerful wizard,” replied the bear.
The crow laughed rudely and when it could breathe again, it said, “You’re a bear. They’ll never let you learn magic.”
“If they can teach pigs and moles, they can teach bears.” With a furrowed brow and a determined grimace, which looked pretty funny on a bear, she continued on her way.
At the gates she came up to a large stone statue. When she was within a few feet, the statue creaked and turned to face her saying, “Shoo bear. Go away.”
“I want to learn magic.”
“We don’t teach bears.” The statue refused to speak after and only blocked her way. The big crow laughed from a distance.
Instead of going home, she decided that she’d find another way to study at the school.
She suck onto the grounds and hid in the bushes, being careful not to leave any traces. She’d listen at the windows and learn everything she could. She slept in the old forest and ate what she could find there.
After several months she was starting to get the hang of basic spells. She still couldn’t pull a rabbit from a hat but she wondered if that was because she didn’t know any rabbits.
She became careless with her hiding and one day, the large black crow saw her at a window and started laughing uncontrollably. The noise attracted the groundskeeper who, seeing the bear said, “Ah ha! You’re the one who’s been trampling my garden!”
“No. I swear I’ve only been listening to lessons. Please. I want to keep learning magic.”
“If you’re not the one trampling my garden, than who is?” The large imposing man asked.
“I don’t know, but if you let me, I’ll find out and then maybe I can stay?”
The groundskeeper nodded.
It took less than a day of hiding for the bear to find out who was destroying the garden; it was a family of rabbits. They were tiny, scrawny looking rabbits. “Stop doing that!” she screamed and the rabbits all ran away.
That’s when she got an idea.
Borrowing the groundskeeper’s hat, she locked herself in a shed and started pulling the rabbits out of the hat. It worked and within moments she had a family of rabbits in the shed with her.
“A bear that does magic?” asked the littlest rabbit as its stomach growled.
“Yes and I can teach you how to do magic so you can find other food than the school’s garden.”
The bear taught the rabbits and the groundskeeper kept his word. Over the years, the old forest filled with animals who would come to learn magic from the great bear wizard.
She studied hard and despite the school never letting her in, she became its best teacher.
The moral of this story is simple: Never doubt a determined bear.
Heroes, Legends, Fairies, and other Absurdities are the expanded versions of stories I’ve told my children at night before bed. They’re short, silly, and were completely improvised in the telling.