E is for exile

There was once a bear who sailed the seven seas. He became friends with the Great Sea Monster, who was the only one of his species remaining after the Terrible Sea Wars in years past. At that time, there were many sea monsters and there were giant reptiles that looked like dragons, and they were enemies of each other. They fought in a mighty battle that is still the stuff of legend. After the Great Sea Wars were over, and the sea monsters were vanquished, only one sea monster remained alive. In the land of the humans, the sea monster was never again seen, and stories were told about sightings of large monsters that rose from the sea.

I am Betty Bear, and I am the collector of all of the tales. One day, Bearnacle Bear told me that he wanted to share a story with me. I was excited and happy because my uncle tells the best tales. When he told me this, he was dancing with glee. But then again, we all dance with glee before we hibernate. It’s when I make large pots of my famous (read: secret recipe) acorn soup. We garnish it with delicious nuts and berries. It’s a true feast, and, once a year, just before hibernation time, we indulge in all of our favorite foods. As I was stirring the soup, Bearnacle sat on a stool and began talking in his animated style, with his paws going everywhere.

“I met this Bubblehead in a port city on a faraway island where only the humans go. The humans never cared for bubbleheads. They called them airhead and laughed and tried to get them to drink too much grog. Humans aren’t always kind to one another,” said Bearnacle.

“Well, the Bubblehead, whose head was full of vivid colors that gleamed and glowed, said that he had lived amongst the humans for many years, but the humans didn’t want this strange creature around because people were talking about how aliens were going to invade from outer space. The humans were terrified of the space aliens so they were terrified of the Bubblehead. They said that he was to be exiled from the Land of the Humans. Bubblehead’s colors looked like they were dimming a bit as he related his tale.

“The Bubblehead said, ‘My family settled on a hillside in the Land of the Humans generations ago. We had a little farm, and we grew beautiful berries. They grew big and luscious back then. Everyone around us loved our berries. No one had ever seen such big berries, and they were sure that we had the magic touch. And, in time, more Bubbleheads came to live on our hillside, and we had a beautiful community of brightly colored Bubbleheads. We lived together with the humans, but apart from them, because our customs were so different. But we made friends with the humans and we laughed with them, shared stories with them, and ate with them. And then, the times turned bad. The humans became suspicious of us because of a man who stood on street corners and announced that the world was coming to an end. I remember what he said, just as if it were yesterday. ‘Pop those bubbleheads. Destroy those bubbleheads.’ And he got a following of humans, who said, ‘Pop those bubbleheads. Destroy those bubbleheads.’ They screamed it and shrieked it and it wasn’t long before the humans who were our friends looked at us with dismay and even with loathing. That was when they started calling us airhead and they started trying to make us drink too much grog. We weren’t used to the strong drink of the humans. We were tired. And we were sad. We stopped tending to our beautiful berries.

‘My people began leaving in boats for islands unknown. We were filled with fear. And, eventually, I was the only one left. The humans grabbed me and put me on display in a zoo, but the humans who used to be my friends shouted something that made no sense to me.’ I managed to escape through a hole in the fence, and I went back to our precious hillside, where we laughed and sang and shared stories and meals with the humans who once loved us. The berries had stopped growing big. They were tiny and tasty but it was almost as if the berries were weeping. And I knew then, that my only chance for survival was to go into exile, to never see my hillside again.’

“And so, the Bubblehead, the last one to live in the Land of the Humans, was welcomed aboard my ship, and we set sail for the land of the Bubbleheads. One day soon, I will tell you about the Land of the Bubbleheads.”

And, with that, my uncle walked off in the direction of… something. I’m not sure what. I think that I will paint a portrait of a Bubblehead while I wait for the soup to finish cooking. Maybe later. I’ve got a date with a book!! See you later!

10 thoughts on “E is for exile”

  1. What a poignant tale of friendship, loss, and resilience. Stories like these remind us of the importance of acceptance and understanding in a world filled with differences. Thank you for sharing this heartfelt narrative, Betty Bear 🙂

  2. Alice, I really like your choice of picture for your blog – the painting of the teddy bear. Its wonderful! Reminds me of the children’s chant, “Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn around”.

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