“When I went to town yesterday with the animal skins and furs I found it hard walking in the soft snow. It took me a long time to get to town and other men with furs had come in earlier to do their trading. The shopkeeper was busy and I had to wait until he could look at my animal skins and furs.
Then we had to bargain and talk about the price of each one. Then I had to pick out the things I wanted to take in trade.
So it was nearly sundown before I could start home. I tried to hurry, but the walking was hard and I was tired, so I had not gone far before night came. And I was alone in the forest without my gun. It is not good to be alone in the forest without a gun. Wolves live in the forest, so do bears and huge wild cats.
There were still eight kilometres to walk and I walked as fast as I could. The night grew darker and darker. I wished I had my gun, because I knew that some of the bears had come out of their winter dens. I had seen their tracks when I went to town in the morning.
Bears are hungry and fierce at this time of year. They have been sleeping in their dens (winter homes) all winter long with nothing to eat. That makes them thin and angry when they wake up. I did not want to meet one. I did not want to get eaten.
I hurried along as quickly as I could in the dark. The stars gave me a very little light. It was still very black where the forest was thick, but in the open places I could see, dimly. I could see the snowy road ahead a little way and I could see the dark forest standing all around me. I was glad when I came into an open place where the stars gave me this faint light.
The hair on my head stood straight up. I stopped walking. I stood very still and quiet. The bear did not move. There he stood, looking at me.
I knew it would do no good to try to go around him. He would follow me into the dark forest, where he could see much better than I could. I did not want to fight a winter-starved bear in the dark. Oh, how I wished for my gun!”