Laura's father was telling her about meeting a bear. He was coming home from town and had to walk through the forest at night. Then he saw a big black bear. It was standing in the middle of the road.
“I had to pass that bear, to get home. I thought that if I could scare him, he might get out of the road and let me go by. So I took a deep breath. Suddenly I shouted with all my might and ran at him, waving my arms. Shouting and waving your arms might (or might not) scare off a black bear, but would cause a grizzly bear to attack you. This was only a black bear.
I did not run very far towards him, I tell you! I stopped and looked at him. He stood looking at me. Then I shouted again. There he stood. I kept on shouting and waving my arms, but he did not move.
Well, it would do me no good to run away. There were other bears in the forest. I might meet one at any time. I might as well deal with this one as with another. Besides, I was coming home to your mother and you girls. I would never get home, if I ran away from everything in the forest that scared me.
What should I do? Throwing rocks will cause any bear to attack you, but not hurt the bear. Climbing a tree would be useless; black bears are good at climbing trees. So at last I looked around and I got a good big piece of wood, a solid, heavy branch that had been broken from a tree by the weight of snow in the winter.
I lifted it up in my hands and I ran straight at that bear. I swung my club as hard as I could and brought it down, bang! on his head.
And there the bear still stood, for he was nothing but a big, black, burned stump! A stump is the remains of an old dead tree, such as one that was cut down. The big black stump only looked like a bear.
I had passed it on my way to town that morning. It wasn't a bear at all. I only thought it was a bear, because I had been thinking all the time about bears and being afraid I'd meet one.
“It really wasn't a bear at all?” Mary asked.
“No, Mary, it wasn't a bear at all. There I had been yelling, dancing and waving my arms, all by myself in the forest, trying to scare a stump!”