Laura and her family had to deal with dangerous wild animals. They lived in American when it was an undeveloped country. It was a very different place from a city such as modern Hong Kong. However we can still learn from them.
Do not feed large wild animals! Laura's father would never feed the bears. The bears would learn that they can get food from people. Then the bears will bother people for food. What would you think if a bear rips open the side of your tent and comes in looking for food. You will know that earlier someone gave food to that bear. If you see someone feeding a bear, scold that person. The same thing applies to other animals in other parts of the world. Do not feed monkeys in Hong Kong. The monkeys will learn to bother humans and go into human homes for food.
Today, in many American parks, bears seen eating human food get shot. The human giving food to the bear gets a strict scolding. I think that is unfair. Bears are not very smart; they need a reminder. The punishments should be reversed. The humans should be shot and the bears given a strict scolding.
Bear safety is not a problem in Hong Kong, but it is something I know about. Once, long ago as a teenager, I had a summer-job in a Canadian forest. In Canada the most common bears are black bears. Grizzly bears can be found in the western mountains. Polar bears are found in the far north.
That summer, when I was out hiking with some other boys, we were caught between a big mother bear and her cubs. One of the boys wanted to run away. He was not able to run away because another, larger, boy held him by the throat. We walked away carefully and slowly. We told each other to not look back. I looked back! The mother bear was following 3 metres behind us. She stopped and watched us only after the trail turned away.
Shouting and waving your arms or canoe paddle might scare off a black bear, but would cause a grizzly to attack you. Pepper spray might scare off a black bear, but will definitely cause a grizzly to attack you. Throwing rocks will cause both a black bear and grizzly to attack you. Throwing rocks at bears is not the way to live a long life.
Could you climb a tree to escape from a bear? Black bears are good at climbing trees, but an angry grizzly might just push the tree down.
Many wild animals mark their territory with urine. People have often kept animals, such as wolves, away from their campsite by urinating in a circle around the camp site. This is easier for boys than for girls.
Both types of bear find human speech non-threatening and puzzling. If you meet a bear you can say “Hello” to it, and walk away slowly as if you have no reason to be afraid. If other people see you do this they may think you are a witch, but you will have walked away slowly and safely.
Keep in mind that the bear does not want any trouble. Most of all just do not do stupid things.
Little House in the Big Woods
Chapter 1 - Part 1: Introduction
Chapter 1 - Part 2: Wolves in the Night
Chapter 1 - Part 4: Smoked Meat
Chapter 1 - Part 5: Food for Winter
Chapter 1 - Part 6: Butchering Time
Chapter 1 - Part 7: After Butchering Time
Chapter 1 - Part 9: Winter Night
Chapter 1 - Part 10: About the Author & Where to Find the Book
Chapter 2 - Part 1: Winter Days and Winter Nights
Chapter 2 - Part 2: Jack Frost
Chapter 2 - Part 3: Laura and Mary Helped Mother with the Housework
Chapter 2 - Part 4: Churn on Thursday
Chapter 2 - Part 5: The Best Time of All
Chapter 2 - Part 6: Her Father Began to Play his Fiddle and Sing
Chapter 2 - Part 7: Father Told Stories
Chapter 2 - Part 8 - The Story of Grandfather and the Panther
Chapter 3 - Part 1: Introduction (The Long Rifle)
Chapter 3 - Part 2: Making Bullets
Chapter 3 - Part 3: Cleaning the Gun
Chapter 3 - Part 4: Loading the Gun
Chapter 3 - Part 5: Where and Why to Keep a Gun
Chapter 3 - Part 6: The Story of her Father and the Voice in the Forest Part 1
Chapter 3 - Part 7: The Story of her Father and the Voice in the Forest Part 2
Chapter 4 - Part 1: Christmas in the Forest
Chapter 4 - Part 2: Making a Gift for his Wife
Chapter 4 - Part 3: Christmas is Coming
Chapter 4 - Part 4: Children Make Pictures in the Snow
Chapter 4 - Part 5: Prince & the Blue Dress (part 1 of 3)
Chapter 4 - Part 6: Prince & the Blue Dress (part 2 of 3)
Chapter 4 - Part 7: Prince & the Blue Dress (part 3 of 3)
Chapter 4 - Part 8: Christmas Morning
Chapter 4 - Part 9: Santa Claus Only Gives Presents to Children
Chapter 5 - Part 2: The Weekly Bath
Chapter 5 - Part 3: Being Quiet
Chapter 5 - Part 4: The Story of Grandfather's Sledge and the Pig (part 1 of 4)
Chapter 5 - Part 5: The Story of Grandfather's Sledge and the Pig (part 2 of 4)
Chapter 5 - Part 6: The Story of Grandfather's Sledge and the Pig (part 3 of 4)
Chapter 5 - Part 7: The Story of Grandfather's Sledge and the Pig (part 4 of 4)
Chapter 5 - Part 8: Sunday Music
Chapter 5 - Part 9: Birthday Spanking
Chapter 6 - Part 1 - Introduction (Two Big Bears)
Chapter 6 - Part 2 - Getting Ready to Go
Chapter 6 - Part 3 - Milking Sukey the Cow (1 of 2)
Chapter 6 - Part 4a - Milking Sukey the Cow (2 of 2)
Chapter 6 - Part 4b - Review Questions: Milking Sukey
Chapter 6 - Part 4c - Answers for Review Questions
Chapter 6 - Part 5 - Her Father Has Not Come Home
Chapter 6 - Part 6 - The Story Of Her Father And The Bear In The Way (1 of 2)
Chapter 6 Part 7a - The Story of Her Father and the Bear in the Way (2 of 2)
Chapter 6 Part 7b - Review Questions: The Bear in the Way
Chapter 6 Part 7c - Answers for Review Questions
Chapter 6 Part 8 - Evening with Father
by John Larrysson
A native English speaker who has been teaching practical English in Hong Kong for over two decades.
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