Fourth-grader Nina Stockinged joined us for our first Write Wild! workshop exploring the art of storytelling. Nina’s creation inhabits a community of bears where white and black are just colors. As you’ll see, Nina’s story reminds us that even if we’ve been told we can’t get along, one meeting can change our views for the better.
The Two Bears
Once upon a time, deep in the forest, there lived some white bears and some black bears. But the white bears and black bears lived in separate parts of the forest. The white bears’ village had only white bears, and the black bears’ village had only black bears. They never saw nor spoke to each other, and for a long time that’s how they lived. Each group thought bears of different colors would not get along with each other.
Then one day, a young white bear went to pick raspberries at the far end of the forest. He had tied a ribbon to a nearly-ripe raspberry bush the day before, but when he arrived at the bush, he saw a black bear standing next to it.
The white bear thought to himself, I tied that ribbon to that bush so I could pick raspberries from it, but I’m sure the black bear has already picked my raspberries.
The white bear was disappointed. He was looking forward to picking those raspberries. He sighed and started off in search of another bush, but the black bear called to the white bear: “Wait!”
When the white bear turned, he saw the black bear smile. She asked, “Are you the one who tied this ribbon to this bush?”
“Yes,” the white bear answered. He couldn’t understand why the black bear would ask such a question. Perhaps the black bear was being cruel, he thought, taking his raspberries and teasing him for tying that ribbon to the bush.
This made the white bear very sad, but then the black bear smiled kindly. “Good thing I asked. These raspberries must belong to you, and they’re very ripe for picking.”
The white bear was surprised. After taking a good look, he realized the bush was indeed the way he’d left it the day before. None of the raspberries had been picked. Cocking his head in amazement, he said, “I don’t understand why you didn’t pick the raspberries.”
“Well, there was a ribbon tied to this bush,” the black bear said, “so I thought it was already spoken for.”
“Even so,” the white bear said. “If someone else had picked the raspberries, I would have never known,” said the white bear. But the black bear smiled at him and continued, “If I were looking forward to picking raspberries and somebody else picked them first, I would be very disappointed. That’s why I decided to guard this bush.”
The white bear was very embarrassed. He had just assumed that the black bear had stolen his raspberries. Then, when he almost thought his mistake had hurt the black bear’s feelings, he became very sad. He’d always thought that because they were different colors, white bears and black bears could never be friends. But now that he’d met the black bear, he understood that colors didn’t matter. Bears of different colors could be friends if only they could meet and talk.
“What’s the matter?” the black bear asked with concern.
The white bear was so deep in thought that he had grown silent.
“Does your head hurt?” she asked. “Do you have a fever?”
“No,” replied the white bear. “It’s not that.” Then he turned to the black bear and said, “Let’s pick these raspberries together and share them equally.”
“These raspberries are yours,” protested the black bear.
“But you guarded them for me,” replied the white bear.
Then the white bear smiled at the black bear and said, “Will you be my friend?”
The black bear looked surprised at first, then smiled. “Of course,” she said.
Spicewood Elementary, 4th Grade