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The Polar bear and her cubs

The Polar bear and her cubs.jpg The Cat and the PigeonThumbnailsThe two wise cart-horsesThe Cat and the PigeonThumbnailsThe two wise cart-horsesThe Cat and the PigeonThumbnailsThe two wise cart-horses

The monarch of the Arctic regions, the monstrous white bear there reigns supreme. Savage and ferocious as is his consort, as well as he, she shows the utmost affection for her young. I have a sad tale to tell.

The crew of an exploring vessel in the Arctic Seas had killed a walrus, and set fire to part of the blubber. The steam of the flesh drew from afar towards it a she bear and her two cubs. Putting their noses to the tempting mess, they began to eat it eagerly. The seamen, seeing this, threw other pieces on the ice nearer to the ship. The bear incautiously approached, carrying off the pieces, which she bestowed on her cubs, and, though evidently famished, taking but a small portion herself. The thoughtless sailors shot the two cubs, and again firing, wounded the mother. Though she herself was barely able to crawl to the spot where they lay, she carried to them the last lump of blubber, endeavouring to make them eat it. Discovering that they were unable to do so, she endeavoured to raise first one, and then the other; but in vain. She now began to retreat; but her motherly feelings overcoming her, though conscious of the danger she was running, she returned to where they lay, moaning mournfully. Several times did she thus behave, when, seemingly convinced that her young ones were cold and helpless, she cast a reproachful glance towards the vessel whence the cruel bullets had proceeded, and uttered a low growl of angry despair which might have moved the hearts even of the most callous. A shower of musket bullets, however, laid her low between her two cubs, and she died licking their wounds.

Stories of Animal Sagacity
By William Henry Giles Kingston
Published in 1874
Available as free downloads from gutenberg.org and also books.google.com