Great Plains: The Buffalo and the Grizzly Bear

This story is part of the Great Plains unit. Story source: Myths and Legends of the Great Plains by Katharine Berry Judson (1913).




The Buffalo and the Grizzly Bear
Omaha

Grizzly Bear was going somewhere, following the course of a stream, and at last he went straight towards the headland. When he got in sight, Buffalo Bull was standing beneath it. Grizzly Bear retraced his steps, going again to the stream, following its course until he got beyond the headland. Then he drew near and peeped. He saw that Buffalo Bull was very lean, and standing with his head bowed, as if sluggish. So Grizzly Bear crawled up close to him, made a rush, seized him by the hair of his head, and pulled down his head. He turned Buffalo Bull round and round, shaking him now and then, saying, “Speak! Speak! I have been coming to this place a long time, and they say you have threatened to fight me. Speak!” Then he hit Buffalo Bull on the nose with his open paw.

“Why!” said Buffalo Bull, “I have never threatened to fight you who have been coming to this country so long.”

“Not so! You have threatened to fight me.”  Letting go the buffalo’s head, Grizzly Bear went around and seized him by the tail, turning him round and round. Then he left, but as he did so, he gave him a hard blow with his open paw.

“Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! you have caused me great pain,” said Buffalo Bull. Bobtailed Grizzly Bear departed.

Buffalo Bull thought thus: “Attack him! You too have been just that sort of a person.”

Grizzly Bear knew what he was thinking, so he said, “Why! What are you saying?”

“I said nothing,” said Buffalo Bull.

Then Grizzly Bear came back. He seized Buffalo Bull by the tail, pulling him round and round. Then he seized him by the horns, pulling his head round and round. Then he seized him again by the tail and hit him again with the open paw. Again Grizzly Bear departed. And again Buffalo Bull thought as he had done before. Then Grizzly Bear came back and treated Buffalo Bull as he had before.

Buffalo Bull stepped backward, throwing his tail into the air.

“Why! Do not flee,” said Grizzly Bear.

Buffalo threw himself down, and rolled over and over. Then he continued backing, pawing the ground.

“Why! I say, do not flee,” said Grizzly Bear.  When Buffalo Bull backed, making ready to attack him, Grizzly Bear thought he was scared.

Then Buffalo Bull ran towards Grizzly, puffing a great deal. When he neared him, he rushed on him. He sent Grizzly Bear flying through the air.

As Grizzly Bear came down towards the earth, Buffalo Bull caught him on his horns and threw him into the air again. When Grizzly Bear fell and lay on the ground, Buffalo Bull made at him with his horns to gore him, but just missed him.

Grizzly Bear crawled away slowly, with Buffalo Bull following him step by step, thrusting at him now and then, though without striking him. When Grizzly Bear came to a cliff, he plunged over headlong, and landed in a thicket at the foot. Buffalo Bull had run so fast he could not stop at the edge where Grizzly Bear went over, but followed the cliff for some distance. Then he came back and stood with his tail partly raised. Grizzly Bear returned to the bank and peeped.

“Oh, Buffalo Bull,” said Grizzly Bear. “Let us be friends. We are very much alike in disposition.”




(600 words)





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