One night, a wandering beast came upon a boy in his bed. The beast hungered, but the boy had a defender, a stalwart bear. A terrible struggle ensued, ending with the beast wounded. As he was leaving, the beast asked,
“Bear, why do you fight? The boy does not stir.”
“He sleeps deeply.”
The next night, the beast returned. Again the bear fought valiantly, and again the beast was wounded. The beast remarked,
“Bear, the boy’s chest does not rise.”
“His breath is shallow.”
The third night, the beast came once more. The fight was brief, but the beast lost yet again. The beast said,
“Bear, the boy has not moved in days.”
“He is exhausted from his long illness.”
Seeing a haunted look flash across the bear’s eyes, the beast came to understanding. He took his leave, never to return.
The bear stood over his charge and settled in for another night.