|Synopsis of yesterday's episode: Bearnacle Bear and crew set off in their newly built ship. It was an uneventful trip until a struggling sailboat appeared close by. The occupants were humans: a father and a son. The father had been a jailer in the prison where Bearnacle Bear was kept until he escaped. Bearnacle and George (the human) were able to settle their differences. The ship set off to take George and Little George home.|
When we arrived at that coast that I remembered from my nightmares, an amazing and unusual sight greeted us. Humans were on the shore. They held up signs reading, "Welcome Bear Ship!" and the trees were decorated with balloons and streamers. The mayor of the nearby city welcomed us as we disembarked.
All of the humans and bears gathered together and the mayor began to speak.
"Welcome Bears," said the mayor. "We are so happy that you have come to visit our land. We are also so happy that you brought our fisherman and his son back to his home. Bearnacle Bear, you have suffered far too much at the hands of our people. We apologize for that, and we want you to know that no bear from your land will ever suffer like that again.
"We are so grateful that your ship brought our fisherman back. Therefore, I am offering you a key to the city. May your visit be joyful, and may our friendship last a long time."
The key to the city, attached to a beautiful handmade chain, was placed around my neck. Immediately, I was surrounded by a crowd of humans and of bears. I received and gave many hugs within the space of a few minutes.
The ceremony was followed by a delicious meal, held at a hall in the city. The hall was decorated with colorful balloons and streamers. We ate zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, brown rice, portabella mushrooms, shittake mushrooms, a variety of fish dishes, and cornbread. We drank apple cider. We had the most delicate and sweetest cookies for dessert.
After the meal, we were offered a tour of the humans' city. My first mate and his wife (our navigator) and their little daughter, Sweet Suzie Bear, went off to the art gallery. The rest of us went to the concert hall to hear a performance of some of the humans' best classical music. We heard piano music by Frederic Chopin, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Wolfgang Mozart and many others. After the pianist stopped playing, one of the bear cubs climbed on the piano and sat there until her picture was taken.
We stayed with the humans for a week. We all stayed with host families, and we made friends that will last a lifetime. My host was George, his wife Sandra, and their son Little George. George told me that he had felt so bad about the way that he treated me at the prison that he quit his job as a jailer and became a fisherman. He is training his son to be kind to all living creatures.
During the week that we stayed with the humans, little Sweet Suzie Bear became enamored with the art museum. She went to a few of the free art classes offered by the art museum and she decided that she wanted to come back to the Land of the Humans when she grew up so that she could go to the Art Academy. The head of the Art Academy assured her that her place in the school would wait for her and that she would always be welcome.
We had a tearful goodbye with our human friends and we got into our ship and sailed away.
A few days later, we returned home...
(note: The conclusion of the story, which includes the mermaid's welcome home song, will appear here tomorrow)