|Synopsis of Saturday's episode: Bearnacle Bear delights in his reunion with his crew and in watching the antics of the bear cubs who were born in his absence. The bears build a new ship and they set off for home.|
Within a few weeks, the ship was built, and it was time to set off for home.
Even though I knew that the time had come to leave this island that had healing herbs growing wild, I felt sad. All of us had grown contented in our stay here.
We moved our possessions into the ship, and we pulled up the anchor and we were off.
Sailing back home was much less eventful than our journey from our homeland. There were no storms, no sirens, and no one fell out of the ship. We worked together quietly and the bear cubs enjoyed running around the ship. Everything was new to them, and it was fun watching them discover all of the nooks and crannies in a ship. One of the bear cubs discovered a giant bottle. One of our crew members found that bottle when he visited the Land of the Giants shortly after we were shipwrecked. The Giants were very hospitable, the crew member reported. They gave him the bottle as a gift so that he would always remember the Land of the Giants. I had heard about the Land of the Giants but I never believed that it was real. I always thought that it was a legend.
We were getting closer to home and our journey was still quiet. One day, we spotted a small fishing boat that was drifting in the sea. We wondered what was wrong and we pulled up to that boat. The first mate helped the occupants of that boat onto our ship. They were soaking wet and they were a man and a boy. Humans.
The anger that I felt toward humans suddenly rose to the surface. I looked at the man and the boy with hatred in my heart. Suddenly, I remembered who the man was. He was one of my jailers who had tormented me for however long I had spent in the humans' prison. He had told me that I was a worthless creature and a terrorist. Soon, I would be in the zoo and the humans would point and laugh. My time in prison was very long. The sun shone brightly when I came and then the rains came, followed by the snow, and then the sun came back and the trees regained their leaves. And I was still in prison. After a few more changes in seasons, I finally escaped.
I told my first mate that this human was an enemy and should be treated as such.
"You spent too much time in the humans' prison," the first mate said. "We don't have enemies. We are on a voyage of exploration, not war."
I looked over the edge of the ship. The humans' boat had sunk. Only the sail could be seen above water. The humans could not leave in the same way in which they arrived.
My former jailer was wet from head to toe. He looked tired and worn out. The boy was wet but seemed more energetic. He found the bear cubs and began rolling on the floor with them. As much as I did not want to, I found the human cub's antics to be funny. He was not as good as rolling as a bear cub but he laughed gleefully every time he rolled with the bear cubs. The former jailer looked at me and I could tell from the look on his face that he recognized me.
"Oh," said the former jailer. "You are the bear that we kept in prison for landing illegally on our shores. You escaped."
"Yes, I escaped," I said slowly. The words felt as if they were stuck in my throat.
"You really are a captain of a ship. You're not a terrorist," said the former jailer.
"Yes," I said, not wishing to continue the conversation. I looked over the side of the ship. I could jump into one of the life rafts and sail away. The sea had become choppy, and the sky was turning dull gray.
"I am sorry," said the former jailer. "The word 'sorry' doesn't give you back the portion of your life that we took away, but it is a start."
I scrutinized the man's face. His dark blond hair hung limply over his eyes, which were red and swollen. His eyes were a deep shade of brown. I could feel the anger lifting from my heart and my head. My head felt clearer than it had since before I had been snatched at that beach and placed in the humans' prison. The hate was gone from my heart. I looked at the man and smiled.
"Thank you," I said. "My name is Bearnacle Bear. I am the captain of this ship. We will take you home to your land."
"I'd like to radio my nation if you have a radio," the human said. "My name is George, and my son is Little George." George went to use the radio and to send his message. We sailed off in the direction of the Land of the Humans. I no longer felt fear about landing on their shores.
When we arrived at that coast that I remembered from my nightmares, an amazing and unusual sight greeted us...