Begin with the Dancing Bear

Begin with the Dancing Bear

There once was a Dancing Bear who followed after the baneful Ring in her nose. When the Ring burned hot she knew to rear up, to totter on her back legs, to shimmy so her slack hide quaked and the bells round her neck ching-chinged. Naked faces full of round, wet mouths crowded about, near, Too Near, so the Bear would lunge and the Ring would BITE. Hard pain. Keen and quick. Afterward, after the bitter bite, the Ring settled in to gnaw.

It was the Boy who spoke through the Ring, in a language only the the two of them knew.

The Boy and the Dancing Bear ate together, bread and beer. The Boy and the Dancing Bear slept together, in ditches, beside walls.

The Ring pinched one way and the Bear knew to bat o’er the top of the naked faces, at head-gear. How the round, wet mouths bellowed! The Ring wried another way and she knew to collapse on her back. The Ring stung like a hornet and the Bear waved her paw: up, down, side to side. The Boy beat his drum. Wave the paw. Beat the drum. Wave the paw. Bread and beer. Naked faces. Round, wet mouths cough, coughing, too close, Too Near: she growls and the Ring BITEs.

 

“This is What IS,” said the Dancing Bear. She often said so.

 

… And at their birth, bear cubs

are nothing more than shapeless flesh — mere lumps —

until the she-bear licks their limbs and gives

to them the shape — however crude — that she

herself, their mother, has. …

Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book XV as translated by Allen Mandelbaum

Lively’s Way - The Dancing Bear: GB0137

Begin with the Bear Boy

Begin with the Bear Boy

Begin with the Merchant's Daughter

Begin with the Merchant's Daughter