Winters, the little polar bear was upset. His mother Mishka thought he was making up stories.
“Mumma, I really found footsteps of a human child.”
“No human child can come here,” his mother dismissed him. “Now don’t disturb me, I am making fish sunny sardines for your father. He really loves it.”
At the dinner table, Winters spoke to his dad. His dad was in a serious mood. He was just back from a meeting of the Polar Bear Association. The ice caps near their home were melting fast. They would have to migrate to some other island. After repeated attempts, Winters was finally successful in getting dad’s attention.
“Ok, I will go with you. But you have to promise that you will do your homework first.” Winters and the other cubs of his age had their test in the coming month. The leader of the polar bear group, who was also the Principal of the polar bear school would test their hunting skills. Only if they passed the test would they would be allowed to go out hunting alone.
Guided by Winters, they reached a spot where they found a human boy lying unconscious on the ice. Winters’ dad picked him up and carried him home. Mumma bear licked the boy all over to make him warm. She stayed awake all night and nursed him.
In the morning, when the little boy opened his eyes he was frightened to see three bears looking down at him. He tried to jump up but he could not. His body was too weak. It took nearly three days for him to get well. These three days Winters was constantly by his side. On the fourth day, the boy smiled at Winters. Winters was very happy. He told him, “You don’t have to be afraid of me, I am only a little bear. My mum and dad are nice too. They won’t eat you. We are not as dangerous as you think. By the way, what is your name?”
“My name is Tor,” the boy replied.
Winters took Tor outside to meet his friends. The other cubs were not very friendly in the beginning. But after some time they bonded well. The bear cubs showed Tor how to play their games. Though he was feeling bitterly cold, Tor enjoyed himself.
While they were returning home, some of the Arctic foxes attacked them. Winters stood before Tor and growled so loudly that the foxes backed off. Winters himself was surprised to find that he could be so brave. When he returned home and told his mother about this, she was very proud of her son. She made some seal sunny sardines for the kids. After they finished eating, Mumma bear asked Tor, “How was the food?”
Tor replied, “It was not good. It was wonderful!” Mumma bear was so happy that she hugged Tor.
“Get up Tor,” Winters nearly shook him up from his sleep. “Get ready to go outside and party. Today is the midnight sun.” Though he was still groggy, Tor could see the dazzling rays of the sun pouring in through the mouth of the cave. As he got up, Mumma Bear wrapped him in a seal skin jacket. “It’s going to be cold outside,” she said with an affectionate smile. Tor saw that Mumma bear was ready with a basket of food. Tor’s eyes moistened and his heart ached as he remembered how he celebrated the Midnight Sun with his family. He especially missed his baby sister. Winters, who was noticing everything, came and hugged Tor. He pulled Tor’s hand and brought him out in the open where all his friends had gathered. They sang and danced and ate all through the night.
Though the bear family was taking the best care of Tor, he was missing his family. By now they knew that Tor had gone fishing with his father. A fierce storm drowned their boat and the rest was unknown. Winters’ Dad said Tor must have been washed ashore. He knew where the humans lived. It was dangerous for him to go there but he could not see the little boy crying.
One day, the four of them started walking towards that part of Svalbard where the humans lived. It was a very long walk. It took them four days to reach the human village. Seeing them, the humans came out with their weapons. Tor ran forward screaming,”Are you all mad? Can’t you see that these polar bears have saved my life?” Then he told them everything. Tor’s family welcomed the bears and treated them to the best fish they had. Winters’ parents and Tor’s parents became friends. The bears invited Tor’s parents to their home.
Tor’s neighbours and the other village people learnt a lesson that polar bears are not always dangerous and they promised they would never kill polar bears again.