Three or Four Births, a Death and Something Else Entirely


Little Nonsense was following a bear by the river. He knew it was dangerous
because the bear was large and he had wounded it. Little Beaver had been working on
that river and Little Nonsense barked his shin on a tree stump where Little Beaver had
felled a birch and floated it down to the half finished dam. A fox watched as Nonsense
danced a little dance of pain beside the river. Nonsense was bleeding.
Then Little Nonsense swam across the river and searched for the place on the other
side where the wounded bear had come out. He couldn’t find it. He searched and he
searched but it was getting dark and he couldn’t find it. He had to give up and rest by the
river until the light came back.
That night as he slept, Little Nonsense visited the cave where the moon had been
born. A big white egg was sitting in the middle of the cave and Little Nonsense was
waiting for something, but he didn’t know what it was. He thought about breaking the
egg, but that didn’t seem right and he thought about running away, but his legs wouldn’t
move right. So he gathered the twigs and limbs that were spread about inside the cave
and made a fire next to the egg.
Before long he heard a crackling sound and saw the egg begin to break open.
Then it stopped and a great roar split the air of the cave. Something very large was inside
the egg, but it wasn’t coming out anymore. He waited because his feet wouldn’t move, but
nothing happened. He poked at the egg with a burning limb, but nothing happened.
Then he leaned over close and listened and listened. He didn’t think he could hear
anything inside the egg, but he couldn’t help pulling at the crack and then he wanted to
bite the egg. So he did and the great roar returned again and the egg split further open.
Inside was a black bear, a very big black bear. An arrow was sticking out of its right side
and a small river of blood was forming along the cave floor.
As he watched, the thick red river got larger and larger until he was floating on it
and the bear followed him, floating out of the cave on the river of blood. It was dark
outside. He grabbed a tree stump and pulled himself out of the blood river and right there
beside him was that same bear, only much smaller and not moving at all. The bear looked
dead. The same arrow was sticking out of its side. Nonsense was afraid to touch it, but he
touched it. The bear was dead. He turned back to the river and as he tried to clear his
head, the large egg came floating down the river, back in one piece, and it floated right up
into the sky.
Little Nonsense didn’t wake up. The light came and he cleaned the meat from the
dead bear and he got some help carrying the meat and he smoked the meat and he hunted
for many years and raised a family. But Little Nonsense didn’t wake up.
And Little Nonsense tried closing his eyes and waiting and something happened
that made him feel ready for the next day, but it wasn’t sleep, not the way he had known
sleep before the bear. And there were never any more bears in that sleep and there were
never any more eggs. Little Nonsense decided some dreams you just have to live with.
You can’t tell them what to do and you can’t tell them what you want. Some dreams will
only whisper what they want and then wait your whole life for you to reach them.
Of course Little Nonsense told his friends about the dream. That’s how he got his
name. But the bear didn’t have a name. And the bear waited.

Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.