by Holly Wogan
A good-natured Cub makes a new friend while trying to catch her mother a special treat
| A Very Merry Mothers' Day and the Meeting of a New Friend
A Story about Akiera, Akala and Callie too.
Akala was a lovely she cub who lived with her mother, Callie, in cozy cave, deep in a woods, by a rumbling river. She loved the woods and the river because they had places to play and good things to eat. She was an active, adventurous kind of cub who was always looking for something to do or something to eat, usually both at the same time. She kept her mother very busy and didn't sleep much.
On Mothers' day, she wanted to do something especially nice for her mother, so she decided to get her some fresh honey. She knew where there was a buzzy, sweet smelling bee hive and it wasn't even very far away. Maybe, she thought, Mother will share. However, the bees didn't want to give her any honey and tried to sting her lots of times so she decided to find something else for her mother instead. She decided to catch her some rabbits for dinner, or maybe a squirrel, anything else would be too difficult to catch. Try as she might, she could not even catch a rabbit or a squirrel.
Akiera was an Ealdor Owl, possibly the Eldest Creature in the whole wood. She hadn't always been called Akiera but no one alive remembered her birth name but her, and that was a closely guarded secret. Everyone who was ancient, wise or learned knew that true names, like birthdays, were powerful. Today was her birthday but she kept that secret too. She found that unexpected things often happened on birthdays so she always went out to see what life had in store for her. Not halfway through the day, she came across the young bear trying to hunt. It wasn't succeeding but it was young, and trying hard.
Akiera sat on a high, thick, gnarled branch of a nearby tree. She watched the bear cub stalk, pounce and chase prey without much luck. Akiera remembered that her neighbor Callie had been with Cub the year before. She was quite fond of Callie, who was a considerate neighbor, well manners and tidy habits. She was known to be a generous host, sharing with the less fortunate and respecting ancient laws of hospitality. She decided to lend Callies cub a hand, it being the proper, neighborly thing to do.
Akiera didn't often go out of her cozy tree nook. With age it seemed, she enjoyed more solitude and quiet. She often found herself homesick for her younger years; for the places and creatures that she had once known. She did miss the sound of children. Their quick, eager young minds thirsted for knowledge, hearty tales and silly stories which the Olde Ones told best. She was the Olde One now, but there were fewer children interested in learning and stories anymore. This cub seemed like a delightful child and her grandmotherly instincts could not be denied.
She flew down and introduced herself to the busy cub, getting her attention by scooping up a rabbit that was thumping in challenge, and dropping it at her feet. "Hello, I am called Akiera, Daughter of the Great Owl of the White Oak, Son of the Mother of the Great Oak King, Who granted us this land for Safe Keeping long ago" The Bear Cub looked slightly afraid but returned the greeting."I am Called Akala, Cub of Callie by the river" Akiera liked the cub right away, it was a good greeting. The child was untrained in such things, as were most young creatures.
The Olde Ways were regretfully fading, the Olde Stories were now regarded as folklore rather than history and learning tales. Looking at this eager young bear, she thought that maybe, that didn't have to be so. In this small bear cub, she saw the hope, and a chance to share what she knew, and have it reshared.
The Ealdor Owl told Akala that she could catch a few rabbits for her, which delighted the small cub who was growing discouraged, hungry and bored. Soon, she feared, she might even get grumpy and didn't want to be grumpy on Mothers' day. In exchange, Akala promised to read to Akiera every afternoon, which delighted the Ealdor Owl. In her great age, her eyes were still sharp but grew tired more quickly and the company would be most welcome. Akala was only learning to read but she was as at that age when she was an expert in everything, even if she had only done it once or twice.
So Akiera went hunting and Akala picked berries because she was very good at that. Also she could eat them too. She usually ate more than she picked, but not this time, today was special. Akiera caught two (2) rabbits and three (3) squirrel. Akala was very impressed.
Callie was very happy with her special treats. The rabbits and squirrels were delicious, served with the fresh picked berries, spring greens, and cold well-water. Akala was glad that it wasn't fish again, she liked fish but sometimes ate to much of it. Callie even took down the good china and rose colored tea set with the shiny silver spoons. She set them atop a the pale pink and gold table clothe, which she only used on very, very, special occasions. Akiera joined them for dinner and they had a lovely time.
The following afternoon and every afternoon after that, Akala met Akiera at the base of The White Oak Tree and read aloud from beautifully illustrated books. Some of the words she knew, but most of them she needed help with. They both looked forward to their afternoons together, learning many more things, in and out of books.
Meanwhile, Callie had a few hours every day to tidy, nap, or read. She also liked to read when she had time. And that made every day a very merry mothers' day.