Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Sept. 6, 1999

Water safety is 'beary' important


Once upon a time there were three small bears. Their names were Noisey, Blinkey, and Spot.

The three bears lived with their parents in the big woods by a river.

In the winter, Mother and Father Bear had crawled into a den to hibernate, or sleep, for the winter. The den was a big hole under an old tree in the woods.

When they woke up in the spring, the three little bears were born.

Mother and Father Bear immediately set about teaching the little bears everything they would need to know to live by themselves in the big woods.

One of the most important things the bears needed to learn was how to find food. The bears' favorite foods is fish, so Mother and Father Bear taught the little bears how to fish in the river.

If you are ever in the woods, you may see some little bears standing in the water catching fish. If you do, stay away from them because you can be sure their parents are close by watching. The Mother and Father Bear will chase you because they are afraid that you will hurt their children.

Father Bear taught his little bears to stay close to the shore of the river and never, ever to go into the deep water where the current could sweep them away.

Noisey Bear was always getting into trouble. And sure enough, one day when the three bears were fishing from the shore of the river, Noisey went in too deep. Away Noisey went, floating off in the river current.

Spot went running to find Mother and Father Bear. His parents jumped into the river and searched the water from shore, trying to see where Noisey had floated.

Spot ran along the bank of the river and then he saw Noisey hanging onto a branch for dear life. He yelled to his mother and father and told them where Noisey was.

Father bear swam out into the river and grabbed Noisey from the branch. Then he swam back to shore with Noisey.

Father and Mother Bear took Noisey back to their den and made him stay inside for the rest of the day.

The next day, Father Bear gathered all the little bears around him and said, "Now you can see why we told you not to go into the deep water."

"It is a good thing you were not in the river alone, Noisey," said Father Bear. "Never go into the water unless there is someone with you to go for help if you need it.

"And never, ever go into deep water unless you are a very good swimmer."

These are all very good rules, not only for bears, but for people, too. Remember to only swim with a buddy and always follow these safety rules.

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