Table of Contents / Preface (1 references)
When we came to the tree, there was Friday got out to the small end of a large branch, and the bear got about half way to him. As soon as the bear got out to that part where the limb of the tree was weaker,--"Ha!" says he to us, "now you see me teachee the bear dance:" so he falls a jumping and shaking the bough, at which the bear began to totter, but stood still, and began to look behind him, to see how he should get back; then, indeed, we did laugh heartily. But Friday had not done with him by a great deal; when seeing him stand still, he calls out to him again, as if he had supposed the bear could speak English, "What, you come no farther? pray you come farther:" so he left jumping and shaking the tree; and the bear, just as if he understood what he said, did come a little farther; then he fell a jumping again, and the bear stopped again. We thought now was a good time to knock him in the head, and called to Friday to stand still, and we would shoot the bear: but he cried out earnestly, "O pray! O pray! no shoot, me shoot by and then;" he would have said by and by. However, to shorten the story, Friday danced so much, and the bear stood so ticklish, that we had laughing enough, but still could not imagine what the fellow would do: for first we thought he depended upon shaking the bear off; and we found the bear was too cunning for that too; for he would not go out far enough to be thrown down, but clings fast with his great broad claws and feet, so that we could not imagine what would be the end of it, and what the jest would be at last. But Friday put us out of doubt quickly: for seeing the bear cling fast to the bough, and that he would not be persuaded to come any farther, "Well, well," says Friday, "you no come farther, me go; you no come to me, me come to you:" and upon this he goes out to the smaller end of the bough, where it would bend with his weight, and gently lets himself down by it, sliding down the bough, till he came near enough to jump down on his feet, and away he runs to his gun, takes it up, and stands still. "Well," said I to him, "Friday, what will you do now? Why don't you shoot him?"--"No shoot," says Friday, "no yet; me shoot now, me no kill; me stay, give you one more laugh:" and, indeed, so he did, as you will see presently; for when the bear saw his enemy gone, he comes back from the bough where he stood, but did it mighty cautiously, looking behind him every step, and coming backward till he got into the body of the tree; then with the same hinder end foremost, he came down the tree, grasping it with his claws, and moving one foot at a time, very leisurely. At this juncture, and just before he could set his hind foot on the ground, Friday stepped up close to him, clapped the muzzle of his piece into his ear, and shot him dead. Then the rogue turned about to see if we did not laugh; and when he saw we were pleased, by our looks, he falls a laughing himself very loud. "So we kill bear in my country," says Friday. "So you kill them?" says I: "why, you have no guns."--"No," says he, "no gun, but shoot great much long arrow." This was a good diversion to us; but we were still in a wild place, and our guide very much hurt, and what to do we hardly knew: the howling of wolves ran much in my head; and, indeed, except the noise I once heard on the shore of Africa, of which I have said something already, I never heard any thing that filled me with so much horror.