Through our dealings with bears, they can teach us the most important lesson about friendships, because you see there are two very distinct types…
Those who show you their true colors by actions after the fact:
Two men were traveling together, when a bear suddenly met them on their path. One of them climbed up quickly into a tree, and concealed himself in the branches. The other, seeing that he must be attacked, fell flat on the ground, and when the Bear came up and felt him with his snout, and smelt him all over, he held his breath, and feigned the appearance of death as much as he could.
The Bear soon left him, for it is said he will not touch a dead body. When he was quite gone, the other traveler descended from the tree, and accosting his friend, jocularly inquired “what it was the Bear had whispered in his ear?” he replied, “He gave me this advice: Never travel with a friend who deserts you at the approach of danger.”
Misfortune tests the sincerity of friends.
And those who are honest from the get-go, about both their intentions AND their actions:
Two backpackers, Ted and his mate John were tramping through the woods when, to their horror, they saw a large ferocious looking bear sitting at the picnic table they had chosen on which to eat their lunch. Ted, although dismayed, immediately removes his heavy hiking boots and starts to puts on his running shoes.
John, equally concerned, calls out, ‘Hey, Ted. You’re wasting your time. You’ll never outrun that bear, so why are you putting those on?’
‘Aha,’ replies Ted quickly, ‘You see, John, I don’t have to outrun the bear, I only have to outrun you.’
I definitely know what type of friend I am, just as I know what type of friends I prefer: A friend I can outrun…
Is that too much to ask?