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Dancing Bear

I would like to explain the reason for my title page containing a picture of a ‘Dancing Bear’.

It was during a trip to Canada that I first came across these incredibly skillful carvings, and I was so fascinated by the story behind them I just had to get one. For me the sculpture I bought fills me with happiness and I find it inspiring…no matter the situation I’m in, it can always raise a smile.

There are several different explanations of the story behind these carvings, and I’m sure someone will put me right on this, but the version I was told by one of the sculptors is the one that captured my imagination and truly explains the joy I see them, and probably the explanation I want to believe is true.

“The Inuits are great hunters, and we believe that if you’ve lived a good life and have provided for your family then the gods will bless you and return you after your human life to be one of the great hunting animals. These are the eagle, the wolf, the walrus and the greatest hunter of them all, the polar bear...

...If the gods see fit to reward me for living a good life and being a great hunter by returning my spirit in the form of a polar bear, the greatest of the animals, then I would be so happy I would dance.”

What wonderful symbolism and a great outlook on life…and death. I often look at my Dancing Bear sculpture and hope the story becomes a reality for the teller and offers him some sort of hope to carry forward in life.

And I get to wondering if all story tellers (including we writers) need to make sure we offer our audience something in return for the commitment they make to read our work…even if it’s just raising a smile in this complex world we live in.