The brown bear, which lives in Siberia, may be considered among the most good-natured of his tribe. Mr Atkinson, who travelled in that country, tells us that some peasants—a father and mother—had one day lost two of their children, between four and six years of age. It was soon evident that their young ones had wandered away to a distance from their home, and as soon as this discovery was made they set off in search of them.

Having proceeded some way through the wilds, they caught sight in the distance of a large animal, which, as they got nearer, they discovered to be a brown bear; and what was their horror to see within its clutches their lost young ones! Their sensations of dismay were exchanged for astonishment, when they saw the children running about, laughing, round the bear, sometimes taking it by the paws, and sometimes pulling it by the tail. The monster, evidently amused with their behaviour, treated them in the most affectionate manner. One of the children now produced some fruit, with which it fed its shaggy playfellow, while the other climbed up on its back, and sat there, fearlessly urging its strange steed to move on. The parents gave way to cries of terror at seeing the apparent danger to which their offspring were exposed. The little boy, however, having slipped off the bear’s back, the animal, hearing the sound of their voices, left the children, and retreated quietly into the forest.