Ivan's Story
Copyright Carol Bastian, 2006
All rights reserved

Ivan's Story

Hare-iette has a new friend. His name is Red and he is a pretty gruff looking, brown teddy bear. I wonder why his name is Red when he is a brown bear? He does seem to favor red clothing tho. Maybe that's the reason.

Red had other homes before he came here.I was shocked when he said he liked to hunt. I love all animals and hate to see anyone hurt or kill them.

As it turned out, Red's idea of hunting wasn't at all what I had thought. It seems, when he goes hunting, he is hunting for animals, especially young ones, to PLAY with. I was amazed the first day he came home from hunting. He had a little bird on his shoulder and a couple of small animals following him. When he got to the house, he shooed the little ones back into the woods. He knows it's a bad idea to get wild animals used to humans....sad but true.

Hare-iette decided she wanted to try this kind of hunting. She and Red went out for a while every day. They went in cold weather and warm weather and sunshine and snow. I could tell they were having a wonderful time.

Not long before Christmas, Hare-iette and Red were out hunting when they happened upon a baby animal that was very stressed and crying. They really didn't even know what kind of animal it was. Hare-iette knew it wasn't a fawn and, she didn't think it was a moose calf. What she did know, was that it was very young.

It could walk but was wobbly. It could eat by itself but slowly.
It could talk a little, but Hare-iette and Red couldn't understand what it was saying. It was very upset and got frightened if Red tried to get near.

Hare-iette went to it very slowly and talked quietly to it and, it finally let her touch it. She kept talking quietly and, before long the poor little thing put its head down on her shoulder and sobbed. Hare-iette petted him and hugged its little neck until it relaxed. Finally, even Red was able to approach.

The little one was babbling things they couldn't understand. Then they heard it say, "Mama" several times. It also said "fixin'" a few times. Hare-iette and Red checked to see if it was hurt and needed "fixin'". They couldn't find anything wrong with the little fellow. Maybe he was "fixin'" to do something but they had no idea what. After a while Red said he thought maybe the little one was speaking Russian.
"Well, if he's Russian," said Hare-iette,"let's call him Ivan."
Red agreed on the name. Actually, it was the only Russian name they knew.

"What are we going to do with him?" Red wondered, "He's too young to be out here all alone. Should we take him back to the house?"
Hare-iette thought about it for a while and said,
"No, we shouldn't do that. In Mom's Conservationist magazine it says, "If you care, leave it there." They say the mother will come for it."
Hare-iette and Red played with Ivan for a while and tried to think what to do. All the while Ivan kept talking his baby talk and often said "Mama" or "fixin'".

Hare-iette and Red decided to make Ivan a warm safe bed of branches and leaves. It took them quite a while to make it, but it turned out fine. It had a bed of leaves and pine needles. It even had a roof of branches that would keep the rain or snow off the little one. When Ivan was in his little home he couldn't be seen by predators, and he would be warm and dry. Yet, when his mother came for him he would hear her and call to her. Hare-iette and Red were very proud of their job and gave each other a high five.

They collected some things they thought he might eat. They had made good choices, because he liked most of what they brought.

It was starting to get dark, and Hare-iette and Red had to get home. They hugged little Ivan and got him into his bed. Then they ran for home.

After that, Hare-iette and Red went everyday to take care of Ivan, and to play with him. They played games that helped to get his legs to stop wobbling. Soon he could even run with them. Of course, they got him food, and checked to be sure his shelter was still warm and dry.

Each day when they arrived, they said, "Good morning, Ivan". After a couple of days, when Ivan saw them coming, he called out, in his baby voice, complete with accent, "Good morning, Ivan". Hare-iette and Red laughed til their sides hurt.

One day, on their way to take care of Ivan, they heard voices in the woods, human voices. Hare-iette and Red dropped to the ground behind a tree, and tried to hear what the voices were saying. They had to creep closer to make out the words. They couldn't make out all the words, but they understood enough to get very frightened. It seems the men had stolen a baby caribou from up north someplace, and were taking to to New York City when it escaped. They had to find it soon or they wouldn't get paid.

Caribou? Was Ivan a baby caribou? Maybe that explained why his mother hadn't come for him. He's been kidnapped!

That's when Hare-iette and Red knew they needed help. That's when I found out about Ivan.

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