The den was huge, about six feet square. It’s made like a mouse’s nest—lined with twigs, grass and fur. Inside it’s different. There was a partition, making two rooms, the sleeping room and a place for the cubs to play. We found three of them, six or seven days old. They didn’t even have their eyes open. It took a lot of nerve to look in a bear’s den like that.

I decided to take one of the cubs home. Fred took the other two, but Fred's wife didn’t like the idea of feeding them with an eye dropper and they weren’t big enough for a bottle, so Fred took them to Winnipeg to the Reliable Bird Store and they gave him ten dollars a piece.

Iessie was willing, so we kept our little fellow and raised him like one of the family. We called him Smokey. He was only six inches long, and weighed maybe half a pound. Right from the start, he took it for granted Jessie was his mother. He’d cry like a baby for his food. Iessie had to get up at night, about every three hours and feed him with the eye dropper. His little paws would reach up to knead Iessie’s hand, like kittens do at the mother’s nipple to make the milk come and Jessie had to wear a leather glove to protect her hand from his needle-like claws. Later when he was on bottle, Iessie had to wear a pair of real heavy gloves. You couldn’t cut a bear’s claws because a blood vessel runs right to the end of the nail; it’s not like a dog’s claw that has to be clipped.

In only a couple of weeks Smokey’s eyes were open and he was taking in everything. Pretty soon he was learning to walk. He’d take one or two steps and fall down. We had a big female cat and when the bear cub would stand up and try to walk she’d give him a cuff and topple him over. He’d copy anybody or try anything. Once he was sitting on a chair by the door, when our son Larry opened it and went out. As soon as the door closed, Smokey reached up, opened it and followed Larry outside.

We had an old broken gramophone and the kids would turn the

record with their fingers, making funny sounds. Pretty soon Smokey

84