Liu Zongyuan: The Bear ~ 《罴说》 柳宗元 with English Translations

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《罴说》 柳宗元


The Bear
Liu Zongyuan

The deer is afraid of the jackal, the jackal of the tiger, and the tiger of the bear. The bear has shaggy hair and can stand on two legs. Its great strength makes it most dangerous to people.
South of the land of Chu lived a hunter who could imitate the cries of all beasts on his bamboo pipe. One day, taking his bow and arrows and carrying embers in a pitcher, he climbed the hills to make the sound of a deer, so that when a deer came, attracted by the cry, he could show his light and shoot it. A jackal ran up, however, on hearing this cry; so the hunter took fright and make the noise of a tiger. As soon as the jackal left, though, a tiger arrived; then the hunter, more frightened than ever, made the noise of a bear. At that the tiger fled, but a bear came in search of a mate. Finding a man, it seized him with both paws, tore him limb from limb, and ate him.
All those who rely on some power not their own will meet their doom.

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