Once upon a time there were three black bears who lived on the edge of the boreal forest near Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba.
Correction: it wasn’t once upon a time; it was actually just a week or so ago. Being modern bears, they likely weren’t a family. And they didn’t have an actual house with furniture, and they didn’t leave that house while their porridge was cooling.
It’s been a very hot and exceedingly dry summer in Manitoba. So, the bears could not rely on the berry crop. There weren’t enough to even keep the birds happy, much less the bears. They had to go in search of food outside their familiar woods.
Their noses led them to Grand Beach, one of the top ten sand beaches in North America. Because it was such a hot and dry summer, hardly a mosquito could be found there. This drew hundreds of sun-lovers, beachcombers, and swimmers to the beach. Their fast-food and garbage attracted the bears.
The first one, a great, huge bear, showed up on a Thursday. It scared a lot of bathers, except for one woman. Let’s call her Goldilocks. Unlike the original, this Goldilocks decided to chase the bear in her car. The bear panicked and climbed a tree near the beach. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police came and “had to” shoot it because it was agitated. Perhaps they should have shot Goldilocks too.
The next one, a middle-sized bear, showed up the following Monday. Attracted by the smell of cooking fat and discarded French fries, it got between the bathers and their cars. Conservation officers were forced to put it down. Simply darting it with a tranquilizer was not an option. Too many people nearby.
Later that day a small, wee bear arrived on the beach. It met with the same sad fate. Ka-blam!
Modern bears can’t talk the way they do in fairy tales. They can’t say: “Someone’s swimming on my beach” to warn other bears away. They don’t stand a chance when people’s right to suntan and swim unimpeded trumps their need to eat.
Sorry, Disney. Fairy tales don’t always come true.