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THE BEAR AND THE CHILD
LEOPOLD, Duke of Lorraine, had a bear called Marco, of whose sagacity we have this remarkable story. One cold winter day, a boy, almost frozen with the cold, entered Marco's hut, without thinking of the danger which he ran in thus exposing himself to the mercy of the animal which was in there. Marco, however, instead of doing the child any injury, took him between his paws, and warmed him by pressing him to his breast until the next morning, when he let him go. The boy came back to the hut in the evening, and was received with the same affection. For several days he had no other home, and it added not a little to his joy to see that the bear always saved part of his food for him. A number of days passed in this way without the servants knowing anything of what was going on. At length, when one of them came one day, rather later than usual, to bring the bear his supper, he was greatly surprised to see the huge animal roll his eyes in a furious manner, and act as if he wished him to make as little noise as possible, for fear of awaking the child whom he held clasped to his breast. The animal, though very hungry, did not seem to be the least moved by the sight of the food which was placed before him. The story of this strange incident was soon spread at court, and reached the ears of Leopold; who, with part of his courtiers, was anxious to learn if the tale of Marco's generosity were true. Several of them spent the night near his hut, and saw with astonishment that the bear never stirred as long as his guest showed a desire to sleep. At dawn the child awoke, was very much ashamed to find that he was discovered, and, fearing that he would be punished, begged pardon. The bear, however, caressed him, and tried to get him to eat what had been brought to him the evening before. He did this at the request of the courtiers, who conducted him to the prince. Having learned the whole story, Leopold ordered the little boy to be taken care of, and he would, no doubt, have soon made his fortune, had he not died a short time afterward.