Watching funny videos about animals being uninvited guests in our homes, I thought about a story that some mountain guide had told me once (I don’t really remember where). It was the story of a bear that wasn’t afraid of tourists. When it was a cub, people were giving it fruit, biscuits and sandwiches. For tourists it was fun, but when the bear grew, it was still expecting gifts from people. It became intrusive and dangerous. They had to put it in a zoo.
On the TV news or on the Internet, we can see all the time videos showing wild animals going through trashcans or wandering around the town. Even in Polish Tatramountains, bears are familiar with modern conditions of living – they know when and where go to eat the leftovers left by people. This is dangerous for people as well as for animals. Well, how to explain to a bear that it can’t approach places where people live? Maybe with gestures? But the ease of getting food from our trashcans is stronger than the fear of people. Besides, who could stop a bear from getting easy food? It’s hard with people, not even mentioning bears – don’t try it with either of us. Every bear (maybe except for koala bears) is faster, bigger and stronger than a human, and it’s aware of this advantage. There are two options – do not disturb or shoot. This very narrow and cruel choice made me write the story about a bear. “Interview with a brunet” became at the same time a satire on some journalists, seeking for catchy story everywhere, including human misery or weakness. They just add to random events their “reliable and intelligent” comment, and we can read it numerous tabloids.
Birds are hilarious as well. A video showing a parrot sitting at the edge of a sink and turning on water with its bill, and then washing itself under the stream of water, went viral on the Internet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpjwS0daWrM Once I’ve seen a video about a duck fetching things thrown by a man. I often watch storks wandering proudly in the meadow, looking for treats not visible to humans. They seem to be sophisticated and patient treasure hunters. For me they are to some extent very intelligent. Otherwise how would you explain this? A photographer wants to photograph a pair of storks wandering in the meadow, so he crawls, sneaking towards them, and they are slowly walking away and continue hunting. The photographer is still crawling, and they are still walking away, and so on, and so on. And when it finally seems that he found a perfect position and time to make a photo, storks spread their wings and fly just above him, returning to the original place of hunting. And the poor guy is left all alone in the middle of a field. They just played him.
In my short story “Stork” I wanted somehow to refer to their cleverness. I’ll hope you’ll like it.