Menominee - Brother Bear
A long time ago on the Menominee Indian Reservation there lived a very old couple. The husband loved hunting and fishing. One winter night he decided to go on a hunting trip. So the next day his wife packed some warm clothes and lots of dried meat and berries for him and he set off on his trip.
He followed deer trails through the woods for a long time without seeing a deer. Then, at the edge of a meadow, he spotted one. Carefully, he aimed the arrow in his bow and let it fly. The arrow struck the deer but only wounded it. The deer leaped into a thicket of trees, and the old man quickly followed. He tracked the deer for many miles but eventually lost its trail. When he finally decided to return home, he realized that he was lost. The old man panicked and started to run, but he could not find a familiar trail. The old man remained lost for many days.
Late one afternoon, while trying to save time, he decided to walk across a lake. He had not gone far, when suddenly he broke through a weak spot in the ice! He carefully pulled himself from the water and crawled to shore. There, he took off his snowshoes and other heavy clothing and started walking. He became very cold and tired. Fortunately, he noticed a small cave and went inside. A bear was hibernating in the cave, but that didn't bother him. The old man cuddled close to the bear to keep warm, and while lying next to the bear, he ate the dried meat and berries his wife had sent with him. He stayed with the bear until his clothing dried and he regained his strength.
When he finally returned home, his wife asked, "Where have you been?"
The old man answered, "I was staying with my brother bear."
A Menominee story retold by Louise Bear and Terri Zhuckkahosee