Buffin the Bear dragged his feet, sighing deeply; his wife asked him to search for winter food to stock their den. He had good intentions, but his stomach frequently made decisions for him. As he traipsed across a row of blackberry bushes, he realized he was no longer walking in wild woodlands, but through a thoroughfare, jutting close to civilization. It was well into the late afternoon when he heard voices beyond the trees lining a narrow country lane.

A large portly looking chap dressed in long midnight robes with a red sash around his waist was in high chatter with a slim mountain man who was nowhere near as fashionably dressed in décor. This man wore buckskins. He carried a powder horn slung over one shoulder and a small cannon strapped to his side. They were arguing about a price and the gypsy appeared to be winning.

“Look here, my rustic friend. You will not find quality anywhere like this horse I’m willing to sell you. It raced and won the Rover Track Competition last year and I would put money on it winning again this year. I will accept no less than 50 Dari for his sale.”  

The mountaineer looked at the horse dealer with calm suspicion. “If this horse is undervalued, why are you trying to get rid of him?”

The gypsy cocked his head and motioned for the stranger to come nearer. “He wasn’t born an ordinary horse, but one that became ordinary. He’s a unicorn.”

“Now I’ve heard every sales trick,” yelled the mountain man. You’re telling me that you captured a unicorn. Then why did it change into a regular horse?”

“Haven’t you heard the unicorn legend?” asked the hustler.

“You don’t mean the children’s story where a unicorn is caught by a wizened magician and transformed into a regular horse because of its enslavement?”

“That’s the one,” whispered the gypsy. He’d been dealing all day and couldn’t wait to make a sale. “Look, you’ll either buy the horse or you won’t!”

 It’s a rare occasion when a gypsy is outmatched in business by a woodsman. The mountaineer walked away from the scathing horse dealer without a care in the world. He suddenly stopped.

Buffin wondered what caught the mountaineer’s attention.

The man looked directly at the bear. “Hello there, friend. Don’t be afraid. Why don’t you walk down here and introduce yourself.”

The bear was a shape shifter and spent the last twenty minutes as a tree stump hunched on the ground. He couldn’t remember the day he became magical, but his wife noticed something different about him last season. He unintentionally swallowed unicorn hair while grazing in a field of sweet grass. His black eyes changed to electric blue and his body frequently transformed into stationary objects because of his slothful personality. Magic has a tendency to compliment the nature of its host. Whenever Buffin’s wife gave him a chore to do, he unconsciously transformed into an immobile object. 

“Come closer. Let me take a good look at you,” enquired the mountain man.

Buffin grumbled about needing to look for berries, but the man in buckskins wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Ordinarily, the bear would never have trusted human kind; they always tried to trap and own things that didn’t belonged to them. As Buffin stepped out of the shadows of his disguise, the mountaineer smiled.

This wasn’t an ordinary man, but someone who looked like a friend before you knew him. “How long have you been collecting berries for winter?” he asked.

Buffin shifted his weight from one blackberry stained paw to the other.

The mountain man introduced himself, “My name’s Barney Fuggle. What’s yours?”

The bear grinned at the man showing its teeth dyed purple, blue, and magenta. Buffin stuck out his paw to shake hands with Barney.

“Would you like to walk with me to the carnival?” asked the mountain man.

“What for?” questioned the bear. “I thought we could make some money from the gypsy thieves encamped in the area. We could buy you a stove that burns with everlasting fire for your hibernating months and I’m just dying to get my hands on a decent horse.” The two agreed to go to the fair and hash out their plans.


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