THE BEAR LIKED ACORNS, ESPECIALLY WHEN HE FOUND THEM CONVENIENTLY DROPPED ONTO THE SMOOTH DIRT PATH THAT WOUND BEHIND THE CAMP to the river. He also liked grubs — and the wood pile in camp, with those tidy little chunks of tree all split up nice and paw-handy, made it easy for him. All he had to do was swipe a good rotty one up, hug it close and gnaw until the grubs nestling in the fibers popped out like candy into his mouth. And berries, of course — who didn’t like berries?
But the thing the bear liked best of all — loved, with a passion second only to the thrill of a fortuitous pounce on a salmon in the river — was wasps. Well, OK — maybe what he really, really, really loved was those times when he happened to wander, all careless-like, up to that big, ripe-smelling metal box in camp — at night, when the humans were sleeping — and found the lid easy to open. Then, oh, the riches to be had! Chicken bones and fat rinds off steak and half-mawed burger buns and slimy bits of salad-and-potato and carrot skins and yummy rotted things that he couldn’t believe those people, those spoiled kids and camp counselors, didn’t want to eat. That was bounty, that was heaven, but that happened less and less these days because, lately, the bear couldn’t get the damned lid open.