Chapter 1

The Forbidden Gift

 It is the end of a beautiful Indian summer, when the leaves are turning
shades of reds, yellows, and oranges.
A cool, crisp, bite in the clean mountain air and a thick layer of fog hug the
forest floor. As morning approaches the fog lifts, leaving a fine mist that showers
beads of liquid diamonds onto the tall old growth trees, the beautiful ferns, berry
bushes, and the thick moss that covers much of the forest. A blue jay yells across the
quietness like an annoying alarm clock. The bright sun, rising above the mountain
tops, sends sharp rays of yellow and white light through the trees, making the
diamond mist gleam throughout the forest. Awakening animals lift their heads to see
a wonderland of sparkle. The breath of the Creator softly breaths on a beautifully spun
spider´s web, making it dance softly between two Sgurd Berry bushes, while drops of
mist roll slowly along the strands of the intricately woven web.
Suddenly, breaking the silence of the forest is the sound of rustling branches
and the rumble of a deep-throated grunt.
The spider´s web begins to shake violently as a huge, black paw shoots up
between the two Sgurd Berry bushes, ripping a berry from its stem. The strands of
the lacy web are stretched to its breaking point and snap, sending the sparkling
diamond beads and leaves sailing through the air, as the giant paw descends back
into the brush where Yobdab, an immense black bear, loudly gobbles up the huge,
juicy berry. After he is finished eating, saliva dripping from his mouth down to his
chest, Yobdab rolls over and out from under the bush and tries to stand.
Grabbing the berry bush with his fruit-stained paw, he places his right knee
on the ground and pushes his heavy body upward, but he breaks the branch and
losing his balance, stumbling forward and crashing through the bush. Yobdab rolls
head over heel several times before a giant old growth cedar tree catches his big,
boxy head, bringing him to a sudden stop.
The “thump’ against the solid tree trunk echoes loud enough to be heard by
a small flock of bluebirds flying overhead. They cock their dark blue, pointed heads
to the left side, in the direction of the noise, only to see Yobdab, crazy again from