Saturday, June 2, 2012

If you can bear any more...

Dear Spies,

If you've just tuned in, you'll probably need to look at the last question from Gretel! But if you can't be bothered, that's okay, just sit back and enjoy the story.

We were talking about the stars in the sky that are called the Big Bear and the Little Bear. Here's what the ancient Greeks said about how this happened.

A very pretty girl called Callisto was turned into a bear by a jealous goddess and separated from her little son, Arcas. Anyway one day Callisto (the bear) was wandering through the forest and she spotted her son (the boy), who was hunting with a bow and arrow.

She was so excited to see him she rushed forward to give him a (um, bear) hug. But he, of course, did not know that this bear was his mother (understandable), so he took out his bow and arrow to shoot her.


Zeus, the king of the gods, saw what was going on and quickly snatched them both up from earth and put them up into the sky. This is where you can see them in the shape of the stars,  Big Bear and Little Bear, or Ursa Major and Ursa Minor (Big Bear and Little Bear in Latin.)

Just one more word about bears, Gretel. I wonder if you knew that the expression 'teddy bear' comes from the American President Theodore Roosevelt? He got very upset on a bear-hunting trip by a poor old bear that was tied up to be shot. There was a lot of publicity about it, and after that toy bears started to be known at "teddy" bears, because "Teddy" is a nickname for "Theodore."

After all that PLEASE write back and tell me what you have decided to call YOUR teddy bear!

your ursine pal,

The Word Spy

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