Outcomes Offered

■ Knowing how to stop and think

■ Realizing that might is not always right

■ Valuing your own abilities

■ Building on your strengths

In the woods live many animals and every animal is so different in many ways, perhaps just like the kids at school and the characters in the story I am about to tell you. One animal that everyone in the woods knew was Big Brown Bear. Now, Big Brown Bear wasn't very popular because Big Brown Bear was a bully. He'd throw his weight around just because he could, scare the other animals when they were playing, and chase them to hurt or eat them. There didn't seem to be anyone in the woods big enough or strong enough to stop Big Brown Bear.

One day Little Coyote was wandering through the woods, going about his own business, when he heard the heavy thump of paws on the ground, and the crunching of dry sticks under heavy feet. It wasn't hard to guess whose they were. Big Brown Bear was coming in his direction. Instantly, Little Coyote felt afraid. Should he run as he always did? He was sick of always running, always living in fear around Big Brown Bear. But he was too small, too weak to stand up and fight. Just as he was thinking what to do, he noticed some bones on the ground nearby. Now, Little Coyote might have been small and frightened, but he was smart and much cleverer than Big Brown Bear. Moving over to the bones, he sat down and began to chew on them, his back bravely toward Big Brown Bear. He waited patiently, listening to the sound of Big Brown Bear's footfalls on the ground until the bear was just about in striking distance. Then Little Coyote said in a loud voice, "Yummy, that was one delicious brown bear that I've just eaten. I'm still feeling hungry. I wish I could find another to eat."

Big Brown Bear was used to having his own way. He would knock other creatures out of the way if he felt like it. He would trample on them, not worrying how much he hurt them. He wasn't used to being scared or frightened because there was nobody else in the woods bigger or more bullying than him. However, the thought of being eaten stopped him in his tracks. For the first time he felt frightened. Could a coyote really capture and eat a bear? He wasn't prepared to take the risk and quietly backed off into the woods, finally turning and disappearing into the trees with a sigh of relief. "That was close," he said to himself. "I'm glad I escaped from that mean coyote."

High in a tree, unbeknownst to Big Brown Bear and Little Coyote, Squirrel had been watching what happened. Perhaps if he told Big Brown Bear how Little Coyote had tricked him, Big Brown Bear would look on Squirrel as a friend and protect both him and his family. So Squirrel hurried off . . . but not quite fast enough, for Little Coyote glanced back and saw him scurrying down the tree trunk and running after Big Brown Bear.

When Squirrel caught up with Big Brown Bear he told him what he'd seen, asking if they could be friends. Big Brown Bear may not have been particularly bright, but he certainly knew when some one had made a fool of him. He was as mad as a bear with a sore paw. "Climb up on my shoulder, Squirrel," he said gruffly. "It's time for you to see what I'm going to do to that conniving coyote."

Just when Little Coyote hoped that he was safe, he again heard the sounds of heavy thumping ofpaws and the breaking of sticks underfoot. Big Brown Bear was coming back after him, and he had Squirrel on his shoulder. Little Coyote again faced a problem. He had briefly won an advantage— but what was he to do now? Should he flee as he always had done? Would he have to be running scared all his life? Should he allow Big Brown Bear to regain his role of bully of the woods?

No, thought Little Coyote, Big Brown Bear isn't that smart. I'm a lot brighter. He might be stronger in his body but I have a strength of mind. With that, Little Coyote began to wonder what he could do. Again he sat with his back bravely toward Big Brown Bear and Squirrel, pretending he hadn't seen them. He waited till the footsteps got close enough for Big Brown Bear to hear him and, at just the right moment, Coyote said out loud, "Where has Squirrel gone? It must be half an hour since I sent him off to bring me another brown bear."

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