Bears love their books, and the size of the Haven library, compared to the size of the whole village of Haven, is proof of that. In the early spring, it is not uncommon to see bears out on their balconies bundled up and reading. And every evening in the summer, there is a public reading by the Lookout.
By the late fall in Growly’s home village of Haven, the windows would already be frosted with ice and the rough cobblestones of the main street would be hidden under thick layers of snow. It’s a time for bears to be sitting by their fireplaces with hot mugs of tea and a tall stacks of books. The bears of Haven love their books and go to great lengths to show that they do.
One bear set out in the middle of a blizzard, all the way to the Lookout, just to see if he might have left his favorite copy of Thistles of the Lower Woods up in the telescope room. He was the talk of the village for weeks afterward, even after it was discovered that the book had been under his couch the whole time.
Another bear, it is said, was once lost up in the mountains for over a week with just three small sandwiches and a first edition printing of Ear to the Ground, Young Cub in his backpack. The hardest part, he is reported to have said, was wondering what he would do once he reached the final chapter.
Not much is known about bear books dating back before the time of Hegel. Much was lost in those desperate days. There is a collection of writings called Trees of the Deep Forest that is believed to have been carried by Bena, Hegel’s aunt and her friends. And a collection of poems titled Whistiglen, which most believe are about the bears’ former home in the west. Beyond those books, however, nothing much is known.
Since those days though, much has been written. There are Hegel’s writings, of course, on the language of bees. And Bena’s telling of the desperate race eastward, led by Hegel and the bees, when the bears first came to the mountains long, long ago.
There are bear books on baking, bear books on history and geography and songs. There are books on drawing and climbing and surviving in the wild. There are novels and comedies, family histories and science. There are books about books, and even a couple of books about books about books. In fact, there is said to even be a book about books about books about books … but it isn’t quite finished and hasn’t been published yet.
Why do bears love their books so much? There have been long discussions and endless theories down through the centuries, since before the days of Hegel.
“It’s the feel of the paper on your paw!”
“It’s the smell of the bindings and the way the letters lay so crisp and clean on every page!”
“It’s History! … Culture! … Knowledge!”
“It’s the way they make you want to hear just one more chapter,” a small Cub giggled in the middle of one of these discussions. And to bears, there aren’t many better reasons than that.