Last week, a three-year-old North Carolina boy went missing in the woods. Toddlers are notoriously bad at taking care of themselves even in the best of circumstances, but freezing temperatures lowered his odds of survival from slim to practically none.
But then, two days later, he was found! Crying, yes, but unharmed. Rescuers pulled young Casey Hathaway out of some bushes he’d become stuck in, and later, when he was safe, asked him what had happened. According to The Guardian,
Casey told police he survived due to the presence of a black bear, which kept him company. The boy repeated the story to his aunt, Breanna Hathaway.
“He said he hung out with a bear for two days,” Hathaway wrote in a Facebook post. “God sent him a friend to keep him safe. God is a good God. Miracles do happen.”
Personally, I believe Hathaway when he says a bear kept him safe from the elements until help arrived. “Real” bear experts are not convinced, or at least, that’s what they say. Chris Servheen, a bear researcher at the University of Montana, insists that Hathaway made the whole thing up:
“Wild bears aren’t friends with people. I don’t want to say he’s not telling the truth, he obviously thinks he’s seen things and maybe he’s got a teddy bear at home. But I’ve seen no evidence anything like that has ever happened.”
“I don’t want to cast aspersions on the child but I think the little boy had a fantasy. The bear wouldn’t feel sorry for him, thinking he’s alone. That’s ascribing human characteristics on wild animals, which is anthropomorphism.”
I realize Servheen is only trying to dissuade people from going out and trying to befriend wild animals, and to that end: OF COURSE THIS IS FAKE. HA HA. STUPID KID.
But history and YouTube contain innumerable examples of interspecies relationships, and I know, in the quiet of heart, that a bear rescued that child. I am not saying anyone should toss their kid outside, assuming a friendly bear will show up and babysit it for free, because that won’t happen! You can’t engineer this stuff.
But tomorrow, when you wake up to the latest news about Trump felling a virgin Amazon rainforest so he can build his border wall entirely with the teeth of endangered Pygmy sloths, and you think that there must be no good left in this whole accursed world, remember: A bear saved a child from dying in the woods. And you will feel at least .005 percent better.