One night the Bear was sound asleep in his cave when there was a great earthquake. Trees fell, rocks crumbled, fissures opened in the earth and the River of Reality ran backwards. (That's not some sort of metaphor -- it's just what the Bear named the river that runs by the woodlands.)
When the Bear awakened, he saw a full moon washing the twinkling stars overhead.
Almost immediately, Mole popped up, a piece of turf on her head like a hat decorated by a single clover blossom. "Evening, Bear," Mole said. Mole was not the least disadvantaged by the night, although the full moon was bright enough for everyone else.
"Good evening Mole," the Bear replied. "I trust your tunnels did not collapse."
"Mole doesn't know," she answered, not sounding very concerned. "Can always dig them again. Quite fun, actually. Digging through the soil, finding worms and grubs to eat. You might try it. But what are you doing out here? Why did you leave home?"
"Leave home? Mole --"
"What's wrong with you, Bear?" It was Badger. "Running away from home? Abandoning us! Here you are, sneaking out in the dead of night. That's cold, Bear. Anyway, can Badger be in charge since you're running off?"
"The Bear is not running off!" he exclaimed, beginning to feel exasperated.
"You should be in bed in your own cave this time of night," Badger announced with a tone of triumph.
"The Bear was! He was fast asleep, and the next thing he knows, he's out here, and his cave is --" the Bear looked around -- "over there!"
"Bear is leaving, leaving, leaving, Bear, Bear!" called Nightingale from a nearby tree.
"Bear is not -- will everyone please just be quiet and let the Bear talk?" Then he growled, which he seldom did, at least at the woodland creatures. The only sound was the distant, monotonous chirp of frogs that had resumed. The Bear rose to his hind legs, making a very imposing sight in the moonlight. By now other woodland creatures had begun to arrive, attracted by the fuss.
"The Bear laid down in his cave and went to sleep, as always. Next thing he knows, he's here, and his cave is there. But he didn't move! Look -- here's his bed!"
"Bear is playing a trick on us," Fox said with amusement. Receiving a fierce look from the Bear, he hastily added, "or perhaps not."
"Who, who, who is this that darkeneth counsel without knowledge?" came an authoritative voice from above. Everyone looked up to see Owl, silhouetted against the full moon.
"You know he stages this," Fox whispered to Mole, who shrugged, because she could not see Owl, staging or not.
Thus said Owl. "Bear is here, Bear's cave is there, and Bear between them did not move. Bear cannot lie, as we all know."
"Bear cannot lie," recited the woodland creatures together, if a little raggedly.
"Therefore, it is not the Bear that moved, it was his cave that moved."
The woodland creatures erupted into argument, some of them shaking their paws at Owl. Owl did not care, secure in his tree, and his own wisdom. Mole, encouraged by Flea, who was never heard and seldom noticed, clambered up to the Bear's ear. The Bear seemed to listen. The Bear motioned with this forepaws for silence, and the woodland was once again given over to the frogs. Then the Bear spoke.
"Mole knows more about the earth than any of us," the Bear began. "She says that there was an earthquake. She says earthquakes shake things up, shift her tunnels, collapse others, and can even move a Bear's cave from here --" pointing to the ground beneath his feet -- "to there," he finished, gesturing dramatically to the cave's new location, several yards away. "The Bear did not move; It was his cave," he concluded in a tone that brooked no argument.
"So Bear will be moving back into his cave, er, over there," suggested Beaver, her tail slapping the ground softly, as was her habit when she was nervous.
"No," said the Bear flatly.
"Have you lost your mind?" exclaimed Badger, who was one of the few woodland creatures the Bear permitted to address him in that sort of tone, because she was a Badger, and the Bear knew she could not help it. "You have a perfectly good cave over there. Well, okay, maybe there are a few cracks and it will will require some cleanup, but it's still your home."
"No," the Bear repeated. "This is the Bear's bed. This is where the Bear laid his head down earlier tonight. That cave may move wherever it pleases, but a Bear knows his own home. He knows where he belongs. What sort of cave gets up and moves in the middle of the night while your asleep, anyway? What if decided to move to the other side of the River of Reality, or to the Unicorn Pastures? Would you expect the Bear to tag along, and leave his beloved woodlands and friends? Very suspicious that cave," the Bear concluded, and made a sound somewhere between a growl and a "hurumppph." that meant the discussion was over.
"Bear will get rained on," predicted Badger with relish.
"Perhaps," answered the Bear with a show of non-concern. "A little rain never killed a Bear."
"What, what, what about your things, things?" called Nightingale.
"The Bear's home is where he stands. That cave over there," he continued, gesturing in the moonlight as if toward the next county, "still holds many of the Bear's things. There is no reason to abandon it, even if it lets you down. But it isn't my home. My home is right here. Where it always was. It was my cave that moved."