A Russian rustic clambering up a tree
Sunk in the treasure of the active bee. [i. e. He fell in!]
To his diurnal saint he did not fail
To supplicate to free him from his jail.
But that which most augments his misery
Was that no priest or patriarch was nigh
To write a letter to Saint Nicholas, [which he thought he needed]
And that without it he to heaven couldn’t pass.
He hopeless was; but overcharged with fears
Within and numerous foes about his ears
This captive stood; the tree he could not rive, [tear apart]
And loath he was to be embalmed alive.
When lo, a bear came roaming for her prey
Just where the man in’s luscious prison lay.
She smelled the honey, straight she climbs the tree.
When the poor man his double death doth see
Fear caused despair, despair did make him bold;
Upon the bear’s hind legs he then catched hold.
The bear affrighted (who can hold their laughter?)
Got quickly out and pulled the man out after.
Then let none in distress his courage lose
For God can bring redemption by our foes…
For God can turn the sharpest sword or knife,
That means us instant death to give us life.
Then if restrained of liberty you be
Think how the bear the captive Russ set free.
I think I had this story in one of my school books.