So, John hurried, not looking around. And when a large, burly, hairy shape rolled from around a big spruce tree by the road – it caught him by surprise. Suddenly, he felt hot. „Jesus Christ! A bear!”, he mumbled in fright, shaken. And the apparition growled, scratched its head and under one of its arms, and in a gravely voice said: There’s no need to shout. You should just remember that bears are about this night in December!
„Uff!”, John breathed a sigh of relief. „You really frightened me, Tony!”
„Heck, there’s no reason to be frightened. I’m just fixing to go caroling, so I’m wearing my fur coat.”
„You’re alone? And where are the rest of the carolers?”
„Oh, they’re probably gathering about. We’re supposed to meet at the church. We’ll start caroling for the vicar. And later on we’ll stop by your place.”
„Well, you see,” John, embarassed, was feeling sheepish after that earlier scare – „people say that on Christmas Eve all the animals speak with a human voice…”
„Yep, that’s what they say”, agreed Tony. „But I never heard a bear talking to me with a human voice! Have you?” His eyes were shining, he was pulling John’s leg.
„Oh, just this once, a few minutes ago..” John was blushing. And he decided to get even.
„It’s the very first time ever, that such a dumb beast spoke to me!…”
A Polish legend says that on the night of Christmas Eve the animals, especially the domestic ones, have the ability to talk to people using a human voice. I never checked this out, myself, for I was always too busy with the Christmas Eve preparations to verify if there were any conversations going on in the barn.
And if so, I would dearly love to hear them. And I would also like to listen to any conversations among game animals as well, and to other animals living in the woods. What would they have to say to us? Would they complain about the way we treat them? Would they blame us for spoiling our planet, the beautiful Mother Earth? Would they argue using those human voices? Would they spread malicious gossip about other animals? Would they, in effect, behave as the humans do?
It would be interesting, indeed, to hear with what kind of voice the elk would speak. Because his amorous hymn, almost a whistle, is just a call of the wild, a challenge to his rivals, and not a voice of calm conversation. The bear, of course, would growl deeply, as this is his everyday voice. But with what voice would a fox speak? A porcupine? A badger?
One can only dream and wonder, having already done that often enough, for many years. And in many other legends, man also talks to the animals, and they answer wisely and brightly, either cajoling him or in a heartful candor. Many such legends revolve around a specific night, or a special day. Some of these magic, charming and enchanted nights are the night of St. John the Baptist (24th of June), also known as Hallow John’s Night. That is another one of those nights when animals talk with the human voices. And another legend claims that animals talk on the Eve of the Three Magi.
But the Christmas Eve night is the special one, with strongest, most mysterious powers, a night of magic, firing our imagination and controlling our senses.
And so it’s easy to believe that something very special just may, just might happen on a night like this.
Maybe that redhead, or maybe that blond will all of a sudden speak to me?
But I’m not hopeful, for the legends never mention monkeys…