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She was only eleven years old when Berte experienced a strange encounter in the deep forest near her home.
The year was 1865, and Berte several times had followed the path through the tall trees to the small village of Bjorke, which was a distance of about three kilometres. She had never been afraid to go through the woods, even when she was alone. Wolves were no danger, but there were still bears about in those days, and the young girl had often seen signs of their presence.
On this particular day, her errand was a simple matter of buying something--she was not visiting a grandmother with a basket of food. It was a hot summer day, and on the return trip, she stopped in the coolness of the woods, sat down on a fallen tree and rested.
It was then that she heard a strange sound. Someone was whistling a tune. Curious, because she knew all the people in the area, she began to search for the whistler. It was a deep, husky sound, as if someone was attempting to whistle and sing at the same time.
Coming to a clearing, she saw a bear sitting on a heap of dry fir needles. He held his two front paws on either side of his snout while pouring forth his mournful song. Berte watched only a moment or so before turning and running home. When she told her alarmed mother about the incident, she added, "But he had such kind eyes!"