Dancing Bears by Fred Saberhagen

By Fred Saberhagen

John Sherwood, an American hunter, accompanies his pal Gregori Lohmatski to Lohmatski's relatives property in pre-revolutionary Russia to seek a man-eating endure, the place Sherwood quickly reveals himself hunted via the political police and haunted by way of legends of shape-shifting males.

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The horse reared on its hind legs, too, but in doing so rose no taller than the bear. The amazement of the human watchers was soon transformed into terror, as they beheld their new antagonist break a hound's neck with one deft slap, and in its jaws crush to pulp the skull of another dog before it could even yelp. The remainder of the pack went scattering, yelping in cowardly disorder. This giant bear charged the chief villain and knocked him off his mount, ignored his effort to stab at it with his sword.

Sherwood was still determined to obtain better dogs if possible, and continued to nurse hopes of en-listing a competent guide, someone who knew the local land and wildlife but was not disabled by superstition. Natalya rode with him in a light carriage. Sherwood carried his Winchester, just in case. For a time he gave Natalya the rifle to hold, while he took a turn at driving the odd vehicle, just for the experience. He made a start at learning the proper commands to call out to Russian horses. The couple failed to locate the former gamekeeper.

I didn't want to take the time to chase them. " "Naturally we are curious about what happened. " "Not much, I tell you. What does a hunter need? I bagged a couple of rabbits and made a fire. " Sherwood, listening, continued to find Maxim's story vaguely unsatisfactory. He found himself speculating that perhaps Maxim hadn't spent the entire time of his absence simply tramping through the woods. But that would mean he had left his father lying dead to hurry off and spend days, maybe as much as a week… with whom?

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