Once there was a dancing circus bear who spent her days in a cold, hard cage. Each night she was led to the town square, where acrobats, trapeze artists, and clowns performed for a boisterous crowd. The bear performed, too, year in and year out, lifting her feet and swaying to the music of trumpets, drums, and cymbals. As she danced, some people clapped, and many poked her with sticks or threw stones. One night, however, the bear did not dance. She stood very still. She finally can no longer stand the torment and determines to set herself free.