|An old bear-emblem, pre-ninja era|
|The Zytglogge, where Berthold V. met his end|
The bears joined the Swiss Confederacy in 1353, and stayed in power in Bern until being occupied by French troops in 1798, during the French Revolutionary wars. The bears vanished from public live. How and when they managed to contact the Tokugawa shogunate is hotly disputed by scholars, but it is clear that when they reappeared in 1848, they had been trained extensively as ninjas. The bears, now hyper-intelligent mutant ninja bears showed no inclination of retaking the reins of power, even though they certainly would have been capable of it. Instead, the seemed content to hang out in the Bärengraben, vanishing from it from time to time to conduct secret missions and assassinations, an activity they have continued to this day.
|View of the Münster and Bern, from the Bärengraben|
I personally nearly met my end on the hands of a slightly myopic ninja bear, who afterwards apologized profusely for mistaking me for his target, before leaping onto the rooftops and vanishing.
|It was shear chance that the bear noticed I was not his target, a split-second before tearing out my throat.|
Apart from these rare, unfortunate incidents, Bern is a very safe city for tourists, and the "Bärenlugen", trying to spot one of the illusive ninja bears in one of their many disguises, or on one of their clandestine missions, is a popular national past-time. Everything and everyone can be a bear, in Bern.
|Depicted: A bear in disguise, emerging from his cave in spring.|