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by Harvey Mendez


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In this haunting tale in Old California, thirteen year-old Ramon Montiel strives to save his beloved bull, Toro, from a fight with a maurading grizzly bear, a battle that could end in certain death for Toro.



From The Bear and the Bull...

   Now it was time for the faena when the matador distracted the bull with the muleta, a fan-shaped scarlet cloth draped over a short stick, and plunged his sword into the meat between the shoulder blades down into the bull’s heart.
   An attendant brought Luis the sword and muleta. Luis put the sword in his left hand; his injured right arm was too weak but he managed to hold the muleta.
   The bull stomped around the ring waiting for more cape movements. Some spectators threw flowers into the arena and roared for the final fight. The bull turned toward Luis, who stood alone in the ring’s center.
   Luis dedicated the bull to the officials then made several strained passes while the bull’s huge horns just brushed his upper thighs and stomach. Luis set his jaw. His eyes, serious, hard, he gripped the sword handle tight and cocked his left hand back by his chin. He stared into the bull’s eyes and drew the bull’s head down with a flicker of the muleta.
   The stands fell quiet. 

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