A stage direction in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale.

It is the Sicilian lord Antigonus who does it, and he is on the equally notorious coast of Bohemia when he does it. In fact, the "deserts of Bohemia", he says. He's asking the Mariner where they've landed. The Mariner assures him that's where they are. He leaves the baby Perdita there, where it is found by a shepherd.

Personally I worry about Antigonus.

True story:

Last fall I was on my DOC Freshman Trip with a bunch of other brand-new Dartmouth freshmen and our sophomore leader. So we had just climbed Smarts Mountain, and we were on the way down, when the girl in the back says: "um, guys? I think there's a bear following us." And indeed there was (a cub, that is). The bear chased us down Smarts and up another ridge at a full run before finally giving up.

As it turned out, it was an orphan cub, as evidenced by the radio collar and our knowledge that there were researchers tracking orphaned bear cubs in the area. So fortunately there was no angry Mama bear to attack us.

So yeah, I guess we followed that stage direction in real life. How about that?

The direction is found in The Winter's Tale. Much debate has ensued about whether the bear was actually a real ursus, or an actor in costume. The real bear theory has some support from the fact that theatre in Shakespeare's day competed with bear-baiting, much as theatre today competes with professional wrestling.

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