Once upon a time, there lived a tanner in a far off village in Italy. One day, he went to a hunter to get the skin of a bear. However, the stock of the bearskins was over. So the hunter took the advance from him and asked him to come the next day.
The hunter told the tanner that he planned to go hunting the following day and would get him a fresh bear hide. The tanner had always been curious about the act of hunting and had never witnessed one, so he decided to accompany the hunter.
The next morning, the duo headed to the forest. The tanner hid on top of a tree, and the hunter began his work. He went to the mouth of the cave where the bear was resting, let loose his dogs into the cave, and waited with a spear outside the cave. The dogs were successful in chasing the bear out. However, the bear avoided his attack and instead knocked him down by jumping on him.
As the age-old tale goes that a bear doesn’t harm a dead body, the hunter played dead. The trick worked, and the bear left after sniffing him. As soon as the bear was out of sight, the tanner rushed to the hunter and asked what the bear whispered in his ear.
The hunter replied, “The bear warned me against making a promise to deliver the bearskin before catching a bear.”