Animal lovers and conservationists may deplore the baldly sentimental approach, but this account of the author's dedication to easing the chasm between man and beast while raising orphan bear triplets is undeniably moving. A college student on a ""muck-sluicing lark"" in the Canadian north woods, the author made the acquaintance of Rusty, Dusty and Scratch after what he considered a mandate from an ancient female bear who brought the cubs near his cabin. Second-foster-father Leslie taught the bears the ways of the wild-nudging them toward anthills, toward conflicts with other animals. Paddling a canoe with three noble bears ""solemn as Pilgrims"" riding aft; maneuvering his charges through Indian villages; trying to discourage three one-hundred-and-fifty-pound beasts from sharing his bed; observing hibernation-all divert Leslie from the very real conservationist battle to preserve his area from exploitation and establish park land, a project his Indian friend Larch fought for and lost. Inevitably two of the trusting bears are killed by hunters. One is sadly sent away to safety. For ursine addicts a good bawl.