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The Bobux Story   Date: Tuesday 20 February, 2007
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It was in New Zealand, during the spring of 1861, that a young bushman, Bill Bennett, stopped by a tumbling mountain river to fill his water bottle. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed a small bear sitting on a rock crying, its tiny feet swollen and bleeding, cut by the jagged river stones.

To Bill's surprise and disbelief the little bear spoke to him.Bill knew (or so he had been told) that there were no such things as talking bears. But then again, you can never be too sure.

The sociable little chap explained how he had both wished and dreamed of being able to speak and had often heard hunters and bushmen chatting in the forest and mountains. He had learned to talk by creeping quietly up to the edge of their campfires under cover of ' darkness, and listening to them telling each other stories.

The little bear, known to his friends as Bobux, told Bill 'You can do anything you want - if you really, really want to.' Bill cleaned the cuts on the little bear's feet and then took two pieces of leather from his bag. Using his hunting knife, a length of string and bush needle whittled from a twig, he handcrafted a beautiful pair of soft leather shoes that would stay on and protect the bear's tiny feet.

Bill and Bobux spent the remainder of the day in deep conversation, talking about their lives and experiences and, when it came time to leave, Bill promised Bobux he would return the following spring. Over the cold winter months Bill worked away at home, handcrafting many pairs of the little leather shoes until the following spring when, true to his word, Bill returned to the same place by the river.

To his amazement and delight, Bobux, now a year older, was waiting patiently on the rock. Bill gave Bobux the shoes he had made and they spent a perfect day swimming, sitting on the riverbank, laughing together and swapping stories. Before the sun went down, Bill showed Bobux how to make the shoes for his friends in the forest and then they parted once more, each promising to meet again the next spring. This custom continued for many years, until they both grew very old. For Bill and Bobux these were the happiest days of their lives.Then one spring Bobux waited all day for Bill to arrive at the rock. But this time the old bushman never appeared. And Bobux knew.

It was often that way with the world, and as the sun sank slowly behind the mountains a small tear ran down his furry face and he wandered back into the forest, knowing he would never again return to this place of peace and friendship.

Many years later Chris Bennett, a descendant of Bill, discovered his great grandfather's diary at the bottom of an old wooden tea chest, stored away in a loft. He was captivated by the stories that recorded each meeting every spring since Bill and Bobux had first met by the river. Next to the diary, wrapped in an old paper bag, was a pair of well-worn leather shoes, together with a letter, faded with age. It was from Bobux, thanking Bill for the wonderful shoes that had protected his feet without ever coming off. And also thanking him for being a true friend. Chris showed the shoes to his daughter Chloe who instantly fell in love with them and refused to take them off.

From that special moment, Bobux International was born. Now the shoes are made by a new generation of bears, descendants of Bobux and his original family. Helped by their forest friends, they faithfully fashion hundreds of pairs of beautiful shoes to the same exacting standards that Bill had taught Bobux all that time ago, making an extended range in bright colours and exciting funky designs, to delighted babies, toddlers and their parents the world over. Today, Bobux, the shoes that stay on, are sold and distributed in over 15 countries worldwide including the USA and Europe. The company's philosophy reflects the dreams and free spirit of Bobux the bear - that life should be fun and, if we really, really wish it, we can make our dreams come true.

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