I have heard reports that a traveling entertainer came to Ocracoke many years ago (sometime in the 19th century) with a trained bear. Apparently the bear performed circus-type tricks and was a highly popular amusement.
I was reminded of the bear when I read this passage about Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor from 1220-1250:
"Frederick did everything on a grand scale. Popularly known as Stupor mundi (wonder of the world), the young king of Germany, Italy, Sicily, and Burgundy always traveled with a large entourage that included foot soldiers, knights, officials, pages, slaves, dancing girls, jugglers, musicians, and eunuchs, together with his exotic menagerie of lions, leopards, panthers, bears, and apes, all led on chains, hunting dogs, hawks, peacocks, parakeets, ostriches, and a giraffe. A caravan of camels transported his supplies, and Frederick himself would ride at the head of the procession, while at the rear an elephant carried a wooden platform on its back on which were perched trumpeters and archers with crossbows." (from The Man of Numbers, Fibonacci's Arithmetic Revolution).
I suppose just one trained bear was sufficient to impress Ocracokers.
Our current Ocracoke Newsletter is an account of Infant & Childhood Mortality on Ocracoke. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072113.htm.