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NPS Photo by Kennan Ward

by 'Fritters'
with additions and subtractions by the webmaster


suitable for big kids


Once upon a time, there were many, many more beautiful bears than there are today, and far fewer ugly humans. Amongst the happy multitude of ursines of several species and sub-species, there were a certain legendary Three Bears.

One day, the Father Bear got up and said “I am a big and fearsome bear! RAARRGGHHH!! I shall now go out and rampage the City!!”

Then Momma Bear said “Well, wait up a moment. I am a somewhat big and semi-fearsome bear. Raargh. And I don't mind telling you, I could do with some rampaging right about now. First of all there's that awful seamstress, she could certainly do with some rampaging around her shop. And don't get me started on Dora with her gossip!”

Then little Baby Bear said “Aww, Mum! Da! [dribble] I don't want to stay home while you are Romapaging. In fact, I've heard about a Witch's cottage on the Edge of the Forest that is made of Marzipan and Gingerbread and Stollen and other Delicious Confections . I should very much like to Rumpudge there. I have often dreamt of browsing there with my Firefox.”

So the three of them lumbered off towards the City. They all went on their hind legs in a Very Fearsome Fashion, although they had to go very slowly. They were not very used to walking on their hind legs, especially with their paws in the air to be Extra Fearsome and so they wobbled a lot. It's very difficult to throw fear into people when you are wobbling about trying not to fall down, so they had to go Very Slowly.

They reached town eventually and got down to some serious rampaging. Father Bear went over to the blacksmith's with his paws in the air and a horrible “RAAARGH” and went about trying to destroy the place. Occasionally, he would stop and fling a horseshoe at the maypole in the centre of town to break up the monotony, but he always missed.

Mother went straight over to that awful seamstress's shop. She went around and around inside, chewing on things and batting things about with her large frightening paws. She wasn't awfully good at it, but it did her arctic heart good to see the terrified expression on the seamstress's face.

Baby Bear was nowhere near the witch's cottage but he didn't want to leave the area where Mum and Pop were. “Perhaps,” he thought to himself, “we shall have the lovely cottage for dessert!” This cheered him and he went and found a small doghouse which he circled around over and over again, occasionally smacking it with his paw.

Now, despite bears being Large and Fearful creatures, they are not exactly built to rampage small towns, not in the same way that Godzilla or Rodan are. So after several hours they had only finished rampaging their first building, with very little Collateral Damage, and had just moved on to their Secondary Targets. At this point, the town decided that perhaps something Ought to Be Done.

Luckily for the Municipality, a Strange Boy had just appeared in town, wearing mysterious Eastern Clothing. He came to the mayor and said for 5000 gold pieces per bear he would gladly rid the town of the Awful Scourge of Rampaging Bears. The mayor agreed and the mysterious boy went to the centre of town and rubbed an old oil lamp he had been carrying under his arm.

Thereupon, a fearsome scarlet smoke boiled out of the lamp and took the shape of a dark and frightening red Genie!

“What shall I do for you, O Master ?” the genie bellowed, in a deep, sexy voice that made all the windows in the little town tremble excitedly.

“Put some tutus on those bears, okay?”

“Oh, sure, that's simple…”

The genie clapped his hands twice with a sound like thunder and there was a brilliant flash. Suddenly all three bears were wearing tutus; frilly pink tutus that were very expensive-looking and feminine. These were magical tutus that didn't end at the skin. No, these tutus went straight down to your Soul.

Baby Bear was shocked. “No!” he cried. “I look silly! What if my buddies see me? Sorry, guys, I can't stay around!” And off he flew into the Forest.

Daddy Bear looked down and bellowed “NOOOOOOOOOOO! I am not secure enough in my masculinity to wear a tutu!” And off he flew into the Forest.

Then Momma Bear looked down and said “My goodness! Isn't this lovely? I do feel very pretty now! I almost feel like dancing!” And she lumbered off on four paws into the center of town near the maypole and did a pretty little dance for everyone.

The mysterious boy in Foreign Clothes went back to the mayor and said, “See ? I have banished your bear problem! Well… mostly. Two out of three isn't bad, and I should at least get half pay for the girl bear. She's not a threat to the town anymore. So that will be 12,500 gold pieces, and I shall be leaving straight after.”

The mayor shuffled in his seat a bit. “Well, look at the time! And the month! And see where the sun is in the sky! Funny you should bring up the subject of payment. You know, we had a particoloured Piper through here just last week, so we're a bit short at the moment. Perhaps you could come back sometime next year?”

The boy rolled his eyes and went out to the town centre again, being sure not to be pulled in to dance with Mrs Bear. A Dark and Fearsome Look came upon his face and he rubbed his magic lamp. The horrible genie filled the sky of the town center with his crimson cloud and the townspeople (not to mention the windows) trembled.

“Give 'em ALL tutus, okay?” he requested of the genie.

“Sure thing, Boss!”

With a roll of thunder and a brilliant flash of light, the entire town was suddenly wearing pink tutus - right down to their souls.

It took quite a while for almost all of the guys in town to get used to the tutus. Most of the women were annoyed at how hard their outfits were to accessorize, but they did occasionally join Mama Bear for little pirouettes in the town centre.

And Baby Bear - after getting a bit lost looking for his daddy - wandered past the witch's cottage and ate the whole thing in one big, unbabylike Gulp. He never found his daddy.

So everything turned out fantastically in




Hope you liked this story.. To contact the author for any reason, e-mail Fritters: hey_frittersAThotmailDOTcom.




Laurie Taylor

'Mummy, Laurence is bending his Meccano again.'
'I'm not.'
'Yes you are.'
'Well, I'm only bending it because it's supposed to be bent.'
'It's not supposed to be bent.'

My spotty little sister was right. And in my heart I knew she was right. But after spending the best part of an hour and a half screwing together dozens of pieces of red and green metal and still finding that what lay on the table before me bore hardly any resemblance at all to the finished product on the box-top, it was difficult not to hurry matters along by a bit of covert bending.

And that was the story of my childhood. I quickly lost patience with all my toys. Consider my Kay's Chemistry Set. I knew perfectly well that my dad had spent a lot of money buying me the 'Senior' set - the one with the little spirit burner and the test-tube holders and retort stand and clamps - but I quickly got bored with the experiments in the instruction manual.

There's only a certain number of times that you can dip litmus paper into vinegar and magnesium and enjoy watching the colours change; only a certain number of times that you can burn magnesium strips to make white light, only a certain number of times you can recover water from a copper sulphate solution.

Dad, who was a chemist himself, had some sympathy with my frustration. One day, I remember, he came home from work with a small glass jar containing liquid and a silvery lump of matter which he told me was pure sodium. He warned me not to touch. Told me it was volatile. And showed me that if you spread a piece of filter paper across a beaker of water and put a bead of sodium on top then it would fizz around wildly and then burst into flames. That was more like it. So much more like it that I showed it to all my friends. Got bolder and bolder with the amount of sodium I used. So bold that one day the mixture overflowed onto the bed and set fire to the counterpane. 'Mummy, mummy, there's a fire in Laurence's room.'

My childhood frustration with toys did not begin with Meccano and Chemistry sets. My very worst act of vandalism was committed in infancy upon that most innocent and loveable of childhood possessions - a simple teddy bear.

I've no reason to doubt that I initially I loved my Teddy in much the manner of any other three year old. I can remember stroking its matted yellow hair, gazing into its brown button eyes, and even trying to wrap its short chubby arms around my body as I went to sleep.

But gradually Teddy became as boring as a jar of copper sulphate or a metal strip of Meccano. I wanted him to show more signs of life.

'Mummy, Laurence is twisting Teddy's arms again.'

It was then I began my great experiment. After a meal I'd save some bits of bread or some dollops of Farex and then back in my room try to push this food into Teddy's mouth. After all if Teddy could, in my sister's view, be sad and unhappy, then it stood to reason that it must also feel hungry.

So when the food wouldn't pass through Teddy's stitched-up mouth, I used some scissors to make it open a little more. Day after day I stuffed more and more old food into his ever widening mouth. Very soon, it got so difficult to press in more food that I had to lay Teddy on the floor and press his latest meal into his mouth with my heels.

And, to some extent, my determination to make Teddy more human began to work. He really did start to get fat in the way that Mummy said happened to ordinary people who ate too much.

All this time, of course, I had to keep my experiments with Teddy strictly secret. I could just imagine what my sister might make of it if she ever encountered my hugely enlarged little bear.

But secrecy became more difficult when Teddy began to smell. He stank so badly that I decided the only safe place to store him was on my window-sill. And that meant that my bear was now not only disturbingly obese but also soggy from his exposure to wind and rain. When the smell became even more intense and there was no way in which more food could be rammed into its alarmingly-distended belly, I took further drastic action. Teddy, I decided was suffering from not being able to use a pot or go to the lavatory. My fat little bear was constipated.

So one night I took a pair of scissors to my room, and prodded them into my Teddy's backside and began to cut. But no sooner did I begin to snip than the entire fabric on bear's back split open and I found myself staring at the pullulating mass of the twenty suppers which he'd so evidently failed to digest.

My scream of horror brought my sister running.

'Mummy, mummy, Laurence has cut off Teddy's bottom.'

She has, it hardly needs saying, still not forgiven me.


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