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Fairy Stories and Fables by  James Baldwin
Table of Contents


 

 

THE THREE BEARS

[13] NOT far from the edge of a pleasant wood there once lived three Bears. They were kind, good Bears, not rude, wild fellows like those that live now; and they had built for themselves a snug little house, with one door and one window, and a wild vine running over the roof. But the strangest thing about them was that they were all just alike except in size. One of them was a Little Wee Bear, and one was a Middle-sized Bear, and one was a Great Huge Bear.

They had everything in their house that three Bears could want. They had a little wee bowl for the Little Wee Bear, and a middle-sized bowl for the Middle-sized Bear, and a great huge bowl for the Great Huge Bear. They had a little wee chair for the Little Wee Bear, and a middle-sized chair for the Middle-sized Bear, and a great huge chair for the Great Huge Bear. And they had a little wee bed for the Little Wee Bear, and a middle-sized bed for the Middle-sized Bear, and a great huge bed for the Great Huge Bear. And that was all.

One morning they had soup for breakfast; but when it was first poured into their bowls it was so hot that they could not touch their tongues to it.


[Illustration]

[14] "Let us take a walk over the hill," said the Middle-sized Bear; "and, by the time we get back, the soup will be cool enough to eat."

They were very good-natured Bears, even when they were hungry, and so without another word they all went out for the walk. The Great Huge Bear went first, the Middle-sized Bear went next, and the Little Wee Bear went last.

They had not been gone long when a little girl named Silver-hair came that way. When she saw the snug little house with the wild vine running over the roof, she wondered whose it could be. Then she stopped and peeped in at the window. She thought it was a very queer house, and in a little while she went round to the door and knocked.

[15] Nobody answered. She wondered if all the people were asleep. She knocked again, very loud. They must be away from home. She lifted the latch softly, and the door opened. Everything seemed so cozy in the little sitting room that she thought she would step inside for a few minutes and rest herself, for indeed she was very, very tired.

She looked around. There were the three bowls of soup on the floor, where they had been put to cool. She was hungry, and thought it would be so nice to try a mouthful of the soup.

She tasted that which was in the largest bowl; but it was too cold. Then she tasted that which was in the middle-sized bowl; but it was too hot. Then she tasted that which was in the little bowl; and it was so good that she ate it all up.

On the other side of the room were three chairs, all just alike except in size, and she thought it would be very nice to sit down and rest before going home. She first tried the great huge chair; but it was too high. Then she tried the middle-sized chair; but it was too broad. Then she tried the little chair; and, since it was just right, she sat down in it so hard that she broke it in pieces.

She next looked at the beds in the bedroom, and thought how nice it would be to take a short nap before going home. She first tried the great huge [16] bed; but it was too soft. Then she tried the middle-sized bed; but it was too hard. Then she tried the little bed; and, since it was just right, she lay down upon it and was soon fast asleep.

While she was sleeping, the three bears came home from their walk. They were hungry, and they made haste to look into the bowls. The Great Huge Bear took up his bowl first:—

"SOMEBODY HAS BEEN TASTING MY SOUP!"

he roared.

Then the Middle-sized Bear took up his bowl:—

"SOMEBODY HAS BEEN TASTING MY SOUP!"

he growled.

Then the Little Wee Bear took up his bowl:—

"Somebody has been tasting my soup,

and has eaten it all up!"

he whined.

Then they went across the room to sit in their chairs. The Great Huge Bear tried his chair first:—

"SOMEBODY HAS BEEN SITTING IN MY CHAIR!"

he roared.

Then the Middle-sized Bear tried his chair:—

"SOMEBODY HAS BEEN SITTING IN MY CHAIR"

he growled.

Then the Little Wee Bear tried his chair:—

"Somebody has been sitting in my chair,

and has broken it in pieces!"

he whined.

[17] After that they went into the bedroom. The Great Huge Bear saw his bed first:—

"SOMEBODY HAS BEEN TUMBLING MY BED!"

he roared.

Then the Middle-sized Bear saw his bed:—

"SOMEBODY HAS BEEN TUMBLING MY BED!"

he growled.

And then the Little Wee Bear saw his bed:—

"Somebody has been tumbling my bed,"

he cried in a shrill piping voice,

"and here she is now!"

The noise made by the Little Wee Bear caused Silver-hair to wake up. When she opened her eyes and saw the three Bears so close to her, she was badly scared. She sprang up, and ran out of the house as fast as she could. The three Bears went to the door to look after her, and saw her running through the woods towards her own home. But they didn't follow her; they were too kind and good for that.


[Illustration]

[18] And that is all that I know about little Silver-hair and the three Bears that lived in their snug little house with the wild vine running over the roof.


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