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THE THREE BEARS
 It really was the neatest little cottage that ever was seen,
and the three bears who lived in it were the tidiest and
best-behaved bears in all that forest. For, of course, the
cottage was in the middle of a forest. Bears love quiet,
shady places where there are plenty of trees to climb. The
cottage had a porch covered with honeysuckle, while roses
climbed up the walls and peeped into the lattice-windows.
Now the three bears were not a bit like one another, for one
was a Great Big Bear, and one was a Middle-sized Bear, and
one was a Tiny Wee Bear. They kept the cottage very tidy,
and every morning they made the great big bed, and the
middle-sized bed, and the tiny wee bed, and dusted the great
big chair, and the middle-sized chair, and the tiny wee
chair before they sat down to breakfast.
 One morning when the porridge was made and had been poured
out into the great big bowl, and the middle-sized bowl, and
the tiny wee bowl, it was so hot that the three bears went
out for a walk in the wood, to pass the time until it
cooled. The Great Big Bear and the Middle-sized Bear walked
along most properly, but the Tiny Wee Bear took his hoop and
bowled it along in front.
Now that very morning it happened that Goldilocks lost her
way in the forest. She was a very pretty little girl, with
hair like threads of shining gold, and that is how she got
her name. But she was very self-willed, and fancied she knew
better than her mother. That is how she came to lose her way
in the wood, for her mother had told her if she wandered
from the path she would not be able to find her way home
again, and Goldilocks had tossed her head and paid no
attention. And so it happened that she wandered so far that
she could not find her way back, and arrived at the bears'
cottage that sunny morning just after they had left it.
It was a fresh, cool morning, just the sort
 of morning that
made Goldilocks want her breakfast more than usual, for she
had run out before it was ready, and when she came to the
pretty little cottage she skipped for joy.
"I am sure some kind person lives here, and will give me
some bread and milk," she said to herself. And then she
peeped through the open door.
"There does not seem to be any one at home," she said
anxiously. "But oh, what a delicious smell of porridge!"
She could not wait another moment, but walked in and sat
down in the great big chair and took a spoonful of porridge
out of the great big bowl. "Ugh!" she cried, making a face,
"this is far too salt, and this chair is much too hard!"
So she changed her seat and tried the middle-sized chair,
and tasted the porridge out of the middle-sized bowl.
"Oh dear me! this has no salt at all," she said, "and this
chair is far too soft." And laying down the spoon, she
jumped up in a great hurry. Then she tried the tiny wee
 chair, and took a spoonful of the porridge out of the tiny
"This is simply delicious!" she cried, "and the little
chair is just right too."
And she ate and ate till she finished all the porridge out
of the tiny wee bowl. And the tiny little chair was so
comfortable that she curled herself up in it until suddenly
the seat gave a crack and she fell right through on to the
Goldilocks picked herself up and looked round to see if she
could find a sofa to rest on, for she was now so sleepy she
could scarcely keep her eyes open. Then she saw a staircase,
and she climbed up at once to see if there was a bed in the
room above. And sure enough in the room upstairs she found
three beds, standing side by side under the open
lattice-window where the roses peeped in.
She threw herself at once on to the great big bed, but it
was so hard that she rolled off as quickly as she could.
Then she tried the middle-sized bed, but it was so soft that
she sank right in and felt quite smothered. So
 then she
tried the tiny wee bed, and it was just soft enough, and so
deliciously comfortable that she curled herself up on it
with a big sigh of content, and went fast asleep in the
twinkling of an eye.
Presently home came the three bears from their walk, and
they went to the table to begin their breakfast.
"Who has been sitting in my chair?" growled the Great Big
Bear in his great big voice. For the cushion had been pulled
all to one side.
"Who has been sitting in my chair?" said the Middle-sized
Bear in her middle-sized voice. For there was a large dent
in the cushion where Goldilocks had sat.
"Who has been sitting in my chair, and broken it right
through?" said the Tiny Wee Bear in his tiny wee voice.
Meanwhile the Great Big Bear had been staring at his great
big bowl of porridge which had a spoon sticking in it.
"Who has been eating my porridge?" he growled in his great
"Who has been eating my porridge?" said
 the Middle-sized
Bear in her middle-sized voice.
"Who has been eating my porridge and has eaten it all
up?" cried the Tiny Wee Bear in his tiny wee voice.
Then the three bears searched all round the room to see if
they could find out who had been there. Next they climbed up
the stairs to look in the bedroom.
But the moment the Great Big Bear saw his bed all rumpled
and tossed about, he growled in his great big voice, "Who
has been lying on my bed?"
"And who has been lying on my bed?" said the Middle-sized
Bear in her middle-sized voice.
"Who has been sleeping on my little bed, and lies here still?" cried the Tiny Wee Bear in his tiny wee voice.
"Who has been sleeping on my little bed, and lies here still"
Now when the Great Big Bear spoke, Goldilocks dreamed of a
thunderstorm; and when the Middle-sized Bear spoke, she
dreamed that the wind was making the roses nod. But when the
Tiny Wee Bear cried out, she opened her eyes and was wide
 in a moment. She jumped up and ran to the window, and,
before the three bears could catch her, she jumped out into
the garden below. Then she ran through the wood as fast as
she could, and never stopped till she reached home. And you
may be sure she never went wandering into the wood again, so
the Great Big Bear and the Middle-sized Bear and the Tiny
Wee Bear ate their porridge in peace all the rest of their