Gateway to the Classics: Firelight Stories by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
 
Firelight Stories by  Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

The Three Bears

O NCE upon a time there were three bears who lived in a house of their own in the woods. There was a small, wee bear, there was a middle-sized bear, and there was a great, huge bear. They had each a pot for their porridge. There was a little pot for the small, wee bear, and a middle-sized pot for the middle-sized bear, and a great pot for the great, huge bear.

And they had each a chair to sit in. There was a little chair for the small, wee bear, and a middle-sized chair for the middle-sized bear, and a great chair for the great, huge bear.

And they had each a bed to sleep in at night. There was a little bed for the small, wee bear, there was a middle-sized bed for the middle-sized bear, and there was a great bed for the great, huge bear.

One morning the three bears left their porridge cooling in their porridge pots, and they went for a walk in the woods that they might not burn their mouths by eating it too soon; and while they were out walking, along came a little old woman to their house.

First, she peeped in the window; and then she peeped in the keyhole, and then she opened the door and went inside.

She was well pleased to see the three bowls of porridge cooling on the table. First she tasted the porridge of the great, huge bear, but that was too hot. Then she tasted the porridge of the middle-sized bear, but that was too cold. Then she tasted the porridge of the small, wee bear, and that was neither too hot nor too cold, but just right, and the little old woman ate and she ate until it was all gone.

Then the little old woman went poking about the house to see what she could find, and she came, all at once, upon the three chairs. So, first, she sat down in the chair of the great, huge bear, but that was too high for her. Then she sat down in the chair of the middle-sized bear, but that was too hard for her. And last of all, she sat down in the chair of the small, wee bear, which was neither too hard nor too high, but just right, and there she sat until she sat the bottom right out, and fell, plump, upon the floor.

Then the little old woman went up the stairs, and she came to the bears' bedroom. First she tried the bed of the great, huge bear, but that was too high for her. Then she lay down in the bed of the middle-sized bear, but that was too hard for her. And, last of all, she lay down in the bed of the small, wee bear, and that was neither too high nor too hard, but just right; and there she lay until she went fast asleep.

After a while the three bears came home, and they knew at once that some one had been at their porridge.

"WHO HAS BEEN EATING MY PORRIDGE?" asked the great, huge bear, in his great, huge voice.

"Who has been eating my porridge?" asked the middle-sized bear, in his middle-sized voice.

"Dear me," said the small, wee bear, in his small, wee voice, "some one has been eating my porridge, and here it is all gone."

And then the three bears spied their three chairs.

"WHO HAS BEEN SITTING IN MY CHAIR?" asked the great, huge bear, in his great, huge voice.

"Who has been sitting in my chair?" asked the middle-sized bear, in his middle-sized voice.

And you know what the little old woman had done to the chair of the small, wee bear.

"Some one has been sitting in my chair and has sat the bottom right out of it," said the small, wee bear, in his small, wee voice.

So the three bears thought they would better go up to their bedroom, and they soon saw that some one had been there, too.

"WHO HAS BEEN LYING IN MY BED?" said the great, huge bear, in his great, huge voice.

"Who has been lying in my bed?" asked the middle-sized bear, in his middle-sized voice.

And when the small, wee bear came to look at his bed, you know who was there.

"Some one has been lying in my bed, and here she is," said the small, wee bear, in his small, wee voice.

Then the little old woman awoke, and when she saw the three bears looking down on her from one side of the bed, she was very much afraid, and she jumped out at the other. Over to the window she ran, and down to the ground she jumped, and home she went as fast as her feet would take her. And after that she never went into the houses of other people where she had not been asked.


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