The Three Bears and Brave Goldilocks

Author: Copyright Brian Wentroble, used by permission
Published: 03/08/2024

Why is it always when you don’t get enough sleep, someone has an urgent errand for you to run. I stayed up way too late reading all about Pinocchio. When Mom woke me up, she immediately sent me to deliver flowers into town. She didn’t even give me time for breakfast. I had to get dressed, brush my teeth and comb my hair, then out I went.

I didn’t go through the woods. As far back as I can remember, I have always avoided going into the forest by myself. There’s a story of a couple of kids who went in themselves and almost got trapped by a mean old witch. There’s another story about a girl wearing red who was almost eaten by a wolf. We always hear about dangerous animals in the woods and how easy it is to get lost, and Mom always tells me to take the road around the forest even though we live near its edge.

I followed Mom’s instructions and went straight to the town. Mrs. Potts was so happy to see the flowers! She told me I was a good little girl and sent me on my way back home.

Oh, how I wanted something to eat and to go back to bed! I thought all the walking would help but I was even more tired than when I left. As I approached the split in the road, where the road goes one way and a path goes into the forest, I thought to myself, “It’s just a little shortcut to go through the woods. As long as I don’t get off this path, I should be fine.” I hesitated, because I didn’t want to disobey, but the thought of breakfast made me so anxious to get back home that I took the forest path.

It was a lovely day to walk through the forest. I saw different kinds of birds, and a few squirrels, and even a butterfly. It was all so interesting that I almost forgot how tired I was. Then I saw that the path split into two. I had no idea whether to go to the left or to the right. I finally decided that the left looked a bit more used so I went that way.

It wasn’t very long before I noticed there were a lot more trees. The path hadn’t been taken care of very well. It was certainly wide enough but it was overgrown with grass and plants, and I even had to step over a fallen tree. Things seemed a lot darker and I couldn’t hear birds anymore. I heard something rustling in the area right off the path. Could it be a wolf, or a fox, or some other dangerous animal?

I was getting more and more scared. Just as I was about to run back to where the path split, I saw a lovely house up ahead. The path went right by its front door. Ah, what joy I had to see the house! I could even see light on inside. Someone there could tell me how to get back home!

I ran to the front door and knocked politely, just as Mom had taught me. I waited and waited but no one came to the door. I knocked again and waited and waited. “Maybe they went to go get something,” I thought. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if I waited for them inside. The front door opened easily enough and in I went.

What a darling place! It was a much bigger house than I realized. You could have put two of my homes inside it. All the rooms were big and all of the furniture. I tried calling a few times to see if anyone was home and didn’t hear my knocks. No one answered. As I was going through the house, I came into a room with a huge dining table. And on the table were three bowls of porridge.

Porridge. Boring old porridge. These people don’t have the most exciting breakfasts.

Then I remembered how hungry I was. I thought that no one would mind if I took a little bit of their porridge. I mean, we always share at my house, and I’m a visitor! I looked around to find a bowl I could use but could not find any other bowls. They were such big bowls on the table! I guessed that if I took a bit out of each one, then it wouldn’t matter.

I decided to try the biggest bowl first, since it was so big that a bite or two wouldn’t even be missed. I tried it, but it was way too hot! Ugh! It burned my tongue! I dropped the spoon with porridge still on it and started fanning my mouth with my hand.

As I was looking for some water to put on my tongue, I spotted this other bowl that was a bit smaller than the first bowl. Maybe just a bite or two from this one would not be missed either. It was way too cold! Yuck! Who wants cold porridge?

The cold porridge did help my tongue a bit, so I tried several bites. My mouth started to feel better so I quit eating the yucky cold porridge. Then, what do you know? There was a third bowl. It was smaller than the others. When I put my nose over it to smell it, it smelled just like the kind Mom makes at home. I tried a spoonful and what do you know? It smelled pretty good.

I decided that it could go without a spoonful or two as well. After the first bite, though, I knew I wasn’t dealing with just any old porridge here. It had just the right amount of sweetness, not like cereal that is just drowning in the stuff. Nope, another bite confirmed it had just enough sugar to give it that little bit of oomph.

And what were these other flavors? A few bites and I was positive I was tasting cinnamon. Ah, what a great way to make porridge taste good. But then there was this other flavor as well. I couldn’t remember so tried a few more bites to spark my memory. Rosemary? Ha! No, not rosemary! Sage? No, not sage, either. Hm, what could it be? It reminded me of Christmas for some reason. I ate the next few bites very slowly, savoring the flavor until it was just on the edge of my mind.

Nutmeg! That’s it! Someone had added a small amount of nutmeg to the porridge. Oh, what a genius made this porridge! A few more bites and each one an absolutely delicious taste. I would have to remember to tell Mom I wanted porridge like this every day. It was so tasty and, well, uh, and, uh, what do you know? There’s no more left in the bowl!

It tasted so, SO good, and I was so hungry, that before I knew what happened, I had eaten all of it! Oh, no! What will this person think when they see their empty bowl?

I was so distressed by what I had done that I need to think of how I could explain it when these people got home. I went looking for a chair to sit and think about what I’d done and how I could apologize. I went back to the room where I entered the house. There were three chairs there.

The biggest chair looked to be the best one to think on, so I climbed up and sat on it. Oh, no way I could think in that chair! How anyone could be comfortable sitting there was beyond me. The back of the chair was straight up. The seat of the chair was wide and even harder than it looked. I hadn’t sat down for more than a minute when I decided sitting on the floor would be more comfortable. Down I climbed off the chair. I bumped it out of place while I was getting down so it faced a different direction than it had when I sat down, but I just left it like that.

Next to the big chair was another chair that looked much more comfortable. It had lots of cushioning and pretty flowers in the design. I climbed into it and made myself comfortable to think. I then discovered that it was way too soft. It was like the chair was swallowing me up. I sank all the way down until the sides seemed to close me in. I couldn’t think in this chair! I was getting afraid I would drown in it!

With a lot of pulling and grunting and kicking, I finally worked myself free of the chair. I messed up a cushion and think I may have torn another with my fingernails. I collapsed on the floor and hurt my knee, but at least I was out of that chair!

Over to the side, I spotted the smallest chair. It looked very comfortable, with just regular cushions and no hard back. I easily climbed into it. It was so comfortable! In just a moment, I realized that I could just tell the family that I was sorry I ate the porridge. I would invite them to my house and we would make porridge for them there. That seemed a great idea! I got so excited, I jumped off the chair. The chair fell over and I think I might have broken it. It certainly didn’t look like I could get it set up again. This made me sad, but I also realized how tired I was.

I thought I might wait for the family upstairs so I would hear them when they came home and wouldn’t surprise them by sitting in their room. I went upstairs and discovered their beds. Oh, those were some big beds! They had done a nice job of making their beds. I remembered that I left my house that morning without making my bed. I would have to make it when I got home. Without thinking about it, I hopped up on the biggest bed to sit and wait.

Just like the big chair downstairs, this bed was hard. I mean, it was really hard! Who could ever sleep on such a hard bed? I ruffled up the blanket and sheets to see if I could sit on them, but even they didn’t make a difference. I gave up and hopped down off the bed.

I went to the medium size bed and climbed on it. It was just like the chair downstairs. It was too soft! I had to wrestle out of the blanket and sheets before I could even sit up. This was no good! I pulled and pushed and twisted and turned. I finally rolled out of the bed and onto the floor with a wump. That bed sure looked a mess. I wasn’t going to try to fix it, though. I might get stuck where I couldn’t get out.

There was a third bed that looked like I could sit on it. I sat down on it and it was great! It was both harder and softer than my bed at home. I laid down just to feel how good it felt. Oh, it was wonderful. I rolled on to one side, then rolled on to the other. This was so nice. I was so tired. I closed my eyes and thought about how nice it would be to meet this family.

All of the sudden, I woke up. There were bears looking down on me! Oh, no! Where did they come from? Did they eat the family who lived here? Were they going to eat me? I was so frightened!

I jumped out of bed and ran downstairs before they could catch me. I ran up the path just like I had walked down on it earlier. I ran until I found where the path was split. This time, I took the other path away from the house with the bears.

I ran and ran and ran. I found the path took me all the way out of the forest. I kept running until I made it all the way home. I opened the door, came inside, then slammed the door down behind me. I then went to the window to see if the bears were following me. I looked and looked and looked but no bears ever appeared.

I told Mom about my adventure. She told me that she didn’t allow me to go to the forest because of dangerous animals. It was a good thing I escaped! She was relieved that I made it back home. I promised I would never go into the forest alone again. I felt bad about messing up the family’s house, but who knows how much the bears did to that house. I hoped the family would be all right.

When I told my friends about my adventure, they told me I was so brave. I may have not told them everything about what I felt. OK, I didn’t mention how frighted I was to them at all. They kept calling me Brave Goldilocks. I told them I wasn’t brave but they called me that anyway.

The next time I have to go to town, I will not be going through the forest!

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