The Three Bears

Silver-Locks sleeping in Tiny's bed

In a far-off country there was once a little girl, who was called Silver-Locks, because her curly hair shone so very brightly. But she was not so good as she was pretty, for she was a sad romp, and so restless that she could not be kept quiet at home, and would often run out when she was told not to do so.

One day, she started off into a wood, to gather wild flowers and to chase butterflies. She ran here, and ran there, and went so far, at last, that she found herself in quite a lonely place, and there she saw a snug little house, in which three Bears lived; but they were not then at home. The door and the parlour window being open, Silver-Locks peeped in, and soon found the place was empty; so the saucy puss made up her mind to go in boldly, and look all about the place, little thinking what sort of folks lived there.

Silver-Locks is about to enter the Bears' dwelling

Little Silver-Locks enters the Bears’ dwelling

Now the three Bears had gone out to take a walk, a little while before this. The biggest of them was the Papa Bear, who had a very rough coat, and was named Mr. Bruin. The next Bear in size was his wife, called Mammy Muff, from her smooth skin; and the smallest of the three was their little darling, Tiny. Before going out, Mammy Muff put the nice soup she had made for dinner on a great chest in the parlour to cool; as they were very hungry, they meant to be back in a short time.

When Silver-Locks went into the house, she soon found by the smell that something nice had been cooked. On going into the parlour, sure enough she saw there three jars smoking away: the first, a very large one, for Mr. Bruin; the next of middling size, for Mammy Muff; and the smallest of all was Tiny’s jar; and in each of them was a wooden spoon. The little busy-body now went to work tasting the soup in each jar by turns; but she found that in the smallest jar was the nicest to her taste.

Silver-Locks is smelling the steamy jars of soup

Silver-Locks finds three jars of soup set for the Bears’ dinner

Silver-Locks was now in high glee, and thought to enjoy herself, hungry as she was, by eating up all the soup in the little jar. But she was too weary to be standing all the time, so she looked about for a seat. There were three chairs in the parlour, a very large one for Mr. Bruin, another of middling size for Mrs. B., and a nice little chair for Tiny. The little girl tried them all in turn; she found that the smallest suited her best, and down she sat, and began to eat her soup with great relish.

Silver-Locks sitting in Tiny's chair and eating his soup

Silver-Locks sits herself in Tiny’s little chair and eats his soup

When Silver-Locks had nearly eaten up all poor Tiny’s soup, she began to rock herself to and fro in his little chair: she had often been punished for this naughty trick, but without effect. While she was indulging this silly whim, out came the rush-bottom of the chair, and she and the soup jar rolled on the floor. But she did not mind this at all, thinking it was fine fun. She now thought she would go up stairs, and see all that was to be seen: and there we will leave her for the present.

Silver-Locks enters the Bears' bedroom and looks at the beds

Silver-Locks goes upstairs to the Bears’ bedroom

When the three Bears came back, they found that some one had been there. “Who has been to my soup?” roared out Mr. Bruin. “And who has been to my soup?” said Mrs. B., with a low growl. Then poor Tiny cried, “Somebody has been to my soup, and has eaten it all up!” Then said the big Bear, fiercely, “Who has moved my chair about?” Mrs. B., too, said, “Who has moved my chair about?” Then Tiny cried pitifully, “Somebody has sat in my chair, and broken it in pieces!”

From A apple pie and other nursery tales (London; New York: George Routledge and Sons)

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