The three bears sat down for their meal. Almost immediately, the complaints began.
“This porridge is too hot,” said Papa Bear.
“This porridge is too cold,” said Mama Bear.
“Complain, complain, complain!” cried out Baby Bear. “All you ever seem to do is complain! Can’t we find something constructive to do? I mean, seriously, if yours is to hot and yours too cold, just switch bowls and enjoy the meal!”
Mama Bear sat stunned.
Papa Bear was speechless.
Baby Bear picked up each of their respective bowls and passed each bowl to the other’s place.
Mama Bear looked down at her bowl and sniffed.
Papa bear sat, mouth agape, staring at the bowl newly in front of him.
“As far as I’m concerned,” stated Baby Bear, “this porridge is almost just right. It just needs a spoonful of sugar and a pinch of salt.”
Papa Bear poked at his porridge. “It’s still too hot,” he said, quietly.
“Mine is still too cold,” Mama Bear whimpered.
“Well, for heaven’s sake, this is just a matter of personal taste then, isn’t it!” Baby Bear sat there, stirring sugar and that pinch of salt into his porridge, glaring at Mama Bear and Papa Bear in turn. “Too cold – too hot,” he muttered, darkly.
“I suppose,” said Papa Bear, “that I could add a bit of milk to my porridge.”
“Yes?” said Baby Bear.
“That might cool it down some.”
“Now, you’re thinking,” said Baby Bear.
Mama Bear said, “I suppose that I could heat mine up on the stove for a bit more.”
“Excellent solution!” exclaimed Baby Bear. “Here’s the thing you need to remember – It was never the porridge. The porridge was a constant, too hot no matter whose bowl it was in, or too cold, or just right (excepting the need for sugar and salt). I prefer it sweeter, you prefer it piping hot, and you want it, what, room temperature?”
“Warm,” Papa Bear said, “but not too warm.”
“Whatever,” Baby Bear said. “The point is that you can complain and complain and complain about a thing and not even take the simplest of steps to fix a thing, or you can do something. We don’t all have to like the same things. What’s too hot for you is too cold for someone else and vice versa. Take the living room, for example”
“What about the living room?” asked Papa Bear.
“Well, you love your chair, right?” Baby Bear said, looking intently at Papa Bear.
“I do!” exclaimed Papa bear. “It’s so big and warm and cuddly, just like Mama.”
“Oh,” cooed Mama bear, giving Papa Bear a loving look. “I like mine, too. It’s big and strong and firm, just like Papa.”
Papa Bear might have blushed at this. It’s hard to tell with bears.
Baby Bear broke in quickly, before it got too embarrassing. “Well, I like my chair, too, but I might not always like it. As I get older, I might decide I prefer something softer rather than firm. Even then, I might change my mind after that.”
After Mama Bear brought her bowl back from the stove, and Papa Bear had sufficiently cooled his porridge with milk, they all continued eating and talking and even began laughing. Mama Bear even thought that she hadn’t remembered hearing Papa Bear laugh so much in a long while. Papa Bear couldn’t remember enjoying himself so much.
When they were done eating, Baby Bear cleared the table as Mama Bear washed and Papa bear dried and put away the dishes, all the while talking and laughing. After the dishes were all stowed away and the chairs put back under the table, they wandered into the living room, sat in their respective chairs, and continued talking and laughing until Baby Bear started to yawn.
“I think someone’s getting tired,” said Papa with a smile. He had been stifling a yawn for quite some time and may have been simply seizing an opportunity to excuse himself into the bedroom.
Mama Bear looked at him because she knew. Mama always knows. “I think we could all use a little nap,” she said, “and maybe later, I’ll put together a picnic basket, and we can all go for a little walk in the woods.”
“That sounds like an excellent idea,” Papa Bear said, when that yawn, the one that had been trying to work its way out of him, began to stretch his jaws out full bore.
Everybody laughed, even Papa Bear, and each of them headed to his or her respective beds – hard, soft, and just right – for a pleasant late morning nap. Dreams were expected to be sweet and pleasant.
Shortly after the Bears had all fallen asleep, Goldilocks, who was out on errands of her own, stumbled upon the Bears’ cottage.
“Oh!” Goldilocks thought, “Why don’t I just stop in here at the Bears’ for a little bit. They always have something tasty to eat, and they’re ever such pleasant company.”
Just as she was about to knock, however, she heard a very deep, rumbling sound coming from the house.
“Oh dear,” she whispered to herself. “They must be taking a nap.”
Then, without even thinking about it, she took out a piece of paper and a pen from her bag and wrote the Bears a little note.
“Dear Bears,” she wrote,
I dropped by to say ‘Hullo’ and chat with you for a bit, but you all appear to be sleeping. I know how grumpy I get when I’m awakened from a nap, so I thought it better to just write you a note. Perhaps I’ll see you later today after I’ve finished my errands.
That was mostly the truth. She was grumpy when her nap was interrupted, but the real problem was that she didn’t much care for grumpy bears. Besides, Papa Bear was ever so nice. After all, it wasn’t every papa bear who stayed with the mama of his babies, so Papa Bear, she knew, was special.
Later, after the Bears woke up, and Mama Bear had put a picnic together, and Baby Bear and Papa Bear had gathered the blankets to sit on and baskets to fill up with berries along the way, Mama Bear spotted the note on the door just as they were leaving.
After reading the letter, she exclaimed, “My goodness, what a sweet child that Goldilocks is. Run along you two. I’ll catch up!”
As Papa and Baby Bear headed down the path and into the woods, Mama Bear ran inside and scratched out a quick reply to Goldilocks, inviting her to picnic with them and letting her know where she might find them. She tossed a little more food into her basket and raced off after Papa and Baby Bear.
And that’s how I came to spy Goldilocks and the Three Bears on the riverbank having tea and biscuits.