FOR WANT OF A PORRIDGE

I.

Loud voices interrupted her sleep. Goldilocks woke up with a start, quite irritated, at such rude awakening. She was just about to yell when realization of where she was dawned upon her. She sat up on the bed and saw with horrified eyes three furry heads rushing from the door. She bolted out of the bed and dashed, screaming, towards the window and jumped. Fortunately for her, the window was not too far off the ground. But she managed to break her ankle on a piece of log and scratch herself on the thick Barberry bush under it. There was no stopping for her, however. She dragged herself away from the house towards her own home.

Bruised and broken, Goldilocks tumbled on the door where her alarmed mother met her. “The bears, Mama,” she cried in her mother’s arms before she fainted. A doctor was called and Goldilocks was soon bandaged and treated.

II.

The Bear family chalked up the episode to experience, but thenceforth resolved to lock their door whenever they had to leave their house.

Life went on, as usual, until one day, Mrs. Bear opened her door to the frantic knocking of the Forest Ranger and his companion. Her hands shook when she received a warrant to search her house and premises. Mr. Bear was livid.  However, he could do nothing but stand back while the officers looked in every nook and cranny of their house, including the beds and tables and chairs. Mr. and Mrs. Bear protested their innocence again and again but the officers kept silent while efficiently doing their job.  Little Bear cried when the officers bagged broken pieces of chair, the bowls, the cereal or what were left of it, and even the little stuffed bear sitting on his bed.  After what seemed like an eternity for them, the Bears were by themselves again but without the peace that they had long enjoyed.

Mrs. Bear was crying, Mr. Bear tried to be strong.

“It will be alright,” he said. “T’was just some misunderstanding.”

“It’s our word, against the pretty little girl’s,” Mrs. Bear sobbed.

“Surely, they know that this is our house and that girl was the one who entered without permission,” said Mr. Bear in his most convincing voice.

Little Bear watched his parents who, noticing the confusion and fear in his eyes, enclosed him in their embrace.

III.

Goldilock’s mother did not let up in pursuing the status of the complaint that she lodged against the Bears which included Criminal Threats and Culpable Negligence. The latter was due to the Bears’ carelessness in leaving the log where it was and planting the hurtful bushes under the window. Surely, foresight would have let them know that those things would damage anyone jumping off the window.

Day in and day out, the police officers had to face the inquiries from Goldilock’s mother and her lawyer. As though pressure from those two were not enough, one day, a throng of Goldilock’s friends and relatives and some of the latter’s friends and relatives appeared outside of the police station carrying placards with the likeness of the wounded little girl. They demanded justice for the little girl as well as removal of the Bears because they at the very least, posed an attractive nuisance to the children of the nearby human community, and at most, threatened the well-being and safety of the latter.

IV.

Soon, the officers, and representatives from the Animal Welfare Services, were back in the woods. Amidst the crying of Mrs. Bear and the cursing of Mr. Bear, who had to be restrained for his attempt to hit an officer, Little Bear was taken away for placement in a safer home, at least for the duration of the investigation and case against the Bears. As for the older bears, they were enjoined from straying more than a mile’s radius from their house. The Bears, who never foresaw this kind of  trouble coming even after they noticed the growing number of human inhabitants in the surrounding area, had not saved for this rainy day. They did not have the means to pay for their own defense. A public defender was assigned to them.

V.

On the day of the trial, Goldilocks, still heavily bandaged even after several weeks of recuperation, was presented as witness. She tearfully recounted, over the perfunctory objections of defense counsel, how the bears growled at her while she was peacefully resting on the bed; how the big bear carried a broken piece of wood threatening to strike her; how Little Bear almost pushed her out of his bed. She told how, in her fear, she ran as fast as she could, not thinking where she was going because all she wanted to do was to escape from the menacing animals. On why she was in the Bear’s house in the first place, she looked at the judges with her tear stained face and big blue eyes, sobbed and said nothing.

The Defense presented the testimony of the Bears which was mostly a denial of the statements made by Goldilocks. The lawyer nearly scratched his scalp out when in frustration, the Bears, instead of talking, growled and frightened the impressionable jurors.

Yet, somehow, they managed to tell the story that – on that fateful morning, their porridge was too hot that they could not eat it soon enough; that they decided to take a walk while the porridge cooled down; that when they returned, they saw that their house had been broken into; that they were scared when they saw the broken pieces of furniture and the mess in the kitchen; that Mr. Bear picked up a broken piece of chair mindlessly; that they thought how the crazy wolf must have done it; that the girl suddenly ran away and jumped out of the window despite warning calls from them.

But they were bears. And there were three of them against a helpless little girl.

Judgment was about to be pronounced when one who saw things happen stood up. Mouse who, unknown to the Bears, always waited for crumbs from the latter’s table corroborated the Bears’ story.

And so, Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Little Bear were acquitted by a thin margin of votes. Little Bear was also restored to his family. However, they were declared as threats to humanity, and their house was held to be an undue temptation for little children to break into and get hurt in. They were therefore ordered to demolish their house and move away. The Bears, only too happy to have their lives back, complied.

VI.

And so it was that to this day, they live in caves. But the unfortunate result did not end there. The bears, to separate themselves completely from the trauma of past events and to heal, adopted the growl as their means of communication and ditched the language that they knew.

Ah… all of these for want of a good porridge.

______________________________________

The above retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears is a response

Trifextra: Week Thirteen  ‘s challenge:

Now for the weekend challenge: we want you to give us a re-telling of the classic Goldilocks and the Three Bears story. You can change the setting, the characters, and whatever details you wish, but the story should still be recognizable to us. Keep the spirit of the original work, but make it your own. And for once? You have no word limit.

Thank you for reading.  Your comments are much appreciated.  If I have many errors in grammar and sentence structure,  I beg your pardon.  My excuse is a little baby hanging on my skirts and the lesser time I have to mull things over during weekends – and I stick to them.  They may be the least of my problems though.  🙂

Have a beautiful blessed day.

~Imelda

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25 comments

  1. What a great, meaningful story. This thing is laced and layered with so much about prejudice and the horrors of litigation in general. And about…. bears.
    It’s really an amazing piece of work and makes me realize that my own submission is so flippant and/or blase in comparison.

    • Thank you for dropping by and the generous comments. I suppose I have been reading and hearing too many scary news about how the legal system works. Though here in MA, issues are almost always resolved in favor of bears, and other animals. 🙂

    • Thank you Barbara. I suppose they need to be nicer to the Mouse now. I think that little detail came out of reading the fable about the Lion and the Mouse many times over the past few months (to little children).

  2. I really got into your story to the point where I am sitting here feeling angry at the mistreatment of the bears! That is a sign of good writing, eliciting that kind of response from the reader. Good job!

    • Thank you for the nice words, Libby.

      I am sorry for this late late response. For one reason or the other, your comment (actually two of your comments) was filed in the spam folder by WP. I did not know why. I saw it only just now, 11:30 pm of May 2nd, when I was trying to familiarize myself more with this blog dashboard. My apologies again. 🙂

  3. This may be my favorite take on the story this weekend. The pacing was great, and bringing the story into the modern legal system was brilliant. (I’m afraid the bears didn’t fare as well in mine…)

  4. First of all the creativity and details are through the roof. You deserve a lot of kudos for the painstaking process you went through.

    second, isn’t this a modern take? A girl breaks and enters and the victim gets victimized, the bears. No wonder they eat us when we get lost in the woods.

    Great job. I loved it.

    • Thank you for your very generous words, Lance. Because I have many little children, I have read too many versions of Goldilocks and she always managed to get under my skin even in the versions where she was just being cute. I always thought that she should have a comeuppance, except that that will hardly happen in present times.

    • Thank you for visiting, JesterQ. I almost stopped writing the story because the direction I was headed, regarding the family, and specifically Little Bear, was painful. It is one of my greatest fears as a mother. Each time I read about real life stories of children taken away from their families, I get nervous and heartbroken.

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