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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Reasons why, if you see Father Bear at the French market, he's bound to be up to no good


I'd hate you to have run out of my shortened fairy tales for those evenings when you are reading to your children/grandchildren/child you are meant to be responsibly babysitting.

The Three Bears and the Brief Appearance of Goldilocks

The three bears lived in a cottage in the woods.  One morning, they were all eating breakfast as usual, unaware that a blonde girl was peering in at them from outside their window.  (Only the omniscient narrator was aware of this fact.)
            A tense argument was raging because Mother Bear never seemed to get the porridge right.  Father Bear complained that his was too cold, and Baby Bear cried because his was too hot.  Mother Bear was getting flustered.  Hers seemed fine.  Men were SO fussy.  
            The phone rang.  Mother Bear went to answer it.  ‘That’ll be Auntie Freda,’ she said, leaving the kitchen.  
            Father Bear said to Baby Bear, ‘We’ve lost your mother now.  She’ll be hours, I bet.’  (Auntie Freda was going through some kind of gynaecological crisis with her 'tubes' which Mother Bear had explained to him in detail the previous evening, God love her, but which had made him regret having quite so much penne pasta at dinner.)
            Baby Bear threw a sulk, having burnt his tongue and gone off the porridge idea completely.  ‘But I’m hungry,’ he whined.
            ‘I know, son’ said Father Bear, tapping his nose conspiratorially.  ‘But don't worry.  I’ve got a Plan B!’
           Canny old Father Bear had been shopping at the French market the previous day without Mother Bear’s knowledge.  Mother Bear had lost enthusiasm for anything French since Father Bear’s unfortunate lapse with someone called Simone from work, so he hadn't owned up to his purchases.
               Father Bear reached into a top cupboard and, to Baby Bear’s delight, pulled out a packet of six pain au chocolat as well as a couple of fresh, squidgy baguettes.  They warmed these in the microwave (singing loudly during the 'ready' beeps) and then enjoyed them together while Mother Bear was talking to Auntie Freda.
            The little blonde girl, watching them, realised how hungry she was, and she ran home to see if Mother had any pain au chocolat in her cupboard.  She hadn't, in fact, and the blonde girl had to make do with stale Rice Krispies.  It was a bit of a let down, and not a lot of fun, compared with the day she could have had - the breaking and entering into a bears' cottage, a bowl of delicious porridge, the dramatic dismembering of a chair, and a chance to bounce on three different beds before choosing her favourite, like you do in Bed City, but without a twelve year old with spots trying to sell it to you.

'What kind of mother ARE you?' complained Goldilocks bitterly, finding no continental pastries were
available at home.  Judge her not: it is hard to find you have a stupid name and hair the
colour of custard, but no fairy story to star in.

26 comments:

  1. I'm not sure that pain au chocolat (I suppose I mean pains au chocolat) heat up very satifactorily in the microwave. I think that the chocolat would get burny burny hot and then Baby Bear would cry and give the game away.

    Are you sure you've done enough research for this story? Maybe you should sample 3 ps au c heated in the mike and 3 heated in a conventional oven and report back to us?

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    1. I have definitely done the research. How could you think otherwise? 10 seconds in the microwave makes a pain au chocolat just warm and the chocolate all runny. And it does exactly the same for the second one and the third one ...

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  2. Et aussi, comment va le grandbebe? (Please imagine acute accents.)

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    1. A very cute accent, Isabelle. Le grandbebe (right, now it has to be English) has read all the right books about how to be a baby and is keeping his parents up at night and feeding constantly. We're going to see him at the weekend when school term FINALLY finishes. Yay!

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  3. Je suis . . . forget it. My French is up to no good. I think you must publish a book of fairy tales. Parents and grandparents around the world will thank you.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I will try, seeing as you say so.

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    2. Thank you for recognizing my superior intelligence and judgement. No wonder the World relies on me.

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    3. Yes, that's a good idea, Janie. You must do it, Fran! Your Fairy Tales are very entertaining!

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  4. I'm barely fluent in English so I won't even attempt French. I agree that you should publish these shortened fairy tales.

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    1. I have actually sent some samples off to a few publishers and the response is usually 'yep, they're funny, but, nope, we can't fit them onto our list at the moment.' I'll keep trying.

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    2. Contact Elisa at Wayman Publishing. If you don't follow Elisa, then you should anyway. Her blog is called "The Crazy Life of a Writing Mom." She's adorable, and she's becoming a little publishing powerhouse. Plus, she's the middle child I never had but should have.

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    3. Thanks, Janie. Have followed her blog and tweets. She's not accepting new writers until September, but I'll keep an eye out.

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  5. But...what about Simone's story? Will we have to wait for Jeremy Kyle for that?

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    1. Simone has gone into hiding. Her brief liaison with a bear resulted in a swift end to her career.

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  6. I believe Simone is still taking antibiotics, for an ursine infection.

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    1. Are they the pessary sort, that you put into your urs?

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    2. I don't know. I'm a little behind with this sort of thing.

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    3. It reminds me of that old song 'The London Derriere'. I wanted to find out its origins but can't get to the bottom of it.

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  7. Wonderful stuff. Must have a word with The Lad - it is worth having grandchildren just for the fun of reading it to them.

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    1. Tell The Lad from me that I need an audience and he'd better get on with it.

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  8. I sympathise with Custardlocks . I get very weepy without myporridge* .
    I blame Early Start for all these literate grandchildren ... one of mine keeps on asking "Why?" as they're supposed to and the smaller one is teething on time , just when I'm going to see him again.
    We need another Mummy Advice posting .
    * My Scottish half makes it impossible to refer to any porridge I'm likely to eat , without prefixing it with "my".

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    1. I get told off by my kids when I post the Mummy Advice posts. They say I've 'gone too far, Mother'.

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  9. I have a disturbing memory about Goldilocks. In my twenties & having very long strawberry blonde hair, I decided to have a corkscrew perm so I guess I had golden locks. Walking home from work one day a man called out of his window, "Oi Goldilocks, Do you want a **** ?"
    I've ALWAYS wondered if I should have said yes please instead of scurrying past !
    So Goldilocks has rather different connotations for me I'm afraid.

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    1. That made me laugh. It's his combining of a traditional fairy tale with such a base suggestion that tickles me.

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