‘There’s a bear in my bath!’ the child’s high-pitched call echoed round the house. ‘He’s trying to get
out. What should I do?’
‘You’re dreaming, darling.’ Mum’s reassuring voice came from the Computer room.
‘Maybe not’ Dad groaned. ‘Nothing in this house surprises me, any more.’
‘I’ll put him on the
floor’ ten-year-old Lisa responded.
She was visiting overnight and was already sure her little cousins lived in an amazing place.
‘He’s got a little cap on his head and a coat with two rows of golden buttons. He looks like a ship’s Captain.’
‘Oh no!’ old Ted muttered. ‘Colin’s tried to go sailing.’
All the bears in the cupboard began whispering. ‘I didn’t hear him go’, Scott said to Pedro. Comments flowed along the shelves. Amazement was expressed that no one had noticed his absence.
‘It’s my fault.’ Sue care-bear said to Joseph. She cuddled into his chest and continued plaintively, ‘He came off the shelf late this afternoon and
asked if he could go and sit in the little boy’s boat. He had seen the child take it into the bathroom and was curious. I told him not to wake you.'
‘Go, look – maybe sit
for a bit but come back to your right place immediately'. He agreed. I thought he had returned at least an hour ago.’
Meow! Not very smart’ purred Sophie from her position on the cat scratching pole. ‘These bears are too adventurous. Once out they don’t want to come back. They really scare me!
When Missie came in barking ‘What’s up? What’s up?’ Dad erupted from his study shouting.
‘What’s all the noise?' Why are you barking? Whatever is the matter with you, Cat!’. He wasn’t expecting answers, but a babble of sound indicated that everyone in
their own way, unheard by his ears, answered him.
‘Please, Uncle Tim’ Lisa’s clear voice came from the bathroom ‘I hope it’s alright to put
the bear on the bathmat.’
‘Please open the door and I’ll go home’ Colin pleaded. He was not heard and after the man outside affirmed the suggestion, Colin
found himself face down on the bathmat, with his nose buried in the fluffy towelling.
‘He’s on the mat, Uncle Tim. I’ll bring him with
me when I finish.’
Colin waited. All the bears outside waited.
Lisa splashed happily in the tub uncaring that splashes kept cascading over the little bear on the floor. His hat and coat were soon foaming as bubble bath solution fell in blobs all over him.
After what seemed a lifetime, Lisa finished her bath.
Bathwater gurgled down the plughole as she towelled herself dry, dressed in pyjamas and finally emerged again in the
clear view of the watching bear eyes on the shelves.
'Did you enjoy your bath, love?' Dad asked.
'Oh yes! It was fun. I'm sorry I missd seeing my counsins tonight but we'll ctch up in the morning.'
'Good night then, Dear.
We hope you will sleep well'
'Good night, Uncle Tim and Aunt Maree.'
'Good night' they answered.
'Don't forget about me' wailed a voice from the floor. 'I'm still here! Hey, I'm still here.'
'There's a bear on the floor' murmured many voices in unison.
Humans could'nt hear but the cat and dog reacted with great outbursts of noise.
'Don't forget the bear. Oh pl e e a s
e don't forget the bear or he'll be whinging all night long' Sophie meowed.
'I'll help. O let me help' barked Missie.
'STOP THIS NOISE!' Dad roared.
Mother came into the hall. 'Whatever
is the matter?' she enquired softly. 'Did you ever sort out that business of the 'Bear in the Bath'? '
'I'm not in the bath now' moaned a foaming Colin from the floor.
'I forgot love, I'll go and check now.' Dad went to the bathroom, picked up the foaming Captain Bear and sighed. 'I will not even ask how you got here. Perhaps you walked.' He was joking but added seriously. 'It was probably the cat, but
why she put you in the bath is a mystery. I hope one day I'll solve it.'
‘I did NOT!’ mewed Sophie. ‘It was not my fault.
I had nothing to do with it.’ She protested furiously with meowing and purring which gradually subsided into a soft rumbling interspersed with mumbling. ‘It was not my fault’.
Finally, she curled up in a ball and went back to sleep. Her basket was beside the sofa.
Together, the human parents managed to towel-dry the bedraggled
bear and placed him on the table. ‘We can put him in his right place on the shelf in the morning.’
‘I’ll do that right now!’
Missie barked. ‘I’ll help. I know where he belongs.’
When the parents walked away towards their bedroom, she did just that.
Without further discussion, the dog gently lifted the bear, shook him to remove any remaining moisture, then took him to his third shelf position in the cupboard.
‘Move over’ she barked at Pedro and Matt. ‘Colin goes in the middle.’
‘We know’. We were only here to fill up the space caused by his absence.'
His friends moved to let him settle. Colin then bowed to the dog. ‘My particular gratitude to you, m’am.’
Finally, the house was quiet and peaceful. The humans were all asleep.
Old Ted spoke.
‘I’ll want a full explanation in the morning.’ He proclaimed. ‘We all want to know how this happened.’
Flash and Fina swam round and round their fish-tank. ‘This’ll be another mystery for that poor human man to think about. How did the bear on the table get back on the
What joy! Oh, what joy!’ They sloshed and splashed softly laughing. ‘Mystery and joy. Ha! Ha! Ha Ha!’
Dad never solved the moved bear mystery, and, although he grappled with it all through breakfast, other more pressing needs occupied his day.
Through the years, sometimes thoughts would surface. For some reason they always made him smile.
Colin told his story to Ted during a quiet time
during the day. All bears, perfectly still and quiet, listened intently.