One of the bears had not returned to his place in the display cupboard.
Francis the Florist Bear had told old Ted ‘I’ll be back as soon as I can. There’s something I have to do.’ It had been two days now, and although Phillip the Photographer Bear put his camera beside him and everyone spread
out, there was still a space.
‘Please come home soon,’ Ted moaned. ‘We don’t
want you to be missed.’
Six year-old Jeffery Baker had been in the Children’s Hospital on Mayfield Drive for four long weeks. He had been very sick but was feeling
better now. He wanted to go home. He missed his Mum and Dad. They came to see him every night but it wasn’t the same as being with them all at home. What surprised him most was, he even missed his bossy brother Ben and silly little
sister Susan who wandered around the house all day talking to her dolls.
‘I want to go home. I’m bored’ he complained when the doctor came for his daily visit.
Dr Williams smiled. ‘Be patient, young fella. If you can rest here for another week, I’m sure we’ll have fixed your problems. Then you’ll be back home and back to school as good as new. Besides,
today’s the day when my special friend is coming to visit you. He would be very disappointed if he found you unhappy.’
Francis the Florist Bear
arrived in the afternoon. He came in, hidden on the tea trolley, pushed by Nurse Kristie. He wore his red bow tie and red and white striped shirt. A notebook was in the pocket of his blue denim apron. He carried a bunch of red and yellow flowers.
He jumped down onto the bed.
‘Hello, Bear!’ Jeffery smiled.
The bear remained seated, still and silent.
His gentle brown eyes watched until he was alone with the small boy.
‘Can you keep a secret?’ Francis leaned across and spoke softly.
His furry nose
brushed the boy’s cheek.
‘Yes’ the little boy whispered.
‘See my bunch of flowers?’
‘I want you to feel them. They’re soft but they’re not real. Here, I’ll pass the bunch to you so you can tell for yourself.’
said. ‘I can tell they’re not real.’
‘I’m going to that vase over there and I’ll put my flowers in water. You’re going to see later that you have a huge bunch of flowers.
They will be of many colours – not just yellow and red. Everyone will be surprised.’
The small boy watched the little bear skip across the room, As promised, he placed his bouquet of artificial
flowers in the vase. Carefully, he added water from a jug on the table.
He turned. There was a sudden sound behind him.
trolley, pushed by Nurse Kristie, trundled past. Running, he made a huge jump, and settled himself down again among the cups and saucers.
He looked back at the small boy in the bed, waved a brown paw,
‘Be happy’ he called. ‘I’m Francis the Florist Bear and I love to make children happy.’
A short time
later Dr. Williams arrived with a big, round man in a clown suit. ‘This is my friend, Koko’ he said. ‘He’s come to tell you some jokes and sit with you awhile.’
as the clown bowed and then promptly fell flat on the floor. A curly blond wig spread out like a carpet and covered his head and most of his body.
‘I liked your other friend Francis too’ Jeffrey
whispered in the doctor’s ear.
‘I don’t have any friends called Francis’ the doctor replied. ‘Koko here is the only one I have in the hospital.’
Dr Williams reached down to give Koko a big hug. Then, they began pushing and shoving. Suddenly, they both were splayed across the floor, in a tangled. heap.
Sniffing loudly Koko said. ‘I
like your BEAUT -TI - FUL flowers,’
He scrambled groggily back onto his feet, hauled the doctor up by his tie, and shook him furiously.
Jeffrey laughed as
the two now danced around the bed.
‘Yes’ said the Doctor. ‘They’re lovely and the largest and most colourful bunch I’ve seen for many weeks.’
‘A florist brought them.’ Jeffery nodded proudly. He was determined to keep the secret. He’d made the bear a promise.
The two men looked at each other. They nodded approvingly but just for
a moment Jeffery thought he saw the doctor wink at him.
Once again, they fell on the floor and began crawling on all fours, like crabs
laughed and laughed.
‘Thank you, Francis Bear’ he whispered. ‘I know you’re special and I’m not going to tell anyone about your visit’
Old Ted helped Francis climb back through the lounge room window, and thankfully watched as he took up his place in the cupboard. ‘Where are your flowers? You usually have a bunch in your paw.’
‘I’m Francis the Florist. Magic flowers are my business.’
He settled back on the shelf and clapped his paws – once, twice three times.
Now, through the glass panel of the display cupboard, a line of bears can be seen sitting straight and still.
Proudly on the shelf beside Phillip the Photographer sits Francis
clutching in his brown paw, a pretty posy of red and yellow soft fabric tulips.
Everything seems normal.