'FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!'
'Who said that?' Joseph woke with such a start that Sue Care Bear on
his lap, grabbed at his fur to prevent being toppled out of the armchair.
Old Ted was immediately on the alert and scanned the room with
his intense piercing dark brown eyes.
'I certainly don't see anything or smell smoke.'
'I'm sorry. I must have been dreaming.' The voice from the highest
shelf seemed to come from behind the small potted plant.'I'm Freddy
the Fireman. Most of you will never have seen me. I usually watch
in silence and have never spoken before. I had a dream. I think it
was a fire because I was in the middle of it with my tiny hose. It was
scary but I felt useful and it was rather fun. I am sorry I woke you
up. I do apologise.'
'It's alright young fella' Ted muttered. 'Now most of us are awake.
Come down and introduce yourself. It's dark and all the humans are
asleep. It should be safe for us to get to know you better.'
'Can I join in too' Missie the border collie dog barked from
'Only if you don't bark or get too excited when you are inside
'Me too!' mewed Sophie from her cat tower. I want to listen
and be part of the conversations.'
The goldfish didn't say anything but the splashing and churning
water in the' fishtank' told everyone they were listening.
Freddie abseiled down the side of the shelf. Pedro the Pirate
held him by a thin length of string borrowed from Harry the
Freddie was enjoying his adventure but lost his balance
in his final few steps. He landed heavily and fell over
face down on the carpet.
Missie was immediately on alert and raced to help. She
put him back on his feet. He toddled shakily forward
and stopped beside Old Ted's armchair.
'Thank you, lovely dog' Freddie said politely to Missie. She
began dancing in excited circles.
'Please, please, don't bark!' Joseph growled.
'Go on now young fella. Tell us your story.'
'HI ALL! ...I...I...I'm Freddie. I....I....don't socialise. I
sit happily up there at the back waiting for a 'fire' I was told
by a wise old bear many years ago I was a fireman.'
'When you see a fire' he said 'You should shout 'Fire! Fire! Fire!
to let others know.'
I know I look a bit trendy but I guess, I look like a fireman and I
do hold a hose.'
It sounded important. I've kept on looking but I've never seen
one. I'm not really sure what I'm actually looking for.'
Suggestions came from wide-awake bears and even a
couple of slurred comments were voiced from the
half-asleep on shelves and in the cupboard.
'Thank you!' Freddie responded. 'I will look for something red,
usually noisy, expanding, dangerous, small but can be
massive. I'm to run if its trying to catch me and must yell
'Fire! Fire! to make sure others are safe.'
'Never try to deal with it by yourself' Old Ted instructed
For a short time there was chatter and conversations on a
variety of subjects.
The Santa Bear enquired, 'Does anyone know how long it
is until Christmas?
'Not sure' mumbled Pete the Pilot.
It was Sue Care Bear who knew the answer. She spoke
quietly and confidently. 'It's a long time yet. Seven weeks and
five days until Christmas Day.
'How do you know that?' Joseph asked.
'Oh six year old Stephanie and her friend Katie were counting
up the days while they were on the floor playing with me
'Well' old Ted announced wisely. 'We've learned a few lessons
here this evening. I think it's time we all got back to sleep.
There was no opposition and sleepy bears on shelves, in the
cupboard and on chairs closed their eyes and returned to
The fish returned to their sunken hollow tube, Sophie to her
tower and Missie turned towards the backdoor.
A bear voice broke through the stillness.
'I'm...I...I..I'm sorry' Freddie said. 'Please could I
have permission to go outside with Missie? I've never been off
the shelf before. I'd like to see what is outside.'
'I'll carry him out' Missie responded happily. 'I'll show him round
the garden and return him to his shelf in a couple of hours.'
Old Ted nodded. 'Be careful. Look around, and come back
Missie trotted out the back screen door holding Freddie by his
left leg. She pranced and danced - the picture of border-collie happiness.
The house returned to nightime settled peace. All the
occupants, humans, magic bears and friends slept.
Freddie happily explored the garden. He even enjoyed
his encounter with a cane toad who tried to eat his furry
Missie got rid of him with a swipe of her paw.
Freddie lay down beside the dog near the water-tank.
They went soundly off to sleep.
e. He woke to an astonishing site
The hillside behind them glowed.
Freddy's bear eyes blinked in amazement.
It was everything he had been told. It was red, bright, sometimes small then it expanded and
became bigger and bigger. It loomed over him and when he moved it chased him.
Awestruck, he was amazed and terrified.
'It's a FIRE!
FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!'
He yelled as loudly as a small magic bear could yell (by human standards, it was little more
than a wind gust).
Father in the bedroom rolled over and muttered.
Help! Help everyone! I know I'm going to need help.'
Missie barked once. 'I think it's Ok. There is no danger.'
No one was listening.
Sophie led the charge. Old Ted, Joseph carrying Sue, two of the cupboard bears
four from the shelves scrambled, then dropped to the floor.
An army of volunteers was ready to face whatever lay before them.
Lined up now, side by side they stopped at the screen door and peered into the outside
What they saw was overwhelming.
The rising sun behind the hilltop changed the tree branches from green to molten
'It's not a fire' Old Ted reassured with certainty. At least not one we have to deal with. It's
the rising sun. It's a stunning sunrise.
Sunlight played flickering fingers of light across the faces of the watching audience. Small
bear faces glowed and the dog and cat's mesmerised eyes flickered with golden sparkles.
'It's absolutely beautiful' Missie barked. 'I must. I must wake the family.'
She was conscious of her family responsibilities.
Old Ted nodded and issued an order.
'Right all, back to bed. As fast as you can. You will have to move quickly. Go! Go! Go!.
Right places. Please help one another and please could someone help me.
I got down but have no idea how I'll get back up again.'
Missie pounced and grabbed his shoulder. She pranced around the room, After
making a full circle and lovingly licking his face, she gently placed the old gray bear safely
back in his lounge-chair position.
Missie impatiently waited until all the bears were safely back in their correct places. She
pushed, rearranged and helped where she could.
There was a lot of laughing and fooling around.
Then, she barked and barked and barked.
'Get up! Get up! Don't miss this folks. Its the most glorious sunrise. The best we've had for
many years. Probably because of fires and extra heat reflected from the red desert sand. It's
wonderful. Oh Get up! Do get up!.
Bleary-eyed Dad came out first.
'What ever is the matter dog? Why this dreadful noise?'
He looked out the back door facing east and gasped. He shouted until the family
It was one of the most beautiful sunrises any of them had seen.
'Thank you, Missie.' Mother said. 'We were not too happy at first, about your noise,
but now we're glad you woke us.
Dad used his camera and took a photograph. The family brought biscuits and drinks
into the backyard and sat in plastic chairs. They watched the wonder of the climbing
sun through the bush.
Welcome to a new day!
'I'm sorry it wasn't a REAL fire' the voice of Freddy murmured.
Quickly a chorus of voices responded.
Oh no Freddy the Fireman, we are grateful you were responsible for showing us a great
ball of fire from the sky.
There was laughter as the light of sunshine and warmth gradually filled the