The Story Finder

Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

Story finder - Curly

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Befuddled Prince

I was hunting in the woods when I saw a bear hiding in the shrubs. I called my dogs to attack it and they ran into the bush, yipping and yelping.

Then I heard a voice cry, “Call off your dogs or they will kill me! What harm have I ever done to you?”

I was so startled that for a moment I didn’t know what to do. Then I said, quite gently, “Will you come with me? I will take you to my home.”

“I will come gladly,” said the bear. It sat itself in a wheelbarrow by a tree, and it must have been enchanted because it moved itself in the direction of the palace.

My mother was certainly surprised to see me coming through the garden with a bear in a wheelbarrow. The bear insisted on helping to do the house-work and proved to be more efficient than any servant we ever had.

Then one day while my mother and I were having dinner, I excused myself early because I was going to a ball.

My mother said, “Go, dance, and enjoy yourself!”

Then a voice came from under the table, where the bear had rolled itself. “Let me come to the ball. I would like to dance, too!”

I kicked it sharply. It obviously didn’t know its place!

The Befuddled Prince in The Bear, Grey Fairy Book