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All the little teddy bears (standard:fairy tales, 1879 words)
Author: moyaAdded: May 09 2002Views/Reads: 2177/1234Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
If you fancy going down to the woods today - think again!



Once upon a time, deep in the country, there was a cottage which had a
little man living at the bottom of the garden.  The little man was me, 
and still is for that matter.  I've got an upturned flowerpot 
conversion behind the shed.  The people in the cottage, Emily and her 
father, they don't bother me.  He doesn't know I am here, and Emily - 
well, she's a friend. 

I've known her ever since they came here, when she was four.  It did not
take her long to spot me.  At that age they believe what they see.  Not 
that it matters.  If they tell no-one listens, and by the time they are 
ten or twelve they have stopped believing it themselves.  Emily can 
still see me, though.  She comes down most days for a chat, brings me a 
bit of something for my tea - cake maybe, or cheese.  I'm very partial 
to cheese. 

One afternoon I could see that she was upset, and after a little coaxing
she told me what the matter was.  Did I say that her mother had gone 
off years before, when she was still only a baby?  Not that it seemed 
to bother her, and she adored her dad.  Anyway, it turned out that he'd 
been seeing some woman for ages, keeping very quiet about it, and now 
he wanted to have her to stay  "so that they could get to know each 
other".  It looked like she might be getting a Stepmother, and we all 
know about them.  No wonder the poor girl was worried. 

"Has she got children of her own?"  I asked. 

"No.  She collects teddy bears." 

That was a relief.  Everyone knows the Wicked Stepmother is ten times
worse if she has her own children. 

I had my first sight of the Prospective Stepmother the following
afternoon.  She came tripping down the garden path, hanging onto 
Emily's dad's arm, all long skirt and trailing scarf, beads and 
trinkets, her hair piled up and coming down in wisps.  I  could hear 
her all the way down the garden, wittering away about ley lines and 
magnetic resonance and the powers of the earth spirits. 

When she reached my end of the garden, which had been allowed to run to
waste, she stopped and flung out her arms. 

"I see water,"  she intoned.  "A deep, clear pool with a willow weeping
into it.  A water garden!" 

I did not like the sound of that for a start.  Quite apart from the
damp, pools mean goldfish and fish bring herons.  I cannot abide 
herons.  One took me for a frog once.  It's not an experience I wish to 

But worse was to come.  She was going on about water elementals and I
had stopped listening to her nonsense.  I was trying to catch Emily's 
eye, she looked so miserable, poor child.  I must have grown careless; 
the dock leaf I was hiding behind was not really big enough.  The woman 
looked across - and saw me.  She never so much as squeaked, just paused 
in what she was saying and smiled to herself, but I tell you, my blood 
ran cold. 

Children, you see, I don't mind.  If they babble about fairies no-one
takes them seriously.  And I enjoy the company.  I get lonely, you see. 
 There aren't many of us Little Folk around anymore.  Of course they 
mustn't treat me like a doll (but no-one tries that twice!).  Emily, 
bless her, has always been perfectly respectful, that's how we get on 
so well.  No, children are all right, they only want to play, but adult 
mortals are quite a different matter.  They want wealth and power.  
They want to use us and control us.  When Emily came to find me after 
tea I had already almost finished my packing. 

"What are you doing?" 

"Leaving.  I can't stay around here any more.  That woman knows about

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