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The Baldwin Library
A very long while ago, there
was a bold, forward little girl,
who lived ina far-off country, and
the village people called her Sil-
verlocks. because her curly hair
was so light and shiny. She was
asad romp, and so full of her
pranks, that her parents could
never keep her quiet at home.
One day, when she had beeu for-
bidden to go out, she started off
into a wood, to string necklaces
of cowslip blossoms. to chase the
bees, and to pull down the
branches of the wild rose-trees ;
and she ran about from place to
place, until at last she came to
a lonely spot, where she saw a
pretty looking small house. Finding the door a little Way open, and the
parlor-window also, she peeped in, but could see nobody, and slily she laugh-
ed to think what a nice frolic she would have before the good folks returned:
so she made up her mind to go boldly into the house and look about her.
Now it happened that a family of Three Bears was living in this house ;
the first was the great Papa, called Rough Bruin, from his thick, shaggy
coat ; the second was a middling-sized Beatâ€™, called Mrs. Bruin, and some-
times Mammy Muff, from her soft fur ; the third-was a funny little brown
Bear, their own precious pet, called Tiny. The house was empty when
little Silverlocks found it out, because the Bears had gone ont together
for a morningâ€™s walk. Before leaving home, the great Bear had told Mrs.
Bruin to rub down Tinyâ€™s face, and make him tidy, while he was busy in
brushing his own hair, that all three might have a healthy walk by the
brook-side, while the rich rabbit-soup they were to have for dinner cooled
upon the table in the parlor : when they were all ready, they went ont for
their walk, leaving both door and window a little open.
In the Bearsâ€™ house there were only two rooms, a parlor and a bedroom,
and when the saucy puss, Silverlocks, pushed open thÃ© door and went in,
she found there was a savory smell, as if something nice had just been
cooked, and, on looking in the parlow, she saw three jars of steaming
soup lying on the table ; dinner having been prepared for the Threa Bears
by Mrs. Bruin. There was a big black jar quite full of soup for Rough
Bruin, a smaller white jar of soup for Mammy Muff, and a little blue jar
for Tiny, and with every jar there was a great wooden ladle. The little
girl had a very good appetite, and now that she was as hungry as she
was full of mischief, she felt quite delighted when she saw the soup-jars
on the table. It did not take her long to make up her mind how to act:
taste the nice-smelling soup she would, and care for nobody. It would,
she thought, be such capital fun ; she could then run home again and have
a fine tale to tell old Mike the gardener, one that would make him laugh
till Christmas ; for that silly fellow, too, liked mischief, and taught Silver-
locks all sorts of foolish tricks, and laughed at all her naughty ways,
which was certainly not the plan to correct her faults and make a good
child of her.
After looking outside to see that no one was coming, she began first to
taste the soup in Rough Bruinâ€™s great jar, but it was so very hot with
pepper that it quite burned her mouth and throat ; then she tried Mammy
Muffâ€™s jar, but the soup was too saltâ€”there was no bread in if either, aud
she did not like it at all ; then she tried Tinyâ€™s soup, and she found it was
just to her taste, aud had nice bits of white bread in it, with plenty of
sliced vegetables, so that she would have, happen what would.
Now, before the little meddlesome child sat down to eat up Master
Tinyâ€™s soup, as she was tired, she looked for a seat, and she noticed there
were three chairs in the room: one, a very large oak chair, was the Great
Bearâ€™s seat; another of a smaller size, with a velvet cushion, was Mrs.
Bruinâ€™s chair; and a little chair with a rush bottom, belonged to the little
Bear, Tiny. These chairs Silverlocks tried all in turn. She could not sit
at all comfortably in the very large chair, it was so hard ; she did not like
the middling-sized chair, it was too soft; but the little rush-bottomed chair
she found to be very nice indeed, it was just the thing; and so she sat
down in it with the jar upon her knees, and began to enjoy herself. She
dipped and dipped again, eating away till she had eaten up all the soup
in the little blue jar: not leaving one bit or drop of either bread, meat,
or soup for the poor little Bear, who at that very minute was hurrying
the old folks home to their dinnersâ€”for indeed, all three were hungry
enough after their walk.
Just as Silverlocks had taken the last spoonful of soup, and replaced
the empty jar on the table, such an accident happened! The bottom of
the little chair came outâ€”for this restless girl had an ugly way of rocking
herself on her seatâ€”and then she tumbled on the floor; but she was not
hurt, and the little madcap jumped up and danced round the broken
chair, thinking it fine fun.
Silverlocks then began to wonder where the stairs could lead to, so up
she went into the bedroom, where the Bears used to sleep, and there she
saw three beds side by side. Now one of these was a large bed for the
Big Bear, there was also a middling-sized bed for Mrs. Bruin, and a nice
little bed for Master Tiny. Being sleepy, she thought she would lie down
and have a bit of a nap ; so, after taking off ber shoes, she first jumped on
to the largest bed, but it was made so high at the tcp, that she could not
lie comfortably upon it ; she thea tried the next bed, bat that was too high
at the feet; but she found that the little Bearâ€™s bed suited her exactly,
and so she got snugly into it. She let her cheek rest gently on the soft
pillow, and watched the woodbine nodding in at the broken window pane,
and the blue fly buzzing and blundering about in the curtain, till she went
fast asleep, and dreamed about the same thing over and over again, often
laughing in her sleep, too, because the dream was all about her breaking
the little chair. :
While she was dreaming away, the Bears came home very tired and
hungry, and went to look after their soup. The Big Bear then cried out,
in a loud, angry voice:
â€œWHO HAS MEDDLED WITH MY SOUP ?â€
Mammy Muff next said in a loud voice, too, but not so gruffly as Rough
â€œWHO HAS MEDDLED WITH MY SOUP?â€
But when the little Bear saw his jar lying empty on the table, he bit his
very paws for grief, and asked over and over again, with his shrill little
â€œWho has meddled with my soup ?â€
Soon after, the Big Bear, with a voice like thunder, said :
â€œWHO HAS BEEN IN MY CHAIR, AND PUT IT OUT OF ITS
And Mrs. Bruin grumbled out :
â€˜Â© WHO HAS BEEN SITTING IN MY CHAIR, AND PUT IT OUT OF ITS PLACE?â€
But poor Tiny was more angry than either of them, and sadly sobbed as
â€œWho has been sitting in my little chair, and broken it?â€
They now peered about below stairs, feeling certain that there was some
one in the house, and then up stairs they all went, snuffling and grunting in
a very bad humor.
Said the Great Bear in a fury :
Â« SOME ONE HAS BEEN ON MY BED, AND RUMPLED IT!â€
Then said Mammy Muff:
â€œ SOME ONE HAS BEEN ON MY BED, AND RUMPLED IT.â€
Tiny next mounted a stool, and jumped on to the foot of his own smali
bed. Ina moment he squeaked out:
â€œ Some one has been to my bedâ€”and here she is; Oh! here she is.â€
And he opened his mouth and looked as fierce and as wicked as could
be at Silverlucks
The little girl had not been roused from her sleep by the loud voices of
Mr. and Mrs. Bruin, but the shrill piercing tones of Tinyâ€™s voice awoke her
directly, and frightened enough she was when she found herself nose to
nose with the angry little Bear; and she was still more afraid when she
saw also two great Bears in the room! Now the Great Bear had, luckily
for her, opened the window, so she quickly slid off the bed, and flew across
the room, took one jump at the open sash, and dropped upon the turf
below ; she rolled over and over on coming to the ground, but up again
she soon got, for, on looking at the open window, she saw the Three Bears
staring wildly at her and making a great noise.
When the little busybody safely reached home, she got a severe scolding
for her pains. She never forgot the great fright which the sight of the
Three Bears had given her, and so she took good care, ever afterwards, to
keep away from places where she had no business to go, and also to avoid
meddling with things that did not belong to her.
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