A modern fairy tale
by - Silke Heiss
Christmas 2006 was the first time that Father Bear, Mother Bear, Baby Bear and Goldilocks met up since the old days. Baby Bear was no longer a baby. In fact, Goldilocks was now his wife. Baby Bear also had two sisters, who had not been born at the time of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
The sisters, Julia and Ursula, arrived at the family cottage, around which the forest of old had given way to housing estates. Julia and Ursula brought their loving husbands, Bruno and Blanco, respectively.
The moment the family reunited, they quarrelled. Everyone wanted the biggest chair, the softest cushion, the bed with the newest Sealy Posturepedic, and the largest portions of meat. Bruno accused Blanco of selfishness. Sensitive Julia sighed a lot. Blanco accused Julia of being passive. Ursula snapped at Bruno for making a fuss. Goldilocks aroused envy by pampering Father Bear. Baby Bear became confused and accidentally threw away Father Bear's spare keys.
Meanwhile, Mother Bear said over and over: "I can't do this."
Blanco became ever more grumpy and withdrawn. He took to barking gruffly at all the bears from behind his newspaper. Finally, Mother Bear realised that no longer could she endure Blanco picking his nose and his unwashed toes on her recently re-upholstered chair.
"He is a pig," she declared in bed to Father Bear, "a sewer rat. A virus with no regard for decency or common manners."
On her way to the bathroom, Ursula overheard her mother's cruel judgments. She stormed in and confronted Mother Bear.
No bear slept that night. Mother Bear was tragically ashamed of herself. Eventually, morning broke.
"We all say terrible things sometimes in the privacy of our bedrooms," Julia observed at the breakfast table, at which nobody was eating very much.
Bruno squeezed Julia's delicate, black paw.
"That's right," agreed Goldilocks. "I daresay, Blanco, that you have been unfairly scapegoated. We're all stressed."
"You don't know Blanco!" wept Ursula, "You don't know what a wonderful bear he is. He is better than all of you put together!"
Tears matted her pretty beard. The entire family was moved by this wifely show of devotion.
"The love between you is more important than this unfortunate event," declared Father Bear. "We look forward to seeing you all again soon."
Blanco generously embraced Mother Bear, who was still weeping regretfully.
"I did not hear a thing," he professed truthfully.
Everyone returned home, and Father and Mother Bear found themselves once again alone in their cottage. Mother Bear said: "I felt closer to Blanco than ever before. It was the first moment during the family reunion that unspoken feelings were expressed."
Will the drama be a turning point? Will ancient dynamics reform? Will the clamour for soft cushions, comfortable chairs, excellent mattresses, and abundant meals, yield? Will these desires be replaced by gentle sympathy, restorative dreams, patience and generous words?
It is possible to imagine it, but only time will tell.