In the house on the hill, the years had brought many changes. There were now no more resident children, and few visitors. The people in the house were older and slower and spent a lot of time around their home. LIfe was lived at a different pace. Something called a pandemic caused humans to all live more isolated and ‘contained’ lives.
However, a visiting animal, a small white fluffy terrier dog owned as a puppy by a granddaughter, became a new resident in 2018. It really was because of her curiosity that three more teddy bears finally emerged to tell their stories.
A cold black nose pressed against the glass panel of a low cupboard,still in one of the children’s rooms. Char-Lee shook and pressed against the glass.
It popped open!
‘Ow!’ a small voice called, ‘I’ve fallen out and banged my knee.’
Terrified, the little white dog went into the lounge room and barked and barked right in the face of Joseph the Uncle Bear still sitting in his chair with Sue Care Bear.
‘STOP BARKING! STOP THAT DREADFUL NOISE!
Joseph had been asleep for many hours and the house had been drama free for so long he was jolted to full awareness suddenly.
He was extremely grumpy!!!.
He forgot the rules of life for Magic Bears and growled threateningly in the little dog’s face.
She was young and bears who talked were unknown to her as were most wild animals. A teddy bear who growled was terrifying beyond belief. She fled to the safety of her storm shelter - a special cage retreat between two armchairs.
Sue care Bear quietly soothed Joseph. ‘Go back to sleep, dear, but tell Old Ted that something disturbed the little dog. He may decide to ‘check it out’.
Old Ted decided to waddle personally along the corridor and check for any signs of disturbance in the empty bedrooms. He wanted to take the little dog with him and ask her why she was frightened, but when he stuck his grizzled grey head inside her storm shelter, her black eyes widened, and she shook so violently, ..... he retreated.
He was worried her small heart might stop beating. She looked frozen with fear.
He decided to waddle unassisted -hoping for an open door-, into the first unoccupied room on the right. The door was wide open. He waddled in. He couldn't see anything unusual.
He decided to leave.
He turned when a sound from under the bed caused him to stop.
Then, a voice from the cupboard against the wall spoke, ‘please don’t go’.
Ted noticed then a glass panel from the front of a low cupboard had shaken loose. It was unbroken but lay on the carpet.
Ted replied, ‘I’m Ted, Please tell me who you are and how I can help.”
A voice from under the bed, however answered first. ‘Hello, I’m Clement the Chef Bear, I’m supposed to be part of a Teddy Bear Collection, but a child took three of us from the main Bear Cupboard and kept us here with other stuffed animals. We’ve been here a long time.
Today, a fluffy animal kept shaking the glass on the front of the cupboard. I fell out.’
‘How did you get under the bed? ‘
‘I rolled there. I was frightened of the furry white animal. I did not know it was a dog until it began to bark. I got up, but panicking, I somehow became tangled in my wooden spatula, attached to my paw, and toppled back over.
I decided to roll under the bed. It seemed a good hiding place, but now I’m stuck under here and need help to get out.
My spatula is caught on something. ‘
It was then that the voice from inside the cupboard spoke again. ‘Hi. I’m Bob the baseball Player. I could jump down and help, Sir. Let me know when its ok to do so. I may be a bit lopsided because my bat is heavy.
‘Hello there, young fella, I’m Old Ted. Please jump down but be careful. If there is another Teddy who belongs in the Collection, would you please come and join us as well [
The third voice was subdued and had the hint of a very British accent.
‘Delighted! I’m Harvey the Huntsmen. I’ll be with you in a tick’.
Old Ted watched as first the light brown bear in his red striped top wearing a bright red baseball cap with a number 5 onit, leapt out of the cupboard and fell at his feet. It was obvious confirmed by the bat in his paw - this was Bob.
“Hi Bob! ‘
Bob scrambled upright and faced the old grey senior. ‘I’m pleased to meet you too. I did not realize the rest of our family were not far away. Not that we have lacked family here. (He hastily added)
He glanced back at the shelves ‘To all of you, dolls, animals, butterflies and insects thank you for making us feel at home with you. ‘
Ted clearly heard a lot of subdued responses. Some were like insect noises and others had more clear language.
Ted waved a large grey paw and acknowledged each one.
The folks left in the cupboard squeaked, buzzed or flapped their wings in response,
Harvey the Huntsman chose that moment to launch himself from a cupboard shelf.
His pristine bright red, black trimmed riding jacked caught in his riding crop and he landed, headfirst, on Old Ted’s carefully positioned paw feet. The old teddy swayed alarmingly.
‘Frightfully sorry, Sir. Got myself in a bit of a tangle. ‘
The light cashmere coloured teddy after shaking himself and settling his clothes back into perfect order, shuffled until he could stand proudly and steadily beside Bob
“We’ll go under the bed and try to unhook our friend Clement.’
With the aid of baseball bat and riding crop, they were able to dislodge Clément’s Spoon from the piece of string that had entangled him under the bed.
Together, all three finally faced old Ted.
‘Please Sir’, they voiced in unison. ‘Can we now please follow you back to where the others are, and maybe help us to find a space to settle?’
‘Young fellas, I’m delighted to meet you and I know the others will all be ecstatic. It has been many, many years but finally you will be together again.
Forty little magic bears from The Teddy Bear Collection all united once more. No missing story, each one has their tale recorded. .
The old grizzled Bear jauntily started waddling back “Follow me,’ He called .
It was quiet in the Lounge, Room, but Sue and Joseph waited to help the old bear climb safely back into the high armchair. With a huge sigh. He sat, shuffled his frame and then, he spoke loudly and clearly.
‘WAKE UP EVERYONE! I need to speak with you All. I have some news, WAKE UP!
Joseph got a fright at Ted's loud shout. Only Sue’s gentle touch on his knee prevented him from growling loudly.
Sue then directed her attention to the little dog in the storm shelter who had begun barking frantically. The small pink bear with a red heart in her paw walked in and loudly whispered in the ear of the startled terrier. “SHH! Stop it! Sit! ‘Be QUIET!’
Her spoken voice was enough to again frighten the dog. She grabbed a toy and hid in a dark corner.
No one realized that young Char-Lee later would sneak out and silently watch what was happening.
It was in the darkness of night-time when young Sam the Schoolboy Bear – who had enjoyed playing his role as a ‘lookout scout’- reported to Old Ted that the elderly seniors were fast asleep.
Old Ted called across the lounge room.
‘Everyone who can hear my voice please pass the instructions along each shelf so the whole family know they are included. You all have permission to move forward on your shelves but only the specially invited ones – Patrick has visited you personally and told you who you are- are to climb down and gather on the mat here in front of me. Safety has always been important. Eleven bears can scramble back more easily if there is danger of discovery’.
Joseph growled ‘Eleven! I can only imagine what strife they could get into. I’ll be glad when this is all over.’
Sue squeezed his arm. ‘Don’t stress, dear. Enjoy the evening.’
Small bears began to carefully climb down and waddle their way across the room to finally assemble on the mat.
Char-lee heard the bear movements as their paws connected with the floor when they travelled across from the shelves. She peeked out and the forming line up of little teddies so fascinated her that she didn’t bark. It was as if her voice was silenced by the magic in the moment.
She crept out. She quietly sat down between a little bear in blue overalls and one with a leather bag someone later identified by calling out ‘Welcome! Patrick our Postman.’.
Joseph gasped when he saw the little dog. Sue Care Bear climbed down and went straight up to Char-Lee. She said to her ‘You are welcome to stay but you must be quiet and very still. Do you understand me? ‘
To her surprise the furry white head nodded and a faint sound “Woof”…came out like a soft ‘yes’.
Sue commented to Old Ted, ‘I think this little animal is one of our family now. He nodded wisely.
“I believe so too. She is an intelligent animal and will understand that wherever there is LOVE ……… There is always the perfume of the Divine.
Humans say their God is DIVINE LOVE……all else is but a shadow and only humans have immortal souls that’s why we witness Christmas celebrated here. They remember the Birth of the One who came to save their Souls for eternity. Charlee an animal who loves, will connect with all of us as representing, from the perspective of our connections love, beauty and life.’
When everyone was assembled, they had a party. They flew magic balloons. They knew if they left anything behind , it would be stressful for the now elderly humans. All occurrences at their party were magic and would vanish when the sun came up.
Old Ted clapped his paws. Joseph growled ‘Now!’
Coloured balloons came from the ceiling and they filled the room with dancing life.
From beneath the table Clement the Chef suddenly danced into view. He waved his spatula spoon.
‘ I was asked if I knew how to make food. I told Old Ted I did but for our party because we don’t eat normal food, I made some special boiled lollies. They are magic and they are for us. ‘
He stirred up the coloured lollies, then began throwing spoonfuls of the sweets into the air.
There was a collective sigh from the Bear Community when Bob the Baseball Player waddled in and began hitting the sweets with his bat.
They scattered far and wide and covered every shelf and open space in the room. Balloons and lollies. FUN and CELEBRATION!
'I always wanted to do this with a pinata'. Bob laughed. (His laugh sounded quite loud for such a small teddy). It set off laughter around the room.
It was when Char-Lee tried to laugh and a bark was trembling in her throat that Joseph growled
"Shh! Keep the noise down."
More surprises were still to happen.
Everyone thought they could hear a neighing horse.
Harvey the Huntsman appeared first. He said, I'm Harvey and for this special occasion of the forty of us who belong in this Magic Collection , being finally together in ONE place, I asked my special friend to come.
He made a strange piercing whistling sound and all eyes for a few minutes thought they could see a magic horse among the circuling balloons.
Misti pranced across the room. her mane floated as if windborne, and her hooves playfully kicked and danced with the balloons.
The voice of Graham the Graduate Bear also had a whispery unreal quality as he spoke from among the assembled bears facing old Ted.
‘Hank, Walter, Patrick and myself are particularly grateful to see again the three friends who are part of our little group The Secret Seven. You probably remember when we were first re-discovered hidden in a dark and private corner of the top cupboard. We told you then we had personal stories that we were reluctant to share and how four were finally able to do so.
It was a wrench for us when three of our group disappeared. We thought possibly a child had removed them, When they did not return, we repositioned ourselves to cover the gaps.
Life went on and we simply accepted they had been re-housed. I did not tell anyone because we know our place in the real world and wanted no disruption.
I am however delighted to ‘Welcome back again Clement, Bob and Harvey. There are spaces for you all in the back corner of the high shelves.'
The sky was beginning to lighten and the party coming to its end before Clement, Bob and Harvey joined the others on the mat facing Old Ted.
Char-Lee couldn’t help herself she gently licked every small bear face (a soft kiss) as they waddled past.
The three friends politely bowed ‘Thank you Everyone.’
‘It’s been a great evening and will be long remembered,’ said Ted.
Uncle Joseph nodded but growled. ‘Time to be back in your places’.
Sue clapped her tiny white paws and fourteen bears began their scrambled climb back to lower positions. Graham helped each of the secret seven up into the dark corner of the highest shelf where they shuffled and rearranged themselves unto a comfortable positions.
The sun began it’s own slow climb into the heavens while in the house on the hill, a gentle neighing accompanied the evaporation into the shadows of all balloons, lollies and Misti’s distinct outline.
Fingers of sunlight pierced the darkness, and the new Day began.
(The bears would have been surprised if they had heard the old couple’s conversation in the bedroom at the end of the hall.)
‘Someone’s been having a party tonight. I’ve lived here too long now to be surprised by anything that happens,’ Dan said.
His wife laughed ‘Come back to bed and have more sleep. You’ve been wandering around a lot this evening.’
‘It’s been quite a night but it’s no good asking the dog for advice, she’s sound asleep now beside that old teddy bear of your Grans.'
They went back to sleep. The silence was profound, and the whole house settled into supernatural PEACE.