Late One Night

It was my favorite time of day. Miss Cynthia and Doctor Steve had gone to bed. The house on the hill was dim and still and quiet. In the sunny room, a small lamp glowed softly. Time for stories!Story time!

In the morning, I would leave for Europe. There would be no more bear stories until I returned. I was eager to snuggle with my bear family one last time. We would laugh and talk together. We would tell stories and recite Beary Tales.

But where was everyone?

"Alexander!" I called.

"Here I am, Perry!" answered my twin brother. "I’m here in the corner, reading a book." Alexander was reading to some of the young bears. As the oldest bear in our bear family, Alexander took care of everyone. "We’ll be there in a moment," he said.

Where was everyone else? I wanted to begin our story time! "Emily?" I asked.

"I’m on the sofa, Perry," said Emily. "I’m showing Rudy, Marco and Molly how to make a cat’s cradle." Emily was our newest big bear. She had come from another family to help take care of all the young bears. Emily knew many interesting things. "We’ll be right down, Perry Bear," she called.

Who else was missing? "Prince Hal?" I called. "Grillparzer?"

"Here we are, with Gaius Ursus," said Prince Hal. "We’re playing a game on the computer!" Prince Hal, Grillparzer and Gaius were our international bears. Each came from a foreign country to join our bear family. "Is it time for stories already?" asked Prince Hal. He scrambled down from the computer chair.

The bear family gathered for story time. Everyone settled into a comfortable spot for talking and listening. Leif Bearickson leaned against the bookcase. He gathered Cokie and Franklin onto his lap. Amerigo and Gus threw friendly arms around each other. One by one, each bear joined the group.

"Wait a minute," said Alexander. "Where are the babies?" Everyone looked around, but no one could see our littlest bear brother and bear sister. Alexander shushed the puzzled, murmuring bears.

"William! Merri!" called Alexander. "Where are you? It’s time for stories!" There was no answer.

Alexander looked at everyone. "Who was the last one to see William and Merri?" he asked. "Does anyone know where they could be?"

"I thought I saw them head into the living room!" said Marco.

"The living room!" exclaimed Alexander. "What were they doing out there? They know they’re supposed to stay with us in the sunny room. I hope they haven’t gotten lost!" said Alexander.

He jumped up and walked to the door. "Perry, Emily, will you watch the rest of the bears for a moment? I’ve got to find William and Merri."

"Let me come with you, Alex," I said. "I’ll help you find the babies. Emily can watch the other bears for a moment."

"Goodness!" grumbled Alexander as we walked down the hall. "William and Merri certainly are getting adventuresome! Just last week, Miss Cynthia found them in the kitchen. Now they’re in the living room. I don’t know what we’re going to do when you’re away, Perry Bear."

I patted my twin brother on the back. "You’ll do fine, Alex. Emily’s here to help, and there’s nothing in the house on the hill that can hurt the babies. I’ll miss all of you, though!"

"We’ll miss you too, Perry," said Alexander. "Look!" he pointed, "There they are! What on earth are they doing?"

Merri and WilliamWilliam and Merri had found our suitcases. They were standing next to my little red bag. When I traveled with Miss Cynthia, I used my little red bag to carry my scarf and my fur-brush and my bow-ties.

William had given Merri a boost. She was peeking over the side of the bag. Merri had scattered my bow-ties. William had tried on my scarf. What a mess! I had packed so carefully!

We reached the naughty little bears. "William! Merri!" scolded Alexander. "What are you doing in here? What have you done to Perry’s suitcase?"

Merri jumped down quickly. She looked startled. William looked at the ground. "We just wanted to see what was in it," he said slowly. "We’ve never seen a suitcase before!" he added.

Alexander hugged the baby bears. "Don’t you two know that you’re supposed to stay with us, in the sunny room? Little bears could get hurt out here where they don’t belong!"

"Oh, we never get to go anywhere!" burst out Merri. "It’s not fair!"

Alexander planted a kiss on the top of Merri’s head. "Right now, you get to go back to the sunny room for story time!" he said. "That’s where little bears are supposed to be. No more trips to the living room!" scolded Alexander, gently.

That night, we talked and talked and talked, almost until the sun came up. Alexander told all the best Beary tales. Franklin sang "The Teddy Bear’s Picnic." Emily showed us some Irish dance steps she’d learned from Miss Caitlin at her former home. It was a party, a true bear party.

One by one, the bears went to sleep. I talked and talked until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. "Good night, Alexander," I said, as I slid into sleep.

"Good night, Perry dear," said my twin.

The next night, I would sleep in Dublin!

Perry's Travels: