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Home: The Toast

bearOnce there were two bears, Big Bear and Little Bear. Big Bear is the big bear and Little Bear is the little bear. They played all day in the light of the bright sunlight.

All day long, Little Bear knew the sun was going to go away. At noon, he thought: this is as high as the sun will get. Now we are only waiting for night. Little Bear knew better than to be comforted by the morning. When he opened his eyes at sunrise each day, he thought Now the next thing that will happen is night. Every day, night came along and spoiled the sunshine for him.

His shadow got longer, and waved to him. Now Little Bear’s shadow was bigger than he was. Soon it would be bigger than everything.

When night-time came, and the sun went down, Big Bear took Little Bear home to the Bear Cave.

Big Bear put Little Bear to bed in the dark part of the cave.

“Go to sleep, Little Bear,” he said.

Little Bear tried. “That’s not how it works,” Little Bear said to the dark. “Sleep comes for you or it doesn’t.” But it was too dark for Big Bear to hear him.

Big Bear settled in the Bear Chair and read his book by the light of the fire. But Little Bear could not get to sleep. He had the night, and he had darkness, but he did not have sleep.

“Can’t you sleep, Little Bear?” asked Big Bear, putting down his Bear Book (which was getting to the interesting part) and padding over to the bed.

“I’m scared,” said Little Bear.

“Why are you scared, Little Bear?” asked Big Bear.

“I don’t like the dark,” said Little Bear.

“What dark?” said Big Bear.

“The dark all around us,” said Little Bear. And Big Bear, who never had any trouble falling asleep, didn’t understand. If something was supposed to happen, he couldn’t understand why anyone would be afraid of it.

bear2“It’s supposed to be dark at night,” he told Little Bear. “If you go to sleep, you won’t notice how to dark it is, and when you wake up, it will be morning.”

“But night will come back again,” Little Bear said.

“It’s supposed to,” Big Bear said. But he didn’t have to understand Little Bear to help him, so he went to the lantern cupboard and took out the tiniest lantern that was there.

Big Bear lit the lantern, and put it near to the Little Bear’s bed.
“There’s a tiny light to stop you being scared, Little Bear,” said Big Bear.

“Thank you, Big Bear,” said Little Bear, cuddling up in the glow.

“Now go to sleep, Little Bear,” said Big Bear, and padded back to the Bear Chair and settled down to read the Bear Book, by the light of the fire.

Little Bear tried to go to sleep, but he couldn’t. He lay very still and screwed his eyes shut tight, because the dark behind his eyes wasn’t as frightening as the dark he had to look at, and he tried very hard to think about nothing.

He had thought about nothing very hard for a very long while when suddenly he felt himself falling as if from a great height, and snapped up in bed, twitching all over.

“Can’t you sleep, Little Bear?” yawned Big Bear, putting down his Bear Book (with just four pages to go to the interesting bit) and padding over to the bed.

“I’m scared,” said Little Bear.

“Why are you scared, Little Bear?” asked Big Bear.

“I don’t like the dark,” said Little Bear.

“What dark?” asked Big Bear.

“The dark all around us,” said Little Bear.

“But I brought you a lantern!” said Big Bear.

“Only a small one,” said Little Bear. “All this lantern does is remind me of how dark it is, and someday things will be dark forever. The lantern is here, but it’s still dark, and you are here, but I am still by myself.”

Big Bear looked, and he saw that Little Bear was quite right, there was still lots of dark. So Big Bear went to the Lantern Cupboard and took out a bigger lantern.

Big Bear lit the lantern, and put it beside the other one. “Now go to sleep, Little Bear,” said Big Bear and he padded back to the Bear Chair and settled down to read the Bear Book, by the light of the fire.

Little Bear tried and tried to go to sleep, but he couldn’t.

“Can’t you sleep, Little Bear?” grunted Big Bear, putting down his Bear Book(with just three pages to go) and padding over to the bed.

“I’m scared,” said Little Bear.

“Why are you scared, Little Bear?” asked Big Bear. He thought he had already solved the problem. Big Bear couldn’t see what was so bad about the dark. The day was light, and the night was dark, and you slept during one and awoke during the other.

“I don’t like the dark,” said Little Bear.

“What dark?” asked Big Bear.

“The dark all around us,” said Little Bear.

“But I brought you two lanterns!” said Big Bear. “A tiny one and a bigger one!”

“Not much bigger,” said Little Bear. “And there’s still lots of dark.”

Big Bear thought about it, and then he went to the Lantern Cupboard and took out the Biggest Lantern of Them All, with two handles and a bit of chain. He hooked the lantern up above Little Bear’s bed. “I’ve brought you the Biggest Lantern of Them All!” he told Little Bear. “That’s to stop you being scared!”

“Thank you, Big Bear,” said Little Bear, curling up in the glow and watching the shadows dance. The shadows were a little smaller now, but they were not gone.

“Now go to sleep, Little Bear,” said Big Bear and he padded back to the Bear Chair and settled down to read the Bear Book, by the light of the fire.

Little Bear tried and tried to go to sleep. Anything can happen to you when you are asleep, he thought. Sleeping meant handing your thoughts over to someone else, and hoping they were kind to you. And you had to do it every night, every night, and there was no end to it.

“Can’t you sleep, Little Bear?” groaned Big Bear, putting down his Bear Book (with just two pages to go) and padding over to the bed.

“I’m scared,” said Little Bear.

“Why are you scared, Little Bear?” asked Big Bear.

“I don’t like the dark,” said Little Bear.

“What dark?” asked Big Bear.

“The dark all around us,” said Little Bear.

“But I brought you the Biggest Lantern of Them All, and there isn’t any dark left,” said Big Bear.

“Yes, there is!” said Little Bear. “There is, out there!” And he pointed out of the Bear Cave, at the night. Big Bear saw that Little Bear was right. Big Bear was very puzzled. All the lanterns in the world couldn’t light up the dark outside. Big Bear thought about it for a long time, and then he said, “Come on, Little Bear.”

“Where are we going?” asked Little Bear.

“Out!” said Big Bear.

“Out into the darkness?” said Little Bear.

“Yes!” said Big Bear.

“But I’m scared of the dark!” said Little Bear.

“No need to be!” said Big Bear, and he took Little Bear by the paw and led him out from the cave into the night and it was…DARK!

“Ooooh! I’m scared,” said Little Bear, cuddling up to Big Bear.

Big Bear lifted Little Bear, and cuddled him, and said, “Look at the dark, Little Bear.” And Little Bear looked. “I’ve brought you the moon, Little Bear,” said Big Bear. “The bright yellow moon, and all the twinkly stars.”

But Little Bear didn’t say anything, for he was not in Big Bear’s arms. He had slipped out of them, into the dark, and Big Bear could not see him anywhere.

He called for Little Bear for hours.

Then, because there was nothing else to do, he went back to the Bear Cave, and picked up his Bear Book, and settled down in the Bear Chair by the fire. Big Bear never had any trouble falling asleep.

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