Our storyteller, Robin, is back with a wonderful story for you to share with your kids …
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear.
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.
Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t very fuzzy,
Fuzzy Wuzzy was the oldest bear in a big bear family. He didn’t know for certain, but he thought he was the grandpa bear. He speculated that he might even be the great-grandpa bear. He contemplated that he might even be the great-great-grandpa bear, but there was no real way to know. It’s hard to count that high with paws. What he knew for certain is that he loved all of the younger bears in his family very much — and that they loved him just as much, and that that was all that mattered.
Bears know that family is one of the most important things a character can have.
Still, Fuzzy knew that he was older, and that he was different. All of the other bears in the room had bear names: there was Panda Bear, who lived at the foot of the bed. Polar Bear sat on the shelf over the dresser, and underneath him Koala Bear sat on the dresser itself. Grizzly Bear lived on the pillow of the bed, right next to Fuzzy. Only Fuzzy was Fuzzy. He didn’t know what kind of bear he was.
He didn’t really know what a room was, either. They thought of their space as their cave: a bright, blue cave filled with wooden furniture and glowy star stickers on the ceiling, and comfy, time-tested spots for each bear to lounge, but the boy called it a room. The bears loved the boy, but they wished they could ask him what a room is. That was the hardest part about sharing a cave (or a room, for that matter) with a boy: bears understand English, but boys don’t seem to understand Bear.
Because Fuzzy was the oldest bear, he didn’t know his story. He remembered that the boy brought Grizzly home after a day at the county fair, and that Polar and Koala had been birthday presents. Panda was another prize, one that the boy had brought home excitedly after a school carnival. Fuzzy loved to wonder about his past, and every time he thought about it he gave himself a different history. But imagining was only almost as fun as knowing, and Fuzzy wished he knew how he came to the room.
One day he learned his answer when the boy brought a new bear into the room to join their family. The boy gathered all the bears on the bed and said out loud, “everyone, I’d like you to meet Black Bear! My daddy was gone all week for work and he just came home and he brought me Black Bear as an I-missed-you present. Black Bear, meet all the bears!” The boy introduced each bear and told his story, and Fuzzy listened very carefully to see what would be said about him.
Photo by D’Arcy Norman
First the boy told Black Bear about the wonderful birthday parties that brought Polar and Koala into their family. He described in great detail how well he hit the targets at the carnival game where he won Panda. And he told Black Bear about the afternoon his mommy had taken him to the fair, and how she helped him play the ring toss again and again until he won Grizzly. And then the boy began to talk about Fuzzy, and Fuzzy, excited and curious, pulled himself up to sit as straight as an old bear can sit.
“Black Bear,” said the boy, “you must meet Fuzzy Wuzzy. He’s my most favorite and important bear of all.” Fuzzy blushed with pride and a little surprise. “He’s old and wise and will teach you everything you want to know about the room. He’s my bear now, but he was my daddy’s before that. He sat on my daddy’s bed when my daddy was a kid, and now he lives on my bed. And he takes care of all of us. He looks a little shabby but don’t be afraid. He just looks like that because he’s been so loved for so many years.”
Fuzzy relaxed against the pillow, resting his tired back. He had so much less, and so much more, to wonder now. He knew where he came from, and he knew why he was older than all the other bears. He knew he was very, very beloved. He understood for the first time how and why he was different. He didn’t mind, he decided, that he was old and didn’t have a bear name. He was loved, and love is the most important part of of being in a family.
Although boys don’t understand Bear, thought Fuzzy Wuzzy, they do understand love. They know, thought Fuzzy, that being loved is one of the most important things a character can have.
Does your child have a favorite stuffed animal?