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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
A Trunk Full of Clothes

Bartholomew Bear lived in a forest full of tall pine trees. Whenever he wanted a drink, he went to the river. When he wanted to eat, he found some blackberries and hazelnuts. The only complaint Bartholomew Bear had was that he was cold. In the autumn, when the leaves turned red and the wind blew, Bartholomew always got too cold.

He happened to be walking along a trail, heading from his cave to the river, when he spotted a large wooden box. “What's this?” He nudged it with his snout, but it wouldn't open. Using his large paws, he dragged the box to his cave. He hit it with a rock and finally it opened. “Clothes. This trunk is full of clothes.”

He pulled out a dress and held it up to him. It was pink and had flowers on it. “I don't think this is the dress for me,” he said, tossing it to the side.

He spent an hour trying on different things. “There. I think I look quite dashing.” He headed for the river to look at his reflection. “I must say, I do look rather dashing, if I don't say so.” He had a black hat on top of his head, a pair of shiny black shoes on his feet and a nice bowtie tied at his neck. His white shirt and dark pants hung quite nice on the bear, but Bartholomew's favorite thing was the vest.

Satisfied with his looks he wandered around the forest. “Look at me, everybody. I look dashing.”

One by one the animals approached him. “Where did you get the clothes, Bartholomew?” Kitty, the raccoon was jealous. She wanted clothes. “Do you have anything I can wear?”

“Why I just might. Come with me to my cave and I'll see.” Bartholomew led all the animals to his cave. He opened the wooden trunk and tossed the dresses and skirts and blouses into the air. The animals caught them and slipped them on.

“Look at me,” said Kitty. “I'm the most pretty raccoon in the forest.”

“You might be pretty,” Jenny, the wolf said, “but I'm beautiful in this pink dress with flowers.”

Soon all the animals started fighting over who was the most dashing, the most pretty and the most beautiful. They scratched each other and tore the clothes to shreds. Bartholomew Bear shouted. “Stop it. You've ruined all the clothes.”

The animals looked at what they'd done. Every dress, every skirt, every blouse was torn into rags. The only one that had anything to wear was Bartholomew Bear. “You can all go home now. None of you have anything to wear any more. I'm the only one and I'm quite dashing.”

Bartholomew Bear paraded around the forest every day, showing off his clothes. The other animals couldn't complain. They'd had their chance.

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