Continuation of Old Bear, Illustrated.
“Well?” Old Bear was very, very excited. Her old gray hide was twitching with anticipation. “What is your Condition, young one? Tell, tell!”
Jamie crossed his arms. “Alright, Old Bear. Like I said, I will climb in your old wet mouth on One Condition: You must let me bring my Ten Fat Friends.”
There was a pregnant pause. Old Bear peered at Jamie with suspicion. “Go on.”
“Okay. Yes. I want to take my Ten Fat Friends with me. Because they would think it was really awesome to see a bear this big! They’d never believe me if I just told them! They’d think I was crazy! And—and it would be really fun if my friends were here.”
“I thought you were scared I would swallow you up?” Old Bear sneered, amused.
“Well–even if you would swallow up ONE little boy, you wouldn’t DARE swallow up ELEVEN little boys.”
“Because—“ Jamie’s heart was racing. “Because you have a conscience, Old Bear! And besides–you would get an awful stomach ache if you tried to eat my Ten Fat Friends!”
“Yes! Everyone gets a stomach ache when they eat too much! And my Ten Fat Friends—you couldn’t even eat FIVE of them before you were full. Why, they are probably at home right now, eating cakes and…and potato chips and gravy and hot dogs and– Heck, I don’t know if you could eat even ONE of them! You would probably choke!” Jamie wasn’t sure if the Old Bear believed him or not, but he could see the saliva pooling at the bottom of her mouth, slipping between her teeth onto the forest floor.
“How do I know you’re not just lying to me, young one?” Old Bear really, really hoped he wasn’t. But maybe he was.
“How do you know I am?” He had a point.
“A bird in hand is worth two in the bush! If I were going to swallow you up, that is.”
“Is it worth Ten, Fat Birds in the bush?”
“Eleven, counting you!”
“Eleven, counting me?” Old Bear’s stomach squealed with a hungry sound. “They certainly won’t come if I don’t ask them to, will they?”
Old Bear thought hard. He was right.
“Alright, young one. Let us see these Ten Fat Friends, and then you may climb in my mouth.”
“Okay. I will be back in One Hour, Old Bear. With my Ten Fat Friends.”
But by the time Jamie came back with his Ten Fat Friends, the Old Bear was gone!
She had crawled away into the woods, cursing her foolish greed.
READERS: What is the moral of the story??