“…And there she is!” Baby bear threw the covers back triumphantly. He jumped back as flames shot past his left ear, singeing the ends of his fur. There was a dragon in the bed.
The dragon stopped breathing fire and sat up. “Sorry about that,” he said, looking embarrassed. “You surprised me.”
“But who are you?” Baby bear narrowed his eyes. “And where is Goldilocks? Did you eat her?”
The dragon looked offended. “Of course not. She isn’t at all royal. I only eat princesses. Unless they get rescued, of course. Unfortunately, they always do. Mostly I just eat peanut butter sandwiches.” The dragon looked at the taller bears. “Who made the porridge? It was excellent. The serving in the little bowl was just right. Do you make granola? I would buy it by the barrel!”
“I hadn’t thought of granola,” Papa bear said. “Goldilocks likes porridge so much that I never make anything else.”
“I like granola too,” Mama bear said. “Maybe we could make some after the dragon leaves.”
“I’ll give you my number. Call me if you need a taste tester,” the dragon said, pulling a business card from his pocket and handing it to Papa bear.
“Guys, stop talking about granola. We need to find out what happened to Goldilocks!” Baby bear stomped his feet.
“Oh. Right.” The dragon got up and stretched. “Goldilocks ate some really old pease porridge and got sick. So, she called in some substitutes. She’ll be gone all week.”
Mama bear started making the bed. “Oh, the poor child. She never could resist good porridge. How old was it?”
“Nine days old. Can you believe it? I’m not sure how it lasted that long without being eaten.” The dragon smiled a wide, toothy smile. “Well, it was nice to meet you all, but I have an appointment with a princess.”
“Bye!” Mama and Papa bears waved happily at the departing dragon as he leaped from the window and flew away.
“Wasn’t he nice?” Mama bear said. “I wonder who will come tomorrow?”
“Let’s make some granola. Do you think we should add coconut?” Papa bear rubbed his paws together as he followed Mama bear down the stairs. “This will be fun.”
Baby bear rolled his eyes and followed them downstairs. “Let’s fix my chair first, or it will be broken tomorrow when the substitute comes, and then what will they do?”
The next morning, after the usual walk and subsequent discovery of missing granola and broken furniture, Baby bear threw the covers on his bed back a little more cautiously than usual. “…And there…is a goat?”
The goat stood up on the bed and tossed back his horns. “That’s right, it is I, the littlest billy goat Gruff!”
“Nice to meet you,” Mama bear said. “But please don’t stand on the furniture.”
“Sorry about that,” the goat said, hopping off the bed. “I guess I was more nervous than I thought. Do you have any trolls you need me to toss around?”
“Nope,” Papa bear said. “But we have a barrel of granola in the kitchen.”
“I wouldn’t mind more. The granola in the littlest bowl was just right. It would only be better if I had an apple to eat with it.”
Baby bear pointed out the window. “That’s an apple tree right there. Have as many apples as you’d like.”
“Really? I’ll take a few with me, then. I’m meeting my brothers at a bridge on the other side of the valley. The grass is greener there, you know.” The goat jumped from the window into the tree and stuffed his pockets full of apples before jumping down and trit-trotting away.
The rest of the week was just as strange. There was a princess who pricked her finger on a fork and fell asleep at the table. She didn’t wake up until they put a pea under the chair cushion. She left complaining about bruises.
Then there were the seven grumpy little men who were crowded on the little bed when the bears got home. They were still hungry after splitting the three bowls of granola. “We were promised breakfast, and we won’t leave until we get some so bring it right here,” one of them said. When they finally left, Baby bear’s bed was full of crumbs.
On Friday, there was no one in the bed, but there was a mermaid in the bathtub. “I ran out of magic potion,” she told them. “Do you have any?” The bears did not have any magic potion, but the witch next door had some so the mermaid was able to leave. “I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to break the chair or sleep in your bed,” she told Baby bear.
“That’s okay,” Baby bear said. “Some days are like that.”
On Monday, Baby bear threw the covers back. “…And there she is! Hey, it really is her.” Goldilocks was back.
“It’s me,” she said. “But where was the porridge? I don’t really like granola, you know.”
“Sorry,” Papa bear said. “We made more than expected. But, I know someone who might like it. We’ll be back to porridge tomorrow.”
“Good. Well, time to go,” Goldilocks said. She jumped out the window and ran away.
“It was fun meeting new people, but it’s nice to have her back,” Mama bear said fondly as she made the bed.
“I’ll go call the dragon about the barrel of granola,” Papa bear said, heading towards the stairs.
Baby bear hurried after him. “Wait, you need to fix my chair first!”
And they lived happily every day after.