Three little bears with a big ambition: To attain the highest political office in Germany.
There were once three bears who lived together in a little house in the middle of a wood. One of them was a Little, Small, Wee Bear; one was a Middle-Sized Bear; and the other was a Great, Huge Bear.
And they each had a pot to eat their porridge from: a little pot for the Little, Small, Wee Bear; a middle-sized pot for the Middle-Sized Bear; and a great big pot for the Great, Huge Bear.
And they each had a chair to sit on: a little chair for the Little, Small, Wee Bear; a middle-sized chair for the Middle-Sized Bear; and a great big chair for the Great, Huge Bear.
And they each had a bed to sleep in: a little bed for the Little, Small, Wee Bear; a middle-sized bed for the Middle-Sized Bear; and a great big bed for the Great, Huge Bear.
One day, after they had done their morning exercises, the three bears decided to go for a walk in the wood.
"What shall we do today?" they said to each other. "We could walk along the brook, or climb up a tree and pick some apples, or go and visit our friend, Mr. Fox."
But Mr. Fox wasn't out because it was raining hard that day. "I know what to do," they said. "Let's go to Berlin and become Chancellors of Germany!" That was a very exciting idea, so off the bears went to Berlin.
They walked and walked and walked, until they came to the Prime Minister's house. "Now what do we do?" they wondered. They thought and thought; but for a long time, they couldn't think of anything at all.
Now, it happened that there was a great big barrel in front of the Prime Minister's house. And because it kept getting bigger and bigger every year since 1610, everyone called it "Kanzler-Berg-Barrel". But no one knew why it was so big. It was really just a barrel. But it had become famous, because people talked about it all over the world! The bears thought that if they could climb up that barrel and sit on top of it, maybe then they would be able to think of something to do when they reached the Prime Minister's house. So that's what they did. But halfway up, they were both so tired they decided they just didn't have enough energy left to keep climbing! So they slid back down into the mud at the bottom of "Kanzler-Berg-Barrel", and went off to get something to eat.
They rummaged around in their pockets for something good to eat and found nothing at all, except for an old honey pot. So back home to the little house in the middle of the wood there went Wee Bear, licking his chops. But Wee Bear didn't have much luck either! He sat down on his little chair and ate honey from his little pot, but even this wasn't good enough for him! And he threw his pot across the room! That made him happy for a little while! But then he became so miserable thinking of the time and effort he'd just wasted that he began to cry. Then he went and sat with Little Bear, who was still having even more trouble with his big barrel.
"Let's eat some honey, Little Bear," said Wee Bear.
"No, thank you," said Little Bear. "I don't have enough energy to get up and get it. Soon I'll only be able to lie around here, too weak to do anything at all."
Just then, who should come by but Mr. Fox! "Listen here, you two," he said. "First you're going to get over being so bored. Then we're going to think up something to do. But what can we do?"
First Mr. Fox wanted to try a ride on top of the barrel, but both bears were already sitting there. So he climbed down and told Wee Bear and Little Bear each to pick up one end of the barrel. And they did. "Now, lift up your ends as far as they go," ordered Mr. Fox. But after they had lifted it all the way up, the barrel would still not fit over the bear's heads! "I can't see any way for us to get up on the barrel!" shouted Mr. Fox. "Let's see if we can find someone else — someone taller or sturdier or wider — so that you can roll me on top of the barrel!"
Just then, who should come walking by but Mr. Hare, Mr. Goose, Mr. Pike and Mr. Toad! They walked straight up to where Wee Bear and Little Bear were standing in front of their little house in the middle of the wood, with their big barrel in front of them! And why were they all carrying bags full of honey pots? When Little Bear asked this question, they answered: "If we go to Berlin with you and become Chancellors, then we can have all the honey we want."
"But how will we become Chancellors if we don't have anything to eat?" asked Wee Bear, who was pretty frightened at what they'd set out to do! But these helpers helped them around that problem by having each helper lift up an end of "Kanzler-Berg-Barrel". And next thing they knew, Wee Bear and Little Bear had rolled towards Berlin as well!
The five of them arrived at the Prime Minister's house very quickly indeed! Mr. Hare stood on Wee-Bear's shoulders and pushed open the huge oak door in front of them with his feet; Mr. Goose climbed up onto Little-Bear's shoulders and opened a second great oak door for them to walk through; Mr. Toad climbed onto Wee-Bear's shoulders; Mr. Pike clambered onto Little-Bear's shoulders; and finally Mr. Fox jumped onto his own back legs (which didn't amount to much) and helped carry the heavy old honey pot into the Prime Minister's house! Everyone cheered as they entered — everyone except for the Prime Minister himself! For as soon as he saw them coming through those doors in their big grey hoodies with their big grey hoods covering their heads so that they looked like bears (they might have been bears because they swung their arms when they walked!), well... He was very frightened at first, but then he saw that these weren't normal bears at all! In fact... They were Chancellors! That made him very happy indeed!
So he invited them all into his little den where they could talk about important government business, like money, and police work, and aircraft carriers. And the Prime Minister saw directly that these five friends could become Chancellors, so he helped them swing open the creaking doors and down the creaking stairs of his old office. But as they left, Wee-Bear and Little-Bear could hear the Prime Minister making phone calls, telling all the other animals in the forest to come back to his house at sundown to be Chancellors too!
Now wasn't that unfortunate of him to do? For Wee-Bear and Little-Bear didn't enter the doorway at the bottom of the stairs at all. They were too busy snoring atop their barrels — though they did make a lot of noise doing so! As it turned out, they were the only two Chancellors they'd need!
Later that night, who should come strolling into Berlin from the forest but a Great Big Dog who wanted to be Chancellor as much as anything! So he walked straight over to where Wee-Bear and Little-Bear were snoring on top of their barrels just outside a giant building where everyone else was standing. Then he came down onto all fours, stood up tall on his back paws and found that he was just tall enough to reach the handle of Wee-Bear's honey pot! So he climbed up on top of it and lifted up a paw and knocked it over... all over himself! Then he ran away before Wee-Bear and Little-Bear could see him. The other animals sleeping under the trees took one look at him and ran after him as well.
The next day, who should come driving into Berlin from across the sea but a big blue ship that wanted to be Chancellor as much as anything! It sailed straight into port and who should be standing there in his black hat with red stripes but Mr. Owl! And Mr. Owl immediately stood up on his back legs, opened his wings, hopped up into the air and let out a frightful screech! And as soon as he did that, everybody saw twenty or thirty men jump on board of that ship with their pipes playing loud music; they saw them hopping and jibbering around over top of each other because they were so happy that Mr. Owl had screeched across the sea; and they saw them raise their swords in the air in celebration because they weren't very sure why they'd come there at all! And well... They liked being Chancellors every bit as much as "Kanzler-Berg-Barrel" was beginning to like being Chancellor. So Mr. Owl jumped off his back legs and walked right down onto all fours... right onto his own back paws... right into Berlin with everyone else running out to meet him because everyone else in Berlin thought that this was going to be one big party!
Except for those two old bears who were snoring atop their barrels because they didn't think it was much of a party at all... No fish on sticks or dancing girls or boring speeches filled with important government talk about what we are going to do next. Just snoring bears dreaming about honey pots rolling down hillsides by themselves... But also dreaming about time standing still for them for far away in their heads was about a little bear rolling down a hillside with its honey pots on its back who found that its eyes had become very wide open to see just who it really was.
Now that the bears had finally become Chancellors of Germany, they could actually enact policy: Their first order of business was to give a presidential pardon to "Kanzler-Berg-Barrel" who was now known as "Chancellor-Cabbage" since he had lost all of his fur and was now being very, very well fed. Chancellor-Cabbage was feeling particularly well-fed right then because he had just come back from Berlin where everyone was given a piece of birthday cake. A BIG piece of birthday cake! A BIG slice of birthday cake! Chancellor-Cabbage, however, wanted to become Emperor of Germany himself, and was plotting to overthrow the bears. He planned to do this by having a party. He was going to pay two famous bear-murderers to kill the bears, and then he would be Emperor of Germany. The two famous bear-murderers were known as "Chuckles the Rabbit" and "Cheese-Whiz the Pig." They thought, "This will be a good job to get! It'll be good work for us to get! So we'll do it with our cute little smiles, chuckles and wheezes, and we'll have all that honey-dip dip right there in Berlin right next to the sea!"
No one had seen the bears for quite some time. In fact, people were beginning to believe that they were all dead. The bears were still alive however, living deep within their secret bunker... waited and waited and waited until their soldiers returned from their far away battlefields where they had been fighting each other because they didn't know who was on whose side and because they were so hungry from not eating anything for such a long time and because it was cold out in the snow. The bears were of course very pleased when their soldiers finally came back, because now they had more soldiers to fight against Chancellor-Cabbage. And that is exactly what they did... they fought against Chancellor-Cabbage and soon thereafter it was time for another birthday cake! This time it was a BIG birthday cake! A BIG slice of birthday cake! And everybody knew that this BIG birthday cake was just like the first birthday cake except that there was no more honey-dip dip and there wasn't any chancellors eating it or getting it stuck in their fur or between their teeth or even getting it anywhere at all. And neither did anybody else want any of this BIG birthday cake because well... nobody really wanted any more birthday cakes at all because they didn't even taste like anything anymore; they only tasted like stale air and nothing else... And once again the three bears got into their big blue boxcar with its big silver wheels; once again Mr. Owl screeched across the sea; once again everyone got up on their back feet; once again everyone opened wide their wings; but this time nobody was jumping around up there on top of each other because nobody could hear anything over top of Mr. Owl's screeches; no one could get on board of that ship with its pipes playing loud music because everyone was so surprised by how much noise Mr. Owl made as he jumped straight off his back legs! For nobody ever heard such a long screeching before... Nobody ever saw so many goats jump off their back legs before! Nobody had ever heard such dancing before... No one believed they would ever see such a thing as dancing goats before! And that is just what happened on the morning of the third birthday of Chancellor-Cabbage...
Their ship was enormous and it was a blue boxcar with big silver wheels. On its front it had an image of a lovely red apple with two big curly "A's" on either side. And it was painted in a very bright yellow and they took that ship and they put it on top of the water way out in the middle of the sea, down where there were no land or critters at all; they put that ship right there over top of the sea because they couldn't afford to get anything wet because their budget was so tight!
The three bears lived inside of their secret bunker, deep within its long, dark, narrow, winding and bumpy tunnels; there were boards and posters hanging on every wall, some were red, some were white and some were blue. Throughout all these tunnels, past all these posters hung so many pictures of field mice; noble, brave field mice who had had their heads stuck in such awful places; pictures from when Chancellor-Cabbage was little and lived in his little castle with his little wife who always wore her little white hat but still managed to catch herself a big fish! Pictures from when Chancellor-Cabbage was a big boy and he could blow big bubbles with those big bubble gums he once blew. These pictures were of Chancellor-Cabbage standing in front on his house in his yard with his dog standing by his side. They were also pictures from when Chancellor-Cabbage wore his little bowler hats instead; every time he went anywhere, he wore one just like my grandpa wears one. These pictures also showed Chancellor-Cabbage standing next to his little brother who always made him feel so mad; there were pictures from when Chancellor-Cabbage wore his little red shoes and everyone would hear them tapping down the walkway followed closely behind by the Hoofbeat Brigade with those big furry boots on. There was even a picture of the day when Chancellor-Cabbage got hit by that big orange ball which came flying right at him out of nowhere; he cried ever so hard because nobody had ever gotten hit by something like that before except once or twice in bed or while taking a bath. These pictures went back as far as could be remembered... And they also showed Chancellor-Cabbage's first pet who used to sit next to him up there on the big white throne where he would sit whenever he wanted to watch over everything... The pet's name was Chippy Chipperfield and he used to wear a little black coat just like mine only not quite as nice but still very warm... And then some more pictures from when Chancellor-Cabbage got married and moved into that castle with all those grand halls filled with paintings and statues, stuffed deer heads nailed up high onto the walls; stuffed foxes hanging below those same walls along with stuffed rabbits clasped back together again with pipe cleaners stuck into their broken parts... And at night time when everyone lay down for their afternoon naps, the chancellor would sit behind one of those old tables covered with rich brown leather like this one I'm sitting behind now and above those old tables always hanged these old pictures from long ago like this one I'm listening to now... And then there would be another picture showing Chipperfield getting eaten by birds; swallowed whole one piece at a time until nothing else remained but his tattered fur coat laying upon this old leather table cloths upon which sprawled across all those green hills burnt out so long ago by fires set ablaze by Cannibal Wolves grinning across crooked teeth missing most of their grins as if all their grins weren't worth much anymore except for maybe bragging about how many grins you have left... Then more pictures showing all those fat monarchs sitting around laughing until they fell out of chairs accidentally breaking apart almost each and every last remaining grin... Except for maybe this one here whom stood alone lonely upon a hill top looking towards what came next in hopes that it will be better than what came before. For this monarch only still had half a grin left which made him feel quite happy indeed because at least he had half a grin still left!
One day they made the porridge for their breakfast, and poured it into their porridge-pots, and then went out in the wood for a walk while the porridge for their breakfast was cooling. And while they were out walking, a little Old Woman came to the house in the wood and peeped inside.
First she peeped through the keyhole; then she peeped through the window. Then she lifted the latch and peeped through the doorway; and, seeing nobody in the house, she walked in. And when she saw the porridge cooling on the table she was very pleased, for she had walked a long way, and was getting hungry.
So first she tasted the porridge of the Great, Huge Bear, but that was too hot. Then she tasted the porridge of the Middle-Sized Bear, but that was too cold. And then she tasted the porridge of the Little, Small, Wee Bear, and that was neither too hot nor too cold, but just right. And she liked it so much that she ate it all up.
Then the little Old Woman put on the coat of the Great, Huge Bear, and went outside. She took a big stick in her hand, and she found an apple tree. "I will knock down some apples for myself," she said, but when she attempted to climb it, she knocked right down the tree, and at last was caught by her own tail in the boughs.
Then the three bears came home to their breakfast, and they said to each other: "Somebody has been at our porridge." And when they saw their own great coats hanging on a tree they were very much surprised; and they soon saw what had happened, and found the naughty little Old Woman in the apple tree.
"Come down, come down," said the bears, but the Little, Small, Wee Bear climbed up instead. "I'll come down when I like," she said, "and not till then."
So first they talked their talk to her from a safe distance; and then they went away again, walking very slowly and stiffly, for they were much hurt.
The little Old Woman in the apple tree had eaten all the Wee Bear's porridge, and she almost felt like a real Chancellor of Germany too. But by-and-by she got tired of staying in the little old tree; and she wished very much that she could get down again—but that was not so easy to do. The more she tried to get down, the higher up she climbed! And at last she was so high that she could scramble up no farther at all; and there she stuck—stuck fast as if she grew there—for when bears begin to climb it is hard to get them down again. And poor little Wee Bear stayed up in her tree until her friends came home again; and they had to send a shepherd up, who fell down the tree when he had placed the Wee Bear safely in her hands; and, besides hurting the shepherd very much, it broke his crook into quite two bits. And, for all that, when she got down she was much prouder, and so much bolder, than she had ever been before.
Now this is the little old tale about the three bears.