Gaudy Looks and The Three Bears
A tale for my Grandchildren.
Once upon a time, three bears had an unfortunate experience with humans, or with one human being to be precise.
This particular day, the three bears, Mummy, Daddy and Baby bear, who in fact wasn’t quite a baby and could walk and talk and climb trees for honey, so should really have been called Agedly-As-Yet-Unchallenged Bear, went for a walk in the forest, looking for fruits and honeycombs. While they were away, a child of the female persuasion, who wasn’t an orphan as in most stories of this ilk, but came from a large family of forty-two sisters so was probably Catholic, arrived at their house after getting lost in the forest whilst looking for the nearest Safeway before it got taken over by another multinational and lost it’s corporate identity. This little girl went by the name of Gaudy Looks, as there were so many females in her house that there was never a chance for her to put her make-up on in front of the mirror because it was always being used. So she had great big red lips, where the lipstick had been badly applied, great big black eyes, where the mascara had been badly applied, great big eyebrows where the eyebrow-stuff had been badly applied, and big rosy cheeks where the blusher had been badly applied. Her hair had so much lacquer on it that it stuck up like Ken Dodd’s and frightened the horses. It was impossible to tell its true colour, as it had been tinted so many times it contained all the colours of the rainbow. All of this made her look gaudy in the extreme, and even gaudy in the not-so-extreme of Sundays when the other sisters got up late.
Anyway-how-body-thing, Gaudy Looks approached the front door cautiously, as was her wont, being that kind of girl and not being able to see very clearly because of her gigantic false eyelashes which had been badly applied too, obscuring her view to the front and not helping too much with her peripheral vision either, and peered quizzically inside.
What she saw, to her surprise, were three bowls of porridge laid out on the table. I say to her surprise as this was three o’clock in the afternoon and none of the porridge had been touched, indicating a certain case of ‘ello-‘ello-‘ello-something’s-not-right-‘ere. She immediately left the house and ran due south, following the sun which at that time of the year and at that time of the day was lying in a Southerly Direction, yer Honour. She ran all the way to the house of Miss Marbles, who just happened to be live close by, and was in her garden picking in her washing. She gasped out her story to Miss Marbles, who was in fact not there at all but was away solving a Very Important Case in Timbuctwo. Who Gaudy Locks actually talked to, was Miss Marbles crazy twin sister Offa, who was amazed at this little girl with too much badly applied make-up leaning over her fence and telling a fantastic story about porridge being untouched on the table at three in the afternoon. She immediately suspected that the little girl had done in the three bears, her looking so gaudy and all, and was trying to fabricate an alibi. Without wishing to alert Gaudy Looks, Offa Marbles carefully put the washing back on the line and then, while appearing Very Interested Indeed in what Gaudy Looks was saying, moved around the garden nonchalantly pulling up carrots, turnips, swede, potatoes, onions and a nice handful of sprouts with which to make a nice little stew of this little girl who told such preposterous stories and was probably guilty of the multiple murder of the three bears.
‘Come into my parlour, I think I have an idea about the three ex-bears’ said Miss Marbles who wasn’t in fact Miss Marbles but in fact she was, although she was also Miss Marbles’ sister. And the other Miss Marbles, the one in Timbucthree-and-a-half, (inflation being rife at this time,) was also both Miss Marbles and the sister of Miss Marbles, which is what happens if you are twins.
‘You are so kind and clever,’ said Gaudy Looks, scurrying into the lovely warm parlour just in time to see Offa Marbles place a big pot of water on the stove. Tossing the vegetables into the water, Offa said,
‘Yes, you’re right about the clever bit, if not about the kind!’ and grabbing Gaudy by the scruff of her neck, hurled her into the pot along with the vegetables.
‘Oh, you wicked woman,’ screamed Gaudy, ‘Woe is me.’
‘Woe is you?’ said Offa Marbles. ‘Why, you wicked girl, you said your name was Gaudy Looks. Be off with you!’ And she pulled Gaudy from the pot and chased her out of the door with a besom broom which she had near to hand in a corner under a shelf on which there was a stick-on wart for her nose, a pointed hat and a medium-sized cat.
Gaudy didn’t know what to think, being a girl. So she went back to the bears house, feeling cold and wet, and scoffed all the porridge. Then she went upstairs and after trying Mummy and Daddy Bears’ beds for comfort, got her head down in Baby Bear’s bed.
A little later the Three Bears came back and noticed that the porridge had all been eaten.
‘I bet it’s that Gaudy Looks again,’ said Daddy Bear. ‘I’m sick of this. I expect we’ll find her upstairs in Baby bear’s bed, as usual. She’s a blessed nuisance, always making a mess of Baby’s pillow with her make-up plastered all over her face. Well, I’ve had enough this time. I’m going to have a break from berries and honey and eat me a little girl.’
Baby Bear started to cry, which would indicate that although androgynous heretofore, Baby was in fact female.
‘Don’t fret,’ said Mummy Bear. ‘You should be ashamed of yourself, Daddy. When you don’t have your porridge you are a real grizzly-guts.’
‘I’m a real Grizzly bear, and I’m going to have girlie steak for my tea,’ roared Daddy Bear, ‘with chips.’
‘Don’t be so silly, Daddy,’ said Mummy. ‘You know we don’t eat chips, it’s bad for our cholesterol. Let’s wake Gaudy Looks up and ask her what she’s doing in Baby’s bed again, when she knows that it takes me an age to get her make-up off the pillows.’
So the three bears went upstairs and woke Gaudy and Mummy gently and asked her what she was going in Baby’s bed again, for it was becoming a habit, everybody telling the same tale all over the world all the time.
‘Oh, I’m so sorry,’ she sobbed. ‘I have had such a bad day. Miss Marbles is in Timbucfour-and-a-quarter-percent-and-rising, and her crazy sister tried to boil me for dinner and I feel so miserable and now you’re in a bad mood Daddy Bear and there’s not enough mirrors in our house and everyone calls me Gaudy Looks, whereas in fact I am beautiful underneath all this make-up.’
Mummy bear felt sorry for the little girl, but Daddy Bear thought she was a little bit vain to have said what she just did, and I’m inclined to agree with him. Baby Bear didn’t think anything as she was bored by this time and had gone off to play with Christopher Robin. Later in her life she would have a sex-change and change her name to Pooh, probably because her parents failed to pay proper attention to her needs as a female child and called her by the neutral name of Baby. But that is another story.
Mummy Bear forgot for a moment that she was a Bear, and feeling her feminine side coming to the fore, took Gaudy to the bathroom and ran her a good hot bath. ‘Oh-ho,’ thought Gaudy Looks, ‘here we go again. I’m on the menu here, now.’
But no, the water was only hand-hot and together they scrubbed all the encrusted make-up from Gaudy’s face and washed the lacquer from her hair, and sure enough, under all this falsity there was a beautiful little girl with long blond hair.
‘You really are beautiful!’ said Mummy. ‘Daddy, come here and look at this beautiful little girl.’
So Daddy came and he was amazed, and a little sad because he knew that his chance of a good tender steak had gone out the window.
‘I think that all Gaudy needs is a small mirror so that she can see what she is doing in the mornings, and nobody will call her Gaudy again. I’m sure I have a spare one somewhere, let me see if I can find it.’
Mummy soon found the mirror, which had fallen down behind the radiator in the bathroom and was covered in dust and bits of bear hair, and after cleaning it thoroughly, handed it lovingly to Gaudy.
‘There, that will cure everything. You won’t be called Gaudy anymore.’
‘Thank you so much,’ gushed Gaudy. ‘You are the kindest Bears in the world.
‘That’s as may be,’ said Daddy gruffly, ‘but the question still remains as to what to have for my tea now that you have eaten all the porridge and my wife forbids me to eat you.’
‘I know just the thing,’ murmured Mummy. ‘Follow me Daddy. You run off home Goldilocks, which is your new name now. Come and visit us whenever you want, but don’t eat our porridge. Look in the fridge, next time. There’s normally some ant and termite sandwiches there.’
And while the newly-named Goldilocks skipped off to her grubby, crowded tenement block on the wrong side of the tracks, Mummy and Daddy Bear walked off hand in hand through the forest to Miss Marbles’ house, where they found Offa pulling the wings off ladybirds in the parlour.
‘You have been wicked in the extreme,’ cried Mummy Bear, ‘and now you shall pay the price!’ And she grabbed Offa Marbles by the left leg and threw her into the pot.
‘Yummy-yum,’ said Daddy bear. ‘You keep the lid on the pot while I get some fresh vegetables from the garden.’
So all ended happily. Daddy Bear got meat stew, although he would have preferred steak. But as Mummy pointed out, Offa Marbles was a tough old thing and would taste better cooked over a slow fire. Miss Marbles returned from Timbuctwo, (deflation having set in by then and proving that what goes around comes around,) to find her sister missing, so she was happy as she had another case to solve. Goldilocks got home to find that all her sisters had joined the Moonies, had got married in a mass wedding and had moved out of the house, leaving only her and her mother to fight over the bathroom. Baby Bear had counselling and eventually found her true self through Zen, changed her name to Pooh as previously stated, bought him/herself a house on the corner and had an unusual but well-documented relationship with a little boy, a tiger and her kitten, and a donkey.