From the archives

 A few months ago I was looking for a piece of red paper with a list of Bible verses setting out “who you are in Christ”. I didn’t find it. What I did find was a copy of Writing Magazine from August-September 1998. I was going to consign it for recycling, but (terrible mistake) I looked through it. There were all sorts of articles about writing, but it was a profile, which caught my eye – The Association of Christian Writers. The article was compiled from information provided by the then chairman.

In those days the magazine was Candle and Keyboard (now Christian Writer). In the latest issue of Christian Writer, our chair, Angela Hobday, suggested we dust off our own archives.

For some reason that I do not understand, my failures loom larger in my psyche than my successes. One writing success I had way back in 1995 was that a bedtime story for under 5’s, which I wrote for a Women’s Institute competition, won me a prize at county level. I haven’t found a home for it (or even managed to revise it in line with the critique I received), but here it is, with apologies for a longer post than usual!
The prize I chose with my £5 voucher

Little Polar Bear’s Bedtime

Little Polar Bear was a good little bear most of the time. Sometimes he was rather naughty at mealtimes. Sometimes he was a bit naughty in the park.

At bedtime he was always naughty. Some nights he hid. Other nights he sat down and refused to go to bed. Most nights little Polar Bear’s Mummy had to carry him to bed after he had fallen asleep exhausted.

One evening Little Polar Bear went to the park. Little Brown Bear, Little Grizzly Bear, Small Spectacled Bear, Little Sun Bear and Little Honey Bear were all playing in the puzzle tunnels. Little Polar Bear tried to join in their game. He was very surprised they did not recognise him.

“Who is this new little bear?” they asked.

Little Polar Bear told them, “I’m not new. I am Little Polar Bear.”

They did not believe him.

“Little Polar Bear is white all over,” they said.

“White face with black circles,” mused Little Brown Bear, “That’s a panda.”

He offered Little Polar Bear bamboo shoots to eat.

“I don’t eat bamboo shoots,” said Little Polar Bear sadly.

The other bears called him, “Panda” and would not call him by his proper name. Little Polar Bear was very sad.

When Little Polar Bear was sad, Grandad could always help. So Little Polar Bear called at Grandad’s house on the way home from the park.

“Hello,” said Grandad, “Which little bear have we here?”
(Grandad knew which bear it was, but he was a very wise old bear.)

“Little Polar Bear, of course,” said Little Polar Bear tearfully. “I didn’t think YOU would have to ask. All the other bears are calling me “Panda”.”

“Now, I wonder why they are doing that?” that murmured Grandad as he put his arm around Little Polar Bear and guided him towards the mirror. “Nobody likes to be called by the wrong name.”

Grandad and Little Polar Bear stood side by side in front of the mirror.

This is what Grandad saw – one big bear’s white face and one small bear’s white face with black circles round the eyes. He was not at all surprised. He had already seen Little Polar Bear’s face.

This is what Little Polar Bear saw – one little bear’s face with black circles round its eyes and one big bear’s white face. Little Polar Bear was very surprised.

“Who is that little bear?” he asked.

“That little bear is a very naughty little Polar Bear, who does not go to bed when his mother tells him to,” said Grandad.

Little Polar Bear looked in the mirror again. Then he looked at Grandad. After that he looked all around the room. Then he thought very hard.

‘Grandad is a big bear,’ thought Little Polar Bear. ‘I am a little bear,’ thought Little Polar Bear. ‘We are the only bears in the room.’

After a long time Little Polar Bear said aloud, “How did I get those awful circles and how did you know about bedtime?”

Grandad replied, “All young bears need their beauty sleep. Otherwise they get dark circles round their eyes.”

“Will I always have these awful circles?” asked Little Polar Bear.

“Not if you get enough sleep,” replied Grandad. “Now come and try some of my fresh elderberry juice, before I walk home with you. Then I’ll come straight back here. I could do with an early night myself.”

Little Polar Bear stopped being naughty at bedtime. Very soon the black circles became grey circles. The grey circles became paler and paler until at last they had gone.

Little Polar Bear is sometimes rather naughty at mealtimes. Little Polar Bear is often a bit naughty in the park. But if he is ever a teeny-weeny bit naughty at bedtime, his mother says, “What about your beauty sleep?”

And Little Polar Bear is a good bear most of the time.

Susan Sanderson blogs on Sue's Trifles and Sue's words and pictures


  1. This was such a wonderful story, Susan. I only wish that I'd read it whilst I was at Scargill so I could have talked about this with you in person. I think it would make a wonderful picture book. Well done! :)

    1. Thank you, Martin. I have been told it is too long, but perhaps I should revisit it and try to get it published. :)


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