All was quiet in the large storehouse on the eve of Carnival Day. The stalls and
prizes were carefully locked away, alarmed and security tagged as usual. The elephants
and the pandas had grown weary of the "Will it be me this year" brigade.
The large elephant Plendy, was about to make an announcement. She was going to shock
the prizes like never before.
"The children don't want us anymore" she bellowed from the top of the second highest
There was a mumbling and a general hush spread through the storehouse.
"The children don't want us anymore" she repeated. "They want action toys with
gripping arms and violent tendencies, they don't want us anymore. Did you notice
how they brushed past Fred and his pals last year. That'll be us tomorrow unless
we buck our ideas up. We have to make them want us again, let them know what good
therapy having a hug with a cuddly bundle is. Well it's either that or we escape!"
The storehouse erupted, just like those old people in the House of Commoners place
on the news every night. The coconuts were in a real state. Milk was beginning to
seep from one or two who just couldn't comprehend how they were going to be fluffy.
The footballs said they were going to be all right, on a roll they said what with
all the hype last year and our lads and how well they did and oh what a shame about
that poor boy and the penalties. Blackie, one of the larger bears interrupted the
footballs. "Always repeating themselves and full of useless trivia like who scored
the only goal in the 1978 F.A. Cup Final."
"We have to act now if we are going to get to the station before the next security
check, are we agreed?"
"I don't know if we should, those people do take quite good care us. They go to
great pains to ensure we are cute and they manage to get us cheaper so that the
little children can have an expensive prize" said a little jointed teddy who had
been with the carnival since it began, albeit only as a mascot.
Plendy called for quiet. There was quiet. "We have to escape now if we're ever
going to get away."
The Pandas began to form a long line just near the window of the storehouse. Plendy
organised the opening of the window and they arranged enough boxes to climb out.
It was a long drop but they managed it. First went the Pandas then Plendy's elephant
friends. The bears remained. Teddies are always favourites with children they
thought. The Pandas had hidden themselves well in the tall grasses - just like
Marines on covert military missions. The elephants were a little noisier but
successful all the same.
Plendy split everyone into pairs, a Panda and an Elephant, and they were told to
make for the station. She had a friend there who would help them, a nice little
black locomotive called Timmy.
"I don't know what happened to them while they were out there", told Theo The White
Bear Number 4, "but within three hours all were back with us. All except Plendy and
all were quiet and happy. The whereabouts of Plendy is still unknown."
"Carnival Day was a great success. The sun blazed down on all the happy entertained
people of Braintree and Bocking and children and adults alike all adored the prizes."
"There are rumours," whispered Theo, "that a rather fat gentleman in a red suit and
big black boots had given the escapees a good talking to about how crucial they all
are in the upbringing and welfare of baby humans. He was also kind enough to give
them a lift on his sledge-like transport back home to the storehouse."
"It will soon be our turn to help these baby humans develop and learn, we are to be
this years Carnival prizes." Theo announced joyfully.
The strange thing about this repeated fable is that none of the present Carnival
Committee members has ever seen or remembered seeing a White Bear Number 4 called
Theo. Perhaps he never existed.
Perhaps he only comes 'alive' on the eve of Carnival Day solely to tell his story
to the anxious, nervous new Carnival prizes.
Perhaps Theo is really Plendy in disguise - Who knows?