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THE TWO PEDDLERS
Next morning Mama Bear said: "I must go to town to buy a new sunbonnet!"
Sure enough, the sun-bonnet that Mama Bear wore was old and faded.
"May I go?" said the first little Bear.
"May I go?" said the second little Bear.
Then all the little Bears danced up and down and cried: "May I go? May I go?"
Mama Bear boxed their ears right and left, and Papa Bear said:
"It is really dreadful for you all to talk at once. I will go with Mama Bear to select her new bonnet."
Red Riding Hood said she would keep house and see that the little Bears stayed in until Papa and Mama Bear came home.
Mama and Papa Bear went down the road quite happy, and the little Bears begged Red Riding Hood to tell them a story. So Red Riding Hood began:
"Once there was a little bear and he took a little broom and swept the floor."
Then Red Riding Hood handed the first little Bear a broom and he swept the floor, and she said again:
"There was another little Bear, and he washed all the windows."
Then she gave the second little Bear a cloth and a bucket of water and he washed all the windows.
Then Red Riding Hood said: "There were fifteen other little Bears, and they all helped to clean house, so it was as clean as a pin when Mama and Papa Bear came home."
You would have laughed to see those little Bears running around, cleaning house.
They had a very happy time all day. Suddenly one little Bear cried: "I am hungry!"
Then the next little Bear cried: "I am hungry!"
Red Riding Hood said: "You must wait until Papa and Mama come home."
Red Riding Hood and Little Bear got the supper ready, and they waited and waited and waited, and still Papa and Mama did not come.
Pretty soon a knock was heard, and there stood two old peddlers at the door.
The peddlers had caps pulled over their faces, and they cried: "Pans to sell! Dishes to sell! Laces to sell!"
They came into the house, and all the little Bears danced about them.
Then one of the peddlers took off his cap and the little Bears cried: "Oh, Pa!" and the other peddler took off her cap, and the little Bears cried: "Oh, Ma!"
Wasn't it funny for Papa and Mama Bear to dress like peddlers?
They brought all sorts of presents to the Bears.
They brought candy and toys and seventeen little red caps.
The little Bears put their caps on and danced and capered around the room.
Mama Bear brought a new cape for Red Riding Hood, and Papa Bear brought her a new hood.
"Where is Red Riding Hood?" asked Mama Bear.
"Where is Red Riding Hood?" asked Papa Bear. "All look for her."
"Where is Red Riding Hood?" asked all the little Bears.
They looked everywhere, but Red Riding Hood was gone.
"Perhaps she has gone to find the Sleeping Beauty," said Papa Bear.
"Perhaps she has gone to see her old grandmother again," said Curly Bear.
Little Bear said: "I will go and find Red Riding Hood to-morrow."
Grandpa Grumbles, in the woods,
Is growing old and gray,
He is a very lonesome bear,
He grumbles every day!
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