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European Folktale Variant.

(For the Archives of Toni Cade Bambara)

The way the story goes, a trespassing towheaded pre-teen barged into the rustic country cottage of a nuclear family of anthropomorphic bruins. Her motivation? Who can be sure? Some say the youthful offender was an innocent maiden who lost her sense of direction in the lush growth of the virgin pine forest. Or perhaps the elders of her tribe had neglected to attend to her proper socialization. Some observers hypothesize that she had been indoctrinated to believe the malicious stereotype of the Ursidae as awkward, clumsy, ill-mannered brutes. In any case, this flaxen-haired vixen perpetrated a "B and E," a felony punishable by law. The incorrigible pre-adolescent didn't stop with trespassing, or even with breaking and entering. The finicky home invader went on to help herself to generous portions of the ursine honey eaters' whole grain breakfast cereal, vandalized their heirloom antique furniture, and then, after tiring herself out with so much wanton destruction, the platinum blonde delinquent took a refreshin g beauty nap in the bruin family's bedroom--just like she thought she was a guest at Holiday Inn. Needless to say, when the brown furry family returned from their fishing expedition, they were shocked and dismayed to see the shambles the puerile hoodlum had made of their woodland homestead. Despite their emotional trauma, they successfully expelled the rude intruder from their cozy bungalow. With the assistance of the neighborhood crime patrol, law enforcement officers were able to apprehend and incarcerate the callow miscreant, who has been sentenced to juvenile detention. Attorneys representing the Ursidae family interests have filed suit against the criminally negligent parents of the wayward youth, and expect that the bruins will be awarded a substantial sum for emotional distress as well as for extensive damage to their property.

An interview with author Harryette Mullen appears elsewhere in this issue. Among her publishing credits are five books of poems, including Tree Tall Woman (1981), Trimmings (1991), S*PeRM**K*t (1992), Muse & Drudge (1995), and Sleeping With the Dictionary (2000).
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Article Details
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Author:Mullen, Harryette
Publication:African American Review
Article Type:Short Story
Date:Dec 22, 2000
Words:340
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