The Three Bears
James Taylor Adams
NOTE: This text was recopied directly from a typewritten copy in the archives of the Blue Ridge Institute. James Taylor Adams (1892-1954) kept typewritten copies of the folktales he and others collected during the last thirty years of his life, while he lived in Wise County, VA. It was retyped for AppLit by Michelle Vincent, without changing any typographical errors or dialect spellings in Adams' typescripts. A few words in square brackets are in parts of the manuscript where the typist typed corrections on top of errors. For details on variants of this tale, see The Three Bears in AppLit's Annotated Index of Appalachian Folktales.
Told by Dicy Adams, Mar. 8?, 1942. She heard her mother tell this tale and she said her mother told it to her seventy-five years ago.
One time there was a little girl and she had a grandmother who was having a birthday and the little girl started out to gather some flowers for her grandmother. She went on and on, looking for flowers, until she was away off in the woods. She found some pretty flowers and picked them and turned to go back and seen she was lost. So she started wandering around and around just like lost people will do. She kept going and going and at last she come to a little house. She slipped up and looked in the window, but she didn't see nobody. She pushed on the door and hit come open and the little girl tiptoed inside. There she saw three tables, and on each table was a bowl of sweet milk. On the big table was a great big bowl and on the next sized table was a little bowl and on the smallest table was a teeniweeny bowl. She tasted of the milk in the big bowl and hit was too hot. She tasted of the milk in the little bowl and hit was too cold. She tasted of the milk in the teeniweeny bowl and hit was just right and she kept on tasting of hit till she'd tasted hit all up. Then she looked around and there was a big chair, a little chair and a teeniweeny chair. She set down in the big chair and hit was too hard. She set down in the little chair and hit was too soft. She set down in the teeniweeny chair and hit was just right and she set there till hit broke down with her. Then she looked over in a corner and seed three beds, a big bed, a little bed and a teeniwenny bed. She laid down on the big bed and hit was too hard, She laid down on the little bed and hit was too soft. She laid down on the teeniweeny bed and hit was just right so she laid there and went to sleep.
Now the little house was the home of three bears. The old big daddy bear, the little mother bear and the teeniweeny baby bear. That day they'd been out a-huntin'. And when they come home they went in and the old big daddy bear picked up his bowl of milk and started to drink hit and said, "Somebody's been tasting of my milk." The little mother bear picked up the little bowl and started to drink her milk and she said, "Somebody's been tasting of my milk." The teeniweeny bear picked up the teeniweeny bowl and started to drink hit and hit said, "Somebody's been tasting of my milk and they've tasted hit all away." Then the big bear [set] down [on] the big bed and he said, "Somebody's been a-setting in my bed." The little bear [set?] down [on] the little chair and she said, "somebody's been a settin' in my chair." The teeniweeny bear went to set down in hit's chair and hit said, "Oh, somebody's been a settin' in my chair and they've broke hit." Then the big bear laid down on the big bed and said, "Somebody's been a-layin' on my bed." The little bear laid down on the little bed and said, "Oh! Somebody's has been layin' on my bed an' they are layin' here now." That waked the little girl up and she jumped up and ran out of the house and down the road and she was so scrared that she didn't notice where she was going and the first thing she knowed she was in the trail that took her home and she got there with the flowers she'd held to all the time and give them to her grandmother.
Record Copy Made by Blue Ridge Institute to Replace Unstable Original, April, 1991
[JTA- ??] 500 words
copyright 2005 U of
Virginia's College at Wise/Blue Ridge Institute of Ferrum College
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