A few years ago I wrote this simple tale for the very young daughter of my then editor. Writing for the under fives is not as easy as you would think…
Tedz E Bear and the Wizzi
A long time ago there once was a teddy bear that lived happily with his young friend James aged four and a half. His name was Tedz E Bear. He always insisted on using his full name when in the presence of all other teddy bears you understand, because he was a good little bear with very good manners.
Tedz and James had many adventures together in James’ bedroom. Sometimes they explored the big toy cupboard. Sometimes they bounced up and down on James’ bed. Sometimes they even played cowboys and teddy bears inside their make-believe fort made up from two chairs covered by a bed sheet.
Of course Tedz never ever spoke to his friend James because it was not allowed according to the rules of the ancient teddy bear code. But James always believed he could hear his friend Tedz talking to him in his sleep at night.
James’ older brother’s and sister’s teddy bears all lived in the dark attic above James’ bedroom, forgotten and alone. It wasn’t that the children didn’t love their teddy bears anymore. But James’ mummy and daddy decided that now it was time for them to stop playing with their teddy’s to concentrate on their lessons at the school in the village instead.
One day the time came when poor Tedz, was taken by James’ daddy and put into a large cardboard box in the attic.
Oh dear what was he to do? Tedz was all alone and in the dark. His paws weren’t strong enough to get the lid off the big cardboard box no matter how hard he tried. He even tried to sit up but only banged his head on the lid. Then someone came to help.
“Hallo in there, need any help?” a rather gruff voice enquired.
“Yes please,” Tedz replied.
Before he knew it, he felt himself being lifted out of the big box. “Thank you ever so much,” Tedz said as he tried to get rid of a big cobweb that was stuck in his fur.
“My name is Tedz E Bear,” he declared. “Who are you please?” he asked politely. For you see it was very dark in the attic, and Tedz could not see anything at all.
“My name is Bristle. Wait a moment young Tedz,” said the voice, “I’ll just open the curtain – there that’s better now we can see.”
Tedz rubbed the cobwebs from his eyes. There before him was a great big teddy bear, much bigger than he was. Bristle patted Tedz and said, “Come along and meet the rest of us.” At the other end of the attic was a big dolls house and in it lived all of James’ brother’s and sister’s teddy bears.
“Everyone, I would like you to meet James’ teddy bear Tedz E Bear,” Bristle announced with a flourish. Then he introduced everyone in turn to Tedz.
There was Patches who was covered in tiny cloth patches that James’ mummy had sowed on to stop his stuffing falling out. Dub, short for Rub-a-dub-dub, a very lumpy bear that James’ sister had tried to wash once in James’ mummy’s washing machine. Poor Dub lost all his shape when he eventually dried out. Then there was very pretty girl bear with a pink bow around her neck called Tuppence, who Tedz liked very much. Finally there was a very little bear, much smaller than Tedz named Scarf who had a great big scarf around his neck to keep him warm, because you see poor Scarf was very, very old and had lost all of his fur.
“I think I shall be very happy here,” Tedz declared, “But I shall miss my friend James very much indeed.
One day Tedz and Tuppence decided to explore the attic together. Because they were very little and not very good at walking, it took them a long time to reach the other end of the attic. “Always remember Tedz we must not let the Wizzi catch us,” Tuppence said in a hushed and frightened teddy bear voice.
“What’s a Wizzi?” Tedz whispered.
“A Wizzi is a monster that lives in the dark and likes to hurt teddy bears like us,” she said dragging poor Tedz quickly back towards the doll’s house and the rest of their friends as fast as she could, suddenly completely terrified.
“But what does it look like?” asked Tedz.
“Only Bristle has ever seen one and he was scared even though he is very big,” she replied as they finally sat down inside the doll’s house, safe and sound once more.
Tedz just had to know what a Wizzi looked like so he bravely pushed his stuffing into place, brushed his fur and went to see Bristle. “Excuse me please Bristle if you please, but I was wondering if you could please tell me what a Wizzi looks like please.” Tedz asked very politely. He liked to always say please and thank you as often as he could.
Bristle looked at young Tedz for a little while and then he said in his best gruff teddy bear voice, “A Wizzi is a monster Tedz, a terrible monster. Sometimes he looks like a ball of fluff, sometimes he looks like a cobweb, sometimes he looks like a shadow,” Bristle said with a shake of his very big teddy bear head. “A Wizzi is a monster Tedz, a monster,” he repeated.
“Is there one living here in the attic please Bristle?” Tedz asked very politely.
“I fear so young Tedz, I fear so,” Bristle replied.
“Where does it live if you please?” asked Tedz.
“It lives in the big dark shadows behind the boxes just over there,” Bristle said, pointing to a pile of old boxes in the farthest corner of the attic.
Tedz made up his mind he was going to hunt the dreadful Wizzi down for his friends and get rid of it. Ever so carefully he crept over to the boxes and nervously peered around the corner. It was very dusty, dirty and dark in the corner where the boxes were. “Where could the Wizzi be?” he wondered. He searched and he searched but he could not find it anywhere.
“Come out if you please mister Wizzi sir?” Tedz demanded as loudly and bravely as his trembling teddy bear voice would allow. But there was no answer at all. It was getting very dark in the attic so poor Tedz decided it was time to go back home to the doll’s house as the Wizzi was nowhere to be found.
“Ah look, a Wizzi!” shrieked Patches, running inside to hide. All the bears hugged each other in fear. Where was poor Tedz? The terrible Wizzi was on the prowl!
“Aachoo!” the terrible monster sneezed. “Can someone please get all this fluff and these cobwebs off of my fur if you please?” it asked very politely.
All the teddy bears laughed and laughed. It wasn’t a Wizzi at all. It was poor Tedz. He was covered from head to foot in dust, fluff and cobwebs. For you see there is no such thing as a Wizzi. It’s simply something that all teddy bears believe in but doesn’t really exist at all.