Trifextra – “goldilocks and the three bears” – by ernest hemingway (approx. 1928)

Posted: April 21, 2012 in Fiction
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ed. Note: In a dusty corner of the attic at Trask Avenue we stumbled upon a sheaf of papers wrapped tightly with twine. We were pleased to discover they were unpublished versions of popular fairy tales written by Ernest Hemingway. Based upon the age of the paper and the peculiarities of the typewriter font our forensic experts estimate these were written sometime in the late 1920’s, probably in the winter of 1928-1929, after Hemingway’s second son (Patrick) was born.

By pure happenstance this week’s Trifextra contest asks for a re-telling of the classic children’s story, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”. We decided not to write a new version. Rather we present you with the version written by Hemingway all those years ago.

The Young Girl and the Bears

The girl walked through the woods. She was hungry and tired. The satchel lay heavy across her shoulder. It dug into her skin. It was a good feeling, honest and pure. Her feet were sore and she needed rest and food. Her flaxen hair hung heavy like the coiled ropes from a fishing boat. The sun disappeared below the tree line and the wind grew stronger. She was cold.

She came to a small clearing and saw a house made of timber. It looked like a fine house, strong and sturdy. She was grateful. She imagined the people would realize she was a girl of principle and faith and they would help her. She approached the house. The door was slightly open. She pushed it and it opened further. She spoke in a clear voice firm with conviction. “Hello,” she said. “Is anybody here?” There was no response.

She stepped into the house. She smelled the earthen goodness of cooked oats. She followed the smell. It took her to the back of the house where she entered a kitchen. Three bowls of steaming porridge sat on a crude wooden table. Her hunger was elemental. She took a spoon and tasted from the largest bowl. The food burned her mouth and she felt pain. She tasted from the medium-sized bowl. The food was cold and its chill eased the pain from her burn, but it tasted like paste. She took from the smallest bowl and it was perfect. She ate all the oats from this bowl and her hunger disappeared.

She needed to rest. She saw three chairs. She climbed onto the first and sat. Her feet could not touch the floor. “This is chair is too big,” she said. She climbed down and went to the second chair. It was also too large for her small body. She sat in the third chair and it was right. She settled in. Suddenly the chair collapsed beneath her. She fell to the floor.

“I am so tired,” she said. She walked to another room and found three beds. She laid on the first one. It was as hard as the rocky ground. She sank into the second one. It was too soft and she floundered like a dinghy tossed by the sea. She approached the third bed. She realized it was the bed of a child. She laid on it and found it just right. She unzipped her satchel and placed it on the floor. She pulled the blanket up to her chin. The warmth was immediate. She was no longer hungry or cold. Sleep quickly took her and she dreamed.

She dreamed of a bear house in the forest. Three bears lived in the house. They were called Papa, Mama and Baby Bear. They smelled of loamy musk. They came into the house after gathering food for winter. They saw their porridge had been eaten. They found a broken chair. They realized their beds were disturbed. The bears were confused and wondered who ate their food, broke their furniture, and slept in their beds. In her dream the blonde girl saw herself peeking through the window of the bear house. She watched the bears try to solve the mystery. Her breath fogged the window and knew she must leave before they saw her. She turned to leave. Papa Bear met her on the path.

“Did you eat our food?” he growled. “Did you break our chair? Did you sleep in our beds?” The girl did not answer. She was not afraid, but she knew the bear could eat her and she did not want to be eaten. She also knew she must be true. “I did,” she said. “I did because I was hungry and tired.” The bear reached with his great paw and touched her face…

She woke up with a start. Her eyes adjusted to the dim light of the room. Three grizzly bears were looking at her. Their large fangs glistened. She felt a bead of sweat roll down her cheek. She slowly let her hand drop off the bed where it reached the satchel. Her eyes never left the bears. Adrenaline raced through her veins, but she remained calm. Her hand found the rifle. She could smell fear and anticipation. The bears started to move towards her. She grabbed the rifle and jumped from the bed. The bears stopped.

“I do not want to kill you like this,” she said. “It would not be right because it requires no challenge.” The bears did not move. “Instead, I will leave. I will go back to the forest.” The girl lowered the rifle and picked up her satchel. She walked past the bears, out the door and towards the woods. When she reached the spot where the forest met the clearing she looked back to the house. The bears watched her from the door. She raised her arm and said, “The next time we meet it will be the way it should be. It will be fair.” She smiled and disappeared into the trees.

  1. shaunaclinning says:

    Reblogged this on shaunamooreclinning and commented:
    And now for something completely different….


  2. […] thought of Hemingway as my own stylistic master, I wanted to examine Papa’s admired/imitated/parodied writing style one more time to see if my admiration for and attempts to emulate the master’s […]


  3. trifectawriting says:

    Thanks for linking up to Trifextra this weekend. I loved your Faux Hemingway, and now I hear that you’ve done more of them? I’ll have to root around here a bit. Nice job with the challenge. I’m still laughing about Jester Queen’s comment. And agreeing with her. 🙂 Come back and see us again soon.


  4. Jester Queen says:

    Woah – that was excellent faux Hemingway. My only concern is that she didn’t die alone in the rain.


  5. Imelda says:

    Wow! what a take. 🙂 Nice twist on the Goldilocks character. The last two paragraphs were particularly gripping and added the zing to the tale.


  6. sparklebumps says:

    Fairytales are awesome. Especially when you rewrite them the way you want. 🙂


  7. k~ says:

    You did well at your interpretation of how Hemmingway would have written this.


  8. whiteladyinthehood says:

    Pretty impressive, Mr.Trask. (I LIKED it!)


  9. It felt to me like she was a kind, very religious, gentle yet hardy girl on a journey, but she turns out to be pretty badass. I enjoyed this turn, and I liked that the bears didn’t challenge her – she was THAT badass. Cool.
    Came from the Trifextra linkup.


  10. Mel says:

    Great writing and imagery. Well done!


  11. An excellent idea. Excellent! Now … do Jack & the Beanstalk. Go on …


  12. BuddhaKat says:

    excellent hemingwayesque exposition and descriptions: “her flaxen hair hung heavy like the coiled rope on a fishing boat…” “…she floundered like a dinghy lost at sea…”BRAVO!!!!



  13. Can’t wait to read the Hemingway versions of all the other fairy tales. Looks like you’ll be turning this into a series. Nicely done, Papa John. Now I’m hungry for pizza.


  14. gene3067 says:

    Great discriptions here. Wonderful!


  15. surroundedbyimbeciles says:

    Now this is an imaginative post. Very well done.


  16. Dana says:

    Ahhhmazing! I am in awe. *bows*


  17. savorthefolly says:

    I liked how I really felt like I was walking around in her body. the simplicity of the prose also gave a feeling that she experienced a kind of inner calm despite her predicaments.

    and then the part at the end, where their becomes a question of hunting and killing….it was like the story just took an abrupt turn – or maybe launched. like the story begins with the tale of goldilocks and the three beers but suddently at the end, we realize that that was just the first chapter. It feels like there will now be a book of chapters, that takes the tale in many new directions.

    I like it! I hope you continue on with the story.


  18. Libby says:

    Very good! Very entertaining! I really liked the explanation sea references! Reminds me of one of the Jane Austen spoofs that everyone is reading right now!


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