Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Berenstain Bears and the Ghost of the Forest

Cleaning house always yields a few surprise flashbacks to days gone by. Quite recently I dug out the family collection of Berestain Bears books to post on ebay. A very successful endeavor I might add. Still, one can't help but remember nights as a child perusing tales of a middle class bear family. If you've never been subjected to them, the basic formula is that brother and sister bear encounter some potential life challenge only to be taught an easy, two-dimensional (and possibly false) lesson by their parents or some other elder. There was a book for everything from bullies, bad vacations, strangers, and even a racism one with pandas. The whole thing was quite a success and...oh my god, through some quick studying I just found out that these damn things are still going!...and there's a third kid! Well I've just lost my train of thought. No wait...ghosts! Yes! This entry is about a ghost story!

Before shipping out the book lots, I made sure to photograph a few stories that would be ripe for all the Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas fun to come. Today we kick things off with a light spooky tale that I thought would fit right in with so many folks getting back from their last camping trip of the summer. Prepare yourselves as we meet The Ghost of the Forest.
A good deal of these bear stories revolve around fear and phobias. Not sure if it's something in the countryside drinking water or if these animals are just prone to being terrified of a stiff wind. Suppose we can't blame the kids too much. Just look how papa bears leers at them from under the steps as they head out to camp. What a massive creeper.

The old man is such a turd in fact that he tells the kids of all the spooks who live in the spooky forest. Variations on spook are used so frequently that it almost made my lily white ass uncomfortable. Papa tries his best to mess with the kids before Mama shows up to assure them that their father is full of it. He uses this as an opportunity to do the adult thing. By which I mean dash up to the attic and make a ghost costume so he can terrorize his children and nephew later that night.

Out in the forest, the kids tell their scout leader about their fears which she quickly dissuades before setting them to work by setting up the camp. Instead of helping out, she surveys the surrounding area and comes across Papa talking to himself like a crazy old prospector. Not unlike Papa, Scout Leader Jane decides to handle this situation like an adult. Does she talk to Papa? Nope. Does she call the cops about the crazy man in the woods? Nah, she makes up a ghost of her own.

That night, the kids sit around the campfire telling stories before settling in for a good night's rest. Then their father runs out of the forest like a bat outta hell, shrieking that he's the ghost of the forest. The cubs run to their troop leader's tent for help only to discover she's gone. Guess they didn't notice she'd abandoned them in the woods for the sake of arts & crafts.

Thankfully it's not long before she appears behind Papa bear, sending him into s frightened tizzy. She reveals herself and everyone shares a hearty laugh. That's when a third abomination from hell appears before the group, wailing with the fury of countless dead. Sure enough both the children and adults are wetting themselves in terror when sister points out several items from home. Turns out Mama wanted to teach Papa a lesson by giving everyone a heart attack.

The lesson for this book is supposed to be that ghosts aren't real but it's fun to be afraid of them. Tell that to some chronically frightened child ya damn bears! If anything the true lesson of this tale comes from the smug expressions on Mama & Papa's faces which tell us all that at a certain point in marriage, romance is replaced by cruel pranks and that's all we have to look forward too.

Thous ends this sorry story of adults getting their jollies by tormenting children and significant others. The bears will return next month with Trick or Treat. Oh I can't wait for that one.  

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