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By Karma Wilson

In a cave in the woods
in his deep, dark lair,
through the long cold winter
sleeps a great brown bear.

Cuddled in a heap
with his eyes shut tight,
he sleeps through the day,
he sleeps through the night.

The cold winds howl
and the night sounds growl.

But the bear snores on.

An itty-bitty mouse
pitter-pat, tip-toe,
creep-crawls in the cave
from the fluff-cold snow.

Mouse squeaks, “Too damp,
too dank, too dark.”
So he lights wee twigs
with a small, hot spark.

The coals pip-pop
and the wind doesn’t stop.

But the bear snores on.

Two glowing eyes
sneak-peak in the den.
Mouse cries, “Who’s there?”
and a hare hops in.

“Ho, Mouse!” says Hare.
“Long time, no see!”
So they pop white corn
and they brew black tea.

Mouse sips wee slurps.
Hare burps big BURPS!

But the bear snores on.

A badger scuttles by,
sniff-snuffs at the air.
“I smell yummy-yums!
Perhaps we could share?”

“I’ve brought honey-nuts,”
Badger says with a grin.
“Let’s divvy them up,
cozy down… and dig in!”

And they nibble and they munch

But the bear snores on.

A gopher and a mole
tunnel up through the floor.
Then a wren and a raven
flutter in through the door!

Mole mutters, “What a night!”
“What a storm!” twitters Wren.
And everybody gathers
in the great bear’s den.

They tweet and they titter.
They chat and they chitter.

But the bear snores on.

In a cave in the woods,
a slumbering bear
sleeps through the party
in his very own lair.

Hare stokes the fire.
Mouse seasons stew.
Then a small pepper fleck
makes the bear… RAAAAA-CHOOOOOO!!!!!

He blows and he sneezes,
and the whole crowd freezes…

And the bear WAKES UP!

Bear gnarls and he snarls!
Bear roars and the rumbles!
Bear jumps and he stomps!
Bear growls and he grumbles!

“You’ve snuck in my lair
and you’ve all had fun!
But me? I was sleeping and…
I have had none!”

And he whimpers and he moans,
he wails and he groans…

And the bear blubbers on!

Mouse squeaks, “Don’t fret.
Don’t fuss. Look, see?
We can pop more corn!
We can brew more tea!”

Bear gulps. Bear gobbles.
He sighs with delight.
Then he spins tall tales
through the blustery night.

When the sun peeks up
on a crisp, clear dawn,
Bear can’t sleep…

But his friends snore on.