Here’s another Take Ten exercise from Take Ten for Writers. It was called “Bear in Mind.” I kinda deviated from the instructions, but it had to involve a bear and start with the words “Before Louis XVI was King of France and no one made jokes about letting everyone eat cake….”
Before Louis XVI was King of France and no one made jokes about letting everyone eat cake there lived in a village not far from the capital an old man and his granddaughter. The old man had once worked for the king as a chef but when the old man was unable to remember the ingredients of his recipes and was too dim of sight to even read the cookbooks and his granddaughter at the time had been too young to help him, the king told the chef it was time for him to retire. The king gave the old man a nice pension, which allowed the old man to purchase a cottage in the village that was not far from the capital.
There the old man lived with his granddaughter who was growing up to become a great beauty. She was so beautiful in fact that although the old man could barely see her through the darkness that now shrouded his eyes and therefore could only rely on what others told him about her beauty he regretted having been asked to leave the palace so soon for he had no doubt he could have made a great match for his granddaughter. A count perhaps, or even a duke.
When he told this to her, she would only laugh and reassure him she was perfectly happy living in the cottage and taking care of him. The old man did not believe this for how could someone as young and lovely as she was find happiness taking care of an old man who was not only nearly blind but had recently started pissing on himself like a newborn child. How could she be happy cleaning up his piss?
The old man vowed then and there to find her a husband. A good, decent man who, even if he didn’t have a lot of money, would treat her as she deserved to be treated. With gentleness and kindness. The old man did not know how long he had in this world so he knew he had to work quickly if he hoped to find his granddaughter a husband.
One day when his granddaughter had gone into the village to buy food, the old man took hold of his staff and left the cottage. He wasn’t sure where he was going for he could barely see and there weren’t any other cottages nearby. He and his granddaughter lived on the edge of the forest. But he hadn’t gone very far when he heard someone walking towards him. The sun was very bright that day which made it even harder for the old man to see for the sun hurt his eyes. He stopped walking, resting on his staff and waited for the person to approach him,
As the person drew closer the old man could discern it was a man, not a woman and that it was a very tall, very big man. He was so tall and so big in fact and dressed in a thick, hairy coat that he resembled nothing more than a bear. The bear-like man stopped in front of the old man.
“Well met, good fellow,” he said, and his voice was just like that of a bear. Heavy and loud.
“Well met,” the old man said.
“And what are you doing out by yourself on this fine spring day,” the man asked.
“I’m looking for a husband for my granddaughter.”
“Indeed,” the man said. “Well you are in luck. For you have found him.”
The bear-like man pointed to himself. “Here. I am the husband you seek for your granddaughter.”
“You?” the old man replied. “But I don’t even know who you are.” Or what he added silently.