Bears and Dolls and Toy Soldiers.

Bear was sitting on the table talking to Duck. Bear had honeyed toast and Duck had a bowl of stale arrowroot  biscuits that I had soaked in some warm milk.

Inside, Tyabb and I were discussing the situation concerning his time in the box, his time in the opportunity shop and he was just getting around to telling me more about getting to Chile.

I was able to keep an eye on Bear and Duck through the window.

There was knock on the door and a colleague whom I hadn’t seen for some years was standing outside.

“Maybe you should not say too much until we know what he thinks of bears,” I said to Tyabb.

“I might not have much of a say in the matter,” he replied.

I wasn’t quite sure what he meant but I thought we could discuss it later. My visitor came in and I offered him a cup of tea or coffee and he sat down.

I want to explain what happened next because it helps to clarify a lot of things that had been puzzling me.

My friend, and I use that word advisedly, sat down quite heavily and knocked Tyabb from the couch. He picked him up and casually laid him down carelessly on the other end of the couch. After he had gone I took this next shot to show you what I am talking about.

Tyabb had not moved. He had not spoken a word since the man had come into the house. I picked him and said, “So Tyabb, what did you think of my visitor? I noticed you didn’t say anything.”

“I don’t know anything about your visitor from the moment he sat down until now,” Tyabb said. “Let me explain. It is not something that a bear or a doll or a toy soldier or a gnome has any control over. The only reason that I can talk to you and the only reason Bear or Duck or I can walk around or sit on a chair or eat honey crumpets is because you believe that we can. If there is anyone in our vicinity who sees us as a toy or a doll or a stuffed animal then something happens and we can’t do anything. I don’t have any idea what happened after I was pushed off the couch until you picked me up. For all I know it could have been a few seconds or a few years.”

I was dumbfounded. Is this real? I thought. Is this a state of being that exists that people know nothing about?

“So is that why you can sit so motionless on a shelf in a shop?”

“Yes. Although sometimes, and I mentioned the other day the nasty little boy who came into the shop and was talking about how he would kill the toy soldier. Well we all heard that. All the dolls and toy soldiers and bears and other stuffed animals heard that because we knew that the little boy believed it. It doesn’t have to be a nice person who believes in toys and bears.”

This is amazing, I thought. But I want more of Tyabb’s story.

“So Tyabb. How did you get out of the shop? When did you get out of the shop? That’s most important.”

“I think I was in the box wherever it was for a few years,” Tyabb began.

“That is terrible!” I exclaimed.

“No John, you still don’t understand. While I was in the box I sort of stopped being a bear. In fact I stopped being anything. So I could have stayed in the box for all the years that you were going to school in Melbourne and going to university and getting married and then not getting married and having children who, might I say, could have done well with having me around. So for all that time I just stopped being anything. Until a little boy called Felipe came into the Salvos with his mother Mrs Marcela Contreras who was the wife of the Consul General of Chile in Melbourne. Mrs Contreras was a delightful lady and loved shopping. But she was also very careful and looked carefully at the amount of money she spent.

“On that day I was sitting amongst all the bears and dolls and stuffed animals and we were all lying still. When little Felipe picked me up I felt immediately that he believed that I could talk. He whispered in my ear the first thing I ever heard in Spanish – Te gustaría ser mi amigo – and I whispered back to him that I would love to be his friend.

“Then Felipe carried me to his mother who was looking at clothes or something and told her that he wanted to keep me forever. Mrs Contreras took me from Felipe and whispered in my ear, ¿Te gustaría ser el osito de Felipe?” and I said that I would love to be his bear. 

“I was with Felipe for many years and he got married and I lived with his family until 1973 but I don’t want to talk anymore if you don’t mind.”



14 thoughts on “Bears and Dolls and Toy Soldiers.

      1. Well, yes, I do believe in elves and fairies and such, but teddy bears are a little too man-made for me to have thought that they could talk…..or enter other levels of existence.


      2. It’s only some bears. I was never a Teddy Bear person growing up – maybe because I didn’t have one – but just last year I found a teddy bear in a Salvo shop – I wanted something for a great grandson who is nearly 1. It was really hard to send it because this silly old lady just wanted to keep him and talk to him. I ‘fell in love with him’. So give my love to Bear and Tyabb. I have sent you photo of ‘my bear’.


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