A Bear with Insomnia!


Every year Dino Bear knew when it was time to get his winter bed ready. He took the quilt from the den shelf, put fresh clean sheets on his bed, and fluffed up the pillow. When Dino finished, his eyelids were usually heavy and he was ready for a good long sleep.

But this year Dino was wide awake. He didn’t even yawn! “I’ll be sleepy soon,” he said to himself. But days and weeks went by and winter finally came—yet Dino wasn’t one bit sleepy!

“I’ll put on my nightgown and nightcap and go to bed anyway,” he mumbled to himself. So Dino snuggled down under the quilt and shut his eyes. But his eyes wouldn’t stay shut. Soon they were wide open and staring at the ceiling.

“Maybe a spoonful of honey will help,” Dino decided. But after five spoonfuls of honey Dino was still wide awake.

Then Dino started counting sheep. He counted 100 sheep, 200 sheep, 300 sheep—but he wasn’t sleepy.

Before long Dino’s stomach growled. “I’m hungry!” he moaned. “But the honey’s all gone and the cupboard is bare!”

“I must go out into the winter world and look for food,” Dino decided. Outside it was snowing hard. Dino knew all about autumn snow, but this blowing, stinging winter snow made it hard for him to see. The snow made his tracks disappear like magic and hid familiar trees and streams!

“There’s no food,” Dino complained. Then he suddenly saw something move. Dino ran and stumbled toward it. And there was Arnie Beaver!

“What are you doing?” Dino called out as he saw Arnie gnawing at a pine tree.

“What do you think I’m doing?” Arnie grumbled.

“If I knew, I wouldn’t ask,” Dino answered politely.

Arnie wiped his eyes, squinted, and shouted, “Dino Bear! You’re supposed to be sleeping!”

“I can’t sleep,” Dino complained.

“I’ve never heard of a bear with insomnia!” Arnie declared.

“Well, now you know one,” Dino replied. “I can’t sleep.”

Arnie gave Dino some pine needles. “You must be hungry.”

“I am, and thank you!” Dino answered. He wished the pine needles were berries, but he was so hungry that he ate them anyway.

Arnie began to clack his razor sharp teeth. He was ready for work on the pine tree again. “Come to my house later, Dino,” Arnie invited the sleepless bear. “Maybe I can help your insomnia.”

Dino walked off to look for more food. Soon he saw something move, and there was Dora Deer!

Dino ran and stumbled. Soon he was close enough to see that Dora was stringing red berries! “Why are you doing that?” Dino shouted.

Dora wiped her eyes, took one look at Dino, and exclaimed, “Dino Bear! You’re supposed to be sleeping!”

“I just can’t sleep!” Dino grumbled.

“A bear with insomnia?” Dora asked sharply. But then she smiled and gave Dino some of the red berries she was stringing. He gobbled them all up in one mouthful.

Dora laughed and said, “Why don’t you come to Arnie Beaver’s house later? Maybe we can help your insomnia!” Then she began to string red berries again; so Dino walked off to look for more food.

When the light began to grow dim, Dino started for Arnie’s house. Even before he reached the door, Dino heard laughing and singing. When he finally stepped inside, his black eyes opened wide! The pine tree Arnie had gnawed down stood in the center of the room. The red berries Dora had strung were wound in and out of the pine tree’s green boughs. And a big pine cone sat on the top!

“Merry Christmas!” Dora called out.

“Merry Christmas!” Arnie cried, thumping Dino’s furry back.

Merry Christmas? Dino thought. This winter world is very strange!

Dora gave Dino a big bowlful of berries and honey.

Arnie gave him a cup of warm mountain goat’s milk. “It’s good for your insomnia,” Arnie explained.

Dino ate the berries and honey, and he drank the warm goat’s milk. Then he sat and looked at the beautiful tree and listened to Dora and Arnie sing some songs.

“What are you singing?” Dino asked, wishing his eyelids weren’t so heavy.

“Christmas carols!” Dora and Arnie said happily together.

“This—this Christmas is so—so good,” Dino said, “so—so. …”

But Dino never finished what he started to say, for he was sound asleep!

[illustrations] Illustrated by Phyllis Luch