Valentine’s Day? Gruuump!

A friend loveth at all times (Prov. 17:17).

“It’s fun making valentines for your friends for Valentine’s Day,” said Goose, cutting out a big red heart from a piece of red paper.

“Lots of fun,” said Gander, pasting a big red heart on a piece of lacy white paper.

Goose took a crayon and wrote, “From Guess Who” across the bottom of the valentine she had just finished making.

Gander took a crayon and wrote “From an admirer” across the bottom of the lacy valentine he had just finished making.

“There,” said Goose. “I’m done.”

“So am I,” said Gander.

“They do look nice, don’t they?” asked Goose.

“Very,” said Gander.

“Whom shall we give valentines to this year, Gander?” asked Goose.

“Why, to all our old friends, of course, Goose!” said Gander. “And to our new friend, Bear.”

“To our new friend, Bear?” said Goose. “But, Bear is still sleeping. He doesn’t wake up till spring!”

“I guess we’ll just have to wake him, then,” said Gander.

“But won’t Bear be a bit grumpy if we wake him?” asked Goose.

“Not when we give him his valentines,” said Gander smiling.

“I hope you’re right!” said Goose.

Delivering valentines to all their old friends was easy for Goose and Gander. The friends were all waiting for them when they rang their friends’ doorbells.

But delivering valentines to their new friend was not easy. Bear was not up and waiting for them.

He was sound asleep.

“Maybe we should just leave Bear’s valentines on his doorstep, Gander,” said Goose.

“But then he won’t get them till spring, Goose,” said Gander. “And Valentine’s Day is today, not in spring!”

Goose knew Gander was right. She rang Bear’s doorbell again. Brnnng! Brnnng! Brnnng!

This time Bear answered. “Is it spring already?” Bear asked, yawning.

“It isn’t spring yet, Bear,” said Gander.

“Then why did you wake me?” asked Bear, looking and sounding a bit grumpy.

“Because it’s Valentine’s Day!” said Goose.

“Valentine’s Day?” said Bear. “Gruuump! What’s Valentine’s Day?”

“Valentine’s Day is a special day when you give valentines to all your friends,” said Gander.

“Valentines?” said Bear. “Gruuump! What are valentines?”

“This is a valentine,” said Gander, quickly handing Bear the big red lacy valentine that he had been holding behind his back.

“And this is a valentine,” said Goose, quickly handing Bear the big red lacy valentine that she had been holding behind her back.

Bear took them and read them:

Having a friend like you is nice, Bear,
Especially on Valentine’s Day.
From an admirer
Having a friend like you, Bear,
makes Valentine’s Day happy for me.
From guess who

“No one has ever given me a valentine before. These are beautiful. Thank you, Goose and Gander,” said Bear.

That night as Goose and Gander were getting ready for bed, their doorbell rang.

It was Bear. “I wasn’t sleepy after you left, so I made these for you.” He handed Gander a big purple valentine, and Goose a big orange valentine. “I hope you like them.” Bear grinned worriedly. “Are the colors all right? Purple and orange were the only colors I had.”

“Purple is my favorite color,” said Gander.

“And orange is my favorite color,” said Goose.

Gander read his big purple valentine:

Sharing Valentine’s Day with you,
Gander, is more important to me than sleeping!
From an admirer

“Thank you, Bear,” said Gander.

Goose read her big orange valentine:

Having a friend like you, Goose, makes
Valentine’s Day worth waking up for!
From guess who

“Thank you, Bear,” said Goose.

“Next fall,” said Bear, “I’m setting my alarm clock for Valentine’s Day. It’s too special a day to sleep through.”

“We were just going to have some warm milk and bread and honey before going to bed, Bear,” said Goose. “Would you join us?”

“I’d love to,” said Bear. “I haven’t eaten anything since last fall!”

When all the milk and bread and honey had been eaten, Bear wiped his mouth politely and said, “I have my winter nap to finish. Thank you for the midwinter snack. It was delicious. And thank you for waking me up today.”

“You didn’t mind, then?” said Goose.

“Not at all,” said Bear. “It was Valentine’s Day, wasn’t it? But,” he added, yawning, “I wouldn’t want to be awakened again. Not by anybody! Not for anything! Not till spring!”

Bear yawned again. “Suddenly I’m very sleepy,” he said. “It must be all that warm milk. …” And even as Bear spoke, his head began to nod, his eyes began to close, and he fell sound asleep!

“Bear’s asleep in our kitchen!” exclaimed Goose. “What shall we do?”

“Wait here,” said Gander. “I’ll be right back.”

When Gander returned, he was carrying a big blanket.

“What are you going to do with that?” asked Goose.

“Cover Bear,” said Gander.

“And let him sleep right here—till spring?” asked Goose.

“Do you have a better idea?” asked Gander.

Goose didn’t, so she tucked in Bear’s blanket, turned off the lights, and tiptoed to bed.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Shauna Mooney Kawasaki