Robin Camille Davis
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"Glitter-Tresses and the Ursine Trio" by Charles M. Brown

June 28, 2010

My grandma studied for her PhD at USC. One of the professors in the education department, Charles M. Brown, gave a couple short stories he wrote (or rewrote) to my mom. He's now a professor emeritus at USC. His funny stories recently unearthed themselves in my personal library (read: stacks of papers and books I haven't seen in years), and I thought I would share one with you. It's a few pages long, but read it to the end. —R



Transmogrified from an old manuscript

by Charles M. Brown

During an unspecified period of history, a familial triumvirate of ursine mammals inhabited a domicile in a compacted sylvan area. One of these ursals, Ursa Major, was of preposterous proportions. The second, Ursa Majora, was of mean magnitude, while the third, Ursa Minor, was of diminutive dimensions.

Each held dominion over three prized possessions: a concave hemispherical vessel (for accommodating sustenance), a quadri-legged sedentary support (for intermediate states of repose) and a horizontal raised rectangular platform (for nocturnal tranquility). Each possession was appropriate to the dimensional magnitude of the respective owner.

Early one forenoon, after they had concocted the gruel for the day's initial repast and has deposited it for cooling purposes in their hemispherical concave vessels, they ambled into the dense sylvan area while the gruel cooled. This that they might not overheat their oral cavities by ingesting prematurely, for they had been reared with most conventional propriety.

During their brief absence, a smallish female, dubbed Glitter-Tresses, having been sent by her maternal parent on what proved to be an errant errand, perchanced to pass near the ursal domicile and scanned the interior thereof through an unshuttered fenestral opening.

And then, because she had been nurtured devoid of manners, she essayed a monocular squint through the key orifice. Observing the complete absence of occupants within the domicile she attempted to rotate the knob. Because the ursine mammals were benign and without guile, they were also naive to the point of leaving the portal unshackled. Glitter-Tresses thus entered without hint of hindrance.

She was gratified when she espied the gruel on the side-table. Had she possessed the proper decorum she would have tarried until the mammals returned. Contrariwise, however, and this because of her complete lack of savoir-faire, she proceeded to ameliorate her sensations of gustatory craving (these having been quickened by olfactory stimulation).

First she savored the gruel belonging to Ursa Major. Because it was excessively heated, she essayed to eschew the gruel she had espied. In sequence she then savored the gruel of Ursa Majora and Ursa Minor. The former she found to be too close to the frigid end of the temperature continuum but the latter was midway between the extreme of the other two and thus exactly fitting. So much so that Glitter-Tresses consumed it in its entirety.

Whereupon she, feeling exhausted for this and various other deviations from the straight-line pursuit of her maternal errand, assumed an appropriate position on the quadri-legged sedentary support belonging to the preposterously proportioned Ursa Major. It, alack, lacked sufficient resiliency for proper repose. Next she tested the corresponding piece belonging to Ursa Majora. It was the diametric opposite, being soft in the extreme. She then resorted to the quadri-legged sedentary support of Ursa Minor, and discovered that it, as int he case of the gruel, was precisely appropriate. So there she rested but only momentarily. For the underside thereof separated from its moorings, and quickly descended to the floor.

At this point, possessed of a keen intent to cease action momentarily, Glitter-Tresses ascended to the floor above and entered the bedchamber where the Ursine Triumvirate were wont to slumber. As in previous cases she tried the horizontal raised rectangular platform of each ursine mammal in turn. That of Ursa Major proved to be too elevated at the capital end. That of Ursa Majora was found to be the converse. But that of Ursa Minor was neither this nor that but truly and precisely horizontal, both head to toe and to and fro. So near to perfection was this rectangular raised platform that Glitter-Tresses promptly entered a state of complete somnolence.

Synchronously, the Ursine Triumvirate, cogitating about the rate of temperature decline of the gruel they had left to cool, returned to their domicile to break their fast. Now heedless Glitter-Tresses had left manifest evidence of her depredations which each of the ursals observed in turn.

As he ambled toward the side-table, Ursa Major proposed in his preposterously proportioned voice, "Some person or persons unknown has or have fooled with my gruel."

Then Ursa Majora, in a voice of mean magnitude, muttered, "They have also drooled over my gruel."

At which point Ursa Minor vocalized in a voice of diminutive dimensions, "The same unknown person or persons has or have not only fooled with and drooled over my cool pool of gruel but also, unless I am cruelly fooled, have devoured the whole of it. Who'll do such a deed, a ghoul?"

Thereupon they commenced minute observations for additional evidence which they promptly found aplenty in the state of disarray of the several quadri-legged sedentary supports.

Again the preposterously proportioned voice of Ursa Major was heard to protest, "He, she, it, or they has or have been occupying my sedentary support."

Not to be outdone, Ursa Majora remonstrated in a voice of very mean magnitude, "They have also been busy about mine as well."

But Ursa Minor outdid them both, even with his diminutively dimensioned voice. "That awful oafish enigmatic individual has busily occupied mine clear through!"

Their research carried them to the bedchamber where they were wont to sleep. Again in response to evident evidence each in turn bespoke his indignation.

"An interloper most improper has caused me utter pain by messing up my counterpane," muttered Ursa Majora in her voice with its magnitude becoming meaner by the minute.

"Bespotted four-poster and messed-up counterparts you may have, but I have discovered the cause reprehensible of these acts indefensible, and she appears quite insensible," stuttered Ursa Minor in his diminutive voice.

Glitter-Tresses had perceived the voices of Ursa Major and Ursa Majora but in the depth of her somnial state erroneously misinterpreted them as the potpourri of a reverie. But the diminutive voice of Ursa Minor pierced her to wakefulness.

Apprehending the Ursine Triumvirate on the yon side of the horizontal raised rectangular platform, Glitter-Tresses emerged on the hither side in full retreat moving directly toward the fenestral opening which fortuitously was so arranged to permit immediate egress.

And egress she did forthwith and posthaste but to what end we know not. None there is to say whether she fractured a limb, became lost in the compacted sylvan area or returned to her maternal parent to receive meritorious punishment for meretricious conduct. But the Ursine Trio saw her nevermore.