Everyone was awakened the next morning by a shrieking quack!
"What’s the matter?" asked Ping Pong.
"It’s gone! My Key! It’s gone!" shouted Slap Happy.
"Are you sure?" asked Nuber. "Maybe it fell off in the night."
"It’s Gare Bear and Chubnut," declared Slap Happy in a not so happy voice.
"How’d they possibly get passed Pete Pudge Pie?" they wondered.
Gramma walked over with the answer in her hand. It was a very long wiry branch from The Green King!
"They must have reached down through the chimney," said Gramma.
"Boy, they’re good!" said Nuber.
"No," said Slap Happy. "They are trouble!"
After breakfast, everyone, even Gramma, headed outside to talk to The Green King. Ping Pong stepped up to the wise old tree and asked if he’d seen the bears. The Green King showed Ping Pong the bald spot where the bears had taken his branch.
"Then will you tell us how we can catch Chubnut and Gare Bear before they cause anymore mischief?" he asked.
Without hesitation, The Green King said, "The answer lies in thinking as light as a feather."
Immediately, Mrs. Bunnywinkle’s face lit up. She had an idea, and with her magical wand and some of Grammas old rags, she made Slap Happy very soft slippers.
Nuber said," Oh, I get it, Mrs. Bunnywinkle!" " We’ll be able to sneak up on Chubnut and Gare Bear now that they can’t hear Slap Happy coming! That’s why he could never catch them. They always knew where he was!"
When Slap Happy was finished putting on his new shoes, he whispered, "Come on, everyone. Let’s catch those mischief makers once and for all!" They quietly set out together into the Emerald Woods.
It wasn’t too long before Mrs. Bunnywinkle spotted Gare Bear and Chubnut walking on a log that lay across the stream. Ping Pong, Nuber, and Slap Happy jumped out of the bushes and grabbed Chubnut as she came off of the log. Gare Bear slipped and fell into the water. Slap Happy dove in and pulled him up on the bank. Both of the bears were finally caught, key and all, and their long game of hide-and-seek ended. Ping Pong slipped the necklace off of Gare Bear. He put it back around Slap Happy’s neck.
Slap Happy scolded the little bears.
Chubnut said," I’m sorry, Slap." We were having so much fun. I guess we got carried away."
"Then we saw that new playhouse and thought the key might open the door," added Gare Bear as he dripped dry.
"Really!" said Ping Pong." It’s not locked anyway."
"Yes it is!" demanded Chubnut.
The circle of friends looked puzzled.
Mrs. Bunnywinkle smiled and said, "This has been quite a morning, let’s all head up to the playhouse."
"I would love to see it," said Gramma.
They invited Chubnut and Gare Bear to join them. Slap Happy couldn’t stay mad at them for very long. They were never mean little bears. They were just filled with what Slap Happy called "zip zoodle doodle"- too much energy for fun!
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