The Björn Family and the Human

Once upon a time, there was a little family named the Björns. Mama and Papa Björn loved each other dearly, despite their differences, and they raised Lilla Du, their daughter, to be proud of her own differences as well. They each liked their things in the little wooded home to be just so.

Papa Björn loved his porridge to be piping hot; it reminded him of his days as a soldier to scarf down the steaming bowl in preparation for the day to come.
Mama Björn preferred her porridge to be a touch on the cool side, a habit left over from the long hours her bowl would remain untouched and cooling while she tended to her little love.
Lilla Du, ever the particular one, wanted her porridge to be just so; her personality was about as even-tempered as they come.

It wasn’t just their porridge, though! No, the Björn family had differences in other areas of their quaint cottage. A perfect example was in the chairs they liked to sit in after having their fill of breakfast. Each chair had been lovingly made to fit the qualities of each family member.

Papa Björn was tall and strong, so he needed a nice big armchair, cut from black walnut and glossed to an attractive sheen.
Mama Björn was smaller than her husband, but her beautiful cherrywood rocker still had plenty of space between the elegant rosy curves of its back and armrests to allow her to sit comfortably. There was also room to fit a little one, and Mama Björn recalled passing many nights soothing Lilla Du within its timber embrace.
Lilla Du’s petite Windsor chair matched her small body, which she tucked into the round pine frame to while away the afternoon with a yarn doll or a puzzle book.

When it came time to turn in for the evening, after Papa had his pipe and Mama tied off a finished part of her cross-stitch, they would carry the now-dozing Lilla Du up to their bedroom. Even here there was difference! Rarely could one find a family less similar in taste and yet ever closer in bond. Listen next to the way their bedroom was kept.

Papa Björn’s bad back didn’t take kindly to softness, so he slept on a big, firm bed.
Mama Björn, on the other hand, loved to feel like she was sleeping on a cloud, so her own bed was stuffed with down to be just as soft as you please.
As for Lilla Du, her mattress was like a lot like her and her parents: a perfect mix of both. Though, some nights she was so tired from the day that she could probably have slept soundly on a spindle!

The Sabbath came like it did every week and the weather was so lovely and inviting that the Björns decided to go for a walk before they broke their fast, letting their porridge stand for a little while. Lilla Du skipped through the wood ahead of her parents, greeting the birds and the squirrels in a way that made Mama and Papa smile at one another.

It couldn’t have been more than more than twenty minutes later that they rounded the path to their front door, so the family was surprised to see the door standing wide open. Papa was sure he’d latched it—he was good about such things—yet still it hung ajar, giving no hints as to what lay inside. All together the Björns stepped through the door, Papa leading the way and Mama keeping her arm around little Lilla Du’s shoulders. Inside they found their porridge disrupted, each spoon dipped into its respective bowl.

“Someone’s been eating my porridge,” Papa said in his deep baritone, and Mama echoed him in her softer lilt as she looked at her own bowl. Lilla Du gasped and pointed at her small dish.
“Someone’s been eating my porridge and they ate it all up!” She cried, then blushed when her stomach growled loudly.

The three moved into the living room to see similar damage there. Muddy shoeprints on Papa’s chair and scuff marks on the rockers of Mama’s chair showed the intruder had used these as well.
“Someone’s been sitting in our chairs!” They said to each other.
“Someone’s been sitting in my chair and they’ve broken it all to pieces,” Lilla Du wailed, picking up a splintered chair leg from the heap of shattered wood.

Just then, there was a creak from upstairs. Mama Björn was checking where they hid their silver to make sure nothing was stolen, but at the sound they all froze. Then, they mounted the stairs, a sniffling Lilla Du still clutching the chair leg for protection. When the Björns got upstairs, they could see their beds were as disordered as the chairs and porridge bowls had been. What rotten luck! After listening for signs of an intruder, Papa nodded the all-clear and they relaxed. Lilla Du walked towards the dim corner that held her bed while Mama and Papa looked their own beds over.

“Someone’s been sleeping in my bed,” Papa growled, surveying the dirty sheets.
Mama could tell Papa’s temper was rising and reached out to rub his arm soothingly.
“Someone’s been sleeping in my bed, too,” she responded, trying to sound optimistic. If this was something they had to deal with, they would deal with it as a family!
Mama was just about to go back downstairs to clean up and make them all some proper breakfast when Lilla Du’s wavering voice reached them from the end of the room—
“Someone’s been sleeping in my bed… and she’s still there!”

Mama Björn gasped and pressed a hand to her mouth; Papa Björn’s nostrils flared and he stomped over to his little one’s bed. Sure enough, there was a small human with yellow fur sleeping in Lilla Du’s bed. The stomping had been enough to make the creature stir, and her eyes opened to look up just as Papa glowered down at her. She screamed.

“Helfen Sie mir!” The little human shrieked again, then leaped out of the bed. Quick as a wink she had wriggled past the Björns and now she dashed down the stairs, hollering her head off with her coiled fur in a rat’s nest and her boots and hose muddy as can be. After standing for a few moments in shock at what just transpired, it was Lilla Du’s small voice that broke the silence.

“Humans truly are savage creatures, aren’t they, Mama?”

With that, the little family set to work cleaning and repairing the things that needed it. They finally sat down to breakfast, and after laughing at the encounter over honey-sweetened mouthfuls of porridge, the Björns lived happily ever after.

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