MaiMoMa says that whenever a story begins with the words, once upon a time, it puts children into a dream state where they can escape to someplace exciting. She also says that the secret to life is to always be able to escape. Not just from bears or bad people, but from wherever you are that makes you sad or scared or bored. This is why we read stories. We need them.
This story is about a creature who is half bear and half bad person. It is a scary creature but you don’t have to be afraid because, of course, you’re right here safe and I’m just telling you about it.
No one knows if this creature is male or female. It is big and orange and angry. MaiMoMa says it just showed up one day and started bossing people around. It yelled at them and called them bad names. It told them it would do terrible things to them if it didn’t get its way.
It told lies to get money from people and then used the money to hire others to keep people from getting rid of it. It did bad things to get more money and take over people’s things. Then it made messes everywhere, like a bad beast will do.
But the creature had a problem. It didn’t read so it couldn’t escape itself and all the messes it made. Soon it became more sad than angry. Then it became scared and its orange color turned pale. Finally, it became bored with being half bear and half bad person and it went away to hide. No one knows for sure where, because it had many caves all over the world.
MaiMoMa says this is the power of stories and reading. If the creature knew how to get away from being sad and scared and bored, it might still be around making more messes. Now we have people cleaning up the messes because they read and know many stories. Some stories tell them how to clean up messes, other stories tell them how to make the world a nice place for people, and even more stories help all of us learn how to escape from feeling sad or scared or bored. So we can live happily ever after.