Authors: Stan & Jan Berenstain
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1. One for All, and All for One
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2. The Honor Wall
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3. A Letter for Gus
Papa Q. Bear was known far and wide as one of the finest carpenters in all Bear Country. That meant that he always had plenty of customers. In fact, he usually had a waiting list as long as your arm.
But Papa had one special customer who was always at the top of his list. That customer was Squire Grizzly. Because Papa was the best carpenter in Beartown, Squire and Lady Grizzly wouldn't let anyone else take care of the woodwork at Grizzly Mansion.
Over the years Papa had probably done more work for the Grizzlys than for all his other customers put together. That was partly because Grizzly Mansion had so much woodwork. The mansion had dozens of rooms, and in every room there was woodwork on the walls and ceiling. There were also lots of stairways in Grizzly Mansion. Each stairway had wooden steps that sometimes needed repair and also finely carved banisters that had to be cleaned and refinished from time to time. Papa had even replaced damaged banisters on several of the stairways.
But an even bigger job than Grizzly Mansion's woodwork was its furniture. Lady Grizzly was a collector of fine old furniture. Every room of the mansion was filled with priceless antiques she had bought over the years. Each time she bought one, she gave it to Papa Bear to take apart, clean, put back together, and refinish. If it was damaged in any way, Papa would repair it with the utmost care.
There were two reasons Papa took such great care with the antiques from Grizzly Mansion. First, he always took pride in his work. And second, he knew how much Lady Grizzly loved her antiques. The squire spoke often of how upset she got when even one of them had so much as a scratch.
Papa wasn't at all surprised, then, to hear the panic in Squire Grizzly's voice over the phone one summer afternoon.
it!” said the squire. “One of her favorite rosewood chairs! I've put on a little weight recently, and I must have sat down too hard on it. If she sees it, she'll have a fit. Oh, if I'd only gone on that diet she's been pestering me about!”
“Don't worry, Squire,” said Papa. “I can start work on the chair first thing tomorrow morning and bring it back after lunch. Should I come to one of the side doors to pick it up so Lady Grizzly won't see me and wonder why I'm there?”
“Don't bother sneaking around,” said the squire. “Lady Grizzly's still asleep.”
“I hope she isn't ill,” said Papa.
“Oh, no. She hasn't been able to sleep at night lately. I'll tell you all about it when you get here. Greeves the butler will show you to my office.”
Papa told Mama what had happened and headed out to the family car. But first he called upstairs to Brother, Sister, and Cousin Fred, who was visiting for the afternoon.
The cubs always enjoyed going along with Papa on his trips to Grizzly Mansion. The grounds were so beautiful, especially in the summer. And the mansion itself was full of interesting things to look at, such as old suits of armor and huge portraits of Grizzly forebears.
For Brother there was the added attraction of Bonnie Brown, his special friend. Bonnie was the Grizzlys' niece. Her parents were in show business and were away from home most of the time. Sometimes Bonnie was in a play or show, too. The rest of the time she lived at Grizzly Mansion with her aunt and uncle.
The cubs hurried downstairs and piled into the car. Papa started it up, and off they went to Grizzly Mansion.
Arriving at Grizzly Mansion was different from arriving at any other house. First Papa and the cubs had to stop at the front gate and report to the security guard on duty there.
“Papa Q. Bear to see Squire Grizzly,” said Papa.
“Greeves just buzzed me on the intercom and told me to expect you, Papa,” said the guard. “Drive right in.”
Papa steered the car up the long drive-way and around the circle at its end. When Greeves greeted Papa and the cubs at the front door, they noticed that he had large bags under his eyes.
“You look tired, Greeves,” said Papa. “Anything wrong?”
“Not really, sir,” said the butler. “I just haven't been sleeping well lately.”
, thought Papa.
Just like Lady Grizzly. Maybe it's catching
They entered the front hallway that led to the main spiral staircase. As the cubs admired a suit of armor that stood before several life-size portraits of Grizzly forebears, Reeves went to an intercom and pressed a button. “The cubs have arrived, Miss Bonnie,” he said.
Bonnie waved as she came skipping down the stairs. “Hi, guys,” she said. “How about a tour of the mansion?”
“Great,” said Brother. “I've never been upstairs. Can we go up and look around?”
“Sure,” said Bonnie, taking his hand. “Let's go.”
Once upstairs, Bonnie led the cubs down a long hallway lined with portraits.
“Wow,” said Sister. “How many forebears do the Grizzlys have, anyway?”
“Dozens,” said Bonnie. “The family goes back centuries.”
Brother stopped in front of one of the portraits. It was of a very old white-haired bear who looked out from the canvas with dark beady eyes. The eyes had an odd gleam in them. Brother had a hunch that the gleam was a greedy one.
“Who's this old guy?” he asked Bonnie. “I don't think I like the looks of him.”
“Funny you should say that,” said Bonnie. “That's old Farnsworth Grizzly Uncle Squire's great-grandfather. He built Grizzly Mansion, you know. And he was definitely
a nice bear.”
“What did he do that wasn't nice?” asked Sister.
“He was a dishonest gamblerâa swindler. He cheated bears out of tons of money.”
“Kind of an old-time Ralph Ripoff,” said Brother.
“But much, much worse,” said Bonnie. “Farnsworth Grizzly made Ralph look like an honest citizen. Ralph still lives in that run-down houseboat, but Farnsworth Grizzly swindled his way into a mansion.”
“I never knew your uncle's family had such a bad apple in its barrel,” said Brother.