How the Lassie Didn't Go East of the Sun and West of the Moon (Excerpt)
 
Now, when they had gone a little bit of the way, the White Bear asked whether the lassie's visit home hadn't happened as he'd said. Had her mother indeed taken her aside to talk all alone when nobody was by to hear?

Well, she couldn't say that she hadn't. It had been too hard in the end to refuse her mother such a little thing, especially after being away from her in a strange place for so long.

"That's bad," said the Bear, "but as long as you didn't heed her advice, then we might still have luck."

No, she said, she hadn't listened to her mother's advice. But she gripped her bundle tighter as she said this.

It was a much larger bundle than the tiny one she'd carried when they'd first set out, for her parents were as rich now as they had been poor then, and nothing would do but that they load her down with gifts to thank her. She had protested that the castle of the White Bear provided her with everything she could ask for, let her only ring a little silver bell. "Oh, that's well and good," her mother had said, "but let us have the pleasure of giving you a few small things anyway, that we never had a chance to give you before." The lassie wept a little for joy then, to see her parents so well off and to know them still so fond of her, but she struggled a little now to shift her great big bundle onto a sturdier part of the Bear's back. I can tell you that the Bear didn't suffer about it.

So they rode on through the morning and most of the afternoon....
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This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for October 2, 2015, which has been designated the "Fictionette Freebie" for the month. Everyone can now download the full-length fictionette (1126 words) from Patreon in PDF or MP3 format, regardless of whether they are Patrons.

Cover art features watercolor illustration by Kay Nielson (1886-1957), released by the National Library New Zealand on The Commons