Episode the Fourth: Little Dot Meets a Toona Bear

By: Mr. E. S. Stranger

One day, Little Dot was walking through the living room and heard a sound at the front door. She stopped and walked to it. There it was again. It sounded like a tiny sneeze.

"Who's there?" she asked, but all she heard in reply was a sniffle. She opened the door a crack. At first she saw no one, but when she looked down, she saw a white stuffed bear about a foot high.

The bear looked up. "Hello," he said. "Could you let me in?"

"Was that you sneezing just now?" Dot asked.

The bear looked around. "Yeah, that must have been me," he said. "I'm allergic to the outdoors."

"Does pollen make you sneeze?" Dot asked.

"Yeah. Pollen and the outdoors."

"What else, then?" asked Dot. "Grass?"

"Yeah. Pollen, and grass, and the outdoors."

"And dust, you mean?" Dot suggested.

"I guess so. Pollen, grass, dust, and the outdoors. Could you let me in? Being outside is really getting to me, and it's buggy on the ground."

Dot picked the bear up and brought him inside. The bear breathed deeply.

"Ahhh," he said, satisfied. "That's better."

"How did you get here?" asked Dot.

"Someone brought me here," the bear replied.

"Who brought you here?"

The bear thought. "It was the mysterious stranger, I think."

"Who's the mysterious stranger?" Dot asked.

The bear shrugged. "I don't know. He's mysterious."

"So it's a he?" answered Dot.

"Is that what I said?"


The bear thought about that. "Must be, then."

Dot looked him over. There was a red ribbon about his neck. The bottom of his left foot had an "I," then a heart, and then the word "you."

"I love you," Dot read.

The bear's fur turned red, if that's possible, which it isn't. "Aww, gee, we barely know each other," he said.

Dot looked up. "I need to name you. How about 'White'? No. 'Furry'? No. 'Ribbonaroundtheneck'? No. Hmm...what else are you like?"

"What else am I like?"


The bear thought and thought. Dot waited. Finally the bear spoke.

"What was the question?" he asked.

"I asked you what else you're like."

"Oh." The bear thought. "Well, I like fish."

"Salmon?" Dot asked, imagining him fishing from a stream.

"No," said the bear. "Canned salmon has too many bones. Me, I'm a tuna bear."

Dot thought about that. "Toona bear. I like it. Your name is Toona."

"Ok," Toona replied.

Dot whisked him away to her room and set him down next to Funny Bunny. Funny Bunny was none too pleased. He glared at Toona.

"You're in my space," the shoestring bunny said.

"Sorry," Toona said, and he walked toward the door. Dot scooped him up and put him next to Funny Bunny again. Funny Bunny began to protest, so Dot picked up the bunny and sat him on Toona's lap. The bunny's protests died away as the coziness of Toona's fur stole over him.

"Mmmm...umm..." said Funny Bunny. "What was I saying...?"

He tickled Toona. Toona laughed a deep laugh. Funny Bunny tickled Toona for a while longer, and then they took a nap. Dot went on with her day.

So Toona and Funny Bunny got along well. They sat and guarded Dot's room, and to pass the time they slept or talked nonsense or watched the carpet fuzzies grow. Toona got on well enough with Jimi, too, though for the most part all they did was have stare-down contests, which Toona invariably won. This annoyed Jimi greatly.

One day, Toona asked Dot a question that had been bugging him.

"Dottie, what does my left foot say? People are always reading it and smiling, but they don't tell me what's there."

"I love you," Dot said.

Toona did his best to blush. "I love you, too," he said. He and Dot stared at each other for a while. "But really, what's there?"

Dot bent his leg so that he could read the bottom of his foot. "Oh," he said.

He almost never wondered about that again.