It wasn’t that long ago when Andrea, after setting out to the town of TrickleTreacle with her prize strawberry, found herself stranded in the middle of nowhere during a storm and in need of help. She had sent her Magic Butterflies on a mission to fetch Brandall the bear. A short while later Brandall answered Andrea’s call for aid – he had better things to do such as protecting his honey from thieves, but in the past Andrea had always been kind to him and so he felt a genuine obligation to help her if he could. Back then, and to Brandall’s surprise, he saw that what Andrea needed help with was the transportation of a giant strawberry plonked on a wooden, horseless cart. The problem Brandall had was his weakness for anything sweet and succulent; his mouth began to drool at the sight of the giant strawberry before him, and just one swoop with his open mouth would gobble up this strawberry with no trouble at all, but that would not have helped Andrea with her problem so he had to exercise enormous self-restraint and resist the overwhelming temptation to eat it.
On that day Brandall had behaved like any other self respecting bear and kept to the promise he had made to Andrea, but it tested him beyond known personal limits. And as the saying goes: all’s well that ends well, that day had certainly ended well and Brandall managed to get Andrea and her giant strawberry safely to TrickleTreacle. Andrea had also kept to her promise and gave Brandall helpful advice about how to keep his honey stash secret and safe from thieves.
It was always Andrea’s intention to give a more befitting thankyou to Brandall for his timely assistance, and in the days that followed she drummed up a plan that was sure to satisfy her need to show some appreciation and, at the same time temporarily relieve Brandall’s insatiable hunger for anything sweet. The summer season had arrived and everything growing in Andrea’s enchanted garden was ripe and ready for picking, so she set about gathering up some sugary treats.
It took a few hours, but by midday Andrea jumped onboard her loaded cart pulled by her trust horse and set off for Communion Rock. Once there, she unloaded the cart then sent her butterflies to deliver a simple message to Brandall saying: Andrea needs to see you immediately.
Andrea sat upon the highest rock and waited for the tell-tale signs that Brandall was on his way, and soon the unmistakable rumble of heavy footfalls coming down from the mountains could be felt. Over yonder, beyond and above the visible tree-tops, Andrea saw Brandall’s head loom into view – her butterflies fluttering around him. He looked to be a bit grumpy at having been disturbed; Andrea let out a chuckle at the sight of it because pretty soon Brandall’s mood was about to be lifted. A few moments later Brandall emerged from the nearby trees and stopped right in front of Andrea who was trying- rather unsuccessfully, to suppress a laugh.
Brandall looked down at a huge pile of succulent strawberries, all glistening with sugary juices and sparkling in the summer sun. He looked up at Andrea who by now was laughing at the expression on Brandall’s face.
“Are you in need of my help, Andrea?” – boomed his bearish voice. He couldn’t help but look down again at the pile of strawberries, his mouth beginning to salivate.
“Yes,” she replied, still giggling.
“What would you like me to do for you,” he asked, looking rather confused.
“I want you to eat these strawberries for me.”
“You do?” Brandall sounded suspicious, as if he felt she was teasing him.
“Brandall, my dearest, lovable, giant bear. The fact that you kept to your promise the day when I needed help, and the fact that you had to endure personal torture when faced with a giant strawberry that you couldn’t eat, plus the fact that you managed to do just that is not lost upon me – I understand how difficult a thing it was for you to do. These strawberries are my way to give thanks to a friend who answered my call for help. Eat them all, they are yours! I only ask one thing in return.”
“And what is that,” he asked. His eyes were now firmly fixed on the delicious treat below him.
“It’s a glorious summer’s day, and I want to see the countryside from high up. Give me a ride on your back so I may see the golden hills.”
“I can do that,” said Brandall as he took his first mouthfull of strawberries. “I can certainly do that for you!”