Black Is The Colour

Black is the colour of my true love’s bear. It is a big, fierce, black, and untamed bear and it lumbers about, roaring. She has confined it to her attic.

Why, I asked my true love as we canoodled on a municipal park bench, did she keep a wild black bear in her attic?

It was a sorry tale she told me, of her twin brother, of his job as a zookeeper, of the closure of the zoo, of the need to find homes for the zoo’s birds and serpents, its ants and dromedaries and gazelles, its sharks and bears, of her twin’s ursophilia and of his volunteering to take the big fierce black untamed bear a-home with him, of how, as brother and bear went hand-in-paw along the lane leading to his home, the bear set upon him, fierce and furious, gouging and slashing and thumping and biting, until her twin lay dead upon the path beside the river, of how, upon its further rampages, the bear fetched up outside her, my true love’s, house, and bashed its way through the door, roaring, of how she coaxed it up into the attic, with a bowl of water and dumplings, of how she slammed shut the door at the top of the stairs and blocked it with a large mahogany sideboard, of how she sat, exhausted and weeping, in her kitchen, until I came a-knocking at her door and invited her to join me for a walk in the municipal park and for a canoodle on the municipal park bench.

“I did not know you had a twin,” I said.

“He lies dead upon the lane, so I have a twin no more,” she said, “Now I have but his bear.”

“What will you do?” I asked.

“Short of keeping it confined to the attic and feeding it with dumplings and bowls of water, I have no idea,” she replied.

“I am sure you could sell it for a tidy sum to an inhumane rascal,” I said, at which my true love ceased canoodling and glared at me and slapped my face.

“How dare you suggest such a thing!”, she cried, impassioned, “That bear may be big and fierce and black and untamed, but it is my last link with my dead twin, and he loved it more than life itself!”

And she stood up and strode away across the municipal park lawn.

The course of true love seldom runs smooth, but I couldn’t help thinking that it damned well ought to. Clearly I had upset Ursula more than I knew, and I would have to find some way of making it up to her. But how? It would be pointless trying to raise her brother from the dead, for I have had a bash at resurrection in my time and it failed utterly. Could I reopen the zoo, and convince my true love that the bear would be happier there, and march it back from whence it came? But then I would presumably have to go and collect all the birds and serpents and ants and dromedaries and gazelles and sharks too, and somehow provide for them. The more I thought about it, the more probable it seemed that the bear was going to be lumbering about in Ursula’s attic for the foreseeable future. It would get lonely up there. Perhaps what I needed to do was to procure another bear, from another closing-down zoo, and take it to the attic, to be a pal. But in doing so, would I not risk, in leading the second bear along the lane by the river towards her house, the same fate as my true love’s twin brother? I too might be gouged and slashed and thumped and bitten and left for dead, and that would not help anybody.

I was still sitting on the municipal park bench, mulling these things over, when I saw my true love come sprinting towards me across the lawn.

“Oh woe is me!” she was crying, “First my twin brother, and now the bear!”

“What has happened, my darling dear?” I asked, as she slumped on the bench.

“I took up a bowl of water and a dumpling for it, and it choked on the dumpling!” she cried, “I could not revive it try as I might.”

“You gave the bear the kiss of life” I asked, curious.

“I tried, yes, oh I tried!” she said.

Later that week, there was a double funeral, for my true love’s twin brother and for the bear. We buried them in the same tomb. We mourned, we wept, we wore black, black, black.

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