Childhood
Life cycle
Narrative
Tales /märchen

The Three Bears Lullaby

The informant in this piece is my grandmother on my father’s side, Ruth, a retired teacher born in 1926 in Arkansas.

In this piece, she talks about a lullaby she used to sing to my father and aunt. She could not remember much of the lullaby, but I found the lullaby she was talking about. When I read her the following lyrics, she said they were pretty close to what she can remember.

“Once upon a time in a neat little cottage there lived three bears

One was a daddy bear and one was a mama bear and one was a wee bear

While they were out a-walking, through the deep woods a-stalking came a little girl with blonde hair

Her name was Goldilocks and upon the door she knocks but no one was there

So she walked right in and had herself a time coz she didn’t care

Then she got sleepy, went upstairs to bed, when…

Home, home, home came the three bears!

Someone’s been eating my porridge said the daddy bear,

Someone’s been eating my porridge said the mama bear,

Hey Ba-ba Re-bear said the little wee bear someone has broken my chair!
Someone’s been sitting in my chair said the daddy bear,

Someone’s been sitting in my chair said the mama bear,

Hey Ba-ba Re-bear said the little wee bear someone has broken my chair!

Just then Goldilocks woke up, broke up the party and beat it out of there
Bye-bye! Bye! Bye! said the daddy bear

Goodbye, Bye said the mama bear

Hey Ba-ba Re-bear said the little wee bear

So ends the story of the three bears!”

N: When Cathy and Mike were very young I would read to them or tell bedtime stories until I would get so sleepy I couldn’t read any more. I would then start to sing a little song that went like this ‘ Once upon a time there were three bears, A Papa Bear, A Mama Bear and a Wee Bear’. They would cry out “No, don’t sing the song”. I never knew if they didn’t like my singing or they didn’t want the stories to end.

M: Do you remember any of the song?

N: Um… no. No more than what I just sang to you.

M: Do you remember where you learned it?

N: I think I had learned it from my mother. She would sing it to me when I was little.

M: It’s funny. I never knew there was a song for Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

I really like my grandmother’s response to why my dad and aunt had such a bad reaction to the song. Personally, I think it was because they knew after the song, the stories would end. I think people tell lullabies they heard as children because it reminds them of when they were little, and they want to have that in common with their children. When I asked my dad about it, however, he said he barely remembers the lullaby. It interesting what some people hold very important, and others forget about.

For other versions of this lullaby, visit http://dragon.sleepdeprived.ca/songbook/songs4/S4_36.htm

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