Brown the Bear    Libretto by Bob Devereux



             Deep in the Forest,

             In the Whispering forest,

             Deep in the Forest,

             Who goes there?


Padding through the shadows,

A wondrous shadow that lurks in the shadow.

A lumbering, shambling sort of shadow.


             Deep in the Forest,

             Who goes there?


He raises his nose . . . to sniff the air.


             Deep in the Forest,

             Who goes there?


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Mister Brown the Bear.


The Forest is green and leafy and full of mystery;

And full of rabbits and squirrels and badgers and foxes

And singing birds with the most beautiful voices.

But boys and girls should never dare

To stray beyond its fringes,

Because there is a BEAR . . .

Oh yes . . . there is!


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Mister Brown the Bear.


Now Mr. Brown lives in a cave; in a mountainside, in the heart of the forest, half hidden amongst the trees,

with his wife and their four pretty bearlets - Roly, Poly, Bubble and Squeak. And those bears have very, very,

very healthy appetites! Oh yes . . . they do!


So every day, when the sun comes out of its shed,

Before it has even kissed the mountain peak,

        Summer, Winter, Autumn, Spring,

        Mr. Brown goes foraging;


Looking for acorns, mushrooms and canteloupe,

And fat grasshoppers for grasshopper soup.

Whatever’s in season he picks the best thing.

        Summer, Winter, Autumn, Spring.

And nothing that hops, or scuttles, or drops

With a plop from a tree is safe . . . if it’s tasty!


But Mr. Brown knows that there are things

He cannot find in dappled shade;

He has a craving (now and then) for marmalade

That farmers’ wives leave cooling on the window sill.


And he is not content to root around the forest glades,

When in the orchard there are juicy pears,

Which are a real treat for baby bears.

And so he raids the orchard and he takes the pears.

He shakes those old trees till the ripe fruit drop . . .

                Plop, plop, plippity plop.


And then he pops them in his basket.


He turns over the hives and he steals the honey,

And though the farmer and the bees aren’t happy,

                          HE DOESN’T CARE!

Then he licks his chops, and back he trots,

Back to the Forest . . . back to the Forest.

             Summer, Winter, Autumn, Spring.

             No one will find him there.

He is the thief who takes what he wants

In broad daylight.



Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Mister Brown the Bear.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Mister Brown the Bear.


STOP! . . . LISTEN! . . .


Now the orchard belongs to the Mayor of the town on the hill.  It’s a tranquil place, where nothing ever

happens . . . You could almost say it was asleep.


There’s an inn and a church,

With a clock that has stopped,

And a couple of shops and a mill.

It’s called Little Trickle,

And life there’s a gentle affair.


But the Mayor isn’t pleased

When he hears that a bear has been stealing his pears.

Besides he’s heard stories . . .

You must have heard the stories . . .

Of bears that raid houses and steal all the groceries,

             And bears that kill chickens

             And bears that eat babies!


So he’s calling a meeting of ‘ALL THOSE CONCERNED’ in the Square.


There have never been so many people in the streets at one time!

It’s as if a cork had been removed from a magic bottle!

                          Never such a gathering.

                          Never so much gossiping.

                          Never so much chatter

                          In the streets of Little Trickle.

             So many voices clamouring to be heard.


Players:       “I saw his footprints round my chicken run!”

Narrator:     “Brown Bear!”

Players:       “He got all tangled in Miss Miranda’s washing!”

Narrator:     “Brown Bear!”

Players:       “He trampled through my cabbage patch!”

Narrator:     “Brown Bear!”

Players:       “The NOISE he made! I couldn’?t hear myself practice!”

Narrator:     “Brown Bear!”

Players:       “They say that he is not a bear at all!”

Narrator:     “Brown Bear!”

Players:       “He’s something FAR more frightening!”

Narrator:     “Brown Bear!”

Players: “The say he is a MONSTER . . . not a BEAR!”

Narrator:     Brown Bear!”?


“My friends,” says the Mayor, “Are we tame rabbits to be held hostage by our fear?  It’s really too much!


"The other day he dipped his impudent paw into 12 pots of marmalade, right under the nose of John Bilbow’s wife!

She saw him through the open window, and she shouted! But would he go away . . . ? Not he! Not Brown Bear!

There are women in this town who dare not let their children out to play, and nobody feels safe to walk in the Forest any more.


"Are we rabbits . . . ?

ARE WE RABBITS to be confined to our HUTCHES . . . ? ?



"Besides. . . he has stolen MY PEARS!

I’ll have his skin for a hearthrug!


You’ve all heard the stories . . .

You must have heard the stories.

Why he’ll soon be eating our BABIES!”


Hunt him down! Hunt him down! Mister Brown the Bear!

Hunt him down! Hunt him down! Mister Brown the Bear!


                      “STOP! . . .

I’ll give this gold piece to the man who skins him.

That’s how serious I am!

This gold piece to the man who skins him!”


Hunt him down! Hunt him down! Mister Brown the Bear!


Now there aren’t many heroes in Little Trickle.

The bravest thing a man has to do is to get up in the morning …

It’s so very, very sleepy!


People are saying:


Narrator:     “I’m not going out hunting, not me! I’m far too busy”

Players:       “I’ve got a goose to pluck.”

                      “I’ve a cart to load.”

                      “I’ve got two great potholes in my road.”

                      “I’m far too old.”

                      “I’m far too frail.”

                      “I haven’t done my practice.”?

                      “I’ve got a wife and a dog and a cat.”


You see? They’re all far too busy . . . !

             Now they’re walking away.

             Look . . . they’re walking away.

Does nobody dare?

Is nobody going to take up the challenge?

Does nobody want the Mayor’s gold piece.


“Good people! Come back! Come back I say!”

             But they’re walking away.

             Look . . . they’re walking away.


Only two men are left, and . . . yes . . .

They’re shaking hands with the Mayor.

Why, it’s Tristan the Dreamer and Arnold the Blacksmith.


Players:       “That pair! They know nothing of hunting!”

                      “They want TWO gold pieces . . . EACH!”?

                      “And a welcoming party . . .”

                      “AND dancing in the street . . .”?

                      “AND plenty to eat . . .”

                      “AND plenty to drink . . .”

                      “AND plenty of speeches . . .”?


Look . . . the Mayor’s giving in;

He’s about to agree.


Player:            “My word! I AM surprised!”?


             Well, they were a bit greedy.

But it took real courage to bargain like that with our Mayor.


Hunt him down! Hunt him down! Mister Brown the Bear.


But it’s getting quite late now.

Don’t you think they should wait till morning?

             No! Not Tristan, not Arnold!

             They have dreams of money

             And fame to spur on their courage!


Now the Whispering Forest is dark

Even when the sun’s bright,

And it gets much, much darker as evening draws in,

And it’s black as a tomb by midnight.


At first it seemed easy to follow the paths,

But they’re melting away,

And it’s getting much harder to see where they are,

And the Forest is ready to swallow them up if they stray.


They trip over roots, and stumble and stagger.

Disturbed by strange noises they stay close together.

They’re getting quite jumpy, and wondering whether

They should have come here . . . WHAT WAS THAT . . . ?

                      It was nothing.


Twigs reach out to skelp them,

And strange things loom out from the gloom.

An owl hoots a warning, it is eerie and chilling.

They are getting quite fearful, and wondering whether

They should have come here . . . WHAT WAS THAT . . . ?

                      It was only a bear.


“A BEAR ? ? Quick! Give me your gun!”

“MY gun . . . ? I’VE no gun.”

“RUN, MAN . . . RUN!!!”


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Mister Brown the Bear.




But, early next morning, in Little Trickle, the Banquet’s already prepared.

Three long trestle tables of food, and another of wine.

And the Town Band’s on hand.

It all looks quite GRAND.


Our two heroes should be back soon . . . anytime . . .

When . . . out of the Forest . . .

“I see them . . . They’re coming . . .

Get ready to cheer! . . .

And yes . . . there’s the skin!

No, no, no . . . WAIT!!

There’s the skin, and Brown Bear’s STILL IN IT!

             There’s the Bear!

             There’s the Bear!

             There’s the BEAR . . . !!”


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Mister Brown the Bear.




The Town is in hiding.

The Banquet’s inviting . . .

And there’s no one around . . .


So Brown Bear eats what he finds,

And drinks what he’s found,

And it’s getting quite hot,

So the Bear drinks the lot!


“Fancy running away when company comes,” thinks the Bear.

“God bless us, this is a wonderful party,

             And all in my honour!

If only Mrs. Brown were here to see me.

             Here’s a health to her . . .

And a health to my good friend the Mayor

              . . . Bless his pears!


Now I’ll just do a dance . . .

Tum tee tum tee tum tum

Tum tee tum tee Ooops!”


And he tries to get up

But he’s simply not able.

Down he falls under the table,

Into a deep, deep, wine-laden sleep.


On tiptoe the villagers surround him.

This time they’ll NOT FAIL.

Now they’ve locked him away in the Gaol.



*            *            *            *


Brown Bear has been sleeping all day,

But now he’s awake . . . and he’s scared.

             Well, wouldn’t you be?

             Just imagine . . .


You awake in a dark, musty room,

And there’s nobody there when you call.

Moonlight comes through a hole in the roof,

But that is no comfort at all.

You discover you’re not free to move.

How you got there you cannot recall.

What you know is that you cannot move

You are chained like a dog to the wall.





He’s not going to stay locked up for long.

He cracks off his collar with an angry roar.

He severs his chains with one blow from his paw.





And then he crashes through the door.

He’s out of the Gaol, and he doesn’t look back!


He’s off to the Forest: LET THEM FOLLOW HIM THERE!


But in Little Trickle everyone’s awake . . . WIDE AWAKE!

More awake than it has been in the whole of its history!

They are up, and they are out, and they’re running;

They are stumbling into the street.


Bare feet on cold cobble, but no one’s complaining!

Fat men in flannel, small babies with teddies,

Tall ladies in nighties with dressing gowns flapping,

Young women in curlers, and boys in pyjamas;

Old men with candles, and bald men with night caps,

And some of them just wearing sheets.


That terrible noise!

Can the Bear have escaped?


They stare at the door of the Gaol . . .

It’s quite past belief.


Players:       “Just a splinter of wood attached to a hinge.”

                      “And look what he’s done to those chains.”

                      “He must be stronger than anyone ever imagined.”


But that’s not the end. No, it’s just the beginning.

             Our Mayor won’t give in;

                      It’s not in his nature.

                          The Beast must be caught.

                                      The Town is in danger.

             He cannot leave matters there.


Besides . . . he knows that the Bear is worth money!


“My friends,” says the Mayor, “this is really too much!

Are we rabbits to be confined to our hutches?

My friends, it is clear that we must get the best.


Huntsmen and trappers with hounds and good horses.

I am ready to pay TEN gold pieces to buy us the best.

This BEAR can break through iron chains.

But I don’t want him harmed;

I have found a good home for the Beast.



It’s amazing how quickly the word gets around,

And in no time at all the huntsmen are found.


Here they are in the Square with their horses and hounds.

             “Here Trixie! Here Terror! Here Browser! Here True!”

They are running all over the place.

But the scent is still fresh, and soon they are off in a pack.

“Goodbye Mr. Mayor! We’ll be back! We’ll be back!”

“Here Chancer! Here Dancer! Here Prancer! Here Blue!”



Hunt him down! Hunt him down! Mister Brown the Bear!


“There he goes, through those trees over there!”



“All this racing about is so tiring; there’s no pleasure in it,”

Says Bear as he wades up the river and hides on a ledge.

             He’s no fool!


The hounds are confused, and have lost his trail.

They’re running in circles, and to no avail.


Mr. Brown gets so cold on that ledge.

He can’t stay there for ever.

They are bound to come back to the river,

And then they will find him.

             What is he to do?


But what’s that aroma . . . ?

So fragrant, so subtle?

It fairly makes a Bear’s nose . . . twitch.


Just a whiff, just a sniff of something

That reminds him . . . he’s hungry.

It says: “Come this way”, and it’s very persuasive.


A clearing; a cottage . . . it could be a trap;

But it smells really friendly.


There’s a girl in the doorway.

She seems pleased to see him.

             “Why! A live Teddy Bear!

             Come in, Sir. Come in . . . Do.

             I’m Jane; this is Walter . . . my silly brother.

             HE wanted to stop me from opening the door!

             Have you come for your supper?”


How welcome they make him.

A fine meal awaits him.

He sits by the fire,

And they groom and admire him.


But the hunt has returned;

And the Mayor has come with them.

             “I don’t want him harmed . . .

             I can sell him for dancing.”

             The hunters look cross . . .

             They’ll lose their chance.

Now they’ve come to the cottage.

They have it surrounded.


Players:       “Just look at those pawprints.”?

Narrator:     “They lead to the door.”?

Players:       “My children are in there!”?

                      “I hope he’s not harmed them.”

                      “We have to do something!”

                      “This is no time for talking”?

                      “Oh please, can you hurry!”


The Mayor is persuaded to peep through the window.

There is nothing the huntsmen can do

While the Bear’s in the cottage.


             He moves forward slowly.    

             He crawls on his belly.

             He mutters, he mumbles:

             “Why me, oh, why me?”


He’s really quite frightened.

But the door of the cottage is open,

And there are the children.

There’s Jane, and there’s Walter.

And Walter is riding the Bear.


             Brown Bear is so cuddly!

             Brown Bear is a honey!

Look, Walter is riding him, just like a pony.




Oh dear, Mr. Mayor!

Now don’t you look funny?


                   Hooray for the Bear!

                   Hooray for the children!


                   Hooray for the Mayor!

             When he sees the Bear’s friendly.

                   Hooray for the huntsmen!

             Who won’t get their money!


                   Hooray for the children!

                   Hooray for the Mayor!

                   Hooray for the Huntsmen!

                   Hooray for the Bear!


             Brown Bear is so cuddly!

             Brown Bear is a honey!


Three cheers for Mister Brown the Bear:

                   Hip hip . . . Hooray!

                   Hip hip . . . Hooray!

                   Hip hip . . . Hooray!




© Bob Devereux 1997