The Three Bears

Real Name


First Appearance

“The Story of the Three Bears” (fairy tale)

Created by



Three anthropomorphic bears – "a little, a small, and a "wee bear" – live together in a house in the woods. They are understood as very good-natured, trusting, harmless, tidy, and hospitable. Each of these "bachelor" bears has his own porridge bowl, chair, and bed. One day, they take a walk in the woods while their porridge cools. An old woman who, in some stories, is described as being not-so-old (who is described at various points in the story as impudent, bad, foul-mouthed, ugly, dirty and a vagrant deserving of a stint in the House of Correction), discovers the bears' dwelling. She looks through a window, peeps through the keyhole, and lifts the latch. Assured that no one is home, she walks in. The old woman eats the Wee Bear's porridge, then settles into his chair and breaks it. Prowling about, she finds the bears' beds and falls asleep in Wee Bear's bed. The climax of the tale is reached when the bears return. Wee Bear finds the old woman in his bed and cries, "Somebody has been lying in my bed, – and here she is!" The old woman starts up, jumps from the window, and runs away never to be seen again.

Public Domain Literary Appearances

  • 'The Story of the Three Bears Metrically Related' by Eleanor Mure (1831)
  • 'The Doctor &c.' by Robert Southey (1837)
  • 'The Story of the Three Bears' by George Nicol (1837)
  • 'Harlequin and the Three Bears, or, Little Silver Hair and the Fairies' by John Baldwin Buckstone (1853)
  • 'Favourite Fairy Tales' (1861)
  • 'The Three Bears' by Walter Crane (1876)
  • 'Golden Hair and Her Knight of the Beanstalk in the Enchanted Forest' by N. G. Clarke (1887)
  • 'The Old, Old Fairy Tales' (1889?)
  • 'More English Fairy Tales' (1894)
  • 'Stepping Stones to Literature' by Sarah Louise Arnold and Charles B. Gilbert (1897)
  • 'Denslow’s Three Bears' by W. W. Denslow (1903)
  • 'The Three Bears' by Mara L. Pratt‐Chadwick (1905)
  • 'The Three Bears' by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey (1906)
  • 'The Story Reader for the Second Year at School' by J. A. Bowen (1907)
  • 'The Progressive Road to Reading by Georgine Burchill, William L. Ettinger, and Edgar Dubs Shimer (1909)
  • 'Baby Bear’s Party' by Frances Margaret Fox (7 Nov. 1912)
  • 'The Three Bears of Porcupine Ridge' by Jean M. Thompson (1913)
  • 'How Mother Bear Saved Her Baby' by Frances Margaret Fox (18 Jan. 1913)
  • 'When Mother Bear Made Pickles' by Frances Margaret Fox (12 Apr. 1913)
  • 'How Little Bear Went to a Picnic' by Frances Margaret Fox (July 1913)
  • 'Little Bear’s Adventure' by Frances M. Fox (3 July 1913)
  • 'Little Bear’s Bee‐Tree' by Frances Margaret Fox (16 Oct. 1913)
  • 'Grandfather Grizzly' by Frances Margaret Fox (30 July 1914)
  • 'Three Bears in the Enchanted Land' by Frances Margaret Fox (12 Nov. 1914)
  • 'The Three Bears/Les trois ours' by Caroline Wasson Thomason (1921)
  • 'A Party in Mother Goose Land' by Effa E. Preston (1922)
  • 'Guilty Looks Enter Tree Beers' by Howard L. Chace (1956)

See Also

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