A Doll Hospital

We're home, safe and well. Time to tell my last travel story!

"Looks like Perry needs a bear doctor," said Doctor Steve.

Miss Cynthia looked at me closely over her plate of Wienerschnitzel and potatoes. "Goodness," she said, "I think you're right! Perry, what has happened to your nose?"

What had happened to my nose? What hadn't happened to me on our tour of Europe? First, baby William and little Merri had stowed away in the suitcase. Then Doctor Steve and Miss Cynthia got the flu. My travel letters had been delayed, and all my bear friends had been worried about us.

It had been a long ten days, waiting for our human family to recover. From Amsterdam to Hamburg, Frankfurt to Brussels, our poor humans coughed and shivered and ached. I was glad William and Merri had stowed away. The babies and I had lots of fun, playing games together and looking out windows in our hotel room.

Now, we were in Vienna, the last stop on our tour. Miss Cynthia was better, and Doctor Steve was his old self again.

Why, only that morning he had been teasing me! Miss Cynthia was in the shower. Doctor Steve didn't have anything to do. Look out, Perry Bear!

Suddenly, I was lifted away from the game of tag I was playing with William and Merri. "Perry," said Doctor Steve, "you don't want to play tag! You want to pretend to be a bat, and hang upside down by your toes!"

"No, Doctor Steve, no!" I cried. "I don't want to be a bat and hang upside down by my toes!"

Doctor Steve ignored me. He took me to a machine on the wall. You put your trousers inside, and the machine presses them while you sleep. Gently, Doctor Steve pushed my back paws into the top of the pants presser. Oh, no! I was hanging upside down, just like a bat.

William and Merri giggled. "Perry," said Merri, "you look funny." William and Merri looked funny, too. They were upside down, just like everything else.

The shower door opened, and Miss Cynthia stepped out. "Perry doesn't want to be a bear anymore," said Doctor Steve. "He wants to be a bat. Look! He's hanging by his toes, just like a bat!"

"Oh, no!" Miss Cynthia said as she rescued me. "It looks like Doctor Steve is feeling better! I think we should go see some of the sights of Vienna." Miss Cynthia gave me a hug and plumped the stuffing in my back paws. A quick wrap of my nice warm scarf, and we were off to explore Vienna.

That morning, we walked the center of the old city. On the Kartnerstrasse, Miss Cynthia admired the pastries and pretty candies in the shop windows. Viennese people love to drink coffee and eat little sweets, but they do so much walking that they don't have to watch their weight. "Oh, if only!" said Miss Cynthia.

We visited the beautiful cathedral in the center of Vienna: Stephansdom, or St. Stephan's Cathedral. It was built about 800 years ago, and took more than 300 years to complete. Inside the cathedral, I waved to the famous "window looker" under the pulpit, a carving of a man looking out of a window. Imagine! Stonemasons of the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries carved the window looker, and all the other beautiful decorations of Stephansdom, out of hard rock.

Outside the cathedral, long lines of horse carriages waited. Tourists and travelers could take a ride through the streets of Vienna. It would be like living in another time! I patted the nearest horse. He was wearing a blanket as a coat against the cold. He needed it! I was happy to have my nice warm scarf in the cold air.

On our way to lunch, we passed Mozart's house. It looked very small and plain for such a famous composer. Mozart lived in Vienna for many years. His memory was everywhere: Mozart candies, Mozart pastries, even the house where he lived! Miss Cynthia reminded me that Mozart had a funeral inside Stephansdom before being buried in a pauper's grave. His beautiful music still lightens the heart of all the world.

Now, over lunch, Doctor Steve said I needed to go to a bear doctor! I grabbed my nose with both my paws. I poked at it. From the inside, it felt just fine. I couldn't feel anything wrong.

Miss Cynthia lifted me into her lap. "Let's have a look, Perry," she said. She patted my nose gently, pushing the fur aside here and there.

"I'm afraid Doctor Steve is right," she said. "Perry, your nose has split in two places! It must have been all the travel, and rough-housing with the baby bears. You definitely need a new nose!"

I didn't want a new nose! I didn't want to go to the bear doctor! I grabbed my nose in my paws. "No, no, NO!" I said, loudly.

Miss Cynthia looked at Doctor Steve. She hugged me tightly. "I know just the thing," she said. "Perry, how would you like to visit the place where Grillparzer came to join our bear family? It's a shop called De Puppendoktor"

I looked up, still clutching my nose. "Grillparzer?" I asked. What was Miss Cynthia talking about? Grillparzer was one of my bear brothers, and he came from Austria. Goodness! I had forgotten Grillparzer came from Vienna! He would never forgive me if I didn't visit his old home. "Okay," I said, "but I'm not going to the bear doctor." I kept hold of my nose, good and tight.

Miss Cynthia laughed and set me in my place. "Fine, Perry, we'll go right after lunch - if you can finish eating and hold your nose at the same time."

I managed. The Wienerschnitzel was delicious! Wienerschnitzel is veal pounded very thin, and coated with a crispy fried batter. I ate my lunch and held my nose the whole time. No bear doctor for Perry Bear!

A few blocks away, we arrived at Der Puppendoktor. It was a tiny little shop, no bigger than the average American bathroom. It was full of dolls! Miss Cynthia, Doctor Steve and I went in and looked at all the beautiful dolls. Tall dolls, short dolls, baby dolls, boy dolls, lady dolls, and many old, valuable dolls. The dolls were dressed in beautiful clothes. Their hair was curled and shiny. They smiled at me, and I waved a friendly greeting, one paw still on my nose.

Miss Cynthia pointed to a tiny chair. A doll in a red dress sat there. "Look, Perry," said Miss Cynthia, "that is the exact chair where Grillparzer sat when I adopted him. I was visiting the shop, and looked in his eyes, and nothing would do but that he come home with me and join the bear family." I looked around and tried to remember everything. Grillparzer would want to know all about his earliest home!

A little counter stood in a corner, in front of a workroom that opened out behind the shop. Look! Dolls and bears sat lined up on the workroom shelves. They weren't pretty and shiny like the other dolls, but they smiled and waved anyway. Some needed hair. Others were missing noses or feet or arms. Some of the bears had lost their stuffing, or their button eyes. They were all happy and cheerful, though.

"Hello!" called Miss Cynthia. From the workroom, a pretty young woman appeared. "Hello!" the shopgirl said. She had a warm smile as she looked at me. "Do we have someone who needs some help?"

Miss Cynthia introduced me. "This is my good friend Perry Bear. He is a reporter from the United States." I shook hands and said "How do you do?"

"Perry is a bit nervous about visiting you," said Miss Cynthia. "As you can see, his nose has a little problem. There are two splits in it, and the stuffing is coming out!"

The pretty shopgirl smiled at me. She looked closer. "May I?" she asked, as she pushed away my paw. "Oh, my!" she said, as she examined my nose. "This isn't good, but it will be very easy to fix."

I looked around. What was this place? I thought bear doctors were scary and frightening. Instead, this was a happy room, full of smiling dolls and bears.

"Yes, Perry," said Miss Cynthia, "this is a doll hospital. That's what 'Puppendoktor' means in German. We found Grillparzer here, and after the tour, I'd to send you back here to have your nose fixed. What do you think?"

The shopgirl picked me up and hugged me. "It will be fun, Perry Bear. As you see, there are many dolls and bears to talk to. We will take good care of you when we give you a new nose."

She carried me to a long wall. "Look!" she said, "you will be in good company." She pointed to many letters, newspaper clippings and magazine articles, all about dolls and bears who had visited Der Puppendoktor. One of the bears was a television star on German television! Others had come from Australia, Japan, and the United States. Many children had written to thank the bear doctors for the good care their friends had received.

"Well?" asked Miss Cynthia. "We can't leave you here just yet - we have to go home first. Then you'll have to visit some of your bear friends in school, and write a few newspaper stories. When everything is ready, we'll send you straight to Der Puppendoktor. You'll visit with all the dolls and bears as your nose is repaired. Then they will send you straight home."

"What do you think?" asked Miss Cynthia again. I looked around. The shopgirl seemed very nice, and I could tell she liked bears, too. The dolls and bears smiled at me, encouragingly. One saucy doll winked at me. Think of the stories I could learn from so many dolls and bears!

"I'll do it!" I said. Everyone smiled.

In the days that followed, we made our way home. There were many long plane flights, and we grew very tired. We had been gone for an entire month! After a long trip, everyone likes to rest for a little while.

Except, Perry Bear will be returning to Vienna soon, this time for a new nose!

Your bear friend,

Perry Bear Ewer

Perry's Travels: