If you go down to the woods today…

‘The property was broken into, items appropriated and family privacy disturbed,’ said the judge. ‘However, the use of firearms was excessive. Twenty years for wilful and deliberate murder.’

Defence counsel rose. ‘Objection! My client claims self-defence!’

‘Against an unarmed intruder? Twenty years.’

The handcuffs bit deep into Father Bear’s wrists.

She’ll need a lick of paint, too…

‘Be careful, son. Her floorboards are probably rotten by now.’

His father’s words were of no comfort as he lay in the hall, scratched by thorns, smothered by one hundred years’ dust, immobilised by broken ankles.

He threw kisses upwards towards the hole.

The only reply was gentle, royal snoring.