A wizard moved into a cave just outside the village. People wondered about the bear who’d previously lived there.
Soon after he arrived, people began to turn to stone — only a few, at first, but more and more with each passing day. Thankfully, the condition only affected grownups.
People wondered if it was the wizard’s doing. It must be, they said. How else to explain it? They wondered if they’d somehow angered him. Gifts were left outside his cave — food and baubles. People wished the bear would come back. Maybe he’d been turned to stone, too.
Finally the day came when all the grownups had been turned to stone. A pack of children wandered throughout the village. The searched inside closets and under beds. Everywhere they looked, their mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, and grandparents had been turned to stone.
In the last house they visited, on the outskirts of town, they discovered a teen-aged girl. As recently as last year she might’ve been considered a child — she’d laughed with them and played with them, too. But now it was spring and the girl was grown. To wit, she said, “It was you, wasn’t it? You twerps.”
The children marched the teen-aged girl to the wizard’s cave, where they found him sitting outside, on a tree stump. The food and baubles were gone, presumably inside the cave.
“You said all,” a representative reminded him. “You promised.”
The wizard squinted at the teen-aged girl. “So I did,” he agreed.
“Also, what happened to the bear?”
“Oh, he’s still here,” the wizard said. “The cave is big enough to share.”
The children agreed that this was a good thing.