We’re Going on a Ministry Approved Bear Hunt

We’re going on a bear hunt.

Hem, hem.

We’re going to catch a big one.

            Hem, hem.

Excuse me? Did you want something?

 

I just wanted to let you know that I will be observing today’s bear hunt, on behalf of the Ministry. There have been reports of failing standards, so I am here to provide the Minister with some proper on-the-ground feedback on the situation.

 Oh, okay. So what should I…

Just carry on. As you were!

Right, well…

We’re going on a bear hunt.

We’re going to catch a big one.

What a beautiful day!

Hem, hem.

Yes?

You appear to be trying to make an exclamation.

Yes, that’s right. I did exclaim, didn’t I? I exclaimed, “What a beautiful day!”. Is there a problem with that?

 Well, it’s just that the Minister would prefer all exclamations to be made, where possible, using Ministry approved exclamation sentences.

 Ministry approved what?

Ministry approved exclamation sentences. Your utterance, ‘What a beautiful day!’, though used to make an exclamation, does not meet the standards for Ministry approval, as it doesn’t take the form of an exclamation sentence. You see, and I quote, “An exclamation must be introduced by a phrase with ‘what’ or ‘how’ and should be followed by a subject + verb + any other elements. It is typically demarcated by an exclamation mark”. Your utterance – I won’t dignify it with the label ‘sentence’ – falls short as it is missing the all-important ingredient of a verb.

Oh, okay. So you want me to put a verb in?

 Well yes, if this is going to be a Ministry Approved bear hunt, you had better do just that.

 Right then. So,

We’re going on a bear hunt.

We’re going to catch a big one.

What a beautiful day it is!

We’re not scared.

 

Uh-uh! Grass!

Hem, hem.

Yes?

What did you just say?

I think I said, “Uh-uh! Grass!”

And you’re happy with that, are you? Just a sound followed by a word on its own? Could you not try to express yourself in full sentences? What message were you trying to get across?

Well I suppose I was trying to express some concern at our having met with some long grass.

Exclaiming, perhaps?

 Oh, OK then. You mean I should say something like, “How concerning for us to encounter some grass!”

 Better. But how about you tell us a bit more about that grass? Why don’t you pop in some adjectives to make it a little bit more interesting for us?

 Well I was about to… Oh well, OK then.

We’re going on a bear hunt.

We’re going to catch a big one.

What a beautiful day it is!

We’re not scared.

 

How concerning for us to encounter some long wavy grass!

We can’t go over it.

We can’t go under it.

 

Oh no!

Hem, hem.

Exclamations again?

Exactly.

 All right.

We’re going on a bear hunt.

We’re going to catch a big one.

What a beautiful day it is!

We’re not scared.

 

How concerning for us to encounter some long wavy grass!

We can’t go over it.

We can’t go under it.

 

What a calamity to have befallen us!

We’ve got to go through it!

 

Swishy swashy!

Swishy swashy!

Swishy swashy!

Hem, hem.

What now?

What was all that ‘swishy swashy’ stuff about?

Well it’s meant to be the sound that the grass makes when you walk through it.

Couldn’t you tell us that then? Put it in a proper sentence?

 You mean, “The grass goes ‘Swishy swashy! Swishy swashy! Swishy swashy!”.

 Better. Now let’s hear it!

We’re going on a bear hunt.

We’re going to catch a big one.

What a beautiful…

Hold on a minute. It was a beautiful day. But now… What on earth? What the devil are those things?

Oh that lot? Don’t worry about them. They’re out on Ministry business. The Minister’s having a crackdown you see. Zero tolerance. Long overdue of course. I’ve said it for years. They should never have let them get away with ‘To boldly go’. That’s when the rot started, if you ask me. But the Minister, you see, he’s finally taking things in hand. He’s issued warrants, bringing people in. I expect those ones are off to sort out that dreadful business with the Pontipines. They’ve had it coming of course. They’ve had their warnings. “There are ten Pontipines”, we’ve told them, or “The number of Pontipines is ten”. But still they go on, day in, day out, “And even when there’s ten of them”. “There’s ten”, I ask you.   Well I’ll tell you something for nothing. Once that lot have had finished with them they’re going to wish they really were hardly there at all.

Hey, wait a minute. Where are you going?

 Back through the grass! Swishy swashy! Swishy swashy!

Stop!

Get to our front door.

Open the door.

Up the stairs.

Come back here!

Oh no!

We forgot to shut the door.

Back downstairs.

When the Minister hears about this…

Shut the door.

Back upstairs.

Into the bedroom.

Into bed.

Under the covers.

But what about the Minister?

Tell him we’re not going on a bear hunt again!

 

 

With apologies to Michael Rosen and J. K. Rowling.