Bearskins and Backpacks

copyright-managua-gunnphoto credit: Managua Gunn

“Can you do this?” asks the girl, touching a lollipop-stained tongue to her freckled nose.

Lance-Sergeant Blackwood, who can kill with his bare hands, grits his teeth and studies a nervous man amongst the tourists. His rucksack is oddly packed.

“Is that alive?” the girl persists, pointing at Blackwood’s bearskin.

Blackwood’s eyes flick towards his colleague. Has Lucas spotted him?

Now the rucksack is on the ground, flap open, revealing a glint of metal. Both Foot Guards step forward, battle ready, and the flustered street hawker scrambles away, trailing fake watches like expensive breadcrumbs.

“I made them move!” shrieks the girl in delight.


As you can see, the guard in the picture has no Bearskin Cap, but I was reminded of a trip to London when the girls were small, and how impressed they were with the impassive Guards in their fluffy fur hats, who gamely ignored flocks of tourists desperate to get them to move!

This story was written for the Friday Fictioneers, as hosted on Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ site.  Click the smiley blue guy to read more stories from other authors.

29 thoughts on “Bearskins and Backpacks

    • Thanks for reading, JK. I imagine the rucksack just holds his fake watches and sunglasses, but in these times it could so easily be something more.

  1. I expect the Royal Guards really are quite dangerous men. I would hate to be the street hawker that crosses them. I liked this a lot.

    • Yes, I think their immobility and fluffy hats are deceiving! They get the same training as regular light infantry, from what I’ve read, with an extra 2 weeks for drill and ceremonies. Glad you liked it 🙂

  2. Extremely inventive. Great ending! Also, I especially liked the line, “trailing fake watches like expensive breadcrumbs.”

    Well done!

    • I’m ashamed to say my daughter tried to distract them too, on one visit to London – though she kept her distance as they are a little intimidating 🙂

  3. Excellent story, Trudy. I like the breadcrumbs line, too. I’m glad you explained about the bearskin, though, as I had a vision of Grizzly Adams in mind. 🙂


    • A Grizzly Adams hat – now that wouldn’t be the same at all, would it? Apparently, the bearskins are from Canada, and it takes a whole skin to make one hat. It’s a controversial and emotive topic, because although the army maintain the skins are taken from black bears culled annually due to overpopulation, PETA have called for an artificial alternative.

    • The hats are a bit silly, aren’t they? And uncomfortable, I would imagine. But they are trained infantrymen, so looks are deceiving, as you say. Thanks for reading 🙂

    • Thank you, Sandra, glad I was able to convey the scene so well for you 🙂

    • Watching my children grow up, I can honestly say I’m endlessly fascinated and amused by their take on life. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  4. Your writing is lovely, darling — though I feel like I wanted more from this — that in this case, there’s a bigger tale that I’m missing (wanting more is never a bad thing) I especially love how you captured the “magical thinking” of the little girl.

    • Sorry to leave you wanting, Helena! I will endeavour to try harder to satisfy you 🙂

  5. Dear Trudy,

    You painted a clear picture from the little girl to ” fake watches like expensive breadcrumbs.” Well done.



  6. I loved this Trudy, such a great take on the prompt. Like all children, mine included, who have stood in front of the guards on duty and tried their best to get them to move, the little girl’s delight is so well judged..

    • Thanks Dee, the guards must get heartily sick of it, mustn’t they? But children love it! 🙂

  7. That’s a wonderful story; the details just make it perfect. You did a great job with the contrast between the girl’s childish thoughts and the deadly serious job of the guards.

    • Thanks David, I’m glad you liked the two different points of view – it was tricky in 100 (ish!) words. 🙂

  8. Oh how many visitors have valiantly tried and failed to move the unmovable. It is truly an embodiment of one of the basic laws of physics.

Comments are closed.