Big Ben, the famous storyteller

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Big Ben was the most popular bear in the forest. He was famous for travelling around the world and sharing his stories with the other animals.

"Come on Big Ben, tell us about the time you fought that scary lion in Africa!" shouted Milo, the moose. "And the time you pretended to be a panda bear in China!" laughed Wilfred, the wolf. "Where are you going this time?" asked Maci, the mouse. "Will it be the Amazon rainforest or maybe the pyramids in Egypt?" "Now, now let me think..." He scratched his head and rolled out a world map. "What about this city here called Paris? I could eat lovely food and visit the Eiffel tower."

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"Yay!" shouted everybody. "Big Ben is going to Paris!"

The following day, Big Ben had his suitcase packed and everybody came to say goodbye.

"We have something special for you" smiled Maci.

"Thank you, but what is this thing?" he frowned.

"A camera of course," explained Wilfred. "That way you can take many pictures of your trip and share them with us when you come back."

"Oh yes, what a wonderful idea!" he said. "Well, I guess I must be going now. Au revoir!"

Big Ben then took his suitcase and walked away while all the animals waved goodbye.

After everybody left, Maci noticed there was something lying on the ground.

"Oh no! He forgot his camera!" she shouted. "I must give it to him!" And then she ran as fast as she could following the bear's paw prints.

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After a few minutes, she spotted him in the distance but Big Ben didn't notice her. 

"At last," he yawned. " I can finally lie down in my cave and get some sleep for the next three months."

"Is he not going to Paris then?" Maci thought to herself. "But what about all his adventures in Africa and around the world? Were they all lies?"

Maci left with big tears in her eyes and told the other animals what she had just seen.

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Three months went by and Big Ben pretended to come back from his holiday in Paris.

"Hmm, so how was it Big Ben?" grunted Milo.

"Ah, Paris is beautiful," he exclaimed. "I ate lovely cheese and climbed to the top of the Eiffel tower!"

"Oh really?" frowned Wilfred. "We'd love to see some pictures!"

"You know what happened?" said Ben quickly. "My camera got stolen by one of the pigeons in the park. Can you believe that?"

"Hmm... no, not really," snapped Maci and showed him his camera.

"Oh wow! Amazing! You found it!" squeaked Big Ben.

"Not only did we find it," said Maci. "But we also took pictures of you sleeping in your cave all winter."

"Wait! I can explain everything!" he gulped.

"No need, Big Ben. You've been lying to us. We're not interested in your stories anymore."

And everybody left the bear alone in the middle of the forest.

Many days went by and nobody had seen or heard from Big Ben. As mad as they were, they still missed his company and most importantly, they all missed his stories.

One day, Big Ben just showed up with a big label sign that read: "Welcome to the forest's first official Storytelling Festival."

All the animals stared at Big Ben in silence.

"Listen, everybody, I know I did wrong," he said with his head looking down. "I lied to all of you when I should have told you the truth from the beginning. The truth is I love sleeping in my cave all winter and I hate travelling..."

"Hmm, yes... keep going..." said Milo.

"But the one thing we all have in common is that we love stories," he pointed out. "So why not celebrate an annual festival where we can all share stories with each other?"

"Can they be about anything we want?" whispered Maci in surprise.

"Of course!" laughed Big Ben.

"Yay!" shouted everybody. "We're having an official Storytelling Festival!"

And from that moment onwards, not only did Big Ben stopped lying but he also became the most famous storyteller in the forest.

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