Sebastian, a lonely, unhappy bear, was never heard from in the animal kingdom after he went to visit Miss Franny Block’s library on the corner of Burden Avenue and 21st Street in Naomi, Florida. He was normal looking bear: tall, shaggy, and somewhat mangy with carrion usually stuck in his teeth and big, black eyes. Thus being said, he caused quite a stir whenever he left his forest abode, particularly when he went into civilizations known as towns.
Being scorned by the bears and all woodland civilization because of his quiet demeanor, Sebastian longed to do something more with his life than sit by himself and eat berries. It came to him that there were other places in his vicinity besides the forest. So, after giving his favourite tree one last scratch, ate a few blackberries, and, armed with his wits and claws, set out to see the world.
It was only chance, Sebastian knew, that he came across the town of Naomi first in his travels. The tiny community was made famous for its Litmus Lozenges, a candy created by a lonely survivor the Civil War. Its ingredient that made it special was sorrow, which, according to India Opal Buloni, went well with flavors reminiscent of strawberry and root beer.
During Sebastian journeys, Opal’s father wasn’t even thought of, let alone the girl herself. But as this leads into her dog’s story, it is only right to give her credit for the retelling of Sebastian’s.
Naomi was quaint town, Sebastian knew. It boasted a Litmus Lozenge factory, a church, and mom-and-pop shops. But what interested him most was the library.
The library was Miss Franny Block’s, given to her by her father, who, because of his grandfather’s candy-making success, was filthy rich. It was a small library, but held the classics, such as War and Peace, A Tale of Two Cities, etc.
Well, by Miss Franny’s own account, it was a Thursday in the summer that Sebastian first came to visit Miss Franny. Sebastian had been watching the town for a little over a week, hanging around the outskirts, watching the farmers and farmhands and pastors and teachers and factory workers and rich people come and go. And he noticed that the people who went into the little white house with the picket fence on the corner of Burden and 21st always came out with something. Boxes, he thought. Little boxes that are somehow bigger on the inside. The people open them and stare at them. I’ve seen them do it lot’s of times. The children in the schoolyard do it, too, only their boxes are different.
And then, on that Thursday, Sebastian the bear decided that he wanted a box.
And what do you do when you want a box?
You go to the place where the boxes are being distributed.
So Sebastian did.
Now, by her own account, Miss Franny was a real smart-alec when it came to her library. On the particular day that Sebastian came to visit, Miss Franny was engrossed in a novel, War and Peace to be exact. Sebastian, who was a very kind bear, did not want to disturb the lady at the desk, so, as quietly as he could, he walked through the open door. Miss Franny, asking if she could help him, did not look up.
And then, it happened.
Perhaps it was the whiff of rotting flesh that Sebastian carried, or the way his big shadow fell across Miss Franny’s page. Sebastian never knew. All he knew was that Miss Franny did not want him in her library.
So, raising her thousand-page novel in her hand, Miss Franny launched her book right at poor Sebastian’s head.
Sebastian had his box.
(Disclaimer: I do not own the copyright for any of the characters related to Because of Winn-Dixie. I only wrote this story as a sort of fanfiction for myself and others to enjoy)