The teddy bear sat on the sidewalk, threadbare in spots, one seam slightly torn, and one eye dangling from just a few threads. And yet, somehow, the smile stitched on to his face seemed genuine.
Beside him sat an old busker, working the crowds in his worn jacket, torn jeans, and beat-up t-shirt. The bruised guitar in his hands, however, sang like it was the finest ever made, clearly lovingly tuned and cared for despite its hard life on the streets.
The old man played.
The bear nodded in time to the music.
And the crowds felt compelled to drop at least a bit of change in the hat.
Every once in a while, someone moved by the music would stop and listen, or even snatch the hands of another passerby and dance, lost in the moment.
The old man played on, the bear keeping time, and people not really noticing the odd behavior for a stuffed toy. Or even questioning why the toy was there at all.
The one time that a clever thief attempted to snatch the hat, the crowd turned as one and forced him to come grovelling back, return the hat, and after he’d listened for a time, contribute generously from his own pockets.
And still the old musician played, the crowd entranced, and the bear watching.
When the day was done, the man stopped playing. The crowd slowly dispersed, but not before tossing a fair bit of additional coin into the hat. The bear watched carefully. And the old man carefully packed up his guitar, collected his now considerably heavier hat, his chair, and the bear.
“That’ll do. We did well today,” said the bear, quietly.
“Aye, that we did,” the busker replied. “That we did.”