BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AND THEIR SHETLAND PONY
BY LAURA LEE HOPE
AUTHOR OF THE BUNNY BROWN SERIES, THE BOBBSEY TWINS SERIES, THE OUTDOOR GIRLS SERIES, ETC.
Illustrated by Thelma Gooch
NEW YORK GROSSET & DUNLAP PUBLISHERS
BOOKS BY LAURA LEE HOPE
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12mo. Cloth. Illustrated. Price, per volume, 50 cents, postpaid.
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THE BUNNY BROWN SERIES
BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE ON GRANDPA'S FARM BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE PLAYING CIRCUS BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT AUNT LU'S CITY HOME BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT CAMP-REST-A-WHILE BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE IN THE BIG WOODS BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE ON AN AUTO TOUR BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AND THEIR SHETLAND PONY
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THE BOBBSEY TWINS SERIES
THE BOBBSEY TWINS THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN THE COUNTRY THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT THE SEASHORE THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT SCHOOL THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT SNOW LODGE THE BOBBSEY TWINS ON A HOUSE BOAT THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT MEADOW BROOK THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT HOME THE BOBBSEY TWINS ON BLUEBERRY ISLAND THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN A GREAT CITY THE BOBBSEY TWINS ON THE DEEP BLUE SEA
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THE OUTDOOR GIRLS SERIES
THE OUTDOOR GIRLS OF DEEPDALE THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN A MOTOR CAR THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN A WINTER CAMP THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN FLORIDA THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT OCEAN VIEW THE OUTDOOR GIRLS ON PINE ISLAND THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN WAR SERVICE
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GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK
Copyright, 1918, by GROSSET & DUNLAP
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Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue and Their Shetland Pony
CHAPTER PAGE I. IN THE ARK 1 II. THE FRIGHTENED PONY 11 III. MR. TALLMAN 24 IV. LOOKING FOR A PONY 32 V. THE SHORT TALLMAN 40 VI. BUNNY, SUE AND TOBY 51 VII. THE FIRST RIDE 61 VIII. SUE'S HANDKERCHIEF 69 IX. TOBY'S NEW TRICK 80 X. TOBY WALKS AWAY 92 XI. OFF TO THE FARM 102 XII. THE WRONG ROAD 111 XIII. TOBY FINDS THE WAY 121 XIV. TOBY'S OTHER TRICK 129 XV. RED CROSS MONEY 139 XVI. IN THE WOODS 148 XVII. THE DARK MAN 159 XVIII. TOBY IS GONE 166 XIX. THE SEARCH 176 XX. IN A STORM 184 XXI. THE GYPSY CAMP 194 XXII. "THERE'S TOBY!" 204 XXIII. PRISONERS 216 XXIV. THE RED-AND-YELLOW BOX 226 XXV. TO THE RESCUE 236
BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AND THEIR SHETLAND PONY
IN THE ARK
"Oh, Bunny! Here comes Bunker Blue!"
"Where is he? I don't see him!"
Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue were playing on the shady side porch of their house one morning, when the little girl, looking up from a cracker box which had been made into a bed—where she was putting her doll to sleep—saw a tall boy walking up the path.
"There's Bunker!" went on Sue to her brother, Bunny, at the same time pointing. "Maybe he's come to take us for a ride in one of daddy's fishing boats!"
"Have you, Bunker?" asked Bunny, standing up and brushing some shavings from his little jacket, for he had been using a dull kitchen knife, trying to whittle out a wooden boat from a piece of curtain stick. "Oh, Bunker, have you?"
"Have I what?" asked the tall boy, who worked on the dock where Mr. Brown, the father of Bunny and Sue, carried on a boat and fish business. "Have I what?" Bunker asked again, and he stood still and gazed at the two small children who were anxiously looking at him.
"Have you come to take us for a ride?" asked Bunny.
"In one of daddy's boats?" added Sue, who generally waited for her brother to speak first, since he was a year older than she.
"Not this time, messmates," answered Bunker Blue with a laugh, calling the children the name one sailor sometimes gives to another. "Not this time messmates. I've come up to get the ark."
"Oh, the ark!" cried Bunny. "Did you hear that, Sue? Bunker has come up to get the ark!"
"Oh! Oh!" and Sue fairly squealed in delight. "Then we'll have a nice ride in that. Wait, Bunker, till I put my doll away, and I'll come with you. Wait for me!"
"And I'll come, too," added Bunny. "I can bring my boat with me. 'Tisn't all done yet," he added, "but I can whittle on it when we ride along, and then I can sail it when we get to the dock."
"Now avast there and belay, messmates!" cried Bunker Blue with a laugh, using some more of the kind of talk he heard among the sailors that came to Mr. Brown's dock with boats of fish. "Wait a minute! I didn't say I had come to give you a ride in the ark. I just came to get it."
"But you will let us ride, won't you, Bunker?" asked Bunny, smiling at the tall boy.
"'Cause we'll sit just as still as anything," added Sue.
"And I won't touch the steering wheel—not once!" promised Bunny.
"I guess you'd better not—not after you once got almost run away with in the big ark," said Bunker. "I should say not!"
"Oh, please let us come with you!" begged Sue. "We want awful much to ride in the ark, Bunker!"
While the two children were talking to the tall boy another little girl had crawled under the fence from the street, and was now standing near Bunny and his sister. She was Sadie West, one of Sue's chums, and when she heard Bunny's sister begging for a ride in the "ark" Sadie said:
"Oh, Sue! is he going to take your Noah's ark away? I wouldn't let him if I were you!"
"It isn't Noah's ark at all," Sue explained. "We call the big automobile, that we had such a long ride in, the ark. It looks a little like a Noah's ark, but it's bigger, and we can all get in it," she added.
"Oh!" exclaimed Sadie. "I thought Bunker meant he was going to take your little ark, and all the wooden animals, away," she added.
"Not this time," said Bunker Blue. "Your father sent me up, Bunny, to get the big auto—the ark, as you call it. It's got to be fixed, and I'm to drive it to the shop over at East Milford. That's why I came up. Where's your mother? I want to tell her I'm taking away the ark, so she won't think some tramps or some gypsies have run off with it."
"I'll call her," Sue said, while Bunny kept on brushing the tiny whittlings from his jacket and short trousers. And there was a queer look on the face of Bunny Brown.
"What are you making, Bunny?" asked Bunker, as he waited for Sue to go into the house and give her mother the message.
"Boat," Bunny answered.
"Pretty small one, isn't it?" inquired Bunker, who knew a lot about boats and fish, from having worked at Mr. Brown's dock a number of years. "Awful small boat."
"It's a lifeboat that I'm going to put on my big sailboat," explained Bunny, for he had a large boat, with a real sail on it that could be raised and lowered. It was not a boat large enough for him and Sue to ride on, though Sue sometimes gave one of her dolls a trip on it. "I have to have a lifeboat on my sailboat," Bunny went on, "'cause maybe a scrumbarine might sink my big ship."
"That's so," agreed Bunker. "Well, Bunny, you go in and tell your mother I'm going to take the ark, will you? I'm in a hurry, and I guess Sue forgot what she went after. You go in and tell your mother."
"Yes, I'll do that," Bunny promised. "But can't we have a ride in the ark with you, Bunker?"
"Not this time, Bunny!"
"No, your father didn't say anything about taking you over to the East Milford auto shop with me, and I don't dare do it unless he says so."
"Well, we can ask him," went on Bunny eagerly.
"No, I haven't time to run down to the dock again, and your father is busy there. A big load of fish came in, and he has to see that they get iced, so they won't spoil. Hurry and tell your mother—Oh, here she comes now!" exclaimed Bunker Blue, as Mrs. Brown came to the door. Sue and Sadie West stood behind her.
"Did you want to see me, Bunker?" asked Mrs. Brown.
"Yes'm," answered the boy. "Mr. Brown sent me up to get the ark. He wants me to drive it over to Simpson's garage, in East Milford, to have it looked over and fixed. I thought if I went into the barn and took the machine out without telling you, maybe you'd think some gypsies ran away with it."
"Why! are there any gypsies around now, Bunker?" asked Mrs. Brown.
"Yes, I heard the other day that a band of them was camping up along the creek. But I guess they won't come bothering around here."
"If they do I'll sic Splash, my dog, on 'em," said Bunny.
"Yes, I guess Splash will scare off the gypsies," agreed Bunker Blue with a laugh. Then he added: "So, now I've told you what I'm going to do, Mrs. Brown, I'll go and get the ark and drive it over."
"All right, Bunker," said Mrs. Brown. "Is my husband very busy?"
"Yes'm. A big boatload of fish just came in, and he's seeing to having 'em iced."
"Oh, then he can't come up. I was just going to telephone that I want the sideboard moved to the other end of the room, and it's too heavy for Uncle Tad to manage alone. I thought Mr. Brown might run up and help, but if he's so busy with the fish——"
"I'll help," offered Bunker. "I'm not in such a hurry as all that. I'll help Uncle Tad move the sideboard, and then I'll get the auto."
"Can't we go with you?" begged Sue. "Can't we have a ride in the ark, Mother?"
"Oh, my, no!" exclaimed Mrs. Brown. "Bunker can't be bothered with you children."
"I wouldn't mind taking them, ma'am," said the fish boy. "In fact, I'd like to, but their father didn't say anything about it. Besides, I'll have to walk back from East Milford after I leave the ark there to be fixed. It'd be too far for them to walk back."
"Of course it would. Run along now, Bunny and Sue, and have some fun by yourselves. Don't bother Bunker."
Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue stood on the side porch looking at one another as Bunker went in the house to help Uncle Tad move the sideboard. Uncle Tad was an old soldier who lived with the Brown family. He was Mr. Brown's uncle, but Bunny and Sue thought they owned just as much of the dear old man as did their father. Sadie West, who had crawled in under the fence instead of going around by the gate, ran home again, leaving Bunny and Sue by themselves.
"Say, Sue," began Bunny in a low voice, looking toward the house to make sure his mother and Bunker Blue had gone inside.
"What, Bunny?" asked the little girl.
"I know what we can do," went on Bunny.
This time Bunny whispered.
"We can go out to the barn," he said in a low voice, his lips close to his sister's ear, "an' get in the ark when Bunker doesn't see us. He can't see us 'cause he's in the house helping Uncle Tad move the sideboard. We can easy get in the ark."
"What for?" Sue wanted to know. "Bunker said he wouldn't give us a ride."
"Yes. But if we're in there he'll have to!"
"Why?" asked Sue.
"'Cause," whispered Bunny, "he won't know we're in there at all, Sue!"
"Won't he?" asked Sue, her eyes shining.
"Nope! While Bunker's in the house helping Uncle Tad move the sideboard, we'll crawl in the back end of the ark. And we'll keep awful still, and we'll have a nice ride over to East Milford, and Bunker won't know a thing about it!"
"Oh, let's do it!" cried Sue, always ready to take part in the tricks Bunny thought of. "Let's do it! I'll take my doll!"
"And I'll take my little lifeboat. 'Tisn't all made yet, but that won't hurt! Come on!"
Quietly the two children tiptoed down off the side porch. Through the open dining-room windows they could hear Bunker Blue and Uncle Tad moving the sideboard.
Out to the barn went Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue. In the barn was the ark—the big auto—as large as a moving van. In it the whole Brown family had made a tour the previous summer. It really was like an ark, for it had rooms in it where the children and grown-ups could sleep, and a place to cook and eat meals.
"Now don't make any noise!" whispered Bunny to his sister. "We'll just crawl inside the ark and cover up with blankets, and Bunker won't know we're here. Then he'll start off and when we get to East Milford we can——"
"Oh, we can jump out and holler 'boo!' at him an' scare him!" laughed Sue, clapping her chubby hands in delight.
"Yes, we can do that. But not now!" whispered Bunny. "Hurry up an' crawl in, an' don't make any noise!"
So the two children entered the ark by the rear door, and found some blankets with which they covered themselves in two of the bunks, built on the sides of the big auto.
What would happen next?
THE FRIGHTENED PONY
Bunker Blue came whistling out of the house. He and Uncle Tad had moved the sideboard to the other end of the room, and now Mrs. Brown and the hired girl were putting the place to rights.
"Well, I wonder where Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue have gone?" said Bunker, aloud, as he stopped whistling. "I don't see them," and he looked around. "I'd like to give them a ride in the ark," he went on, "but their father didn't say anything about it, and he might not like it. When the big auto gets fixed then I can take them for a ride."
Then Bunker went out to the barn and took his seat at the steering wheel of the ark.
"Well, here I go!" he said, still talking aloud to himself, as he often did, and he put his foot on the self-starter, which made the engine of the auto go without any one having to get out in front and turn the handle, like the crank of a hand organ. "Here I go, but I do wish I could give Bunny and Sue a ride."
And back in the auto, under some blankets in the bunks, sounded two snickering noises.
"Hello! I wonder what that is?" exclaimed Bunker, as he heard them. "Is that you, Splash?" he called, for sometimes, he knew, the big dog that Bunny and Sue so often played with, crawled into the auto to sleep. "Is that you, Splash?"
No answer came.
"I guess it was just the wind," said Bunker Blue, as he steered the auto out through the big barn doors. "It was only the wind."
And inside the ark Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue had to stuff their chubby fists into their mouths to keep from laughing. Oh, if Bunker Blue should hear them!
As Bunker steered the big auto down the driveway past the house, Mrs. Brown came running to the door, waving her hand.
"Bunker! Bunker Blue!" she cried. "Wait a minute!"
The auto was making such a noise that the fish boy could not hear what Mrs. Brown was saying, but he could see her.
"Whoa!" he called, just as if the big auto were a horse; and then he put on the brakes and brought it to a stop.
"Bunker," went on Mrs. Brown, "Mr. Brown just telephoned me to tell you to drive down to the dock and stop for him. He's going to East Milford with you. He wants to talk to the garage man about fixing the auto," for the big machine needed some repairs after its long tour.
"All right. I'll stop at the dock and get Mr. Brown," said Bunker. "I guess he must have got the fish iced and put away sooner than he expected. Now if I had Bunny and Sue I could take them with me," he went on.
"Take Bunny and Sue with you? What do you mean?" asked Mrs. Brown.
"Oh, when they heard I was going to East Milford with the ark they wanted to come along. But I said I didn't believe their father would let them, and I didn't have time to go back and ask him. But now, as long as I have to go to the dock to get him, I could take them with me, and ask him now. Maybe he'd let them go."
"Yes, it is too bad," said Mrs. Brown. "But I don't know where the children went. I guess they ran over to Sadie West's house to play. But you haven't time to stop for them if Mr. Brown is in a hurry. They can ride some other time. Drive along, Bunker."
Now if Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue had heard this talk they might, then and there, have called out that they were already in the auto. And, if they had done so, perhaps a whole lot of things that happened afterwards might not have happened.
But you never can tell what is going to take place next in this world. The reason Bunny and Sue didn't hear what their mother and Bunker said was because they had their heads covered with the blankets, so their snickers and laughter wouldn't be heard outside the ark.
And there they stayed, inside the big auto, as Bunker started off once more, driving first to the boat and fish dock to get Mr. Brown, who was going to East Milford with him.
"It's too bad the children aren't here," said Mrs. Brown as she went back into the house. "They could have a nice ride. I wonder where they ran off to?"
If Mrs. Brown could have seen Bunny and his sister then, I think she would have been surprised. But she did not see them, and, for a little while, she gave them no further thought, as she was so busy straightening the room, after Uncle Tad and Bunker Blue had moved the sideboard to its new place.
On rumbled the big auto, and Bunny and Sue lay in the bunks having a nice ride. They did not know just where they were going, and they certainly never thought they were on their way to the boat and fish dock, for they had not heard what their mother said. They kept covered with the blankets for some little time, afraid lest their occasional snickers and laughter might be heard by Bunker Blue.
"Hi, Sue!" called Bunny, after a while, during which the auto had rolled down the road some little way.
"What is it?" Sue asked.
"It's too hot to keep under the covers. If we make only a little noise now Bunker can't hear us."
"All right," Sue agreed. "But we mustn't make too much noise."
"No," said Bunny, and he threw off the covers and sat up in the bunk. His sister did the same thing, and then they went out in the main "room" of the ark. Of course, it was not a very large room, but it was pretty big for being inside an auto. It had a little table and some stools in it, and when the Browns were on their tour they often ate in that room, when it was too rainy to have their meals outside.
After a time the auto stopped, and then, to the surprise of Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue, they heard the voice of their father. He was talking to Bunker Blue.
"So you got my telephone message, did you, Bunker?" asked Mr. Brown.
"Yes, sir. Mrs. Brown told me just as I was coming out with the ark. So I came here before going over to East Milford."
"That's what I wanted you to do. I want to ride over with you. I had the men ice the fish, so they'll be all right. Is every one well up at my house—Bunny and Sue?"
"Yes, they're all right," answered Bunker, as Mr. Brown climbed up to the seat of the big auto. "Bunny and Sue wanted to come with me," Bunker went on, "but I didn't know whether you'd want 'em to, so I didn't let 'em come."
"Well, that's too bad," said Mr. Brown. "If I had known they wanted to come, and that I was going myself, I'd have let you bring them. But it's too late now and——"
"Oh, no, Daddy! It isn't too late!" cried Bunny, who had listened to what his father and Bunker were saying. "It isn't too late! Please take us with you!"
"'Cause we're here now!" added Sue.
And as her brother opened the big, rear doors of the auto, he and Sue stepped out.
"Well, I do declare!" cried Mr. Brown, running around to the back of the big car and seeing his two little children. "Where did you come from?"
"We hid in the auto!" came from Bunny.
"We wanted a ride, and we didn't let Bunker know we got in," added Sue.
"Well, I certainly didn't know you were there!" cried Bunker.
"We got in when you and Uncle Tad were moving the sideboard," explained Bunny.
"That wasn't just the right thing to do," said Mr. Brown, shaking his head. "However, as I would have taken you if I had been there, we'll forgive you this time. Open the little front window, Bunker, and the children can ride in the front part of the auto, where they can look out and where I can talk with them."
In the front part of the ark, just back of the seat, was a window cut in the end of the big car. It opened into a room near the bunks, and chairs could be placed under the window so those who sat in them could look out, just as in a regular auto.
Mr. Brown and Bunker Blue took their places on the front seat, and once more the auto started off, and this time Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue did not have to stuff their fists in their mouths to keep from snickering and giggling. It was all right for them to have a ride in the ark.
Down the road they went, toward East Milford, where the ark was to be left for repairs.
"Will we have to walk back?" asked Bunny, talking through the front window to his father.
"No, I guess we can come back by train. It's too far to walk on a warm day."
"I like to ride in a train," said Sue, as she held her doll in her lap, while Bunny put aside his little wooden boat. The auto was no place to do any whittling, he found.
As the big ark went around a bend in the road the children, looking ahead, suddenly saw something at which they cried:
"What a dandy little pony!" added Bunny.
"And it's afraid!" said Sue.
Coming down the road toward the big ark was a small Shetland pony, hitched to a basket cart, and in the cart sat a little man. He was not as large as Bunker Blue, who wasn't a grown-up man yet.
Something certainly seemed to be the matter with the pony. He reared on his hind legs, and tried to turn around and run back. The man stood up in the cart and shouted something, but the children could not tell what it was.
"Stop the ark, Bunker!" cried Mr. Brown. "The big auto is frightening the little pony! Stop!"
But it was too late, for, a moment later, the Shetland pony broke loose from the cart, turned around and started to run back up the road.
The man, again shouting something, leaped out of the cart and ran back after the pony.
"Come on, Bunker!" cried Mr. Brown. "This was partly our fault! We must help the man catch the pony!"
"And we'll help!" said Bunny and Sue, as they, too, got out of the ark.
So, while this is happening, I'll take just a moment to tell my new readers something about the two children, whose adventures I am to relate to you in this book. This volume is the eighth one in the series. The first, called "Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue," introduced you to the two children. In that first book I told you that they lived with their father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Brown in the seaport town of Bellemere, on Sandport Bay. Mr. Brown was in the boat and fish business, and hired a number of men and boys, of whom Bunker was one.
With the family also lived Uncle Tad, of whom I have spoken, and then there was the hired girl, and Splash, the dog. The children loved them both, and they also loved Jed Winkler, an old sailor of the town, but Miss Euphemia Winkler, his sister, they did not love so well, though they liked the funny antics of Wango, a monkey, that Mr. Winkler had brought back from one of his many voyages.
Bunny Brown was about six years old, and Sue was a year younger. She had brown eyes and curly hair, and Bunny's eyes were blue, and his hair had once been curly, but now was getting straighter. Bunny and Sue were always having fun, and if you want to read about some of it just look in the second book, which tells about them on Grandpa's farm. There Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue played circus and had even better times, as related in that volume. In Aunt Lu's city home they—well, I guess it will be best if you read that book for yourselves, instead of having me telling you partly about it here.
In Camp-Rest-a-While the two children had more good times, and also when they went to the big woods. And just before the things that I am going to tell you about in this book, Bunny and his sister, with their parents, went on an auto tour in the ark. They traveled, ate, and slept in the big moving van that Mr. Brown had had put on an automobile frame and there were no end of good times.
And now, from the same ark, which was being taken to the shop, Bunny and Sue had seen the Shetland pony so frightened that he ran away.
"Oh, Daddy! do you s'pose he'll be hurt?" asked Bunny, as he and his sister hurried after their father and Bunker Blue.
"Who, the man or the pony?" asked Mr. Brown, for both were now out of sight.
"The pony," answered Sue. "Oh, how I could love him!"
"So could I!" exclaimed Bunny. "He was a dandy!"
"I didn't think our ark could scare anything as much as it scared the little horse," said Bunker Blue. "I guess he'd never seen a big auto before."
"Perhaps not," replied Mr. Brown. "Well, we must try to help the man catch the pony."
The children, their father and Bunker passed in the road the little basket cart from which the Shetland pony had broken loose. The cart did not seem to be damaged any, but part of the broken harness was fast to it.
"He must be a strong pony to get loose that way," said Bunny.
"Maybe he was only tied with string, and he could easy break that," said Sue.
"Maybe," agreed Bunker Blue.
They went around a turn in the road, and, looking down a straight stretch, they could see that the man had caught the pony near a clump of willow trees.
"There! He's all right!" said Mr. Brown. "But we had better go and ask the man if we can help him any. He may blame us for the running away of the pony."
And as they all walked down the road Bunny whispered something to Sue. Sue looked quickly at her brother and exclaimed:
"Oh, if he only would!"
Now what did Bunny whisper to Sue?
Mr. Brown, followed by Bunker Blue and the two children, went down the road toward the little, short man who was standing with the Shetland pony. For, after walking back with him a little way, the man had stopped to let the pony drink from a brook that ran beneath the willow trees.
"I'm afraid we caused you some trouble, my friend," said Mr. Brown, politely.
"Trouble?" repeated the short man. "You say you caused me trouble?"
"Yes. We were riding in the big auto which we have left just around the turn of the road. Was it our auto that frightened your pony and made him run away?" asked Mr. Brown, while Bunny and his Sister Sue looked with eager eyes at the pretty pony, which did not seem frightened now.
"Oh, yes, I guess your big moving van of an auto did scare my pony," answered the man. "I waved my hand, and tried to call to you to stop, so we could drive past, but I guess you didn't hear me."
"No," said Bunker Blue, "we didn't. The engine made so much noise, I guess."
"And then my pony ran away before I could stop him," went on the little man, who, as Bunny and Sue could now see, was not as tall as Bunker Blue. "You see, he is a trick pony, and used to be in a circus. But the men there did not treat him kindly, so I heard. I guess maybe he thought your big auto was a circus wagon, and when he remembered those wagons he thought of the unkind men and wanted to run away."
"I'm sorry for that," said Mr. Brown. "We surely would not hurt your pony. In fact, my children would love him. Did he break the harness when he turned to run away?"
"I guess he did," answered the short man. "But it was an old harness, and easily broken. In fact, part of it was tied with bits of string. I knew it was strong enough for Toby unless he should cut up a little, and that's just what he did, and broke some of the straps and strings."
"Is Toby the name of your pony?" asked Sue.
"Yes, little girl, Toby is his name. And he is a nice little Shetland pony," and he stroked the fluffy mane and rubbed the velvety nose of the little animal, that seemed to be all right now.
"Oh, Daddy! will you?" suddenly exclaimed Bunny.
"Will I what?" asked Mr. Brown, rather surprised and puzzled.
"Will you buy that pony for us?" eagerly begged Sue. "Bunny whispered to me that we could have a lot of fun with him if you would buy him."
So that was what Bunny whispered to his Sister Sue!
"Buy this pony for you?" exclaimed Mr. Brown. "Is that what you mean?"
"Yes, please," said Bunny. "We—we'd love it!"
Bunker Blue went up to the little horse and patted its back. The Shetland pony seemed to like the fish boy.
"Is he tame?" asked Bunny.
"Very tame," answered the short man.
"Could I pat him?" Sue questioned.
"Of course you could!" said the man. "Come right up to him, Toby loves children. It's only big autos, which remind him of circus wagons, that scare him."
"We had a circus once," went on Bunny, as he and Sue approached the pony. "But we didn't have any little horses in it."
"We had our dog, Splash," added Sue.
"Well, I guess that was nice," the man said.
The children patted Toby, who rubbed his velvety nose against them.
"I'm sorry your harness broke," said Mr. Brown. "You must let me pay for having it fixed, since it was the fault of my big auto that your pony ran away, Mr.——" and the children's father waited for the other man to tell his name. "I am Mr. Brown," went on the fish and boat dealer, after a moment of silence.
"Oh, yes, I have heard of you," replied the other. "Well, I guess you'll laugh when you hear my name."
"Why?" asked Mr. Brown. "Why should we laugh?"
"Because it's so different from what I am. You see, I am very short, do you not?"
"You are certainly not a very tall man," said Mr. Brown, with a smile.
"And yet I am," observed the other.
"You are what?"
"I am Vera Tallman," was the answer. "That really is my name, strange as it may sound," he went on, smiling at Mr. Brown, who was smiling at him. "Vera is the last name of my grandfather, and I am called after him. Tallman is my own last name, and I had to be called that though I am very short. It is quite a joke with my friends. I say to them I am a short Tallman or a short man who is Vera Tallman."
"Oh, I see!" laughed Mr. Brown. "Well, it's a good thing you can be so jolly about it."
"There is no good in finding fault with what can't be helped," said the man with a kind smile, as he patted the pony. "I can't make myself tall by wishing, even though I have a long name. So I let it go at that. And, when any one says to me, 'You are not very tall,' I answer, 'Oh, yes, I am Vera Tallman,' and then I have a joke on them."
"Yes, I should think you would," said Mr. Brown. "But let us get back to the broken harness. How much shall I pay you?"
"Nothing at all," answered Mr. Tallman. "It was my fault for driving Toby in a harness mended with bits of string. I should have known better, but I did not think Toby would meet with a moving van, that would make him think of the circus where he was so badly treated. You need not pay me anything."
"But perhaps the cart is broken also," said Mr. Brown.
"I hardly think so," returned Mr. Tallman, who was such a short man. "Toby just twisted around and tore himself loose out of the harness. Then he ran back along the road and I ran after him. He did not run far, as soon as he was out of sight of your big auto he stopped."
"I am glad of that," said Mr. Brown. "Now I will tell you what we had better do."
"What?" asked Mr. Tallman, still patting the pony, a thing which Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue were also doing. "What had we better do?"
"One of us had better go back and get the pony cart," went on Mr. Brown. "Bunker Blue can easily haul it here, and you can hitch Toby to it out of sight of our big auto. Then he won't be frightened any more. And perhaps you had better drive him around another road, or wait until we can take the auto another way. I wouldn't want to have Toby break loose again."
"Well, maybe that would be a good plan," agreed Mr. Tallman. "If you will let Bunker, as you call him, bring the pony cart here, I will harness Toby to it. Then I'll drive over the short-cut road and get past your auto without letting my pony see it."
Bunker ran back, and soon came trotting along the road with the basket cart, pretending he was a pony himself, which made Bunny and Sue laugh. It was found that only the string part of the harness was broken, and as Bunker had some strong fish cords in his pocket, the straps were soon mended.
"It is better than before," said Mr. Tallman, when Toby was once again hitched to the basket cart. "I don't believe Toby could break loose now."
"And won't you let me pay you for the damage?" asked the fish merchant.
"Oh, no, indeed!" cried Mr. Tallman. "You have done more than your share now."
Bunny and Sue were again whispering together. Then Bunny stepped forward and said:
"Daddy, we'll give you all the money in our banks."
"All the money in your banks, Bunny? What do you mean?" asked Mr. Brown.
"To help you buy the pony for us," went on the little boy. "Please, Daddy, buy Toby for us. Sue and I would like him awful much!"
"Well, he certainly is a nice pony," said Mr. Brown, "and I remember, once I did half promise to get you a Shetland pony. Is Toby for sale?" asked Mr. Brown.
Mr. Tallman shook his head, while Bunny and Sue looked anxiously at him.
"No," said the owner of Toby, "I don't want to sell my trick pony. I am going to take him to the fair, and I think I shall win prizes with him, and get a lot of money when I show what tricks he can do. I wouldn't sell Toby—not for anything!"
"Oh, dear!" sighed Bunny Brown.
"Oh, dear!" sighed his Sister Sue.
And just then, along the road came driving a man in a light carriage. The man had a dark face and a very black beard. He scowled as he looked at Mr. Tallman and the Shetland pony. Then the black-bearded man said:
"Well, I've found you, have I? Now, I want you to give me that pony! Give him to me at once and have no more nonsense about it! I want that pony!"
LOOKING FOR A PONY
Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue hardly knew what to make of the black-bearded man who seemed so angry about something. He jumped from his wagon and went up close to the Shetland pony. The little animal was again harnessed to the basket cart.
"Give him to me!" exclaimed the black-whiskered man.
"No, I will not!" answered Mr. Tallman. "He is not your pony, and you have no right to him."
"Well, if he isn't mine he soon will be!" said the dark man. "You owe me a lot of money, and if you don't pay pretty soon I'll take that pony away from you and sell him. Then I'll get the money in that way."
"Perhaps you will," said the pony's owner. "But before you do that I may be able to pay you what I owe you, and then I can keep my little Toby."
"Why don't you pay me now?" asked the black-whiskered man, whose name was Mr. Tang.
"Because I haven't the money," answered Mr. Tallman.
"Then give me the pony! Come, now!" went on Mr. Tang, for such was his name. "If you will let me have your trick pony I'll not bother you about the money you owe me. I'll let you have a long while in which to pay me the last part of it. Give me that pony!" and he seemed about to take Toby away.
"No, I'll not give him up!" said Mr. Tallman. "I'll try to get your money in some other way. I never can part with Toby; especially to you."
"Why won't you let me have him?" asked Tang.
"Because I'm afraid you wouldn't be kind to him."
"I'd sell him, that's what I'd do!" said the dark man. "I'd sell him, after you gave him to me, and in that way I'd get back a part of the money you owe me. I'd sell Toby, that's what I'd do!"
"That's what I'd be afraid of," went on Mr. Tallman. "I'd be afraid you'd sell him back to the cruel men in the circus. No, sir! I'll not let you have my pony. I'll get your money in some other way, and pay you back."
"Well, see that you do!" growled Mr. Tang. "If you don't pay me soon, I'll come and take Toby away from you! That's what I'll do!"
With that he got back in his wagon, and, with a last look at Toby, the Shetland pony, the unpleasant man drove away.
"Oh," said Bunny in a low voice, "I'm glad that man didn't buy the pony."
"So am I," said Sue.
"And I'm glad I didn't give him up," added Mr. Tallman. "I'd never feel happy if I knew he had my pet pony."
"He does not look like a kind man," said Mr. Brown, "and I saw him strike his horse with the whip. Still he might not hurt the pony."
"Well, if he didn't hurt him he might send him back to the circus, where Toby would be beaten," remarked Mr. Tallman. "Of course, I know that in most circuses the ponies and other animals are kindly treated. But Toby was not treated well in the circus where he was, and he'd never like to go back there. That's why I want to keep him."
"If you sold him to me, for my children, we would treat him kindly," said Mr. Brown.
"Yes, I know that," said Mr. Tallman. "But I don't want to sell Toby—least of all to Mr. Tang."
"Do you owe him money?" asked Mr. Brown.
"Yes. More, I fear, than I can ever pay. And if I don't pay him he may come and take Toby away from me."
"That would be too bad," said Mr. Brown, and Bunny and his sister thought the same thing.
"Yes, it would," agreed Mr. Tallman. "I was on my way, just now, to see a friend, to get him to lend me some money to pay Mr. Tang," went on the pony's owner. "I'll go there now."
"And if he can't help you, perhaps I can," called Mr. Brown to Mr. Tallman, as the latter drove away in the basket cart. "Whatever happens, if you decide to sell Toby, come to me first."
"I will," Mr. Tallman promised, and then he drove along on another road, where the little horse would not see the big auto and be frightened again.
"Oh, dear!" sighed Sue, as she and Bunny walked back to the ark. "I did love that pony so!"
"I did, too," added Bunny. "Don't you s'pose we can ever get him, Daddy?"
"Well, I don't know," answered Mr. Brown. "If we can't buy that Toby pony, though, perhaps we can find another."
"Really?" cried Sue.
"Will you truly buy us another?" asked Bunny.
"If we can find one as nice as Toby," promised Mr. Brown.
Bunny and Sue sighed again.
"What's the matter?" asked their father.
"There won't ever be another pony as nice as Toby," said the little girl.
"Never!" added Bunny.
"But he ran away," said Mr. Brown, not wishing the two children to fall too deeply in love with a pet they could not have. "I might find another pony that wouldn't do such a thing."
"He didn't run away very much," stated Bunny. "And that was only 'cause he thought our auto was a circus wagon. We could keep the auto in the barn, and then Toby wouldn't be skeered."
"Yes, we might do that," said Mr. Brown, smiling. "But I'm afraid Toby isn't for sale. We'll have to look for another pony."
"And will you?" asked Sue.
"Yes; I'll ask about one when we get to East Milford," her father promised. "There aren't any Shetland ponies for sale in Bellemere; that I know. Maybe we can find one in East Milford."
Bunny, his sister, his father and Bunker Blue walked back to the ark. Getting in, once more they set off, and then, without anything much happening, they rode to East Milford. The big auto was left at a garage to be fixed, and then Mr. Brown said:
"Well, now we will go and get something to eat, for it is dinner time, and too far to wait until we get back home."
"And after that shall we go and look for a pony?" asked Bunny.
"Yes, after that I'll see if I can find a Shetland pony for you," his father promised.
They ate their lunch in a restaurant, and before coming out Sue said:
"Ask the man if he knows where we can get a pony, Daddy!"
"What man, Sue?"
"The man in the restaurant. The man that brought us such nice things to eat."
"Oh, you mean the waiter! Well, I will," said Mr. Brown with a smile.
And, as he paid the bill, the fish dealer did ask the waiter if he knew whether any one in the town of East Milford had ponies for sale.
"Well, there's a livery stable over in the next street," was the answer. "They might have some ponies."
"Oh, let's go and see!" begged Bunny.
"Let's!" said Sue, in a sort of chorus.
As Bunker Blue was needed back on the fish dock, he did not go with Bunny, Sue and their father to the stable. Instead he took a train back to Bellemere, promising to telephone to Mrs. Brown so that she would know Bunny and his sister were with their father, and were all right.
"A Shetland pony, is it?" repeated the livery stable keeper, when Mr. Brown had told what he wanted—a pet for his children. "No, I'm sorry, but I haven't any. In fact, I don't believe you'll find one in town."
"Do you know where I could find one?" asked Mr. Brown.
The livery stable keeper thought for a few seconds, and then he said:
"Well, there's a farmer, living in the country about ten miles from here, who used to own one or two Shetland ponies which his children drove. They are getting too big for ponies now. Maybe that farmer would have some Shetlands for sale."
"Oh, Daddy! let's go and see!" begged Bunny.
"Very well, we'll try," replied Mr. Brown.
They hired an automobile in the village, and drove out to Cardiff, where the livery man said the farmer, who might have some ponies for sale, lived.
But alas for the hopes of Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue! When they reached the farm the man said:
"Well, now, I'm sorry! but I sold both my ponies last week! If I'd known you wanted them for your children, Mr. Brown, I might have kept them. But they're gone."
"Oh, dear!" sighed Bunny. "I don't believe we'll ever get a Shetland pony!"
But you just wait and see what happens.
THE SHORT TALLMAN
Mr. Brown talked with the farmer a little while longer, asking him if he knew any other place where Shetland ponies might be bought.
"Well, I don't know that I do," answered Mr. Bascomb, the farmer. "Not many of us around here keep 'em. But if I hear of any I'll let you know."
"I wish you would," said Mr. Brown. "I didn't know my little boy and girl were so eager for a pony."
"We always liked them!" said Bunny.
"But we didn't know how really-truly nice they were until we saw Toby to-day," added Sue. "Please get us a pony, Daddy!"
"I will if I can find one," promised her father.
But, though he inquired at many places in East Milford, Mr. Brown could find no one who had ponies to sell. Finally Bunny and Sue became tired, even with riding about in an auto looking for a possible pet, and Mr. Brown said:
"Well, we'll go back home now. Your mother will be getting anxious about you. We'll try again to-morrow to find a Shetland pony."
"Maybe we'll meet Mr. Tallman on our way back," remarked Sue.
"What good would that do?" asked Bunny.
"Well, maybe he'd sell us Toby now," went on his sister. "I like Toby awful much!"
"So do I," said Bunny. "But I don't guess we'll get him."
"I'm afraid not," put in Mr. Brown. "Mr. Tallman is too fond of his pet to part with him."
Riding home in the train from East Milford to Bellemere, Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue talked of little but the pony they had seen, and the one they hoped to get. They talked so much about ponies, in fact, that Mr. Brown feared they would dream about one perhaps, so he said:
"To-night we will all go to a moving-picture show. That will take your mind off ponies and basket carts."
"Oh, it'll be fun to go to the movies!" cried Sue, clapping her hands.
"And maybe we'll see a picture of a pony!" added Bunny, eagerly.
Mr. Brown smiled and shook his head.
"I'll certainly have to get them one," he thought.
Bunny and Sue fairly rushed into the house when they reached home. They saw their mother telling Tressa, the good-natured cook, what to get for supper.
"Oh, Mother!" cried Bunny, "did Bunker Blue tell you about us?"
"Do you mean about you and Sue hiding away in the ark, when I didn't know it, and taking a ride?" asked Mrs. Brown, with a smile at the children, and a funny look at her husband. "Yes, he told me that, Bunny. And please don't do it again. I know you didn't mean to do wrong, but you did."
"Oh, I don't mean about our going away in the ark," said Bunny. "I mean, did Bunker tell you about the pony our auto scared, and how it ran away?"
"The pony ran away, not our auto," explained Sue, for fear her mother might not understand what Bunny was talking about.
"I know," said Mrs. Brown with another smile. "You saw a little pony, did you?"
"Oh, such a sweet little pony!" cried Sue.
"He was a dandy!" said her brother.
"And daddy is going to get us one!" went on Sue.
Mrs. Brown looked at her husband.
"Bunker Blue didn't tell me anything about that," she said.
"No, he didn't know about it," replied Mr. Brown. "But I think we shall have to get the children a new pet, Mother. Otherwise they'll never be happy."
Then he told about trying to buy a pony in East Milford, but there was none to be had.
"I don't believe there are any in Bellemere, either," said the children's mother. "Where did this Mr. Tallman, who is so short, live?"
"Over in Wayville," answered Mr. Brown, naming the town next to the one where he lived. "But I'm afraid he won't sell. I'll have to find some one else with a Shetland pony."
"What makes 'em call them Shetland ponies, Daddy?" asked Sue, as they sat down to the table for supper. "Are they all named Shetland?"
"They are called that," answered Mr. Brown, "because many of the little horses, for they are really that, come from the island of Shetland, which is near Scotland, many, many miles from here.
"The island of Shetland is rather cold and rugged, and the little horses that live there are small and rugged like the island. They have thick hair to keep them warm in winter, and, though the Shetland ponies are so small, they are strong. That is why Toby was able to draw Mr. Tallman in the cart, even though the pony was not much larger than a big Newfoundland dog.
"Sometimes Shetland ponies are called Shelties, which means the same thing," went on Mr. Brown.
"Well, we'd like a Shelty," said Sue, with a smile.
"And you shall have one, if I can find him for you," promised her father.
"Do all ponies come from Shetland?" asked Bunny.
"Oh, no, not all of them," answered the children's father.
For two or three days after that Mr. Brown made inquiries in and about Bellemere for Shetland ponies. But there seemed to be none for sale. Mr. Brown even wrote Mr. Tallman a letter, asking if the owner of Toby knew any one else who had ponies for sale. But the letter was not answered.
"I guess Mr. Tallman has so much trouble about the money he owes Mr. Tang that he has no time to write letters," said the children's father.
Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue often talked about the pony they hoped to have. And one day, about a week after they had seen Toby, Bunny said:
"Come on, Sue. Let's go down and see."
"Go down where?" the little girl wanted to know.
"Down to daddy's wharf."
"What for? To see the boats? I'd rather play with my doll."
"No, not to see the boats," went on Bunny. "Let's go down and see if daddy has found a Shetland pony for us yet."
"Oh, let's!" cried Sue, and, hand in hand, she and her brother went down to their father's dock.
Though the wharf was near the bay, where the water was deep, Bunny and his sister were allowed to go there if they first stopped at the office, on the land-end of the dock, and told their father they had come to see him. In that way Mrs. Brown knew they would not fall into the water, for Mr. Brown would have Bunker Blue, or some of his other helpers, stay with the children until they were ready to go home again.
Bunny and his sister always liked to go to their father's dock. There were many things to see—the boats coming in or going out, sometimes big catches of fish being unloaded, to be afterward packed in barrels with ice, so they would keep fresh to be sent to the big city. Once a boat came in with a big shark that had been caught in the fish nets, and once Bunker Blue was pinched by a big lobster that he thought was asleep on the dock.
So down to their father's office went Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue, but when they looked in the room where Mr. Brown was usually to be found, he was not there. However, Bunker Blue was.
"Hello, messmates!" called the boy in greeting.
"Hello," answered Bunny. "Is my father here?"
"No, he just went home," said Bunker. "Didn't you meet him?"
"No," answered Sue, with a shake of her head. "We didn't see him, and we just came from home."
"Well, maybe he had to stop at a store first," said Bunker.
"Did he have our pony?" asked Bunny eagerly. "Maybe he stopped in a store to get the harness, Sue!"
"Or the cart!" added Bunny's sister.
Bunker Blue smiled and shook his head.
"No," he said slowly. "I'm sorry, but your father didn't get any pony. He had a letter from a man he wrote to about one, but this man didn't have any to sell."
"Oh, dear!" sighed Bunny. "I don't guess we're ever going to have that pony!"
"I don't guess so, too," added the little girl. "What'll we do now, Bunny?"
"Let's go home and ask daddy about it," suggested her brother. "Maybe he's heard something about a pony."
"Be sure to go straight home!" warned Bunker Blue. "Else I'll have to go with you."
"We'll go straight home," promised Bunny, as he started off, his sister's hand in his.
When they promised this Bunny and Sue were allowed to go back and forth between their father's office and their home alone. For the street was almost a straight one, and, as they knew the way and many persons living along it knew the children, Mrs. Brown felt no harm would come to them.
So, after a little look about the dock, and not seeing anything to amuse them, Bunny and his sister started back home again. They had hardly left their father's office, where Bunker Blue stayed to do some work, before the two children heard a voice saying:
"Hello there, little ones! Can you tell me where Mr. Walter Brown lives?"
Bunny and Sue turned quickly around. They saw a small man smiling at them, and they knew they had seen him before.
"Why, it's my two little friends that were in the big auto!" cried the short man in surprise. "You're Mr. Brown's children, aren't you?" he asked.
"Yes, sir," Bunny answered.
"And is your father here?" the man went on.
"No, sir," said Bunny. Then he added: "You're Mr. Shortman; aren't you?"
"Ha-ha! Not quite right," was the laughing answer. "Sometimes my friends call me that in fun. But my right name is Tallman."
"Oh, yes, now I 'member!" exclaimed Bunny. "Do you want to see my father?" he asked.
"I'd like to," replied Mr. Tallman.
"He's just gone home," said Sue. "We came down to see him ourselves, but he's gone. We came to see if he had a pony."
"But he didn't," Bunny said. "So we're going home ourselves to see him. You could come with us if you wanted to see my father," he added.
"Well, I will," returned the man who had been driving Toby the day the big auto frightened the little pony. "I'll go home with you two little tots, and see your father."
Bunny and Sue wanted very much to ask why Mr. Tallman wanted to see Mr. Brown, but they did not think that would be polite, so they did not do it.
Hand in hand Bunny and Sue started off again, Mr. Tallman following. In a little while, so fast did the children go, even with their short legs, all three were at the Brown home.
"Oh, Mother!" cried Bunny, running into the room where Mrs. Brown was sitting, "where's daddy?"
"He's out in the barn, little son," answered Mrs. Brown. "But why are you so excited, and why do you want daddy?"
"'Cause there's a short man to see him!" gasped Bunny.
"No, it's a tall man," added Sue. "I mean his name is Tallman, but he is a little, short man."
"Dear me!" exclaimed Mrs. Brown. "What is it all about? I don't understand. Does some one want to see your father?"
"Yes," answered Bunny. "A Tallman."
"And he's such a short man," went on Sue.
"Excuse me, ma'am," said Mr. Tallman himself, following the children into the room. "But I guess they get mixed up about me. You see, I am really short, though I have a tall name. I'm the one who owned the little pony which I guess your children have told you about, and I would like to see Mr. Brown. I came with the children up from the dock. Is your husband at home?"
"He is out in the barn. Won't you have a chair?"
"Thank you, I will," and Mr. Tallman sat down and looked at Bunny and Sue, while Mrs. Brown went to call her husband. At last Bunny could keep still no longer.
"Mr. Tallman," he asked, "did you come to tell daddy about a pony?"
"That's what I did, little man! That's what I did!" was the answer, and the hearts of Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue beat high with hope.
Were they going to get a pony at last?
BUNNY, SUE AND TOBY
"Well, Mr. Tallman, I see you haven't grown any shorter," said Mr. Brown with a laugh, as he came in and shook hands with the visitor.
"No, I'm thankful to say I haven't shrunk much," was the answer. "I stopped down at your dock, but you weren't there, and your two little children kindly led me here. Piloted me, would be a better word, I suppose, since we are so near the ocean where men pilot the ships."
"Yes, Bunny and Sue are good little pilots between our house and the dock," agreed Mr. Brown. "I wouldn't want them to navigate all alone much farther than that, though. I'm glad to see you, Mr. Tallman!"
Bunny and Sue could keep quiet no longer. They just couldn't wait! They must hear about that pony!
So, as soon as there was a chance, when Mr. Tallman and Mr. Brown stopped speaking for a moment, Bunny burst out with:
"Oh, Daddy! he's come about the pony!"
"The pony?" asked Mr. Brown, in some surprise, for he thought perhaps Mr. Tallman had called to see about buying some fish, or hiring a boat.
"Yes," added Sue, her eyes shining as did Bunny's. "He's come about the pony—our pony, Daddy! Toby! Don't you 'member?"
"Oh, yes; Toby. The little pony that was frightened by our big auto!" said Mr. Brown. "Well, Mr. Tallman, what about Toby?"
"I've come to see if you want to buy him for your children."
"Oh, Daddy!" cried Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue.
"Wait a minute," said Mr. Brown with a smile. "Let me hear what Mr. Tallman has to say. You tell me," he went on, "that you want to sell me your pony, Toby, for my children?"
"Yes. I've got to sell him, and I'd rather sell him to you, who I know will be kind to him, than any one else."
"But I thought you didn't want to part with him."
"I didn't," said Mr. Tallman. "And I wouldn't sell Toby now, only I just have to. You see it's this way, Mr. Brown. I owe a lot of money I can't pay. I owe some to that Mr. Tang we met the other day, and he's a hard man. He wants every penny, and I don't blame him for that. I'd pay if I could, but I can't.
"I thought everything was going nicely, after I met you, and some friends let me take money to pay some of my debts. Then I had bad luck. That's what I had, bad luck."
"Was it about Toby?" asked Bunny eagerly. "Is he hurt?"
"No, Toby is all right," answered Mr. Tallman. "The only bad luck about him is that I have to sell him. I hope he brings you good luck.
"No, the bad luck I speak of is that I have lost a lot more money. In fact, I have been robbed," said Mr. Tallman.
"Robbed!" cried Mrs. Brown, and she looked at the doors and windows as if to make sure they were fastened, though it was broad daylight, when no burglars would come.
"Yes, burglars, or thieves of some sort, got in my house the other night," went on Mr. Tallman, "and took a box of valuable papers. They were stocks and bonds on which I could have raised money, but which I was saving to the last minute," he said. "Of course, you little tots don't know what stocks and bonds are," he added, speaking to Bunny and Sue, "so I'll just say that the thieves took away a box of papers that I owned. And the papers could have been sold for money."
"Oh, Mr. Tallman!" burst out Bunny. "I know where there's a lot of paper. It's down at the printing office, where they make the Journal daddy reads every night."
"Yes, but the kind of paper the burglars took away from my house isn't that kind," said Mr. Tallman. "Never mind about that. I want to tell you about the pony."
And it was about the pony that Bunny and Sue most wanted to hear.
"To make a long story short," went on Mr. Tallman, "the taking of my box of valuable papers has left me so poor that I've got to sell my house, and nearly everything else I own. And I've got to sell the pony, Toby. I thought you would buy him, Mr. Brown."
"Indeed, I will!" cried the children's father. "I have been trying everywhere to find a Shetland pony for Bunny and Sue." Then Mr. Brown and Mr. Tallman talked about the price to be paid for Toby. "Yes, I'll gladly buy Toby, Mr. Tallman," finished Mr. Brown.
"I thought you would. That makes me feel easier, for I know Toby will have a good home."
"We'll just love him!" cried Bunny.
"And we'll give him lots of nice things to eat!" added Sue. "And I'll let my dollie ride on his back."
"He'll like that, I'm sure," said Mr. Tallman with a smile. "Well, that's what I came to see you about, and as long as it's all settled I'll be getting back. I must see if the police have caught any of the robbers."
"But when shall we have Toby?" asked Bunny.
"Can't we go with you and get him?" asked Sue.
"What sort of box was it that your papers were in?" asked Mr. Brown. "Excuse us asking so many questions," he went on, "but I'd like to help you, if I can, and, of course, the children are eager to have the pony."
"I don't blame them," said Mr. Tallman. "So I'll answer their question first. I'll bring Toby over to-morrow. I'd do it to-day, but it's getting late now, and I have lots to do. So, little ones, you may expect Toby to-morrow. I'll drive over in the basket cart with him, and after that he's yours."
"For ever?" asked Bunny.
"Yes, for ever."
"Won't you ever want him back, even when you're rich again, and catch the burglars that took your things?" asked Sue, wishing to make sure.
"Well, I don't believe I'll ever be rich," said Mr. Tallman with a smile, "even though the police may catch the burglars and get back my papers. But I promise that I'll never take Toby away from you. When your daddy buys the pony he's yours as long as you want to keep him."
"Then we want to keep him for ever and ever!" exclaimed Bunny.
"And the next day after that!" added Sue, as if for ever and ever were not long enough.
"And now to answer your question, Mr. Brown," went on Mr. Tallman, "I'll say that I kept my stocks and bonds—those are the valuable papers," he told the children—"I kept them in a queer old box that used to belong to my grandfather. It was a brass box, but it was painted with red and yellow stripes. Why it was my grandfather had the box painted that way I don't know. He used to tell me, when I was a boy like Bunny here, and went out to his house, that he bought the box from an old gypsy man, and gypsies, you know, like bright colors.
"Anyhow, I kept my papers in that red-and-yellow-painted brass box. And the other day, when no one was at home at our house, some one got in and took the box. So now I'm very poor."
"Didn't a policeman see them take it?" asked Bunny.
"No, I'm sorry to say no one saw them. We don't know who it was," answered Mr. Tallman. "But never mind my troubles. I'll have to get out of them the best way I can. It makes me feel better, though, to know that Toby will have a good home. I'll bring him over in the morning."
"Oh, goodie!" cried Sue, clapping her hands.
"Now, we'll have a real pony and we can go for rides!" laughed Bunny Brown. "Oh, I'm so glad!"
Mr. Brown and Mr. Tallman talked a little longer, and Mr. Brown gave the man who had been robbed of the red-and-yellow box some money—part payment for Toby. Then Mr. Tallman went away, Bunny and Sue waving good-bye to him.
"Oh, I'm so glad we're going to have a Shetland pony, aren't you, Bunny?" asked Sue.
"Terrible glad," he answered. "But I'm sorry Mr. Tallman lost his papers."
"So'm I," said Sue. "Oh, Bunny!" she cried, "wouldn't it be just fine if we could get Mr. Tallman's papers for him?"
"How? What you mean?" asked Bunny, for sometimes he did not think quite as fast as Sue did, even though he was quicker in running about and getting into mischief. "What do you mean, Sue?"
"I mean, maybe when we're ridin' around with Toby, in the basket cart, we could find the robbers that took his red-and-yellow box."
"Oh, yes, that would be nice," agreed Bunny. "And we could ride back home to Mr. Tallman, just like in a fairy story, and tell him we found his box and his—and his—oh, well, whatever there was in it," said Bunny, not able to think of "stocks and bonds."
"It would be dandy!" cried Sue, using a word of which her brother was very fond. "But, Bunny, if we found all the things Mr. Tallman lost he'd be rich again—I mean partly rich."
"Well, wouldn't that be good?"
"Yes, but then he'd have a lot of money and he could buy back Toby from daddy."
Bunny shook his head.
"Nope!" he exclaimed. "Didn't you hear Mr. Tallman say that Toby would belongs to us for ever and for ever, amen."
"He didn't say amen!" declared Sue.
"Well, that goes with it, anyhow," was Bunny's answer. "We always say for ever and for ever, amen. So Toby's going to belongs to us that way."
"All right," agreed Sue. "Then we'll find Mr. Tallman's red-and-yellow box for him and make him rich again. And now let's go and tell Bunker Blue that we're going to have a pony."
The children were so excited about what was going to happen that they hardly knew what they did. They told all their friends about their good luck, and promised every one a ride in the pony cart.
"And you may have as many as ever you want," said Bunny to Bunker Blue. "'Cause you like ponies, don't you?"
"Oh, I just love 'em!" laughed the fish boy.
Bunny and Sue thought the next day would never come! But it did, and they were up bright and early. After breakfast they sat out on the porch, waiting for Mr. Tallman to drive over with Toby. Every now and then they would run to the gate to look down the road. At last Bunny cried:
"Here he comes, Sue!"
"Oh, has he got Toby?"
"Yep! He's driving him and the cart! Oh! Oh!"
"Oh! Oh!" shouted Sue, and then the two children ran down the street, and when they reached the pony, which Mr. Tallman brought to a stop, Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue threw their arms around Toby's neck and hugged him.
"Oh, we're so glad!" they said. "Now, we're going to ride and look for your red-and-yellow box, Mr. Tallman."
"Well, I hope you find it, but I'm afraid you won't. Anyhow, here's Toby for you, and now——"
Just then there was a sound of carriage wheels, grating in a sudden stop, near the little basket cart, while a harsh voice said:
"Ha! So, I've found you; have I? Now give me that pony and don't make any more fuss about it!"
And who do you suppose it was that said that?
THE FIRST RIDE
Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue looked quickly up at hearing the harsh voice. They had been looking at Toby, thinking how nice he was, and how glad they were to have him, but now——
There they saw standing near the little horse Mr. Tang, the cross man who had said Mr. Tallman owed him money.
"I am just in time, I see!" went on Mr. Tang. "I went over to your house to get this pony, Mr. Tallman, but they said you had driven here with him. I see you had."
"Yes, I brought the pony over to Bunny and his sister," stated Mr. Tallman. "I have sold Toby to their father."
"You have?" cried Mr. Tang. "Why, you shouldn't have done that! You should have given that pony to me in part payment of the money you owe me. When are you going to pay me?"
"I can pay you something as soon as Mr. Brown gives me the money for Toby," was the answer.
"Then, I am too late. I can't have Toby, can I?" asked Mr. Tang.
And, oh! how anxiously Bunny and Sue waited for the answer. Suppose, after all, they could not have the pony?
But the next words of Mr. Tallman made them feel better. He said:
"Indeed, you are too late. I have sold Toby, and Bunny and Sue are going to have him after this. I will pay you as soon as I can, but I have been robbed, Mr. Tang. Some burglars took my red-and-yellow box that had in it some valuable papers, and I can't pay you all I owe you until I get that box back."
"But if you'd give me the pony you wouldn't have to pay me so much," went on Mr. Tang.
Mr. Tallman shook his head.
"It is too late," he said. "Toby goes to Bunny and Sue."
The little boy and girl were very glad, but Mr. Tang was angry.
"I've got to have my money!" he exclaimed. "If I can't get it one way I'll get it another. You watch out, Mr. Tallman!" and with that he turned his horse and drove away, giving a last look toward Toby, Bunny and Sue.
"Oh, he won't take Toby, will he?" asked Bunny.
"No, indeed," answered Mr. Tallman. "The pony is yours now."
Mr. Brown, who had not yet gone down to his fish dock, now came out of the house and paid Mr. Tallman for the Shetland pony. And when Bunny and Sue saw that done they felt sure the pet was their very own.
"For," said Bunny to Sue, as they stood patting Toby, "when you buy anything at the store, and give your pennies for it, the storekeeper can't take it back."
"Yes, I guess that's so," said Sue, as though not quite sure. "But Mr. Tallman isn't a storekeeper."
"Well, Toby's ours now; isn't he, Daddy?" asked the little boy.
"Yes, he surely is," said Mr. Brown.
Mr. Tallman told Bunny and Sue what to feed the little horse, and how to treat him.
"Bunker Blue will look after Toby in the stable," said Mr. Brown. "Bunker knows a lot about horses as well as about boats, and he'll harness the pony for the children until they get big enough to do it themselves. We have a nice little box-stall in the stable where Toby can make himself at home."
"And we'll put some soft straw in for his bed," added Bunny.
"And we'll pull grass and give it to him to eat," said Sue. "Will he like green grass, Mr. Tallman?"
"Oh, yes, very much. But he likes hay, too, and now and then a bit of apple or a lump of sugar."
"We'll give him them, too!" cried Bunny. "Oh, we'll have lots of fun with our pony, won't we, Sue?"
"Yes," answered the little girl, again patting Toby. "We'll have heaps of fun!"
"Well, good-bye, little horse," said Mr. Tallman finally, when it was time for him to go. "Good-bye! I'm sorry to have to sell you, but I need the money, and I'm sure you'll have a good home with Bunny and Sue. They will be kind to you. Good-bye!"
Toby bowed his head up and down. It may be that he was saying "Good-bye!" also, or perhaps he only happened to do that. But the two children thought it must be that he was bowing because Mr. Tallman was going away.
Bunny and Sue looked down the road to make sure the cross Mr. Tang was not in sight, and they were glad when they did not see him. For, even though they knew their father had paid for Toby, still they felt that, in some way, the gruff man might come and take him away.
"When may we have a ride, Daddy?" asked Bunny as he saw his father getting ready to go down to the dock. He was going to walk along with Mr. Tallman, who would have to take a train back to his home, since he could no longer ride in the pony cart.
"Oh, so you want to ride, do you?" asked Mr. Brown with a smile, and a wink at Mr. Tallman. "Why, I thought you wanted to have Toby just to look at."
"Oh, no, we want a ride! Don't we, Sue?" Bunny cried.
"Lots of rides!" exclaimed the little girl. "When may we have one, Daddy?"
"I'll send Bunker Blue up as soon as I get to the dock," promised Mr. Brown. "He can take you for a ride in the pony cart."
"Oh, shall we have to wait that long?" Bunny cried. "Couldn't we go for a ride by ourselves?"
"Not at first," Mr. Brown answered. "But after a while, when Bunker has shown you how to drive, then I expect you and your sister will go off on little trips by yourselves—not too far, though. I suppose Toby will be safe for the children to drive?" Mr. Brown asked Mr. Tallman.
"Oh, yes, of course," said that gentleman. "There is one nice thing about Toby—he is very gentle and kind and he likes children very much. In fact, he's like a big dog.
"But, Mr. Brown, if Bunny and Sue want a ride so much, why not let me drive them down to your dock? I know where it is, for I was there the other day. Then they can take Bunker Blue in with them and he can teach them how to hold the reins, and other things they need to know about the pony and cart. I'll drive them down."
"Will you?" returned Mr. Brown. "That is kind. Jump in, Bunny and Sue! Get ready for your first pony ride! Tell Bunker Blue I'll soon be there, and then you can all three go off together. Get in!"
"Oh! Oh!" exclaimed Bunny and Sue, filled with joy. "Oh! Oh!"
Mr. Tallman helped them into the basket cart, and then got in himself. Toby looked around as if to make sure that the children were safely seated before starting off, and he switched his long tail.
"Isn't his tail beautiful?" exclaimed Sue.
"Awful nice," agreed Bunny. "I guess no flies 'd better get on Toby, or they'll wish they hadn't when he switches 'em off!"
"Get along, Toby!" called Mr. Tallman to the little creature. "You are going to give Bunny and Sue their first ride. We could take you in the pony cart if you'd like it," he said to Mr. Brown. "Toby can easily pull all four of us, as the road is smooth and down hill."
"No," said Mr. Brown. "I have to stop at two or three places on my way to the dock. Besides, it seems too much for one little pony to pull two men and two children."
"Oh, Toby is strong!" replied Mr. Tallman. "He has often pulled heavier loads than that."
"Well, thank you, I'll not get in," again said Mr. Brown. "Ride along, Bunny and Sue, and wait for me at the dock. Then you and Bunker may have a good time."
Off started Toby, drawing Mr. Tallman, Bunny and Sue. The children looked with eager eyes at their new pony, whose little feet went "clap-clap!" on the hard road. And Toby went quite fast, too, trotting so rapidly that his feet seemed to "twinkle," as Sue said.
"Oh, I just love a pony!" said Sue, as she sat beside Bunny. "I just love Toby!"
"So do I!" agreed her brother. "We're going to keep him for ever and ever!"
But neither Bunny nor Sue knew what was shortly going to happen to Toby.
"Well, well! What's all this?" cried Bunker Blue, as he saw Bunny and Sue sitting in the pony cart, being driven along the dock by Mr. Tallman. "What's all this?"
"We got a pony!" said Sue.
"And he's all ours! To keep for ever! Daddy bought him from Mr. Tallman," added Bunny.
"And daddy says you're going to show us how to drive him and hitch him up and all like that," went on Sue.
"Oh, I'll like that!" exclaimed Bunker Blue. He had been painting a small boat, but he wiped the paint off his hands and came over to pat Toby.
"Isn't he nice?" asked Bunny.
"Very nice, indeed," answered Bunker Blue. "Well, I think taking you children for a ride on such a fine day as this will be more fun than painting boats. Am I to start off with the children at once?" he asked Mr. Tallman.
"No, I believe Mr. Brown wants you to wait for him," answered the man who had sold the pony. "I'll get out now, as I need to hurry back home. I'll leave the pony with you."
"I'll take good care of him, and Bunny and Sue also," promised Bunker Blue.
"Good-bye!" called Mr. Tallman for the second time, and now he really started away by himself. Once more Toby seemed to bow his head up and down.
"Good-bye!" answered Bunny.
"I hope you find your red-and-yellow box," added Sue.
"And all your money in it," went on her brother.
"Oh, it wasn't exactly money in the box that was taken from me," said Mr. Tallman. "The papers could be sold for money if I had them. But they're gone!"
"If we find them, when we're riding around with Toby, we'll save 'em for you," promised Bunny.
"All right," answered Mr. Tallman with a laugh. "I hope you do find them, but I'm afraid you won't."
While Bunker went to wash himself, in readiness for taking Bunny and Sue for a ride, having first tied the pony's strap to a post on the dock, Bunny and Sue sat in the basket cart, looking at their new pet.
"Oh, look! There's a fly on him!" suddenly exclaimed Sue. "Shall I shoo it off with my handkerchief, Bunny?"
"Maybe Toby can knock it off himself," replied Bunny.
And, surely enough, while the children watched, Toby gave his tail a flicker and a twist, and the fly, which had been biting him, flew away.
"Isn't he cute?" cried Sue.
"Yes," said Bunny. "And his tail is so long that he can switch flies 'most anywhere on him."
"His tail won't reach up to his front legs," said Sue, leaning over the edge of the cart to look and make sure. "How does he get the flies off his front legs, Bunny, when he can't reach 'em with his tail?"
"I don't know," answered the little boy.
"Let's get out and watch," suggested Sue. "Daddy isn't here yet, and Bunker can't take us for a ride till daddy comes. Let's get out and see how Toby makes the flies get off his front legs."
"Oh, yes, let's!" agreed Bunny.
Out of the basket cart climbed the two children. They walked around where they could stand in front of Toby, and stooped down so they could see his legs better.
"There's a fly!" suddenly exclaimed Bunny.
"Where?" asked Sue eagerly.
"Right on his—his elbow," Bunny answered, pointing to the middle part of Toby's leg, where it bent. "There's a fly right on his elbow."
"'Tisn't his elbow," said Sue. "That isn't!"
"What is it then?"
"It's his—his knee!"
"Well, it would be his elbow if his front legs were arms," insisted Bunny. "And, anyhow, there's a fly!"
Surely enough, there was a fly on Toby's leg, and it was out of reach of his tail, long as that was.
"How'll he get the fly off?" asked Sue.
"Let's watch and see," suggested Bunny.
They did not have long to wait. Pretty soon the fly began to bite, as flies always do when they get on horses or ponies. But the fly did not bite very long, for Toby stretched his leg out a little way in front of him, where he could reach it more easily, and then he leaned down his head and with his nose drove the fly away.
"Oh, look!" cried Bunny. "He's scratching the itchy place with his nose!"
And that is just what Toby was doing. When he found that his tail would not reach the biting fly he drove the insect off another way.
Then, while Bunny and Sue still watched, a third fly, or perhaps it was the same one, lighted on Toby's front leg in a place where he could neither reach it with his tail nor with his nose.
"What'll he do now?" asked Sue.
"Let's watch and see," said her brother.
Again they did not have long to wait. When Toby found that the fly was biting him, he gave a queer wiggle to his skin, and the fly flew off.
"Oh, he shivered him away!" cried Sue. "He just shivered him away!"
And really it did seem as if Toby had done that very thing. Bunny and Sue were laughing at the queer way their pony had got rid of the fly when they saw their father coming along the dock.
"Well, youngsters!" called Mr. Brown, "you haven't sold Toby yet, I see!"
"And we're not going to!" cried Bunny. "We're never going to sell Toby!"
"All right," said Mr. Brown, laughing. "But where is Bunker?"
"He's washing so he can take us for a ride," answered Sue. "And, Daddy! you ought to see Toby chase flies!"
"Does he run after them?" asked her father, smiling.
"Oh, Daddy! Of course not!" cried Sue. "But when a fly gets on the back part of our pony he switches his tail and knocks him off."
"And when a fly gets on his front leg he scratches it off with his nose."
"What?" cried Mr. Brown. "Does Toby scratch his leg off?"
"No! The fly!" said Bunny, laughing at the funny way his father spoke. "He brushes the fly off, and then he scratches the itchy place with his nose."
"My! he's quite a pony!"
"And when a fly gets on the back part of his front leg, how do you s'pose he gets the fly off then, Daddy?" asked Sue.
"Does he ask you to drive the fly off for him?" Mr. Brown wanted to know.
"Oh, Daddy! Course not! Toby can't talk!" Sue said. "But he just shivers his leg and the fly goes right away! What do you think of that?"
"Well, I think your pony is smarter than we knew," said Mr. Brown. "Think of shivering off flies!"
"And sometimes he stamps his feet and shakes them off," added Bunny. "That's another way. How many does that make, Sue? How many ways can Toby drive off the flies?"
Bunny and Sue counted up on their fingers, Bunny saying:
"He can switch 'em off with his tail, he can scratch 'em off with his nose, he can stamp 'em off and he can shiver 'em off!"
"Four ways," said Sue, who was keeping track on her chubby fingers.
"My! Toby is a regular trick pony!" said Mr. Brown. "Well, here comes Bunker, and I guess he's ready to take you for a ride."
The boat and fish boy had cleaned off some of the paint that had splattered on him, and now, with freshly washed hands and face, and with his hair nicely combed, he was ready to take charge of Bunny and Sue.
"Please, could we drive a little?" asked Bunny.
"I want to hold the reins," added Sue.
"I guess it will be all right," said Mr. Brown. "When you get on a quiet road, Bunker, show the children how to drive, and let them take the reins."
"Oh, won't that be fun!" cried Sue.
"Lots of fun!" echoed Bunny.
Bunker had to go to the end of the dock to tell another boy something about a boat that had been taken out by a fishing party, and Bunny and Sue waited for their friend to come back before getting into the pony cart.
"'Member how we used to go out in the boats, Bunny?" asked Sue.
"Course I 'member. But I don't want to go out now. I'd rather go for a ride with our Shetland pony."
"Oh, so'd I," went on Sue. "I was just 'memberin'. Maybe some day we could take Toby for a ride on a boat."
"Maybe," agreed Bunny. "He wouldn't have to jiggle any flies off his skin then, if we had him in a boat."
"But maybe he wouldn't like a boat," went on Sue. "He might kick and fall overboard. Then we wouldn't have any pony."
"That's so," Bunny agreed. "Lessen we fished him out."
"We couldn't!" said Sue. "I don't guess we'd better take him out in a boat."
"Maybe not," agreed Bunny. "Course, maybe daddy or Bunker Blue could fish him out, but I guess we won't take him. I wish Bunker would hurry up and come back so we could go for a ride. Let's go and see where he is."
The two children, leaving Toby hitched to the cart and tied by a strap to a post, walked a little way down to look for Bunker. They saw him coming, and the fish and boat boy waved his hand to the children.
"I'll be with you in a minute," he said. "Tommy lost an oar off the dock and I had to get it for him."
As Bunny and Sue turned to walk back toward Toby they saw a funny sight. The little Shetland pony started to come toward them, and in his mouth was a white rag.
"Oh, look what Toby has!" cried Bunny. "It's a piece of paper!"
"No, it's my handkerchief!" exclaimed Sue, "I dropped it out of my pocket," and, on looking, surely enough, her handkerchief was gone.
"And Toby picked it up and he's bringing it to you!" said Bunny. "Oh, Sue! he's just like Splash, isn't he? He brings things back to you!"
The little pony walked as far toward the children as the strap would let him, and there he stood, holding Sue's handkerchief in his teeth.
"It's just like he was handing it to me!" cried Sue.
"I wonder if he did it on purpose," said Bunny.
"We can find out," Sue said. "I could drop it again, and we could see if he picked it up. Shall we do it, Bunny?"
"Oh, yes, let's!" said the little boy.
"What is it you're going to do?" Bunker Blue asked, as he came along just then. "I thought you were going for a ride with me."
"So we are," answered Bunny. "But look! Toby picked up Sue's handkerchief that she dropped, and he started to bring it over to her, but he couldn't go any farther on account of the strap. Do you s'pose he did it on purpose, Bunker?"
The fish boy scratched his head.
"I shouldn't wonder but what he did," he answered. "Didn't Mr. Tallman say Toby was once in a circus?"
"Yes," answered Bunny and Sue together.
"That settles it then!" cried Bunker. "Toby is a trick pony, and picking up handkerchiefs is one of his tricks."
"Honest?" asked Bunny.
"I think so," replied Bunker. "But it's easy to tell for sure."
"How?" asked Sue.
"We'll just loosen the strap, and you can drop your handkerchief again, Sue, and see if he picks it up. Here, Toby," went on Bunker, "I'll just take that handkerchief now, thank you, and we'll see if you can do the trick again—if it is a trick. I'll loosen your strap."
And as he was doing this Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue were wondering what Toby would do. Would he pick up the handkerchief again?
TOBY'S NEW TRICK
"We didn't know we had a trick pony, did we, Bunny?" asked Sue, as Bunker Blue got ready to see what Toby would do next.
"Maybe we haven't," replied Bunny. "He doesn't look like a trick pony."
"But he's terrible nice!" Sue said. "And the way he picked up my handkerchief was nice, too. Maybe he'll do it again."
"Maybe," said Bunny.
By this time Bunker had loosed the strap by which the pony was fastened to the post on the dock. Toby shook his head up and down, as well as sideways, as though showing how glad he was to be free again.
"Now, little pony!" called the fish boy, "let's see if you can really do this trick."
Bunker, who still held Sue's handkerchief, walked back a little way, and dropped the bit of white cloth on the dock. Toby looked at it a moment, as if to make sure what it was, and then he walked over to it, picked it up as he had done before, and then, to the surprise and delight of the children, walked with the handkerchief straight to Bunker Blue.
"Oh, he did it! He did it!" cried Sue, clapping her hands. "He is a trick pony, Bunny!"
"Yes, but didn't he ought to bring the handkerchief to you, Sue?" asked her brother.
"He saw me drop it," explained Bunker, "so he thought it must be mine. Maybe if you were to drop it, Sue, he would bring it back to you."
"Oh, let me!" she cried.
Bunker gave the little girl her handkerchief, and after Sue had put her arms around Toby, and patted him on the head, at the same time calling him pet names, she backed away and dropped her handkerchief where the Shetland pony could see it on the dock.
For a moment or two Toby did nothing. He stood looking at the white rag and then he shook his head. But he shook it up and down, and not sideways, and, seeing this, Sue cried:
"Oh, he's saying that he'll do it! He says he'll bring me the handkerchief!"
And, whether or not Toby really meant this, or whether it was the way he always did the trick, I don't know, but, anyhow, he stepped out, walked over to the handkerchief, pulling the basket cart after him, and then he picked up the white cloth and walked straight to Sue with it, holding it out to her in his mouth.
"Oh, he did it!" cried the little girl, clapping her hands. "He brought the handkerchief to me, Bunny! Now, isn't he a trick pony?"
"Yes," said Bunny, slowly, "I guess he is. I wonder if he'd bring me my handkerchief?"
"Try him and see," suggested Bunker Blue. "But I thought you wanted to go for a ride."
"So we do," returned Bunny, "but we can ride after we see if Toby does the handkerchief trick for me."
"Yes, I guess we'll have time for that," said Bunker Blue.
So Bunny dropped his handkerchief on the dock, and, surely enough, Toby picked it up and carried it to the little boy.
"Now," said Sue, "we know for sure he's a trick pony. Maybe he did that in a circus, Bunker."
"Maybe he did," agreed the fish boy.
"I wonder if he can do any more tricks," went on Bunny.
"We'll try him after a while," went on Bunker. "If I'm going to take you for a ride, and show you how to drive your little horse, we'd better start, as I don't know when your father may want me back here on the dock. Come on, we'll go out on the road, and, later on, we can try Toby with some more tricks."
So Bunny and Sue climbed into the basket cart, taking seats on either side, and Bunker climbed up after them, to hold the reins. They drove down the wooden dock toward Mr. Brown's office, the feet of Toby, the Shetland pony, going: "Plunk! Plunk! Plunk!" on the boards.
"Well, you've started I see!" called Mr. Brown to Bunny and Sue, as he looked out of the door of his office. "But what kept you so long?"
"Oh, Toby was doing tricks," answered Bunny.
"Doing tricks?" asked Mr. Brown.
"He picked up my handkerchief," added Sue, and she told her father all about it.
"My! he certainly is a trick pony!" said Mr. Brown. "We must ask Mr. Tallman if Toby can do anything else besides the handkerchief trick."
Then, as Mr. Brown watched, Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue and their Shetland pony went off down the road, Bunker Blue driving.
"Doesn't he go nice?" cried Sue to her brother. "And doesn't his tail switch off the flies quick?"
"Terrible quick," agreed Bunny, and he added: "Oh, Bunker Blue! you ought to see how many ways Toby can wiggle the flies off his legs."
"How many?" asked the fish boy.
"Five," answered Bunny. "Course not all five flies off his legs, but some off his back he switches with his tail, and——"
"You talk just like a Dutchman!" laughed Bunker.
"Well, anyhow, he can wiggle flies off lots of ways," Bunny said.
Down the road they drove, and many a person, and not a few children, turned to look after the pony cart in which Bunny and Sue were having such a good time.
As they drove past old Miss Hollyhock's cottage she came to the door and waved to them. A little farther on Bunny saw Charlie Star, with whom he sometimes played.
"Oh, Bunker!" cried Bunny, "couldn't we take Charlie for a ride?"
"Well, yes, but not just now. I want to give you children a little lesson in driving, and we don't want to be crowded. Some other time we'll take Charlie," said the fish boy.
So, as he drove past his chum, Bunny leaned out of the cart and called:
"We'll give you a ride to-morrow, Charlie!"
"All right—thanks!" shouted the little boy in answer.
A little later Sue saw some of her girl playmates—Mary Watson and Sadie West—and to them she said the same thing—that she would take them for a ride the next day.
"Don't promise too much," warned Bunker Blue. "We don't want to make Toby too tired."
But I guess the Shetland pony liked to draw children about, at least as long as the roads were level, and he did not have to haul the cart uphill.
Coming to a quiet part of the road, just outside the village, where automobiles seldom came, Bunker Blue gave the two children their first lesson in driving. He showed Bunny and Sue how to hold the reins, and how to pull gently on the left one when they wanted the pony to turn that way.
"And when you want him to go to the right just pull on the right-hand line," said the fish boy. "But be careful in turning all the way around that you don't turn too quickly, or you may upset the cart and spill out."
"I spilled off my sled once," said Bunny. "And I rolled all the way downhill. But I didn't get hurt, for I rolled into a bank of snow."
"Well, there aren't any snow banks here, now, to fall into," said Bunker, "so be careful about rolling out."
Then the fish boy showed the children how to hold the reins gently, but firmly, when Toby was trotting straight along, and he showed them how to pull in when they wanted the pony to stop.
Then, after a while, Bunker let Bunny take the reins himself, for a little while, and drive Toby. The little boy was delighted to do this. He even guided the pony first to the right and then to the left, and then brought him to a stop.
"Fine!" cried Bunker. "That's the way to do it, Bunny!"
"Can't I do it, too?" asked Sue, for she always liked to do the things her brother did.
"Yes, it's your turn now," said the fish boy, and the little girl took the reins. And Toby was so gentle, and seemed so eager to do everything he could to make it easy for Sue, that she soon learned to drive a little bit.
Then Bunker showed them how to turn around, and how to make Toby back up, in case they got to such a narrow place in the road that there was not room to turn. Bunker knew a lot about horses and ponies, and he was the best teacher Bunny and Sue could have had.
"Now, let's drive back and show mother!" said Bunny after a while. "Let's drive past the house, Bunker."
"All right," agreed the fish boy. "I'll drive until we get there, for I see some automobiles coming, and we don't want them to run into us. But when we get near the house I'll let you take the reins, Bunny."
"Couldn't I take 'em, too?" asked Sue.
"Well, we'll let Bunny do it first," suggested Bunker. "And then, when we drive down to the dock, you can show your daddy how you drive, little girl."
"Oh, I'll love that!" cried Sue, clapping her hands.
And you can imagine how surprised Mrs. Brown was when she saw the pony cart coming up the drive, with Bunny holding the reins, as though he had known for a long while how to make Toby go.
"Look, Mother! Look!" cried the little boy. "I'm driving Toby!"
"So I see, Bunny," said Mrs. Brown. "Isn't it wonderful?"
"And I can drive, too," added Sue. "I'm going to show daddy down at the dock!"
"Oh, won't that be nice!" laughed her mother. "I'm sure you two children ought to be very happy with such a fine pony and cart!"
And indeed Bunny and Sue were happy. Bunny drove all around the house and out into the road again, and then Bunker took the reins to guide the pony down to the fish and boat dock, for the children had not yet been taught enough about the pony to make it safe for them to drive him on the main street.
"Now, you take hold, Sue," said Bunker, as they turned into the yard that led to the dock. "There's your father at the window of the office, and he can see you drive."
Sue's cheeks glowed rosy in delight as she took the reins; and as she guided the pony past the little house on the end of the dock, where Daddy Brown had his office, the little girl cried:
"See what I can do! See what I can do!"
"Oh, fine!" exclaimed Mr. Brown. "Well, Toby didn't run away with you, did he?"
"Oh, no! He'll never do that!" said Bunny. "We had a dandy ride!"
The children, with Bunker Blue, took turns telling Mr. Brown about their first ride, and then, not wishing to tire them out, or make Toby too tired, either, Mr. Brown sent them home in the pony cart, with Bunker to drive.
"To-morrow you may go out again," said Bunny's father.
And so, for several days after that, Bunker Blue took the children out for rides in the pony cart. Each day he let them drive alone for longer and longer times, until at last Bunny and Sue were very good at it.
They learned how to keep to the right, out of the way of other wagons or automobiles, and as Toby did not now seem to be afraid of anything he met, one night Mr. Brown said:
"Well, I guess Bunny and Sue are good enough drivers now to go out by themselves without Bunker Blue."
"And drive all alone?" asked Bunny, eagerly.
"Yes," his father said. "But keep on the more quiet streets, and don't go too far."
The children promised they would be careful, and the next day they went for a ride by themselves. Their mother was a little anxious about them at first, and watched them go up and down the street in front of the house. Splash, the dog, ran along, too, barking and wagging his tail, as though having just as much fun as anybody. Then, after a while, Bunny and Sue went a little farther away from the house.
But they did not go too far at first, and as they were turning around to drive back, it being Bunny's turn to hold the reins, they saw, walking toward them, Mr. Tallman.
"Oh, hello!" cried Bunny. "Don't you want a ride, Mr. Tallman?"
"Why, yes, thank you," he answered. "And so you are out all by yourselves? This is fine! I didn't think you'd learn so soon how to drive Toby."
"Oh, he's easy to drive!" Bunny said.
"And he can do tricks!" added Sue. "He picked up my handkerchief and brought it back to me!"
"Yes, I knew he could do that trick," said Mr. Tallman. "And that's what I came over to tell you about. I forgot it when I was here before, for I was thinking so much about my red-and-yellow box that was stolen."
"Have you got it back yet?" asked Bunny, as the man who used to own Toby got in the cart with the children.
"No, I'm sorry to say I haven't," was the answer. "I'm afraid I shall never see it again. But how do you like Toby?"
"He's dandy!" declared Bunny.
"And we just love him!" added Sue.
"I'm glad you do," said Mr. Tallman. "But did you know he can do another trick besides the handkerchief one?"
"Oh, can he?" asked Bunny.
"Yes, indeed! I'll tell you about his new trick. It's one I taught him."
"Oh, please show us!" begged Bunny.
"Wait until we get back to his stable," said Mr. Tallman. "This trick has to be done in the stable where there's a bin of oats. There I can show you what else Toby can do."
And how Bunny and Sue wondered what it was their pony was going to do!
TOBY WALKS AWAY
Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue drove Mr. Tallman in the pony cart along the road, and up the driveway that led to the stable back of their house.
"Why, you two children have learned to drive quite well," said the man who used to own Toby.
"Oh, yes, Bunker Blue showed us how," answered Bunny.
Mrs. Brown looked from the window and saw the pony cart.
"Oh, you have brought back company!" she called, as she noticed Mr. Tallman.
"I came over for a little while only," he said. "I forgot to tell the children about a trick Toby can do, and I thought they might like to know of it. They told me that he picked up Sue's handkerchief."
"Yes, I thought that was very smart of him," said Mrs. Brown with a smile. "Is the other trick as nice as that?"
"I think so," answered Mr. Tallman. "But I need some lumps of sugar to make Toby do it right."
"Yes, I guess all ponies like sugar," said the children's mother, as she brought some out. Then she went to the barn with Mr. Tallman and Bunny and Sue.
Bunny knew something about unharnessing his pet, and did so with the help of Mr. Tallman. Then, as Toby stood loose in the middle of the barn floor, Mr. Tallman gave him a lump of sugar.
"Is that the trick?" asked Bunny.
"No, that is only the start of it. Now show me where your oat bin is and give me a wooden measure with which you dip out the oats you sometimes feed to Toby."
Bunny ran to the box, or bin, where the oats were kept, and from it he took a little round measure, such as grocers, at the store, use for measuring two quarts of potatoes.
"Now," said Mr. Tallman, "I'll just put another lump of sugar in this wooden measure. Then I'll put the measure under this basket," and this he did, letting Toby see all that went on.
"Now," went on the man who used to own the pony, "I'll see if he'll do as I want him to. I want him to go over to the basket, lift it off the measure, and then carry the measure over to the oat bin. Then I want him to open the top of the bin with his nose, and drop the measure inside, as though he wanted to take some oats out to eat."