Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue on Grandpa's Farm
by Laura Lee Hope
1  2  3     Next Part
Home - Random Browse




Illustrated by Florence England Nosworthy


Made in the United States of America






For Little Men and Women





Copyright, 1916, by GROSSET & DUNLAP

Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue on Grandpa's Farm































"Bunny! Bunny Brown! Where are you?"

Bunny's mother stood on the front porch, looking first in the yard, then up and down the street in front of the house. But she did not see her little boy.

"Sue! Sue, dear! Where are you, and where is Bunny?"

Again Mrs. Brown called. This time she had an answer.

"Here I am, Mother. On the side porch."

A little girl, with brown eyes, came around the corner of the house. By one arm she carried a doll, and the doll was "leaking" sawdust on the porch. Mrs. Brown smiled when she saw this.

"Why, Sue, my dear!" she exclaimed.

"What is the matter with your doll? She is 'bleeding' sawdust, as you used to call it."

"Oh, well, Mother, this is just my old doll," Sue answered. "It's the one I let Bunny take to play Punch and Judy show with, and he hit her with a stick, and made her sawdust come out. Did you want me, Mother?"

"Yes, Sue, and I want Bunny, too. Where is he?"

"He was here a little while ago," the brown-eyed girl answered. "But oh, Mother! you're all dressed up. Where are you going? Can't I go with you?"

"Yes. That is what I called you for. And I want Bunny, too. Have you seen him?"

"No, Mother. But shall I go in and wash my face, if I'm going with you? Where are we going?"

"Just down to the store, and then I'm going to stop in the post-office and see if there are any letters for us. Yes, run in and wash your face and hands. Your dress is clean enough. I'll look for Bunny."

Mrs. Brown walked out to the front gate, and again called:

"Bunny! Bunny Brown! Where are you?"

No one answered, but a nice old man, limping a little, and leaning on a stick, came around from the back yard. He looked like a soldier, and he had been in the war, many years ago.

"Oh, Uncle Tad!" Mrs. Brown asked, "have you seen Bunny?"

The nice old man laughed.

"Yes, I've seen him," he replied. "He went off down the street in his express wagon. That dog, Splash, was pulling him."

"I hope he hasn't gone too far," observed Mrs. Brown. "When Bunny gets to riding with his dog he doesn't think how far away he goes."

"I'll see if I can find him for you," offered Uncle Tad, with another laugh. "That Bunny Brown is surely a great boy," he murmured, as he limped off down the street.

He did not have far to go, nor did Mrs. Brown have long to wait, for, in about a minute, a barking was heard. Then came a rattle of wheels on the sidewalk, and a boy's voice called out:

"Gid-dap, Splash! Gid-dap! Go fast now! Go as fast as you can! Hurrah! That's the way to do it!"

Up dashed a small express wagon, drawn by a big, fine shaggy dog, that seemed to be having almost as much fun as was the blue-eyed, curly-haired boy who rode in the cart.

"Oh, Bunny! Bunny! Don't go so fast!" cried his mother. "You'll spill out and hurt yourself! Don't go so fast!"

"Have to go fast, Mother!" said Bunny Brown. "We have to go fast; don't we, Splash?"

The dog barked, but he slowed up, for Uncle Tad held out his hand to pat the big fellow, and Splash dearly loved Uncle Tad.

"We're a fire engine, and we're going to a fire," Bunny Brown explained. "Fire engines always have to go fast; don't they, Splash? Old Miss Hollyhock's house is on fire, and we're going to put it out.

"Only make-believe, of course!" cried Bunny quickly, for he saw that his mother looked a bit frightened when she heard him speak of a fire. "We're just pretending there's a blaze. Here we go! Got to put out the fire! See, I've got a can of water all ready for it!"

Bunny turned to show his mother and Uncle Tad where, in the back of his express wagon, he had set the garden sprinkling-can full of water.

Just as Bunny did that Splash, his big dog, started to run. Bunny fell over backward off the seat, out fell the sprinkling-can full of water, splashing all over Uncle Tad's feet. Then Bunny himself fell out of the wagon, but he landed on some soft grass at the edge of the sidewalk, so he was not in the least hurt.

Splash ran on a little way, pulling the empty wagon, but Bunny, jumping to his feet, called out: "Whoa, Splash!" and the dog stopped.

For a few seconds they all stood there, Uncle Tad looking down at his wet feet, Bunny looking rather surprised at having fallen over backward, and Mrs. Brown hardly knowing whether to laugh or scold. As for Splash he just stood still, his long red tongue hanging out of his mouth, while his breath came fast. For it was a hot day, and he had been running with Bunny.

"Oh dear, Bunny!" said Mrs. Brown at last, "see what you've done! You've made Uncle Tad all wet!"

"I didn't do it, Mother. It was Splash," said the little boy. "He started before I was ready. I—I'm sorry, Uncle Tad. Will it hurt your rheumatism?"

"No, I guess not, Bunny boy. It's a hot day, and a little water won't do me any harm. But it's all spilled now, and how are you going to put out the fire?"

"Oh, I guess we'll make believe the fire's out," said Bunny. "I was going to stop playing, anyhow. Where are you going, Mother?" he asked, for he saw that his mother was dressed as she usually was when she went down town.

"I am going to the store," she said, "and I was looking for you and Sue to go with me. Sue is getting washed."

"If that water had splashed on Bunny, instead of on me, he would have been washed too!" said Uncle Tad with a laugh.

"Oh, Mother! I'll go and wash myself right away!" Bunny cried. Going down town with their mother was a treat that he and Sue liked very much. "May Splash come, too?" Bunny asked.

"Not this time, dear. Now hurry. I'll wait for you on the porch."

"And I guess I'd better go and put on dry shoes," said Uncle Tad. "I didn't know I was going to be the make-believe fire, and get put out, Bunny."

Bunny laughed. Then he drove Splash into the yard, put away the sprinkling-can, unhitched the dog from the express wagon, and put the wagon in the barn, where it was kept.

Splash went off by himself to lie down and rest in the shade, while Bunny hurried into the house to wash his hands and face. Soon he and Sue were walking down the village street with their mother.

As the children passed a little toy and candy shop, kept by Mrs. Redden, Bunny looked in the window, and said:

"Oh, Mother! She's got a new kind of candy in there!"

"So she has!" cried Sue, pressing her little nose flat against the glass.

Mrs. Brown smiled.

"Perhaps we may stop and get some on our way back," she said. "We haven't time for candy now. I want to see if we have any letters in the post-office."

A little later they passed a house, in the side yard of which was a lady, weeding the flower garden.

"Good-morning, Miss Winkler!" called Mrs. Brown.

"Oh, good-morning!" was the answer. "Won't you come in?"

"No, thank you. We haven't time now."

"Oh, Mother, do go in!" begged Bunny. "Sue and I want to see Wango!"

Wango was a little pet monkey, which Mr. Winkler, an old sailor, had brought home with him from one of his many ocean voyages. The monkey did a number of tricks, and Bunny and Sue liked him very much, and often petted him.

"No, dears. We can't stop to see Wango now. Some other time," Mrs. Brown said.

And so she and the children went on to the stores. When they reached the post-office, Mrs. Brown found three letters in her box. She opened one, and read it, she called to Bunny and Sue:

"Oh, my dears! I have good news for you. Here is a letter from Grandpa Brown, who lives away out in the country, on a farm. He wants us to come and stay all Summer with him!"

"Oh, goodie!" cried Sue, clapping her fat little hands.

"May we go, Mother?" asked Bunny. "Oh, let's go to grandpa's farm!"

"Perhaps we may go," said Mrs. Brown. "We'll keep right on down to papa's office now, and ask him."



Mr. Brown, who was the father of Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, was in the boat business in the seaside village of Bellemere. Mr. Brown rented fishing, sailing and motor boats to those who wanted them, and he had his office on the dock, which was built out into Sandport Bay.

"Oh, Mother! Do you think daddy will let us go to grandpa's farm?" asked Bunny, as he and his sister Sue walked along the street, on their way to their father's office, after having gotten the letter from Grandpa Brown.

"Please ask him to let us go," begged Sue.

"Yes, I think he will," said Mrs. Brown.

The children clapped their hands in joy. Once, some years before, they had gone to their grandfather's farm in the country, and they remembered what fun they had had. Now they were older, and they were sure they would have many more good times.

"Well, well!" cried Daddy Brown, as he saw his wife and the two children come into his office on the dock. "What brings you all down here? Do you want some fish, or is Bunny looking for another big lobster claw, so he can put it on his nose and play Mr. Punch?"

"No, I don't want any lobster claws now, Papa," Bunny said. "But can we go to grandpa's farm in the country?"

Mr. Brown looked at his wife.

"What has happened now?" he asked. He was almost sure that something had happened, because Bunny and Sue looked so excited.

"Oh!" cried the little girl, "Bunny went to a fire, and he was upset, and Splash spilled the water all over Uncle Tad, and we got a letter, and——"

Sue had to stop. She had talked so fast she was all out of breath.

Mr. Brown laughed.

"What is it all about?" he asked his wife.

Mrs. Brown told him how Bunny had been playing fire engine in his express wagon, with the dog, and about the upset, when the water was spilled on Uncle Tad.

"But what we came to see you about, Daddy," she went on, "is this letter from father." Grandpa Brown was Mr. Brown's father, you see, and Mr. Brown and his wife always spoke of the children's grandpa as "father."

"Father wants us to bring the children, and spend the Summer on the farm," went on Mrs. Brown. "I think it would be nice, if we could go."

"Oh, let us, Daddy!" cried Bunny and Sue.

Mr. Brown looked thoughtful.

"Well," he said slowly, "I suppose we could go. I could have the business here looked after all right, and I guess I need a little rest myself. Yes, I think we'll go," he said. "It will take me about a week to get ready. You may write to father that we'll come," he said to Mrs. Brown. "Was there anything else in his letter?"

"Well, yes," and Mrs. Brown spoke slowly. "It's some bad news——"

"Bad news!" Bunny interrupted. "Can't we go to the farm?"

"It isn't that," Mrs. Brown said quickly. "It's about grandpa's horses. It seems," she said to her husband, while Bunny and Sue listened with all their might, "that there was some Gypsies camping near the farm."

"Did the Gypsies—did they take grandpa away?" asked Sue, for she had often heard of Gypsies taking persons off with them. But, really, this hardly ever happens.

"No, dear. The Gypsies didn't take grandpa, but they took his best team of horses," answered her mother. "That's what he says in his letter. Some of the Gypsies' horses were taken sick, and they could not pull the Gypsy wagons, when they wanted to move their camp. Some of the Gypsy men borrowed grandpa's team and said they would pay him for the use of it a little while, until they could pull their wagons to a new place."

"And did father let them take his horses?" asked Daddy Brown.

"Yes. He says in his letter that he wishes, now, he had not. For, though the Gypsies promised to bring the horses back, they did not do so."

"Oh, did the Gypsies keep Grandpa's horses?" asked Bunny.

"Yes. That's what he says."

"Then we can't go to the farm!" and Bunny looked very sorry.

"Why can't we go? What have the horses to do with it?" asked Bunny's mother.

"Because, if he hasn't any horses, grandpa can't come to the station for us, and drive us out to the farm."

"Oh, well, I guess he has more than one team. Though he says it was his best one the Gypsies borrowed, and did not bring back," said Mrs. Brown to her husband. "It will be quite a loss to father, and he was so proud of that team of horses!"

"Yes," answered Mr. Brown, "it's too bad!"

"Oh, dear!" sighed Sue. "Aunt Lu lost her diamond ring, and now grandpa has lost his horses. But maybe you can find them, Bunny, just as you found Aunt Lu's diamond ring!"

"Huh! Aunt Lu's ring was in my lobster claw! How could a team of horses get in a lobster claw?" asked Bunny, with a laugh.

"Oh, I don't mean that!" said Sue. "But maybe you could find the horses in the woods, same as you found the ring in the claw."

"Maybe!" agreed Bunny. "But when can we go to the farm?"

"Next week, perhaps," answered his mother. "It depends on your father."

"Yes, we can go next week," Mr. Brown said.

"Even if Grandpa Brown doesn't get his horses back from the Gypsies?" asked Bunny.

"Yes, I think we can manage to reach the farm without grandpa's horses. I have a new plan for going out there—something we have never done before," and Daddy Brown nodded at his wife, and smiled.

"Oh, what is it?" Bunny asked eagerly.

"It's a secret," said his father. "I'll tell you after a while."

The children begged and teased to know what it was, but Mr. Brown only laughed, and said they would have to wait.

Then Mrs. Brown took Bunny and Sue home, and on the way the brother and sister talked of nothing but what fun they would have on grandpa's farm, and of how sorry they were about the Gypsies having borrowed the horses, and keeping them, instead of bringing them back, as they should have done.

"But maybe you'll find them," said Sue. "I hope so, anyhow. I'll help you look, Bunny."

"I hope so, too," replied Bunny. "We did find Aunt Lu's diamond ring, when she thought she never would."

I will tell you a little about that, though, if you like, you may read of it in the first volume of this series, which is named: "Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue."

In that I told how the Brown family lived in the seaside town of Bellemere, on Sandport Bay. Bunny, who was six years old, and Sue, who was five, were great chums and playmates. They were together nearly all the while, and often got into trouble; though of course they had fun, and good times also.

Their Aunt Lu came to visit them from New York, and the first night she was at the Brown house she lost her diamond ring, when she was helping Mrs. Brown make a salad from a big lobster that was brought ashore in one of Mr. Brown's boats. A lobster is a sort of fish only it has legs and claws to pinch with.

Aunt Lu felt sorry about losing her ring, and Bunny and Sue promised to help her find it. They looked, but, for a long time, could not discover it. Finally Bunny found it in the queerest way.

Besides finding Aunt Lu's diamond ring, Bunny Brown and his sister Sue did many other things, which are told of in the first book. They had good fun with their friends Charlie Star, Harry Bentley, Mary and George Watson, and Sadie West and Helen Newton, children of about their own age.

Bunny and Sue got locked in an empty house, and thought they would have to stay there all night, but they did not. They went on a trolley ride, and got lost, and wandered into a moving picture show, and up on the stage, where they made everybody laugh.

Bunny Brown was always thinking of new things to do, and Sue was always ready to help him do them. The children were not naughty, but they did get into trouble and out again more easily than any tots of whom I ever heard. They had many friends, and everybody in town knew and liked them.

"And now we're going to have more good fun!" said Bunny, on the afternoon of the day when Grandpa Brown's letter came. "Oh, I just love it on the farm."

"We can play in the hay, and go after the cows, and hunt eggs," said Sue.

"But you mustn't fall into any hen's nest, as you did once in our barn, and get your dress all egg," said Bunny.

"I won't," promised Sue. "Oh, Bunny, I can hardly wait!" and she jumped up and down, she was so excited and happy.

"Neither can I," said her brother. "I'll tell you what let's do!"

"What?" asked Sue.

"Let's go down to Mrs. Redden's and get a lollypop. We have our penny, and mother said we could each spend one this afternoon."

"All right," Sue replied. "And then shall we go in and see Wango, the monkey?"

"I guess so. But we'd better eat our lollypops first, or he'll beg them away from us."

Wango was very fond of candy, and if the children stood in front of him, eating any, he would beg so hard for some, and hold out his little paws in such a sad way, that they could not help sharing their treat with him.

Wango was sometimes kept in a big cage, but he was also often allowed to be outside, on the porch, with a chain fastened to his collar, and then snapped to a ring in the porch post.

Bunny Brown and his sister Sue bought their lollypops at Mrs. Redden's store, and then went on to Mr. Winkler's house, to see the monkey. Mr. Winkler, the old sailor, lived with his sister, Miss Winkler. The sister did not like her brother's monkey very much.

"Shall we tell Miss Winkler about going to grandpa's farm?" asked Sue, as she and Bunny walked along the street, hand in hand, eating their candy.

"Yes, and we'll tell her about the Gypsies taking grandpa's horses. Maybe she might see them, and tell the bad men to give them back."

"Maybe," agreed Sue. "Is your lollypop good, Bunny?"

"Awful good. Is yours?"


The two children walked on, and soon were within sight of Mrs. Winkler's house.

"There's Wango, tied on the porch," cried Bunny.

"I see him," answered Sue. "And oh, Bunny! Listen! I hear music!"

"Oh, it's a hand-organ!" Bunny exclaimed.

"Oh, see, he has a monkey!" Sue cried, pointing to a little furry creature on top of the music box.

Wango saw the strange monkey at the same time. Wango jumped up, and ran toward the organ grinder as far as the chain would let him. Then Mr. Winkler's monkey chattered and screamed loudly.

All at once the Italian stopped playing, for his own monkey suddenly jumped down to the sidewalk, gave a hard pull on the string that was about his neck, broke loose and ran away, far off down the street, while Wango chattered louder than ever.



"Bunny! Bunny! Look! Look! The hand-organ man's monkey has run away!" cried Sue.

"Yes!" answered Bunny. "Let's run after him! Maybe we can catch him, and the man will let us play the organ!"

That was all Bunny Brown and his sister Sue thought about—doing whatever they happened to think of first, and this time it was racing after the runaway monkey.

For the hand-organ man's monkey was really running away. He was frightened at Wango, I think, for Wango was larger than he, though Wango was quite gentle, even if he did make lots of trouble, such as upsetting the jars in Mrs. Redden's candy store.

"Here! Come back! Come back!" cried the Italian to his monkey, speaking in what sounded to Bunny and Sue very queer talk. But then the Italian could speak his own language well, even if he could not talk the kind Bunny and Sue used.

"We'll get your monkey for you, Mr. Organ-man!" cried Bunny. "Come on, Sue!"

"Well, don't run so fast—I can't keep up to you!" called the little girl. "Wait for me, Bunny!"

Bunny turned and clasped Sue's hand in his own. He did not want to leave his little sister behind. Each child still held a half-eaten lollypop.

The hand-organ man set down his music box, and he, too, raced down the street after his runaway monkey. Of course the man could run faster than could Bunny and Sue.

All this while Wango was jumping about on the porch, chattering and squealing. He tried to break the chain that was fast to the collar around his neck, but it was too strong for his efforts.

Once, after Mr. Winkler had fastened his pet out of doors, Wango broke away, and hid in Mrs. Redden's candy shop. And, oh! how he did smash the candy jars, and what a lot of lollypops he took! But his master, Mr. Winkler, the old sailor, paid for them, so it was all right. Then Mr. Winkler put a stronger chain on Wango. And that is why the pet monkey could not now get away.

But he tried very hard, for he wanted to run away also, I think, and have a good time with his friend, the hand-organ monkey. Only the hand-organ monkey seemed to be afraid of Wango.

"But he didn't need to be," Bunny said, as he trotted on with Sue, "for Wango wouldn't hurt him."

"Of course not!" said Sue, "any more than our dog Splash would have hurt the little yellow dog he ran after one day."

I have told you about that in the first book, how Splash ran away with Bunny and Sue, hurrying down the street to make friends with a little yellow dog, that once had had a tin can tied to his tail.

And, also in the first book, I told you how Bunny and Sue got their dog Splash. Bunny and Sue were carried away in a boat, and landed on an island in the river. There Sue fell in, and the big dog pulled her out. As no one came for the dog the Browns kept him, and Bunny and Sue named him "Splash," because, as Sue said, "he splashed into the water to pull me out."

On ran the hand-organ man after his monkey, and on ran Bunny Brown and his sister Sue after the hand-organ man. But Wango had to stay behind. He made so much noise, though, with his chattering and screaming, to say nothing of rattling the chain, that Miss Winkler came running out. She was making a cake, and her hands were all covered with flour, while there was a white spot on the end of her nose.

"Oh, what is the matter? What is the matter?" she cried.

"The hand-organ man's monkey ran away because Wango scared him," said Bunny, "and we are running after him."

"After Wango?" Miss Winkler wanted to know.

"No! After the hand-organ monkey," answered Bunny. "Come on, Sue!"

They turned the corner, and there, half way down the street, they saw the hand-organ man standing under a tree.

"Oh, maybe the monkey is up the tree!" cried Bunny.

"Yes, ma monk—he up-a de tree!" said the Italian, in his funny way. "He no comea down! Jacko! Jacko!" he called. "Comea down—pleasa!"

But, though the hand-organ man held up his arms, and begged his monkey to come down, the little furry creature would not come. He sat perched on a high limb, looking with his bright eyes at Bunny, Sue and the man. Several boys and girls, as well as some men, came over to see what was going on.

"I'll climb the tree and get him," offered George Watson.

"Better not. Monkeys can bite and scratch," said Mr. Gordon, who kept the grocery store. "What happened to him, Bunny?"

Bunny told him how Wango had frightened the organ monkey.

"Maybe if you play, Mr. Italian man, he'll come down!" exclaimed Sue, after a bit.

"Ha! That's a good idea!" said Mr. Reinberg, who sold drygoods in Bellemere. "Go get your hand organ, Mr. Italian."

"Sure. Me maka de nicea de music!" agreed the man. "Maybe Jacko comea down den!"

Off he ran to get his organ, which he had left on the grass in front of Miss Winkler's house. But, even when the organ was played, the monkey up in the tree would not come down. He chattered, and climbed farther up.

"Oh, I know what let's do!" suddenly cried Bunny Brown.

"What?" asked his sister Sue.

"Let's give him our lollypops—that is, what we have left of 'em. Wango likes lollypops, you know, and this monkey ought to like 'em just as well. I'll give him mine," and Bunny looked at his half-eaten candy.

"And he can have mine, too!" exclaimed Sue.

"Better let the hand-organ man give him the candy," said Mr. Gordon. "The monkey will know him better. I guess it's a good idea, though—offering him the lollypops."

"Much-a thank-a you!" said the Italian, smiling, as he took the pieces of candy on the sticks, which the children gave him. He held them up to Jacko, and said something in Italian. The monkey chattered, just as if he were talking back, and then he began slowly climbing down the tree.

"Oh, Bunny! He's coming! He's coming!" cried Sue.

"He much-a like-a de candy!" said the Italian organ-grinder, who was now smiling. "Come on, Jacko! Come on!"

The runaway monkey did not seem so much afraid now, or perhaps he was very hungry for the candy. Anyhow down he came, until he could jump to his master's shoulder. Then he put one little hairy paw around the Italian's neck, and, with the other, held the lollypops, which he at once began to eat.

"Say, that's the time you and Sue did it, Bunny!" cried Mr. Gordon. "It was a good trick. But the monkey will eat all your candy."

"Oh, I don't mind," Bunny said. But he did care, just a little, and so did Sue. However the Italian was so glad to get his monkey back that he gave Bunny and Sue each a penny, so they could buy new lollypops. Then the organ-man fastened the string on the monkey's collar again, and started off up the street.

"Let's follow him," said Sue to Bunny. "Maybe the monkey will run away again, and we can help get him out of a tree."

"No, we'd better go home," Bunny said. "Mother may be looking for us."

So home they went, and just in time, for Mrs. Brown was about to ask Uncle Tad to look for the children.

Every day, for the next week, Bunny Brown and his sister Sue would ask when they could start for grandpa's farm. And their mother would say:

"Pretty soon now. Daddy hasn't his surprise quite ready."

"Oh, why can't you tell us?" begged Sue.

"Because, then it wouldn't be any surprise," said Mrs. Brown, with a laugh.

Bunny and Sue had some good times while they were waiting, but they were anxious to have fun on the farm. And, one morning, soon after breakfast, they went out in the yard to play, and saw a strange sight.

Into the drive rumbled a big automobile, almost like a large moving van. Bunny and Sue ran out of the way. The big automobile came to a stop. The man on the front seat jumped down, and, going around to the back, opened the doors. Bunny and Sue peeped inside the van.

"Oh, look, look, Bunny!" cried Sue. "It's just like a play-house inside. It's got beds, and a table and even a stove! Oh, what is it all for?"

"My, what a big, queer auto!" said Bunny. "And it's even got windows in it. Why we could camp out in it! Is it ours?" he asked the man.



Bunny Brown and his sister Sue stood looking at the queer, big automobile. They had seen some like it once before passing through the town, loaded with tables, chairs, a piano and other things, when someone was moving. But this automobile was different.

Inside, as the children could see, were four small beds—"bunks" they were called, as Bunny knew, for that was what a bed was called on a ship, or big boat. And a bunk was like a shelf, sticking out from the side of the wall.

Besides the bunks, inside the big automobile van, there were chairs, a table, and a cupboard, in which, through the glass doors, could be seen dishes.

"Oh, Bunny!" cried Sue. "We're going to eat! We're going to eat! I see the dishes. We're going to eat in this auto!"

"Yes, and we must be going to cook, too," said Bunny. "I see an oil stove, and some pots and pans. That is we are going to eat if this is our auto," he went on, looking again at the man who had steered it into the yard of the Brown house. "Is it ours?" Bunny asked.

"Well, your father told me to bring it up here, and leave it, so I guess it must be yours, or his," and the man smiled at Bunny and Sue.

"Oh, goodie!" cried the little girl, dancing up and down for joy. "It's our auto! It's our auto!"

"Fine!" exclaimed Bunny, with eyes that sparkled almost as brightly as did Aunt Lu's diamond ring, which was found in the lobster claw. "And are we going to have a long ride in it?" Bunny asked.

"Well, as to that, I don't know," answered the man. "Your father told me to bring the auto up here and leave it. He'll be home pretty soon, I guess, and tell you all about it. I'll be going now."

The man had put the brakes on, so the wheels could not turn, and thus let the automobile run away. Now he waved his hand in good-bye to the children and walked off. Bunny and Sue raced into the house.

"Oh, Mother!" cried Sue.

"Oh, Mother!" cried Bunny.

Then both together they fairly shouted:

"Come on out and look at the big auto!"

Mrs. Brown smiled, and went out with the children. She did not seem as much surprised as they had been.

"What's it for, Mother?" asked Bunny. "The man said papa sent it up. Are we going to take a long ride in it?"

"Well, I think so, Bunny."

"But if we go riding in this how can we go to grandpa's farm?" Sue wanted to know.

"You had better wait until your father comes home, and he'll tell you all about it," her mother replied.

"May we go inside and look at it?" asked Bunny.

"Yes, come along," and Mrs. Brown led the way up the little pair of steps that were fastened at the back of the big automobile.

Once inside Bunny and Sue thought they had never seen such a fine place. It was just like a little house of two rooms, one room being shut off from the other by heavy curtains.

The first room they went into was where they would eat and cook, and, when the table was cleared off, they could sit around it and read, or play games. There was a hanging lamp over the table.

There were two windows in this room, with nice, white curtains draped over them. And along the sides of the room were cupboards, and little places where dishes, pans and other things could be put away. There was even a clock on the wall, to tell the time.

In the next room, as Bunny and Sue could see through the curtains, which were pulled back, were four beds, two little ones, Bunny's and Sue's, and two larger beds, or bunks, for Mr. and Mrs. Brown. In this room were also two boxes, or chests.

"That is where we shall keep our clothes when we are traveling," said Mother Brown. There was a lamp in this room, and windows, with pretty, flowered silk curtains over them.

"Then we are really going to travel in this auto?" asked Bunny eagerly.

"Yes," answered his mother with a smile.

"But I thought we were going to grandpa's!" remarked Sue. She did not know what it all meant.

"Well, I think this is papa's secret," went on her mother, "and you will have to wait until he comes home when he can tell you all about it."

Bunny and Sue shook their heads. They did not know what it all meant, but they thought the automobile was fine, and they could hardly wait for the time to come when they should travel and live in it.

"It's just like a sleeping car on the railroad train," said Sue.

"It's better!" Bunny cried. "You can eat in it too. Once I ate on a train, but my milk all spilled in my lap when I tried to drink out of my glass."

Bunny and Sue had once traveled all night on the railroad, and had slept in a bed on the car, and had also eaten in the dining coach, so they knew something about it.

For some time the two children looked about inside the queer, big automobile that was made into a little house, and then they climbed down the steps again.

"And it's real, too. It isn't make-believe!" said Bunny, as if that were the best part of it.

"Shall we have real things to eat?" asked Sue.

"Oh, I think so," her mother told the little girl.

"I—I feel hungry now," observed Bunny, with a sigh.

"Well, run to the house and get some cookies," his mother said. "Then you and Sue may go off and play for a while. But don't go too far. It will make the time pass more quickly, and when you come back daddy will be here, and will tell you all about the big automobile."

"Come on, Sue!" cried Bunny. "We'll have some fun."

Soon the children, a cookie in each hand, were racing about the yard, playing with Splash, the big dog. Splash liked cookies, too, and I think he had almost as much of Bunny's and Sue's as did the children themselves.

Mrs. Brown had gone into the house, and Bunny and Sue were left in the yard. They soon grew tired of playing with Splash, and, as the dog himself was rather hot, he went to lie down in the shade.

"I know what let's do!" said Bunny, after a bit.

"What?" asked Sue, who was always ready to go where her brother led. "What can we do, Bunny, to have some fun?"

"We'll go over to the pond and catch frogs," answered Bunny. "I'll get my net, and you can take a tin can to keep 'em in."

"But we won't hurt the frogs; will we Bunny?"

"No. We'll just catch 'em, and let 'em go again, to watch 'em hop. Come on!"

Bunny had made himself a little net out of a bean pole, with a bent wire, in the shape of a hoop, and some mosquito netting pinned over it. Not far away from the Brown house was a pond where there were many frogs and tadpoles, which are little frogs before they have any legs.

The pond was in a hollow place, where the clay had been dug out to make bricks, for near Bellemere was a large brick factory. The water rained into the pond, and stayed there for some time, as it could not run out or soak down through the clay. Bunny and Sue were allowed to go to the clay-pond because it was not deep, and not far away. But Mrs. Brown always told them to be careful not to slip down in the wet and sticky clay or muddy water.

So now, with the net and the tin can to catch frogs, away the two children started. They had not been frog-hunting since Aunt Lu went back to New York.

"There ought to be lots of frogs now," said Bunny.

"Yes," agreed Sue. "I hear them singing every night."

"Frogs don't sing!" her brother said.

"Yes they do too!"

"No they don't!"

"Then what do they do?" Sue wanted to know.

"They croak!" said Bunny. "Frogs can't sing, they just croak."

"Well, they can hop then!" Sue was sure of that. "'Cause the ones George Watson let loose at our party hopped."

"Oh, yes, frogs can hop," Bunny knew that well enough.

"All 'ceptin' pollywoggles," went on Sue. "They jest wiggle."

"That's right," said her brother. "Pollywogs can't hop, 'cause they've got no legs. Come on."

The two children were soon at the frog pond. They could hear the frogs croaking, or "singing," whichever you call it, and with his net Bunny was soon scooping around in the water, to catch some of the hopping, swimming creatures.

"Oh, I've got a big one!" the little boy suddenly cried, as he lifted the net into the air. "Where's your can, Sue?"

"Here it is, Bunny!"

Sue held up an old tomato can, with the cover off, while her brother turned his net upside down over it. Some black mud and water splashed from Bunny's net, some splattering on Sue's dress. She looked eagerly into the can.

"There isn't any frog at all, Bunny!" she exclaimed, much disappointed.

"No frog?" shouted Bunny. "Of course there is!"

With a stick he poked in the mud on the bottom of the can. No frog was there.

"Well, he must have hopped out," he said.

"Maybe you didn't have one, Bunny."

"Yes I did. But he got away. He was a big one, too. But I'll get another."

A little later Bunny did catch two frogs, though they were small ones. He put them in Sue's can. She looked at them for a while and then asked:

"Oh, Bunny, oughtn't I to put some water in the can, so the frogs can swim? They won't like us if we don't let them swim."

"Well, put a little water in," said Bunny.

With the frogs in the can, Sue dipped it into the pond, at the water's edge. Then she gave a sorrowful cry.

"Oh, Bunny! The frogs hopped out! They got away!"

"Oh, dear!" the little boy said. "What made you let 'em go?"

"I didn't. They wented themselves! They swimmed right out!"

"Oh, well, never mind. I can get more." Bunny was real nice and cheerful about it; wasn't he? Some boys would have made a fuss if their sister let their frogs go, but Bunny Brown was different.

Soon he caught four more frogs, and this time he helped Sue put water in the can, scooping it up with his hands. So the frogs did not get out.

But catching frogs gets tiresome after a while, and, after a bit, Bunny and Sue were ready to stop. They looked about for something else to do. Not far from the pond was a high bank of clay, partly dug away. It was like a little hill, and sloped down to the edge of the pond.

"Oh, Sue, I know what let's do!" cried Bunny.


"Let's go up to the top of the clay-hill and roll stones down into the water."

"All right—let's!"

Sue set down her can of frogs, and Bunny laid aside his net. The clay-hill was too slippery to climb, so the children went around to the side, on a part where the grass grew. Soon Bunny and Sue stood at the top of the hill. It was not very high, nor very steep, and at the top were a number of stones.

"We'll roll 'em down, and watch 'em splash in the water," said Bunny.

Down the slippery clay slide the children rolled the stones, watching them splash into the little pond at the bottom of the hill.

All of a sudden, as Sue rolled one stone, larger than any of the others she had yet played with, she gave a cry.

"Oh, Bunny! Bunny! I'm slipping! I'm falling!" she called.

Bunny gave a jump toward Sue, hoping he could catch her. But he, too, slipped on the smooth clay at the top of the hill.

And the next second Bunny and Sue went sliding down. Right down the clay-hill toward the shallow pond at the bottom they slid, like Jack and Jill, who went up the hill, after a pail of water, and then tumbled down.



"Bunny! Bunny!" cried Sue, as she slid along. "Oh, Bunny! I can't stop!"

"I—I can't, either," answered her brother. "But don't be afraid! You won't get hurt, Sue!"

"No, but, Bunny, if I go into the water I'll get all—all wet!"

"Well, I'll get wet too, and then mamma will know it was an accident. Say, we're sliding fast, Sue! Aren't we?"

Bunny Brown and his sister Sue were certainly sliding fast. The clay-hill was wet with rain that had come down in the night, and the clay was as slippery as glass. The little boy and girl dug their heels in, or they tried to, but the clay was hard, as well as slippery.

Down and down they went, faster and faster. Sue tried to dig her fingers into the clay, but she could not, any more than Bunny, neither of them could stick the heels of their shoes in. On and on they slid, faster and faster.

"Oh, dear!" cried Sue. "I wish our dog Splash were here!"

"He couldn't stop us!" replied Bunny. "He'd slide too, same as we're sliding."

"Well—well, anyhow!" said Sue, almost ready to cry, "he—he could pull me out when I fall in the water—an'—an' I'm goin' to fall in, Bunny! I know I am! I'm goin' to fall in! Oh, dear!"

"Never mind, Sue. I'll fall in with you, and I'll pull you out. It isn't deep."

"No, but it's aw—awful muddy, Bunny!"

Bunny did not have time to answer. He only had time to yell:

"Look out, Sue! Here we go in!"

And—"splash!" in went Bunny Brown and his sister Sue. Right in the shallow pond of muddy water they slid, sitting down. It did not hurt them, for the clay was soft and smooth where the water covered it. But, though the two children were not hurt—oh, so dirty and muddy as they were! They had made such a hard splash into the puddle that the water was sprinkled all over them, like a shower from a fountain.

For a moment, after sliding in, and coming to a stop, Bunny and Sue looked at one another, not saying a word.

"Well," said Bunny, after a bit, with a long breath, "you didn't get hurt; did you, Sue?"

"No, not hurt, Bunny—but—but look at my—my dress!"

Sue's lips quivered, and her eyes filled with tears.

"Don't care," said Bunny kindly. "I'm all mud, too."

"Le—let's go home," Sue went on. "I must get a clean dress. And I don't want any more frogs, Bunny."

"I guess I don't, either. We'll let 'em go."

Bunny tried to get up from where he was sitting in the puddle of muddy water and clay, but it was so slippery that, almost as soon as he stood on his feet, he went down again.

"Oh! Oh!" cried Sue. "You're splashing me more, Bunny!"

"I—I couldn't help it," he said. He looked at Sue and laughed.

"What are you laughin' at?" she asked.

"At you. You do look so funny! There's a lump of clay right on the end of your nose!"

"Oh, is there?" Sue reached for her pocket handkerchief to wipe off the mud, for she did not like a dirty face. But she found that her pocket was under water, and of course her handkerchief was wet through.

"Lend me yours, Bunny," she begged. And Bunny, who had his handkerchief in his waist pocket, up above the wetness, wiped the clay from his sister's nose. Then, by being careful, he managed to stand up. He helped Sue to her feet, and the children waded to shore. The water was not more than a few inches deep, but it was very muddy.

Bunny and Sue emptied the frogs out of the can. The little green fellows seemed glad to hop back into the pond again. Then the two children started for home.

"Oh my goodness me! what has happened to you?" cried their mother when she saw them coming through the gate.

"We—we fell in," said Sue.

"No, we slid in," Bunny said.

"Oh, dear! Well, however it happened, you are perfect sights!" gasped Mrs. Brown. "I never saw such children!"

Bunny and Sue told how it had happened—their sudden slide down the clay-hill—and, as they had not meant to get in the mud puddle, Mrs. Brown did not scold very much. It was an accident.

"But you must be more careful next time," she said.

"We will," promised Bunny.

He was always ready to promise.

"Anyhow," said Sue. "If we're going to grandpa's we can't go to play near the frog pond any more."

"That's so," agreed Bunny. "Or even if we go for a ride in the big automobile. We won't get muddy any more, Mother."

Mrs. Brown and the cook took the muddy clothes off the children, and then Bunny and Sue each had a fine bath in the clean, white tub. Soon they were as nice and neat as ever.

"Now don't go away from the house," said their mother. "Stay in the yard and play. It will soon be time for your father to come home to supper, and then——"

"Then he'll tell us about the big automobile!" cried Bunny.

"And about the secret!" said Sue.

Sue played with her dolls, while Bunny spun a musical top his Aunt Lu had sent him from New York, and, almost before they knew it, the children heard some one at the front gate ask:

"Well, how do you like it?"

"Oh, Daddy!" they cried, and they raced down the walk to meet their father.

"What's it for?"

"Is it for us?"

"Are we to live in it?"

"When are we going to grandpa's farm?"

"Can we take the auto with us?"

Bunny and Sue asked so many questions of their father, and they asked them so fast, that he could not answer them. He could only laugh. Then, catching Sue up in one arm, and Bunny in the other, Mr. Brown carried them into the house.

"Well, Mother," he asked his wife, "how do you like it?"

"I think it's fine," said Mrs. Brown.

"And do you think you could live in it, and sleep in it, for three or four days on a trip to grandpa's farm?"

"Why, yes, I think it would be very nice."

"Oh, Daddy! are we going to grandpa's in the big auto?" asked Bunny.

"Yes, I think we shall."

"And is that the secret?" Sue asked.

"It is," her father answered. "I'll tell you about it. This automobile is an old moving van. I bought it from a man, and I thought it would be nice if it could be fixed up like a Gypsy wagon, so we could travel in it, and eat and sleep in it. I had it made into a sort of little house, you see, with beds, a table, chairs and an oil stove. I thought we would take a little vacation in it this Summer.

"Then, after grandpa sent us the invitation to spend the Summer at his farm, I thought how nice it would be if we could go there in our big auto, instead of in the train. Would you like that?" he asked Bunny and Sue.

"Oh, of course," Bunny replied. Sue clapped her hands and nodded her head. She liked it, too.

"Well, then, that's what we'll do," Mr. Brown went on. "We will make the trip to grandpa's in the big auto. We'll live in it just as the Gypsies live in their wagons, that are drawn by horses, and we can camp out if we want to."

"But we won't take anybody's horses, and not bring 'em back, the way the Gypsies did to grandpa," said Bunny. "Will we?"

"Oh, no, of course not!" echoed Sue.

"Well, then, if it's all settled, we'll have supper, and talk more about our trip afterward," said Mr. Brown.

That night, when the table was cleared, the little family gathered about it talked about what fun they would have.

"Can I steer?" Bunny wanted to know.

"Oh, no. I'm going to let Bunker Blue do that," his father said. Bunker was a big, strong young man, with red hair, who helped Mr. Brown in the boat business.

Bunny and Sue could hardly sleep that night, thinking of the fun they were going to have in the big automobile, and on grandpa's farm. The next morning they helped their mother get ready to start.

Bed clothes were put on the four bunks, the oil lamps and the stove were filled, and things to eat were put in the cupboard. On the way they could stop at stores along the road, and buy more things, when they were hungry.

Very soon all was in readiness. Two days later, the house having been locked up for the Summer, Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, with their father and their mother, took their places in the little house that was made inside the big automobile. Bunker Blue was out on the front seat to steer, and make the automobile go.

"Are you all ready?" asked Bunker of Mr. Brown.

"All ready, Bunker. You may start now!"

"Chug! Chug!" went the automobile, and away it rolled, out of the yard and into the street.

"Hurrah!" cried Bunny Brown. "We're off for grandpa's farm!"



Away down the road rumbled the big automobile, which was just like a little house on wheels. Bunny Brown and his sister Sue sat, one at each window, on cute little chairs, and looked out.

"Oh, isn't this fun?" cried Sue.

"The best fun we ever had," agreed Bunny. "It was more fun than when we were shipwrecked on the island; 'member?"

"Yes. When we played Robinson Crusoe," went on Sue, "and we couldn't find Mr. Friday because it was Thursday," and she laughed.

"And you fell in," added Bunny.

"And Splash pulled me out!"

"Oh, Father!" suddenly cried Bunny, as Sue mentioned the name of the pet dog, "couldn't we take Splash with us?"

"Well, I don't know," said Mr. Brown slowly. "You know we weren't going to take him down on the farm, because grandpa has a dog. But I guess, if you want Splash very much, we have room for him. What do you say, Mother?" and he looked at Mrs. Brown.

"Oh, let the children have their pet," said Mother Brown.

"Fine!" shouted Bunny.

"We'll stop at Mr. West's and get him," said Mr. Brown.

When the Brown family decided to go away, they had not planned to take Splash with them, and he was left at the home of Sadie West, a little girl with whom Sue played. Sadie said she would take good care of Splash. But now Bunny and Sue wanted him with them.

So the big automobile was steered down toward the West home, and a little later, Splash was barking joyously inside the little room, and trying to kiss, with his red tongue, Bunny, Sue and Mr. and Mrs. Brown, all at the same time.

"Oh, I'm so glad we're going to take you!" cried Sue, hugging her pet. Half of Splash belonged to Sue, and half to Bunny. They made believe to divide the dog down the middle, lengthwise, so each would have part of the tail, which always wagged so joyfully when Splash saw either of the children.

Once again the automobile—a little house on wheels—set off.

"Good-bye!" called Sadie West to Sue, waving her hand.

"Good-bye!" echoed Bunny and his sister.

Down the main street of the village they went, many of Mr. Brown's friends stopping to wave their hands or hats to him. Such an automobile, fitted up inside so a family could live in it, was seldom seen in Bellemere.

"There's Charlie Star!" called Bunny, as he saw a boy on the street.

"Yes, and there's Helen Newton," added Sue. "Oh, I wish they were going with us!"

"We haven't room, my dear," said her mother, for sometimes Sue would invite her friends to stay to dinner or to supper without knowing whether her mother thought it best. "Besides," went on Mrs. Brown, "you will find many playmates, and enough to do, on grandpa's farm."

"Yes, I guess we will," said Bunny. "I'm going fishing."

"And I'm going to pick flowers," Sue said. "I don't like fishing, 'cause the worms on your hook are so squiggily."

Mr. and Mrs. Brown sat in easy chairs in the little dining room of the automobile. It was also the sitting room, when the table was not set. And it was the kitchen when the cooking was being done on the oil stove, so you see it was three rooms in one.

Beyond the dividing curtains was the bed room, with the four bunks against the wall. There were windows in that room, but the Brown family seemed to like best sitting in the one nearest the back doors of the automobile.

"It's just like being in a railroad train," said Bunny, as he looked out of the window, and waved to Harry Bentley, one of his friends, whom he saw, just then, on the steps in front of Harry's house.

"Yes," said Sue. "It's like a train, 'ceptin' it jiggles you more," for the street was a bit rough, and the car bumped unevenly along, and swayed from side to side.

"It will run more smoothly when we get out on the soft, dirt country road," Mr. Brown said.

A little later they had passed out of the village. On the front seat Bunker Blue steered the machine, and made it go faster or slower, just as he needed to.

Inside Splash walked about, feeling a little strange at first, perhaps. But he saw Bunny and Sue, and Mr. and Mrs. Brown, so of course he knew it was all right, and that he was one of the family.

"Mother, I'm hungry," said Sue. "Could I have something to eat?"

"Maybe a jam tart," added Bunny. "The kind Aunt Lu used to make, with the jam squashing up through the three little holes on top."

"Yes, I have made some of them," Mrs. Brown said. "I'll give you some. You must be hungry, as we had an early breakfast."

Mrs. Brown knew how to make jam tarts just like those Aunt Lu used to bake. A little cupboard was opened, and a plate of the nice tarts set on the table for the children.

"Oh!" murmured Sue.

"Ah!" said Bunny.

"And would you like a glass of cool milk?" asked Mrs. Brown.

"But how can we have cool milk, on a hot day, when we have no ice?" asked Bunny.

"Oh, but we have ice!" said Mrs. Brown, laughing. "See, Daddy had a little ice box put in, and I keep the butter, milk and other things that need to be cool, in there."

And, surely enough, in one corner of the dining-sitting-room and kitchen was a little icebox, out of which Mrs. Brown took a bottle of milk. So Bunny and Sue were having a nice little lunch, which tasted all the better because they were eating it as they rumbled along in the automobile-house-on-wheels.

Splash looked on hungrily, until Mr. Brown tossed him a dog biscuit. Sadie West had bought some for him, thinking she was going to keep the dog, but she had put the biscuits in the automobile when Bunny and Sue came for their pet.

Mile after mile, along the road, rumbled the big automobile van, like a circus wagon. Bunny and Sue sometimes sat near the back doors, looking out, or else they climbed up on boxes near the side windows. Mr. and Mrs. Brown sat and talked, and laughed at the funny things the children said. Out on the front seat Bunker Blue held the steering wheel.

"Could I ride outside, with him?" asked Bunny, after a while. "I want to ride outside, Daddy!"

"No, indeed, little man," answered his father. "You might get bounced off, and hurt. This auto isn't like Mr. Reinberg's, in which you once had a ride. It would not be safe for you or Sue to ride outside."

"But I want to talk to Bunker," persisted the little boy.

"Well, I think I can manage that," Mr. Brown went on. "There is a window in the front part of the auto, right close to the back of Bunker's seat. I'll open that window, and you can talk to him through it. Go into the bed room."

Bunny and Sue walked into the front part of the automobile, through the hanging curtains. And, surely enough, when Mr. Brown opened a window he had had cut in the front of the van, there was Bunker's smiling face looking in. He saw Bunny and Sue, and laughed.

"Oh, Bunker! Isn't this lovely?" asked Sue.

"Well, it's better than rowing a boat full of fish, anyhow, Sue."

"And we had something to eat," went on Bunny. "Are you hungry, Bunker?"

"Well, no, not real hungry. I had some chewing gum a while ago."

"I can give you a sandwich, Bunker, if you'd like it," said Mrs. Brown, looking out of the window, over the heads of Bunny and Sue. "Chewing gum isn't good to eat."

"Oh, I didn't swaller it," said the red-haired young man. "But I'm not hungry. I'll wait until dinner. I couldn't eat and steer this big auto at the same time. I'll wait."

"It will soon be time for dinner," said Mrs. Brown.

On went the car, and at noon it came to a stop in the road, near a shady bit of woods.

"Here's where we'll eat," said Mrs. Brown. "Shall we set the table inside, or out on the grass?"

"Out on the grass!" cried Bunny. "Then, we'll be just like Gypsies at a picnic."

So Mr. Brown lifted the table out of the automobile, and he and Bunny and Sue helped put on the dishes and the knives and forks. Mrs. Brown cooked the dinner on the oil stove. There were meat and potatoes and green peas, besides tomato soup, which Bunny liked very much.

There was milk for the children, and tea for the older folk, and they sat on chairs, under the trees, and ate what Bunny said was the best dinner he had ever had. Sue liked it too, and so did Bunker Blue.

Then, after a little rest, they went on again. Oh, I forgot to say that of course Splash had his dinner, also. He ate the scraps of meat, and the bread and potatoes left over when all the others had finished. He liked his dinner very much.

On rumbled the big automobile over the country roads. Many persons who passed it—some in other cars, and some in carriages—turned to look at the funny house-on-wheels. Perhaps they wished they had one like it.

"And are we going to sleep in it to-night?" asked Sue, when the sun began to go down.

"Yes," answered her mother. "I'll make up your little beds just as I do at home."

"But I can't sleep if it jiggles and squiggles so much, Mother!"

"We'll not travel at night," said Mr. Brown. "We'll find a nice place beside the road, run the auto under the trees, and stay there until morning. Then the auto won't jiggle you, Sue."

"All right, Daddy. That's nice!"

Just before dusk they stopped for supper. This was just as much enjoyed as was the dinner. Mrs. Brown made lemonade, when Bunker found a spring of cold water.

Just as supper was over, and they were sitting about the table, which was out on the ground near the back of the automobile, Mrs. Brown pointed to some smoke that was to be seen coming up through the trees, not far away.

"That looks like some one camping over there," she said to her husband.

"Maybe it is. There are several bands of Gypsies around here," he said. "It may be some of them."

Bunny Brown and his sister Sue looked at one another. They were both thinking of the same thing. Could these be the Gypsies who had taken grandpa's horses?

The smoke rose higher and higher through the trees, as Mr. and Mrs. Brown, with the help of Bunker, began to wash the supper dishes. Bunny and Sue walked a little distance away from the car, toward the smoke.

"Don't go too far!" their mother called to them.

"We won't," answered Bunny.



The two children walked slowly down the road, at the side of which, under some big willow trees, the automobile was drawn up for the night, which would soon come. Mrs. Brown was busy making up the beds. One for Bunker Blue was to be made on the ground, right under the automobile itself. An extra cot had been brought along for him, but it was folded up in the automobile.

Mr. Brown was busy looking over the machinery of the engine, or motor, that made the automobile go. He wanted to be sure it had not broken, so they would be able to go on again in the morning, and finally get to grandpa's farm.

"Where are you going, Bunker?" called Bunny, as he and Sue saw the big, red-haired boy start down the road with a pail on his arm.

"I'm going for water," Bunker replied.

"Why, we have some in the ice box," cried Sue, for she had had a glass a little while before. "You can drink that water, Bunker."

"Oh, I don't want a drink, Sue. It's the automobile that wants one," Bunker answered.

"How funny!" laughed Sue. "Automobiles can't drink."

"Oh, yes, they can," replied Bunker. "I have to pour water in ours so the engine won't get too hot. It doesn't exactly drink it, but it needs it to cool itself off. That's why I'm going for water now."

"I'll come with you," offered Bunny. And of course where Bunny went, Sue went too. So the brother and sister were soon walking with Bunker down to the spring.

There he filled the pail with water, and, coming back with it, he poured it into what is called the radiator of the automobile—the place where the water itself is kept cool so it will cool the hot engine.

"There!" exclaimed Bunker, when he had finished. "Now the auto has had a good drink, and it can go to sleep when it wants to."

"Oh, do autos go to sleep?" Sue wanted to know.

"Well, they stay nice and quiet all night," her father told her. "At least I hope ours will, and that is almost the same as going to sleep. Now, Mother, have we everything ready for the night?"

"I think so," said Mrs. Brown. "Bunker, if you'll get out your cot, I'll make it for you, and then you can slide it under the automobile."

"Oh, thank you, Mrs. Brown," replied the big boy, "but I can make my own bunk. I'm used to it."

Mrs. Brown looked through the ice box, and in the cupboard. She wanted to see if she had everything she needed for breakfast. And, as soon as she opened the ice box she exclaimed:

"There! The milk! We won't have any for the children. There's only a little bit left. Where can we get any?"

Mr. Brown came back from having looked at the engine, which he found was all right.

"Milk?" he said. "Why, there's a farmhouse a little way over on that road," and he pointed to it. "I guess we could get milk over there."

"Then we'll have to do it. Bunker—no—you're making up your bed; aren't you? You can't go. You and I will go for the milk," she said to her husband.

"And take Bunny and Sue with us?"

"No, I think not. They seem to be having a good time and they'll be all right here with Bunker until we come back. There might be cross dogs at the farmhouse, and it may be too far for them to walk. You stay here, Bunny and Sue," she went on, "while daddy and I go for some fresh milk. Don't go far away now."

"No'm," promised Bunny again.

He and Sue saw many things to look at near the place where the automobile had stopped for the night. There were some flowers and ferns growing in the grass and Sue made a nice bouquet. Then Bunny found a place where he could break off long, willow branches from a tree, and he had fun playing he was the ring-master in a circus, cracking the willow whip, and making the make-believe horses jump over "pretend" elephants.

Sue looked up from her flower gathering, and said to her brother:

"Oh, Bunny! Look what a lot of smoke!"

She pointed to where the smoke had been seen before, curling up through the trees of the woods.

"It is a lot of smoke," said Bunny. "Maybe the trees are on fire! Let's go and look!"

Bunny did not stop to think that if the woods were on fire it was not a very good place for him and his sister to go. But the trouble was with Bunny Brown, that he did what he wanted to do first, and thought about it afterward.

"If I had my fire engine here I could put out the fire," said Bunny. But his fire engine was only a toy, and though it did squirt water when he turned the handle, it only sprayed out a little—about a tin cup full. So I guess it could not have put out a very big fire.

"We'll go to see what it is," decided Sue. She was always willing to go where Bunny led her.

Bunny looked back toward the automobile. Bunker Blue was not to be seen. He was under the big van fixing up his cot for the night, that would soon be turning everything dark. Down a side road Bunny could see his father and mother, going to the farmhouse for the milk.

"We'll just walk a little way and look at the fire," said Bunny. "Mother or father won't care about that. And maybe we'll have to tell 'em there is a fire, so they can telephone for the engines."

"There aren't any telephones here in the woods," said Sue.

"Well, then they can holler for the engines," Bunny remarked. He did not care much about that part—he wanted to see the fire. "Come on!" he called to his sister.

And so the two tots started toward the place where they could see the smoke curling up over the trees. If Bunker Blue had seen the children, he would have called to them to come back. So would their father and mother.

But Mr. and Mrs. Brown were hurrying toward the farmhouse, and Bunker was under the automobile. And just then he had struck his head on a piece of wood, and his head hurt so that Bunker had to rub it. And tears came into his eyes, though he did not exactly cry; but the tears did not let him see very good. That is why he did not see the children set out toward the fire.

So Bunny and Sue walked on toward the woods. The woods were darker than the road, and reaching the edge of the trees, Sue hung back.

"I don't want to go in," she whispered. "I'se afraid."

"Oh, don't be afraid," answered Bunny. "I won't let anything hurt you. Where's Splash? He won't let any one hurt you, either."

But the big dog was, just then, racing over the fields after a bird he thought he could catch. So no one saw Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, as they went into the woods. They could see the smoke of the fire much more plainly now.

And then, all of a sudden, they came to a place in the woods where there was a camp. There were white tents, and a number of wagons, with looking glass on the sides, were standing near some horses which were eating grass. And, in and about the tents and wagons, in the woodland camp, were a number of dark-colored men, women and children. They looked like Indians, but Sue knew who they were as soon as she saw the gay wagons.

"Oh, Bunny!" Sue whispered. "They're Gypsies! Maybe they have grandpa's horses. This is a Gypsy camp, Bunny!"



Perhaps if Sue had not spoken of grandpa's lost horses Bunny might not have wanted to keep on toward the Gypsy camp. But when his sister spoke the little boy seemed to become brave, all at once.

"That's so, Sue!" he whispered to her, as he took hold of her hand, so she would not be frightened. "Maybe grandpa's horses are here. These folks are Gypsies, sure enough."

"Just like the pictures in the books," added Sue, also whispering.

She and Bunny could see where several Gypsy women and children were standing about the fire, over which were pots, from which steam came. The Gypsies were cooking their supper.

The men Gypsies stood near the horses and Wagons, talking. Some of the men were smoking, and they all seemed to be having an easy time.

"Shall we go up and ask 'em if they have grandpa's horses?" Bunny inquired of Sue.

"Yes," she said. "But you won't let the Gypsies take me, will you?"

"Nope," said Bunny.

He and Sue had often heard their little playmates talk about Gypsies taking children away, but I do not believe this ever happens. The Gypsies have children of their own—children who like to live and travel in the queer wagons—and why should the Gypsies take other children who might be a trouble to them, and cry to come home?

Still Bunny and Sue thought the Gypsies might take them away in one of the wagons, with the shining looking glasses on the sides, or that they might be kept in one of the tents. But the two children wanted to find out about grandpa's horses, so they kept on.

By this time some of the Gypsy women had seen the two tots. One woman, who wore a bright handkerchief on her head, came up to Bunny and Sue and asked:

"Where are you going? Where do you live? Aren't you lost?"

"No'm," said Bunny, while Sue sort of slid around behind him. "We're not lost. Our automobile is over there," and Bunny pointed to the road. "We just came to see if you had our grandpa's horses."

The Gypsy woman seemed surprised, and called to one of the men, who came up, smoking a pipe.

"We are Gypsies, too," said Sue bravely. Perhaps she thought if she said that she would not be taken away. Or maybe she thought that would be the best way of finding the lost horses.

"You are Gypsies!" exclaimed the woman, smiling. Bunny thought it was queer she could speak just as he did. But most Gypsies, in this country, can talk our talk.

"We're going to grandpa's in a big automobile," said Bunny, to explain what Sue meant, "and it's got beds in, and a table and a stove, just like your wagons," and he waved his hand toward the queer carts in which the Gypsies traveled from camp to camp.

"You are funny little Gypsies," laughed the woman. "But what is this about grandpa's horses?"

"Maybe their grandfather has horses to sell—or trade," suggested the Gypsy man. "Where does he live, little chap?"

"Oh, a good way off," answered Bunny, hardly at all afraid now. "But he hasn't any horses, 'cause he let some Gypsies take his horses to pull their wagons, and they didn't bring 'em back. So my grandpa has no horses, but I thought maybe you had 'em."

Some other Gypsies, who had gathered around to hear what was being said, laughed at this. Then the man spoke.

"We have some horses," he said, "but they are not your grandfather's, little chap. But I think you had better run home, or run back to where ever your automobile is. Your mother may be looking for you."

Bunny and Sue had not thought of that.

"I—I guess we had better go home," said Sue.

"Yes," agreed Bunny. "If grandpa's horses aren't here we had better go back."

"Do you know the way?" asked the Gypsy woman. "If you are afraid I will go with you, if you tell me where your automobile is."

"I—I guess we can find it—thank you," said Bunny. He was not sure that he could, for it was almost dark now, and the Gypsy fire looked bright and cheerful. But Bunny did not want to walk along through the woods with the Gypsy woman. She might, after all, take him and his sister.

"Come on, Sue," said Bunny to the little girl, and they turned back on the path by which they had come.

"Good-bye!" called the Gypsy woman after them. "Come again and see us, and I will tell your fortunes."

"All right," answered Bunny, waving his hand.

"What's a fortune?" asked Sue, when they had walked on a little way.

"It means what's going to happen to you."

"Well, lots happened to us, Bunny. I slid down the clay-bank hill and so did you; and once I sat in a hen's nest and broke the eggs."

"That isn't a fortune," said Bunny. "That's just bad luck! But let's run, Sue. It's getting awful dark, and maybe we can't find the automobile. Let's run!"

Bunny set off, fairly dragging Sue after him. But she called out:

"Oh, Bunny! I can't run! My legs is too tired! Let's go back, and get the Gypsy woman to take us."

"No," said Bunny. "I can find our auto all right."

He kept on. He went more slowly, though, so Sue would not get tired. At first Bunny managed to keep to the path through the woods—the path that led from the main road, on which their automobile was standing. But, in a little while, Bunny found himself walking into a patch of bushes.

"Oh! oh!" cried Sue, as the bushes scratched her face. "Where are you going, Bunny?"

Bunny did not answer, for he did not know himself. He was off the path.

"Oh, dear!" cried Sue. "Let's go back to the Gypsy camp, Bunny!"

"No, I'll find the way," he said. "I'll find our automobile."

Just then there was a rustling in the bushes, and in the dried leaves under them, and Sue, somewhat frightened, exclaimed:

"Oh, Bunny! What was that?"

Once again Bunny did not answer for a moment for he did not know what the noise was. But he did not have to speak, for, a second later, there came a loud bark.

"Oh, it's a dog!" cried Sue. "Maybe it's one of the Gypsy dogs come after us!"

A dog did rush up to Bunny and Sue, but it was a good, friendly dog, and seemed very glad to see them. It jumped about Bunny, and, no sooner had the little boy put his hands on the shaggy back of the frisking animal, than Bunny cried out:

"Why it's Splash! It's our dog Splash!"

"Oh, how glad I am!" laughed Sue. "Now we're all right. Oh, you dear old Splash!"

She put her arms about the neck of Splash, and he seemed as glad to meet Bunny and Sue as they were to see him. Then a voice called from the darkness:

"Bunny! Sue! Where are you?"

"Oh, it's daddy!" Bunny cried.

"Oh you children!" another voice said.

"It's mother!" shouted Bunny. "Here we are!" he added. "We went to the Gypsy camp to look for grandpa's horses, but we're coming back now. We didn't find the horses, but Splash found us."

The next minute Mr. and Mrs. Brown were beside Bunny and Sue, while Splash frisked about and barked, as though he had done it all.

"Oh, Bunny and Sue!" said Mrs. Brown. "You shouldn't have gone away. You should have stayed with Bunker. He was quite frightened about you, and so were we."

"But you're not scared now; are you Mother?" asked Bunny. "'Cause we're not lost any more."

"But I'm tired and sleepy," said Sue. "I want to go to bed."

"Yes, I guess bed is the best place for all of us," said Mr. Brown. "Now, Bunny—Sue—you must not go away like this again. You might have been lost in the woods all night."

"The Gypsies would have brought us home," observed Bunny. "One Gypsy lady wanted to, but I thought I could get home myself. And I almost did," he added.

"Tell me about the Gypsies," said Mrs. Brown, as she looked off through the woods, where a faint glow of the camp fire could be seen.

Bunny and Sue told of their little adventure. They were sorry they did not find grandpa's horses for him.

"I guess the Gypsies who have them are far away from here," remarked Mr. Brown. A light was seen flickering through the trees, along the path, and a voice called:

"Where are you?"

"It's Bunker Blue," said Mother Brown. "I told him to come after us with a lantern."

Soon Bunker came up.

"Did you find 'em?" he asked eagerly.

"Yes," Mr. Brown answered. "They're all right."

And, a little later, they were all safely at the big automobile. Bunny and Sue had some bread, with the milk their father and mother had bought at the farmhouse. Then they were undressed and tucked in the little bunks. Bunker went to sleep in his cot, under the van, and Splash curled up on the grass near him. And, after seeing that everything was snug for the night, Mr. and Mrs. Brown went to bed also. Their first day's travel was over.

Every one had been sleeping soundly for some time, and Bunny was dreaming that he had found grandpa's horses, and was riding down a slippery hill on one of them, when, all of a sudden, in the middle of the night there came a loud yell:

"Let me alone! Get away from here!"

"That's Bunker Blue!" Bunny heard his father say. Bunny sat up, hardly awake. Sue also sat up in her bunk.

Then Splash began barking under the automobile, where Bunker was sleeping. Only Bunker was not sleeping now, for he was wide awake, and he called out again:

"Quit, I say! Oh, Mr. Brown! Mr. Brown! Somebody's trying to upset the auto!"

"Oh Mamma!" wailed Sue.

Bunny did not know what to do.

"Wait a minute! I'm coming!" called Mr. Brown, as he jumped out of bed.



"What is it?" cried Bunny Brown. "What's the matter?"

"Is it a Gypsy after Bunker Blue?" asked his sister Sue.

Mrs. Brown pulled aside the light curtains that hung in front of the children's bunks.

"Don't be frightened," she said. "It isn't anything. Perhaps Bunker is dreaming, and talking in his sleep. Daddy will make it all right."

"Is Splash barking in his sleep?" Sue wanted to know.

Mother Brown laughed, and Bunny and Sue felt better after that.

Once more Bunker Blue called out:

"Hey! Quit, will you? Stop it! Ouch! I'm being tickled! Oh!"

Bunny Brown and his sister Sue laughed again. They could not help it, for it seemed so funny—Bunker Blue being tickled in his sleep.

By this time Mr. Brown had lighted a lantern, slipped on a bath robe, put some slippers on his feet and was going down the back, outside steps of the van. These steps, you remember, folded up, out of the way, when the automobile was traveling.

"What is it, Bunker? What's the matter?" Bunny and Sue heard their father ask.

"Why—why, I don't know what it is," answered the red-haired lad who steered the automobile. "But it's some big animal after me. He poked his head right into my cot, and he struck me with something sharp. Maybe he tried to bite me."

Mr. Brown flashed his lantern under the automobile where Bunker was sleeping. Only, of course, as I told you, Bunker was not asleep now. Nor was Splash, for the dog was running about and barking.

"Why, this is funny," said Mr. Brown. "I don't see anything, Bunker. Are you sure you didn't dream it all?"

"Dream it? No, sir! I felt it!"

Just then there came a loud "Moo! Moo! Moo!"

Bunny Brown and his sister Sue knew right away what that was.

"A cow!" they both cried. "It's only a cow!"

Their father, outside, looking under the automobile where Bunker Blue had his cot, heard them.

"Yes, it is a cow," he said, and his lantern flashed on a big, brown cow. There she stood, a little way back from the automobile, looking at Mr. Brown and Splash, and blinking her eyes at the lantern. She could not see Bunker under the automobile.

"Yes, it was the cow that scared you, Bunker," said Mr. Brown. "She must have been tied to a stake, in some pasture, but she pulled herself loose, and came over to see you."

"Well I didn't want to see her!" exclaimed Bunker, poking his head out from beneath the van. "She can just go right back where she came from."

"And I guess she wanted to get some of the long, sweet grass that grows under your cot," went on Mr. Brown. "That's why she came."

And that was what had happened. The cow had pulled up the stake to which she was fastened, and had wandered from her pasture, down the road, to where Bunker was asleep under the automobile. The cow had not meant to wake him up, but as she reached for the grass her horns must have poked Bunker as he slept on his cot. That was what made him cry out.

Mr. Brown took hold of the cow's rope, and led her far enough off to keep her from bothering Bunker again that night. Then Mr. Brown tied the rope to a fence, and came back to tell Bunny, Sue and their mother all about it.

"Well, I'm glad it wasn't Gypsies," said Sue, as she curled up in her bunk again, to go to sleep.

"Pooh!" cried Bunny. "Gypsies don't have horns like cows!"

They were soon quiet again, though Splash did growl once in a while, as he heard the cow moving about, a little way off. But at last even Splash went to sleep, and so did Bunker. Nothing more bothered them, and it was broad daylight, and the sun was shining, when Bunny Brown and the others opened their eyes again.

"Breakfast! Breakfast!" cried Mother Brown. "Bunny! Sue! Wash for breakfast!"

There was a wash basin and stand in one corner of the automobile bed-room, and though it was quite different from the big bath room at home, Bunny and Sue washed their faces and hands very nicely, and thought what fun it was.

While they were doing this, Mother Brown was cooking the breakfast on the oil stove, and Daddy Brown, and Bunker Blue were setting the table out under the trees. Splash was not doing anything except looking hungry.

"Where's the cow?" asked Bunny, as he came down the automobile steps.

"Did she give us any milk for our breakfast?" Sue wanted to know.

"No," answered her father. "The farmer who owned her came to get her a little while ago. He said she often strayed away from her field in the night. He might have given us some milk, if he had had a pail, but we have plenty in our ice box. Now then—breakfast!"

And what a fine breakfast it was! eaten at the table, out of doors, under the willow tree. There were oranges, oatmeal and big glasses of cool milk, with soft-boiled eggs. Daddy and Mother Brown bought the eggs at the farmhouse the night before, when they went for the milk.

Splash, too, had his breakfast, and then he went roaming off over the fields, perhaps looking for another dog with which to have a game of tag—or whatever game it is that dogs play.

"Are you going to see the Gypsies this morning?" asked Bunny. He seemed very much interested in the strange folk who went about the country, living in their gay wagons.

"No, I think we'll travel on to grandpa's farm," his father answered. "We won't go to see the Gypsies. They aren't the ones who took grandpa's horses."

A little later the automobile started, Bunker Blue sitting on the front seat to steer. Mr. Brown sat with him, to tell him the right road to take, so they would not be lost.

Mrs. Brown, with Bunny and Sue, sat inside the automobile, near the windows, which were opened to let in the breeze, as the day was quite hot. It was lovely traveling this way.

They did not go as fast as they might, for Mr. Brown wanted Bunker to go carefully. Then, too, there was no hurry. It was such fun, traveling in this new way, that Bunny and Sue would not have minded if they could have kept it up all Summer.

They stopped, that noon, near a little brook to eat their dinner. It was not far from a small town, and Bunker walked in and came back with some ice cream.

After dinner they went on again, and, as it looked as though it might rain that night, Mr. Brown said they would stop near the next village, so, in case the storm was a bad one, they could go to a hotel to sleep.

"But the rain won't come in the auto," said Bunny.

"No, but it might wet Bunker if he sleeps outside, under it," his mother said.

"Let Bunker sleep in the dining room," suggested Bunny.

"Well, we can do that, if it rains too hard for him to sleep out of doors," Mrs. Brown agreed, with a laugh.

The automobile was stopped in a grove of trees, not far from the town, and, when Mrs. Brown was getting supper, Bunny and Sue, with their dog, Splash, walked down the road.

"Don't go too far," their mother called after them. "It might rain any time."

"We'll be back soon," answered the little boy.

He and Sue walked on, not thinking they were going far. The clouds did not seem so dark now, and the children thought that perhaps, after all, it might not rain.

All at once Sue, who had gone on a little ahead of Bunny, called out:

"Oh, look! A horse! It's a horse, Bunny, and nobody's with him! Maybe it's one of grandpa's!"

"Maybe it is!" Bunny agreed. "It's lost, anyhow. I'll catch him, and we'll keep him. We'll take him to our auto, and fetch him to grandpa. He'll be real glad."

Bunny was not afraid of horses, especially one as kind and gentle as this one looked to be. Bunny had often fed grass to the grocer's horse, when it stopped in front of their house, and once the grocer's boy had held Bunny on the back of the horse, and had given him a ride.

So now, as Bunny walked up to this horse, which was coming slowly along the road, the little fellow was not in the least afraid.

"Whoa, horsie!" he called, and the horse stood still.

"Oh, I know it's grandpa's horse!" cried Sue, clapping her hands "Grandpa's horses always stand still when you say 'whoa!' and that's what this one did. Oh, Bunny! Aren't you glad?"



Bunny Brown walked right up to the horse. Around the animal's neck was a long rope, that dangled to the ground. Bunny took hold of this rope, and called:

"Gid-dap! Come on!"

That was what he had heard the grocery boy call to his horse, and it was what Bunny said to his dog Splash, when he wanted Splash to run with the express wagon, to which he was sometimes harnessed. Splash, who had run on ahead of Bunny and Sue, now came trotting back. He did not seem surprised to see Bunny with a horse. To Splash, everything Bunny did was all right.

The dog barked at the horse once or twice, but that was only his way of speaking, I suppose, and the horse lowered his head, and put his nose close to the dog.

"Oh, now they're friends!" cried Sue, clapping her hands. "But don't let him bite you, Bunny."

"Let who bite me?"

"That horse."

"Horses don't bite," said Bunny. "They just eat hay and grass and oats. Anyhow his head's too high up. He can't reach me to bite me."

Bunny now started back down the road towards the automobile, leading the horse by the rope. Sue followed, but she did not like to go so near the horse as her brother went. Sue was just a little bit afraid.

"Isn't it good we found one of grandpa's horses," Sue cried. "I wish I could find the other one, Bunny."

"Maybe you will, to-morrow. We'll take this one to the auto, and then we can look for the second one."

"How'd you s'pose he came to be on the road?"

"I don't know," Bunny answered. "Maybe he got away from the Gypsies."

"Oh, I hope grandpa's other horse gets away," Sue cried. "And I hope I find it. But I'll let you lead it for me, Bunny. 'Cause it might step on me."

"I'll lead it. I'm not afraid," said the little boy.

This horse did not seem to mind in the least being led along by Bunny. It walked slowly, and Splash followed behind. Perhaps the dog thought he, too, was helping drive the horse along, and, for all I know, he may have been. Dogs drive sheep, and I should think they could drive horses too; shouldn't you?

Pretty soon Bunny and Sue, with the horse they had found, came within sight of the big automobile, around a turn of the road. They saw their mother and father looking down the highway.

"We thought you had run away again," called Mrs. Brown.

"Oh, no!" answered Bunny, as if he and Sue never did such a thing as that. And really, they never, at any time, exactly intended to run away. It was always an accident!

"Well, come along to supper!" Mr. Brown said. "We're glad you're home."

Then Mrs. Brown happened to notice the horse that Bunny was leading.

"Oh my goodness me!" she cried. "That horse! Is it chasing you, Bunny—Sue!"

"No'm!" answered Bunny, quite proudly. "I'm leading it. We found it. It's a lost horse. It's one of grandpa's! We'll take it home to him!"

1  2  3     Next Part
Home - Random Browse