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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesSix Little Bunkers At Cowboy Jack's - Chapter 23. Moving Picture Magic
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Six Little Bunkers At Cowboy Jack's - Chapter 23. Moving Picture Magic Post by :netgurus Category :Long Stories Author :Laura Lee Hope Date :May 2012 Read :1468

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Six Little Bunkers At Cowboy Jack's - Chapter 23. Moving Picture Magic

CHAPTER XXIII. MOVING PICTURE MAGIC

It was rather rough going for the big car, and the little Bunkers were jounced about a good bit. Russ and Laddie trotted along on their ponies quite contentedly, however, and did not complain of the pace. But Vi began to ask questions, as usually was the case when she was disturbed either in mind or body.

"Daddy, why do we jump up and down so when the car bumps?" she wanted to know. "You and mother don't bounce the way Mun Bun and Margy and Rose and I do. Why do we?"

"Because you are not as heavy as your mother and I. Therefore you cannot resist the jar of the car so well."

"But why does the car bump at all? Our car at home doesn't bump--unless we run into something. Why does this car of Mr. Cowboy Jack's bump?"

"The road is not smooth. That is why," said her father, trying to satisfy that thirst for knowledge which sometimes made Violet a good deal of a nuisance.

"Why isn't this road smooth?" promptly demanded the little girl.

"Jumping grasshoppers!" ejaculated the ranchman, greatly amused, "can't that young one ask 'em, though?"

At once Vi's active attention was drawn to another subject.

"Mr. Cowboy Jack," she demanded, "why do grasshoppers jump?"

"Fine!" exclaimed Daddy Bunker. "You brought it on yourself, Jack. Answer her if you can."

"That's an easy one," declared the much amused ranchman.

"Well, why do they jump?" asked the impatient Vi.

"I'll tell you," returned Cowboy Jack seriously. "They jump because their legs are so long that, when they try to walk, they tumble over their own feet. Do you see how that is?"

"No-o, I don't," said Vi slowly. "But if it is so, why don't they have shorter legs?"

"Jump--Never mind!" ejaculated Cowboy Jack. "You got me that time. I reckon I'll let your daddy do the answering. You fixed me, first off."

So Vi never did find out why grasshoppers had such long legs that they had to jump instead of walk. It puzzled her a good deal. She asked everybody in the car, and nobody seemed able to explain--not even Daddy Bunker himself.

"Well," murmured Vi at last, "I never _did hear of such--such iggerance. There doesn't seem to be anybody knows anything."

"I should think you'd know a few things yourself, Vi, so as not to be always asking," criticized her twin.

Daddy Bunker was much amused by this. But the next moment the wheels on one side of the car jumped high over a clod of hard earth, and daddy had to grab quick at Mun Bun or he might have been jounced completely out of the car.

"What are you trying to do, Mun Bun?" demanded daddy sharply.

"I'm flying my kite," answered the little fellow calmly. "But I 'most lost it that time, Daddy."

Before getting into the automobile Mun Bun had found a large piece of stiff brown paper and had tied a string of some length to it. Although there was no framework to this "kite," the wind caused by the rapid movement of the automobile helped to fly the piece of paper at the end of the string.

"Look out you don't go overboard," advised Daddy Bunker.

"You hold on to me, Daddy--p'ease," said the smallest Bunker. "You see, this kite pulls pretty hard."

Russ and Laddie were riding close behind the motor-car, but on the other side of the trail. The minute after Mun Bun had made his request, a gust of wind took the kite over to that side of the car and it almost blew into the face and eyes of Russ Bunker's pony.

(Illustration: MUN BUNS' "KITE" FRIGHTENED THE PINTO.

_Six Little Bunkers at Cowboy Jack's. (_Page 218_))

The pinto was very well behaved; but this paper startled him. He shied and wheeled suddenly to get away from the annoying kite. Instantly Russ shot over the pony's head and came down asprawl on the ground!

As he flew out of the saddle Russ uttered a shout of alarm, and Pinky, Laddie's mount, was likewise frightened. Pinky started ahead at a gallop, and Laddie was dreadfully shaken up. He squealed as loud as he could, but he managed to pull Pinky down to a stop very soon.

"Wha--what are you doing, Russ Bunker?" Laddie wanted to know. "Is that the right way to get off a pony?"

Russ had not lost his grip of the bridle-reins, and he scrambled up and held his snorting pony.

"You know I don't get off that way if I can help it," said Russ indignantly.

"But you did," said Laddie.

"Well, I didn't mean to. My goodness! but my knee is scratched."

The automobile had stopped, and Mother Bunker called to Russ to ask if he was much hurt.

"Not much, Mother," he replied. "But make Mun Bun fly his kite somewhere else. My pony doesn't like it."

"Mun Bun," said Daddy Bunker seriously, "I think you will have to postpone the flying of that kite until later."

"He'd better," chuckled Cowboy Jack, starting the car again. "First he knows he'll scare me, and then maybe I'll run the car off the track."

Of course that was one of Cowboy Jack's jokes. He was always joking, it seemed.

At last they came in sight of the place where the several big scenes of the moving picture were going to be photographed. A river that the little Bunkers had not before seen flowed here in a great curve which Cowboy Jack spoke of as the Oxbow Bend. It was a grassy, gently sloping field, with not a tree in sight save along the edge of the water.

Nevertheless, many trees had been brought here and a good-sized stockade, or "fort," had been erected. The structure was in imitation of those forts, or posts, of the United States Army that marked the advance of the pioneers into this vast Western country a good deal more than half a century ago.

Daddy Bunker had told the children something about the development of this part of the United States the evening before, and Russ and Rose, at least, had understood and remembered. But just now they were all more interested in the people they found here at the Oxbow Bend and in what they were doing.

In one place were several covered wagons and the traveling kitchen. Here the white members of the moving picture company lived. At the other side was the encampment of Black Bear and his people. The Indian camp had been brought to this place from the spot where the little Bunkers had first visited it.

Black Bear and Little Elk and the other Indians welcomed the little Bunkers very kindly. And on this occasion the Eastern children became acquainted with the little Indians who had come down from the Indian reservation in Oklahoma with their parents to work for the moving picture company.

Rose and Russ felt they knew these Indian boys and girls already. You see, they had seen more of the Indians than the other Bunker children had. They found that Indian boys and girls played a good deal like white children. At least, the dark-faced little girls had dolls made of corncobs and wood, with painted faces, and they wrapped them in tiny blankets. One little girl showed Rose her "best" doll which she had carefully hidden away in a tent. This doll was a rosy-cheeked beauty that could open and shut her eyes, and must have cost a good deal of money. She told Rose that Chief Black Bear had given the doll to her for learning Sunday-school texts.

The boys took Russ and Laddie down to the edge of the river and sailed several toy canoes that the men of the tribe had fashioned for them. The canoes were just like big Indian canoes, with high prows and sterns and painted with targets. Besides these toys the Indian boys had bows and arrows that were modeled much better than the bows and arrows Russ and Laddie owned, and could shoot much farther.

When Russ tried the Indians' bow and arrows he was surprised at the distance he could drive the arrow and how accurately he sent it.

"I guess you boys know how to make 'em right," he told Joshua Little Elk, one of the Indian lads and a son of the big Little Elk who had helped find Rose when she was lost. "Laddie and I have only got boughten bow-arrows, and the arrows don't fly very good."

"My papa made this bow for me," said Joshua, who was a very polite little boy with jet-black hair. "And he scraped the arrows and found the heads."

The heads were of flint, just such arrow-heads as the ancient Indians used to make. But the modern Indians, if they used arrows at all in hunting, have steel arrow-heads which they buy from the white traders.

These things and a lot more Russ and Laddie learned while they were with the Indians. But there was not time for play all of the day. By and by Mr. Habback, the moving picture director, shouted through his megaphone, and everybody gathered at the stockade, or fort, and he explained what was to be done. Some of the pictures were to be taken that day; but the bigger fight would be made the day following.

However, the Bunker children were not altogether disappointed at this time. There was a run made by one of the covered wagons for the fort, and the little Bunkers, dressed in odds and ends of calico and sunbonnets and old-time straw hats, sat in the back of the wagon and screamed as they were told to while the six mules that drew the wagon raced for the fort with the Indians chasing behind on horseback.

Mun Bun might have fallen out had not both Russ and Rose clung to him. And the little fellow did not like it much after all.

"My hair wasn't parted, Muvver," he said afterward to Mother Bunker. "And I didn't have my new blouse on--or my wed tie. I don't think that will be a good picture of me. Not near so good as the one we had taken before in the man's shop that takes reg'lar pictures."

But although Mun Bun did not care much for the picture making, the other little Bunkers continued to be vastly amused and interested. They watched Black Bear and the commander of the soldiers smoke the pipe of peace in the Indian encampment. Mr. Habback allowed Russ to dress up like a little Indian boy to appear with Joshua Little Elk in this picture, because they were about the same size. They brought the ornamented pipe to the chief after it had been filled by the old Indian woman, Mary.

It was a very interesting affair, and if Mun Bun was bored by it, he fell asleep anyway, so it did not matter. But the next day the big fight was staged, and that was bound to be exciting enough to keep even Mun Bun awake. The fight was about to start and the call was made for all the children to gather inside the stockade.

The Bunkers were all to be there. But suddenly there was a great outcry around the tent that had been set up for the use of Mother Bunker and the six little Bunkers.

Mun Bun was not to be found. They sent the other children scurrying everywhere--to the soldiers' camp, to the Indian encampment, and all around. Nobody had seen Mun Bun for an hour. And in an hour, as you and I know, a good deal can happen to a little Bunker!

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