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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesSix Little Bunkers At Cowboy Jack's - Chapter 9. The Big Rock That Fell Down
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Six Little Bunkers At Cowboy Jack's - Chapter 9. The Big Rock That Fell Down Post by :stevesandman Category :Long Stories Author :Laura Lee Hope Date :May 2012 Read :3322

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Six Little Bunkers At Cowboy Jack's - Chapter 9. The Big Rock That Fell Down


"Where is it? Let me see it!" was Vi's cry, as she rushed out into the vestibule ahead of Daddy Bunker and her brothers and sisters.

Vi was so curious that she thought she just had to be first. Daddy Bunker tried to restrain her, for he was afraid she would fall down the car steps and out upon the cinder path beside the rails. And although it had now ceased raining, she might easily have been hurt, if not made thoroughly wet.

"Oh, Vi's going to see the washout first!" cried Laddie, who did not like to play second when his twin wanted to be first.

"Now, wait!" commanded daddy. "You shall all see what there is to see----"

"I want to see the wash up on the clotheslines," said Mun Bun, breaking into his father's speech.

"Well, if you will be patient," Mr. Bunker said, smiling, "I think we'll all have a fair view of the wonder. But the 'washup' isn't going to be just what you think it is, Mun Bun."

Nor was it just what any of the six little Bunkers thought it would be--as I said before. Daddy went down the steps first and then turned and "hopped" the children down to the cinder path, one after the other. Only Russ, who came last, jumped down without any assistance.

It was still very wet and all about were shallow puddles. But the rain itself had ceased. In places, especially in the ditches alongside the railroad bed, the water had torn its way through the earth, leaving it red and raw. And big stones had been unearthed in the banks of the ditches and in some cases carried some distance away from where they had formerly lain.

"Why, that isn't a hole in the ground at all!" cried Laddie, first to realize that what had made the train stop was something different from what they had all expected.

"Oh!" shouted Violet. "It's a great, big rock that's fallen down the hill."

"Well," said Russ, soberly, "I guess it's a washout at that. For the rain must have washed it out of the hillside. See! There is the hole up there in the bank."

"You are right, Russ," said Daddy Bunker. "It is a washout, and it will take a long time to get that big rock off of the track so that the train can go on."

The rock that had fallen completely blocked the west-bound track, as daddy said. And a good deal of earth and gravel had fallen with it so that the rails of the east-bound track were likewise buried. There was already a gang of trackmen clearing away this gravel; but, as the children's father had told them, it would take many hours to remove the great boulder.

"Suppose our train had been going by when the rock fell?" suggested Russ to Rose.

"What would the rock have done to us?" asked Vi, who heard her brother say this.

"I guess it would have done something," replied Russ solemnly.

"It would have pushed us right off the track," declared Rose, nodding her head.

"And what would it have done then?" demanded Vi.

"I wish you wouldn't, Vi," complained her twin suddenly.

"Wish I wouldn't what?"

"Ask so many questions."

"Why not?"

"Why, I was just thinking of a riddle about that big rock; and now it's all gone," sighed Laddie.

"No, it isn't gone at all," Vi said wonderingly. "Daddy says it will take hours to move it."

"Oh! That old rock!" said Laddie. "I meant my riddle. That's all gone."

"I guess it wasn't a very good riddle, then, if it went so easy," said the critical Vi. "Oh, look there!"

"At what?" exclaimed her twin, following Vi to the fence beside the railroad bed.

"See that path, Laddie? I guess we could climb right up that hill and see down into that hole where the big rock washed out."

"So we could," agreed the boy. "Let's."

Daddy and the other children were some yards away, but in plain sight. Indeed, they would be in sight if Vi and Laddie climbed to the very top of the bank. It did not seem to either of the twins that they needed to ask permission to climb the path when daddy was so near and could see them by just looking up. So they hopped over the low fence and began to climb.

It was an easy path, almost all of stone, and the rain had washed it clean. It was great fun to be so high above the railroad and look down upon the crowd of passengers from the stalled train and upon the workmen. The two explorers could see into the hole washed in the hillside, and it was much deeper than it had looked to be when they stood below. There was a puddle of muddy water in it, too.

"Guess we don't want to fall into that," said Laddie, and Vi did not even ask why not. "Let's go on to the top. We can see farther."

Vi was quite willing to go as far as her twin did. And there really seemed to be no reason why they should not go. It would be hours before that rock could be moved, and of course the train could not go on until that was done.

They reached the top of the bank. Here was a great pasture which sloped away to a piece of woods. Although the ground was wet, it had stopped raining some time before and a strong wind was blowing. This wind had dried the grass and weeds and the twins did not wet their feet. And----

"Oh!" squealed Vi, starting away from the edge of the bank on a run. "See the flowers! Oh, see the flowers, Laddie!"

Laddie saw the flowers quite as soon as she did, but he did not shout about it. He followed his sister, however, with much promptness, and both of them began to pick the flowering weeds that dotted the pasture.

"We'll get a big bunch for mother. Won't she be glad?" went on Vi.

Mother Bunker was supposed to have a broad taste in flowers, and every blossom the children found was brought for her approval. In a minute the twins were so busy gathering the blossoms of wild carrots and other weeds that they forgot the train, and the big rock that had fallen, and even the fact that they had climbed the bank without permission.

At length Laddie stood up to look abroad over the great field. Perhaps he had pulled the blossoms faster than Vi. At any rate, he had already a big handful. Suddenly he caught sight of something that interested him much more than the flowers did.

There was a stone fence near by which divided the fields. And on the fence something flashed into view and ran along a few yards--something that interested the boy immensely.

"Oh, look, Vi!" cried Laddie. "There's a chippy!"

"What chippy? Who's chippy?" demanded Vi excitedly.

"There he goes!" shouted Laddie. "A chipmunk!"

He dropped his bunch of blossoms and started for the stone fence. Vi caught a glimpse of the whisking chipmunk, and she dropped her flowers and ran after her brother.

"Oh, let me catch him! Let me catch him!"

The chipmunk ran along the stone fence a little way, and then looked back at the excited children. He did not seem much frightened. Perhaps he had been chased by children before and knew that he was more than their match in running.

At any rate, that chipmunk drew Laddie and Vi on to the very edge of the woods, and then, with a flirt of its tail, it disappeared into a hole and they could not find him.

Laddie and Vi were breathless by that time, and they had to sit down and rest. They looked back over the field. It was a long way to the brink of the bank from which they could see the train and the passengers.

"I--I guess we'd better go back," said Laddie.

"And mother's flowers!" exclaimed Vi. "Do you know where you dropped them?"

"I dropped mine just where you dropped yours, I guess," returned her brother.

"We'll go pick them up. Come on."

They were both tired when they started to trudge back up the hill. And just as they started they heard a long blast of a whistle, and then two short blasts.

"What do you suppose that is?" asked Vi.

"It's the engine. Oh, Vi! maybe it's going to start without us," and Laddie began to run, tired as he was.

"Wait for me, Laddie! It can't go--you know it can't. The big rock is in the way."

But they were both rather frightened, and they did not stop to find their flowers. The possibility that the train might go off and leave them filled the two children with alarm. They ran on as hard as they could, and Vi fell down and soiled her hands and her dress.

She was beginning to cry a little when Laddie came back for her and took her hand. He was frightened, too; but he would not show it by crying--not then, anyway.

"Come on, Vi," he urged. "If that old train goes on with daddy and mother and the rest, I don't know what we _shall do!"

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