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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesSix Little Bunkers At Grandpa Ford's - Chapter 16. Thanksgiving Fun
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Six Little Bunkers At Grandpa Ford's - Chapter 16. Thanksgiving Fun Post by :Tony123 Category :Long Stories Author :Laura Lee Hope Date :May 2012 Read :1609

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Six Little Bunkers At Grandpa Ford's - Chapter 16. Thanksgiving Fun

CHAPTER XVI. THANKSGIVING FUN

By this time it seemed as if every one in Grandpa Ford's house at Great Hedge was awake. Even Mun Bun and Margy sat up in bed, after having had their drinks, and listened.

"There certainly are bells jingling," said Mother Bunker.

"And they are in this house, too," added Grandma Ford, as she came out in the dimly-lighted hall, wearing a dark dressing-gown. "I thought, at first, it might be a sleigh-riding party out in front. Often they stop to ask their way."

"No sleighs out in front that I can see," remarked Grandpa Ford. "Where do the bells seem to you to be?" he asked Daddy Bunker.

"Up in the attic!" called Russ from his room. "That's where they sound."

"I believe he is right," said Grandma Ford. "I have a good ear for sound, and that jingling is certainly up in the attic. Father, you'd better take a look."

"Aren't you--aren't you afraid?" asked Rose, rather hesitating over the words.

"Afraid of what?" inquired Grandpa Ford.

"Well, it's so dark up in the attic," went on Rose, and Russ, hearing what she said, knew what she meant. It was the ghost Rose was thinking of, and not the dark.

"I can take a light," said Grandpa Ford. "Then it won't be dark. But you mustn't be afraid in the dark. It can't hurt any one."

Just then the bells gave a very loud jingle, just as if some one had hold of the string and was shaking it hard.

"Oh!" exclaimed Rose.

"I'm goin' to sleep!" announced Mun Bun, and he covered his head with the bedclothes.

"So'm I," said Margy, and she did as her little brother had done, snuggling under the covers.

Rose and Russ heard their father ask Grandpa Ford:

"Did this ever happen before?"

"No," answered Grandpa Ford. "We have heard many strange noises at Great Hedge, noises we thought were caused by--well, you know what I mean," and he nodded at Mr. Bunker to show that he did not want to use the word "ghost."

Of course, Russ and Rose, being in bed in different rooms, could not see this nod, but they guessed what Grandpa Ford meant.

"Well, we'd better go up and see what it is," said Daddy Bunker. "We can't sleep with all that jingling going on," and even as he spoke the bells rang out again.

"I'll get a light," said Grandpa Ford. "A lantern will be best. There is always more or less breeze up in the attic, and a candle or lamp might blow out. Come on."

Daddy Bunker and Grandpa Ford went up into the attic, while the six little Bunkers, two of them with their heads under the covers, waited to hear what would happen. So did Mother Bunker and Grandma Ford.

The two men were heard tramping around in the attic, and then, suddenly, just as the bells gave another jingle, there was a loud laugh.

"There! It's all right," said Mother Bunker. "They've found the--the--whatever it was," she said quickly. "And it must be funny, for hear them laugh."

Down came Daddy Bunker and Grandpa Ford. Grandpa Ford carried the lantern, and Daddy Bunker had something in his hand.

"Here's what caused all the trouble!" he said, and he held out something round and red.

"An apple!" cried Russ, who had come out in the hall to see.

"Just an apple," went on Daddy Bunker. "This apple made all the noise, or, rather, was the cause of the bells jingling."

"How could an apple make bells jingle?" asked Laddie. "Is that a riddle, Daddy?"

"Well, almost, you might say. This is how it happened. When Grandpa Ford and I got up to the attic, we saw the string of sleigh bells hanging from a nail, where you children must have left them when you last played with them. But we couldn't see any one near them who might have rung them, and there was no one in the attic, as far as we knew.

"Then, even as we stood there, waiting and looking about, I saw the string of bells move, and then they jingled, and, looking down on the floor, I saw a big rat trying to carry this apple away in his mouth."

"Oh, Daddy!" cried Rose, "how could a rat carrying an apple away in his mouth, make the bells ring?"

"Easily enough," her father answered. "The apple was tied on a string, as I suppose some of you children left it when you got through playing this afternoon. And the other end of the cord was tied to the string of bells. That was also more of your play, I suppose.

"The rat came out of his hole in the attic, smelled the apple on the floor, and tried to drag it into his cupboard. But the string held it fast, and as the rat pulled and tugged he made the sleigh bells jingle; for every time he pulled the apple he pulled the string, and every time he pulled the string he pulled the bells."

"And is that all there was?" asked Grandma Ford.

"All there was," answered Grandpa Ford. "Just a rat trying to have a nice apple supper made the bells ring."

"Well, I'm glad I know what it was," said Mother Bunker. "If I hear a noise in the night I like to know what it is and where it comes from. Now I can go back to sleep."

"So can I," said Rose.

And the other little Bunkers said the same thing. As for Mun Bun and Margy, as soon as they heard that everything was all right they uncovered their heads and went to sleep before any one else.

"Well, well! To think what a little thing can puzzle every one," said Grandpa Ford to Daddy Bunker, as the grown folks went back to their rooms. "Maybe we'll find that the other noises are made just as simply as this one was."

"Maybe," agreed Daddy Bunker. "But of late we haven't heard that groaning noise much, and maybe we shall not again."

"I hope not," said Mother Bunker.

The grown folks did not know that, half asleep as they were even then, Russ and Rose heard this talk. And the two older Bunker children made up their minds to find the ghost--if there was one--or whatever sounded like one.

The next day the children all went up to the attic and saw the string where one of them had left it tied to the bells. Daddy Bunker had taken off the apple.

"I wish we could see the rat!" exclaimed Laddie.

"I don't," said Rose. "I don't like rats."

"I guess I've a riddle about a rat," said Laddie after a pause.

"What is it?" asked Russ. "I can guess it, easy."

"No, you can't!" declared his brother.

"I can so!"

"You can not!"

"Well, let's hear it," demanded Russ.

"It's when is a rat not a rat?" asked Laddie. "That's the riddle. When is a rat not a rat?"

"It's always a rat," said Rose.

"Do you mean when a cat is after him?" asked Russ, trying to guess the riddle.

"No," answered Laddie. "That isn't it. I'll give you another guess."

Russ tried to think of several other reasons why a rat was sometimes not a rat, but at last he gave up.

"This is it," said Laddie. "A rat isn't a rat when he's a bell-ringer; like the one in the attic was last night."

"Yes, that's a pretty good riddle," agreed Russ, after a bit. "Some day I'm going to make a riddle. Now I'm going to make snowshoes."

"How do you make them?" asked Laddie.

Russ was going to tell his brother, and take him out to the barn to show him, when Mother Bunker called up:

"Who wants to go for a ride with Grandpa?"

"I do! I! Take me! I want to go!" came in a chorus.

"Well, he has room for all of you, so come along. He's going to Tarrington to get some friends to come out to the Thanksgiving dinner, and you six may all go along," said Mother Bunker.

So the six little Bunkers had another fine sleigh ride, and came back to Great Hedge with fine appetites. They also brought back in the sled with them Mr. and Mrs. Burton, old friends of Grandpa Ford, who generally spent the Thanksgiving holiday with him.

For the next few days there were so many things going on at Great Hedge that if I only told about them I'd fill this book. But, as I have other happenings to relate to you, and the ghost to tell about, I will just skip over this part by saying that every one, even down to Mun Bun, helped get ready for the Thanksgiving dinner.

Such goings-on as there were in Grandma Ford's kitchen! Such delicious smells of cake and pie and pudding! Such baking, roasting, boiling, frying and stewing! Such heaps of good things in the pantry!

And then the dinner! The big roast turkey, and celery, and a big dish of red cranberries, and other good things!

"I got the wish-bone!" cried Rose, as she finished her plate.

"Let me help pull it with you, when it gets dry!" begged Russ, and then, in a whisper, he said: "If I get the wish I'll wish we could find the ghost."

"So'll I," said Rose.

After dinner the children played games in the house, as it blew up cold and blustery and was not nice to go out in the snow. Rose had put the wish-bone over the kitchen stove to dry, and, late in the afternoon, she and Russ went out to get it to break, and wish over it. The one who held the larger part could make a wish.

"Snap!" went the wish-bone.

"Oh, I have it!" cried Rose. "I'm going to wish!"

And just then, all of a sudden, a loud, hollow groan sounded throughout the house.

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