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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesSix Little Bunkers At Uncle Fred's - Chapter 21. Russ Digs A Hole
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Six Little Bunkers At Uncle Fred's - Chapter 21. Russ Digs A Hole Post by :MarcusP Category :Long Stories Author :Laura Lee Hope Date :May 2012 Read :999

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Six Little Bunkers At Uncle Fred's - Chapter 21. Russ Digs A Hole


"What's the matter, children? Why are you shouting so?" asked Mrs. Bunker, who had walked on a little way through the woods to get some flowers. "Can't you play more quietly? You're as bad as the cowboys!"

"We're hollering for Laddie, Mother!" explained Russ. "We can't find him."

"Can't find him?"

"No. I was blinding, 'cause I was it, and he went off to hide. I found all the others, or they came in free, but I can't find Laddie, and he doesn't answer when I say I'll givie up."

"Perhaps he is hiding near here, and only laughing at you," said Mrs. Bunker. "We must take a look."

"Come on!" cried Russ to his brother and sisters. "We'll all look for Laddie. If he's doing this on purpose we won't let him play any more, either."

"Oh, I wouldn't say that," said Mrs. Bunker softly. "And, after all, maybe he went so far away that he can't hear you telling him that he may come in free. So it wouldn't be fair not to let him play with you again. First find him, and then you can ask him why he hid away so long."

"All right, we will," agreed Russ.

So he and the others started through the woods, looking behind trees, under logs and back of bushes, hoping to catch sight of Laddie. But they did not see him.

Then they shouted and called.

"Givie up! Givie up!" echoed through the woods, that being the way to call when you want a person to come in from playing hide-and-go-seek. But Laddie did not answer.

"Where can he be, Mother?" asked Rose. "Is he hiding for fun, or is he lost?"

"I don't see how he can be lost, my dear," answered Mrs. Bunker. "He went to hide, and surely he wouldn't go very far away, because he would want a chance to run in free himself. No, I think Laddie must be doing a puzzle trick to make you find him. He probably is near by, but he is so well hidden that you can't find him. Try once more!"

So the children tried again, shouting and calling, but there was no Laddie.

"I think I'll go and get your father and Uncle Fred," Laddie's mother said to Rose and Russ. "They'll know how to find Laddie. You children stay here, and all keep together so none of you will be lost."

Mrs. Bunker did not have to go for help, for, just at that moment, her husband came up to them.

"Is anything the matter?" asked Daddy Bunker. "I was taking a walk over to the spring, to see if anything had happened to the water there, when I heard shouting and calling. Is anything wrong?"

"We can't find Laddie!" exclaimed Russ.

"He went to hide, but he won't come in," added Rose.

"I really am a little worried," said Mrs. Bunker. "Perhaps you had better get Fred and----"

"I'll find him!" said Daddy Bunker with a laugh. "He can't be far away. Show me where you blinded, Russ, when the others went to hide."

Russ showed his father where he had stood against a tree, hiding his head in his arms, so he would not see where the others were hiding. Standing at the same tree Mr. Bunker looked all around. Then he started off, walking this way and that, looking up and down and all around in the woods, until finally he stopped before a rather high stump, and said:

"Laddie is here!"

"Where?" cried some of the little Bunkers.

"I don't see him," said others.

"What's this?" asked Daddy Bunker, reaching up on the tree stump, and lifting down a cap.

"Why--why--that's Laddie's!" stammered Russ. "I saw it there before, but I thought he hung it there so it wouldn't fall off when he was playing."

"Well, we'll see what's inside this stump, for it is hollow," went on Mr. Bunker with a smile. "Unless I'm much mistaken we'll find in here----"

And just then, from inside the middle of the stump there stuck up a tousled head of hair, and Laddie's rather surprised face looked down at his father and mother and brothers and sisters.

"Oh, you found me!" he exclaimed. "I was going to run in free!"

"Why didn't you?" asked Russ. "I called 'givie up!' a lot of times."

"I--I didn't hear you," said Laddie, rubbing his eyes. "I guess I must have fallen asleep."

"That's what happened," said Daddy Bunker. "When I saw your cap hanging on a splinter outside the hollow stump I thought you must have hung it there while you climbed inside. Did you?"

"Yes," answered Laddie. "I was looking for a good place to hide, and when I climbed up on a stone, outside, and saw the stump was hollow I knew I could fool Russ. So I left my cap outside, and I got in. And it was so nice and soft there that I just snuggled down and--and I fell asleep. I was sleepy anyhow."

"Didn't you hear us calling?" asked Rose.


"And didn't you hear me tell you to come in free?" Russ wanted to know.

"Nope. I guess I must have slept a lot," said Laddie.

"Well, I guess you did," agreed his mother. "We were alarmed about you. Don't do anything like that again."

Laddie promised that he wouldn't, and then he climbed out of the hollow stump. It was just high enough from the ground to prevent any one, passing along, from looking down into it. And Laddie could not have climbed up and gotten in if he had not used a stone to step on. The other children took a peep inside, Margy and Mun Bun having to be lifted up, of course.

The stump was partly filled with dried leaves, which made a soft bed on which Laddie had really gone to sleep. He had just curled up in a sort of nest and there he had stayed while the others were hunting for him.

"Are we going to play hide-and-go-seek any more?" asked Laddie, when he had climbed out of the stump and brushed the pieces of leaves off his clothes.

"I'm hungry," announced Mun Bun. "I want some bread and peaches."

"So do I!" added Margy.

Bill Johnson, the good-natured cook, did not have jam to give the children, as Grandmother Ford had done when they were at Great Hedge, so he gave them canned peaches instead. And they liked these almost as much.

"Well, I'll take Mun Bun and Margy to the house," said Mrs. Bunker. "You other children can play here in the woods, if you like. But don't any of you get lost again."

They promised that they would not, and, after Margy and Mun Bun had gone with their father and mother, Russ and Laddie, with Rose and Violet, played the hiding game some more.

But finally the two girls grew tired, and said they were going to play keep house with their dolls.

"Well, it's no fun for us two to play hide from each other," said Russ to Laddie. "What'll we do?"

"Let's guess riddles," suggested Laddie.

"No, that isn't any fun, either," said Russ. "You'd think of all the riddles and I'd have to think of all the answers. I know what let's do!"


"Let's dig a hole."

"A hole? What for?"

"Oh, just for fun. Let's see how deep we can dig a hole."

"All right," agreed Laddie, after a while. "Maybe we can dig one deep enough for a well, and then Uncle Fred won't have to go to the creek after water when the spring goes dry. We'll dig a well!"

"We'll dig a hole, anyhow," said Russ. "Maybe there won't any water come in it and then it wouldn't be a well. But we'll dig a hole anyhow."

So Russ got some shovels at the barn, and he and Laddie began to dig a hole, starting it not far from the spring, though not close enough to get any dirt in the clear water that was so cool and sweet to drink.

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