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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesBunny Brown And His Sister Sue In The Big Woods - Chapter 15. Hidden In The Hay
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Bunny Brown And His Sister Sue In The Big Woods - Chapter 15. Hidden In The Hay Post by :victor1930d Category :Long Stories Author :Laura Lee Hope Date :May 2012 Read :2001

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Bunny Brown And His Sister Sue In The Big Woods - Chapter 15. Hidden In The Hay


For two or three seconds the two children and the ragged boy stood in the queer cave looking at one another. Splash had come to a stop near his little master and mistress, and with one fore leg raised from the ground was looking sharply at the boy. It seemed as if the dog were saying:

"Just say the word, Bunny or Sue, and I'll drive this boy away from here. He doesn't look like a proper person for you to be with."

But Bunny and Sue had no such feeling. They did not mind how ragged a person was if he were only clean. Of course a dog is different. Splash never did like ragged persons, though in a good many cases they were just as good as the well dressed ones with whom he made friends.

So, in this case, seeing the ragged boy coming near to Sue and Bunny in the dark, where the only light was that of the little boy's electric lamp, the dog growled and seemed about to spring on the lad. The boy took a few steps backward.

"What's the matter?" asked Bunny. "You're not afraid of us, are you?"

"No, little feller, I'm not. But I don't like the way your dog acts. He seems as if he didn't like tramps, and I expect he thinks I'm one. Well, I 'spect I do look like one, 'count of my clothes, but I ain't never begged my way yet, though many a time I've been hungry enough to do it."

"Splash, behave yourself!" cried Bunny Brown. "Charge! Lie down!"

Splash did as he was told, but it was easy to see he did not like it. He would rather have run toward and barked at the ragged lad.

"Don't be afraid of him," said Sue. "We won't let him hurt you. Bunny, why don't you make Splash shake hands with this boy, and then they'll be friends forever. You ought to introduce 'em."

"That's so! I will," said Bunny. "I forgot about that. Splash, come here!" he ordered, and the dog obeyed. "Now go over and shake hands with him," went on the little fellow, pointing to the strange boy.

"Don't be afraid and move away from him, or Splash won't like it," said Sue, as she saw the boy shrink back a little. "Just stand still and Splash will shake hands and be friends with you."

The boy seemed to be a bit afraid still, but he stood quietly and, surely enough, Splash advanced and held out his right paw, which the boy took and shook up and down. Then the boy patted the dog on the head, and Splash barked, afterward licking the boy's hand with his tongue.

"Now he's friends with you, and he'll always like you," announced Sue.

"And no matter where he meets you he'll come up to you and shake hands," said Bunny. "Once Splash makes friends he keeps 'em. My name is Bunny Brown," he went on, "and this is my sister Sue. We live at Camp Rest-a-While on the edge of the big woods. We came out to see if my father had come back from fishing, and we saw this cave and came in."

"Is there a way out?" asked the ragged boy. "I hardly know how I got in here, but I've been trying to find a way out and I couldn't."

"Oh, we can show you that," said Sue. "It's only a little way back, and it comes right out on the lake shore. But how did you get in here? You look as ragged as the ragged man," she went on. "But that's nothing. Sometimes Bunny and I are raggeder than you. We like it."

"I don't know who the ragged man is," said the boy, who gave his name as Tom Fleming, "but I work for a man named Mr. Bixby, and his clothes have lots of holes in."

"That's the ragged man we mean," said Bunny. "But please don't ever say we called him ragged, 'cause we like him just as much ragged as if he wasn't."

"Oh, I guess he doesn't mind being called ragged," said Tom. "He's got other clothes but he won't wear 'em."

"If you're working for him, what are you doing in this cave?" Sue asked. "Lessen it's his."

"Well, maybe he calls it his'n," said Tom. "It joins on to his cow stable and that's how I got in it. After I got in I couldn't find my way out until I saw your light."

"What did you run away for?" asked Bunny. "Please tell us! We won't tell on you."

"No, I don't believe you would," said Tom. "Well, I'll tell you. You see I live at the poorhouse, having no relations to take care of me, and no place to live. But in the summer I hire out to the farmers around here that want me, and work to earn a little spare change.

"This year Mr. Bixby hired me. At first I liked the work. I had to do a few chores, milk the cow and take the milk to the few families that bought it. But the other day he did something I didn't like and so to-day after I found the hole in the cow stable that leads to this cave, I ran away."

"What did he do to you?" asked Bunny. "Did he beat you?"

"No, he stuck pins and needles in me."

"Stuck pins into you?" cried Sue. "How horrid! I never heard of such a thing! How did you get them out?"

"That was the funny part of it," said the boy. "They weren't real pins. He'd make me take hold of some shiny brass knobs, and then pins and needles would shoot all over me. Then, all of a sudden, he'd pull 'em out and I wouldn't feel 'em until he did it again."

"That was funny," said Bunny Brown, thinking very hard. "Could you see the needles?"

"No, but I could feel 'em, and that was enough. I got away as soon as I could, when he wasn't looking, and I made for the hole I'd found in the cow shed. But from there I got into the cave, and I thought I was lost, for I couldn't find my way back and I didn't know what to do when I saw your light. And then I didn't know whether to go and meet you or hide in the dark."

"Well, it's a good thing you came on," said Sue, "'cause we were getting scared ourselves, weren't we Bunny?"

"Oh no, not much. I wasn't scared."

"But I was," admitted Sue. "And I think Splash was too, for he was sort of whining in his throat."

"Well, we're all right now," said Bunny. "But what are you going to do, Tom? Are you going back to Mr. Bixby?"

"I certainly am not! I've had enough pins and needles stuck in me, though you can't see 'em now," and he glanced down at his long, red hands. "I'm going to run away--that is, if I can find my way out of this cave."

"Oh, we can show you the way _out all right," said Bunny. "But where are you going to run to."

"I don't know," said the boy slowly.

"You can run to our camp," put in Sue, "and we'll never tell Mr. Bixby you are there."

"That's right!" cried Bunny. "And maybe you can show us how he stuck pins and needles into you, so we could do it to ourselves."

"I don't believe I could," said Tom, with a shake of his tousled head. "But I'll be glad to run to your camp. I never want to see Mr. Bixby again."

"What made him stick pins and needles into you?"

"Maybe he didn't exactly do that. Maybe it only felt that way, for you couldn't see anything. He said he was doing it for an experiment."

"That's what the teacher does for the boys in the high school where we go, only we're in the lower class," said Bunny. "Some of the experiments make a funny smell."

"Well, there's no smell to this," said Tom. "Now let's get out of here."

Led by Bunny and Sue, with Splash running on ahead, the ragged boy was soon out of the cave.

Bunny and Sue looked across the lake for a sight of their father in his boat coming back, but as they did not see him, Bunny said:

"I know what we can do to have some fun."

"What?" asked Sue, always ready for a good time.

"We can go in Mr. Bailey's barn and slide down the hay. He said we could do it any time without asking."

"Oh, let's do it then!" Sue cried. "You'll come, won't you?" she asked the ragged boy.

"Course I will! I like hay-sliding. I don't mind being stuck with prickers that way."

The three were soon sliding down the hay in the mow, coming to an end with a bump in a pile of hay on the barn floor.

All at once Bunny gave a cry, as he was part way down the slide, and he dug his hands into the hay to stop himself from going further.

"What's the matter?" asked Sue. "Did you slide on a thistle?"

"No, not a thistle but I slid over something sharp. I'm going to find out what it is."

Bunny poked around in the hay, and uttered a cry of astonishment as he brought out one of his toy cars from his electric railroad that had been stolen.

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