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   Chapter 5 BUNNY ROLLS DOWN HILL

Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue in the Big Woods By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 11010

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:03


"What's the matter?" asked Mr. Brown, thrusting his head out from between the two curtains behind which his wife and he had their cots. "Why are you two children up at this time of night?"

"We-we couldn't sleep in our part of the tent," explained Sue, snuggling up closer to Bunny.

"Couldn't sleep, my dear? Was it the mosquitoes?" asked Mrs. Brown.

"No'm. It was an elephant," explained Bunny.

"A burglar elephant," added Sue.

"He poked his head into the tent right over our bed," went on Bunny.

"But we didn't stay," added Sue. "We came out to see if you and daddy were all right. Burglar elephants aren't nice at all."

"What in the world are they talking about?" asked Mr. Brown. "A burglar elephant? What does it mean?"

"It must have been some sound they heard outside the tent," said Mrs. Brown. "Or perhaps they dreamed something."

"No'm, we didn't dream," cried Bunny, while his sister Sue nodded her head to show that she thought as he did. "It was something as big as an elephant and it most shook the tent down."

"I felt something move the tent from the outside," said Mrs. Brown, "but I thought it was the wind."

"I'll soon see what it was!" cried Mr. Brown. "You two kiddies jump into bed with your mother, and I'll take a look outside."

He put on his dressing gown and slippers, and while Bunny and his sister Sue went behind the curtains to snuggle down in the bed with their mother, Mr. Brown, taking a lantern, started for the outside of the tent.

He had just reached the flaps, the ropes of which he was loosening, and Bunny and his sister were hardly in their mother's cot-a tight fit for three-when the canvas house was violently shaken and within the very tent itself sounded a loud:

"Moo! Moo!"

"Oh, it's a cow!" cried Bunny.

"And I can see it!" cried Sue, poking her head out between the curtains nearest her mother's bed. "I can see it."

"Is it an elephanty cow?" eagerly asked Bunny from his side of the cot.

"No, it's a cow with a crumpled horn-two crumpled horns-and daddy's pushing its face out of the tent," added Sue.

"Let me see!" cried Bunny, and, in spite of his mother's call to get back into bed, out he popped to stand near the curtains that hung down in front of his mother's cot.

"Yes, it's only a cow-a crumpled-horn cow," Bunny announced after he had taken a look.

"But it pushed hard enough to be an elephant, didn't it?" asked Sue.

"That's what it did. I thought the tent would come down," agreed Bunny.

"What makes you say it was a crumpled-horn cow?" asked Mrs. Brown, as she too looked through the crack of the curtain and saw her husband pushing the animal outside.

"'Cause it's got crumpled horns like the ragged man's cow. The man that gave us milk after the dog drank ours," said Bunny. "Only his cow had only one crooked horn and this cow has two. Hasn't it, Sue?"

"Yes. But it looks like a nice cow."

"Well, we don't want cows in our sleeping tent at night," said Mr. Brown. "I'll start this one down hill, and in the morning some one who comes for it will have to hunt for it. We haven't anything here with which to feed cows."

"What's the matter up there?" called a voice, and the children knew it was that of Uncle Tad, who slept in a little tent by himself, near the one where the cooking was done.

"What's the matter up there?" he called.

"Oh, a cow tried to take up quarters with us," explained Mr. Brown. "I'm trying to shove her out of the tent, but she seems to want to stay."

"I'll lead her away and tie her," said Uncle Tad.

Bunny and Sue heard him tramping up from his tent to theirs and then he led the crumpled-horn cow away, the animal now and then giving voice to:

"Moo! Moo!"

"Isn't it too bad she couldn't sleep here?" asked Sue.

"She's too big," declared Bunny. "But Sue, did you see two of her horns crumpled or only one?"

"Why, Bunny, I-I guess it was two, but I'm not sure. What makes you ask me that?"

Before Bunny could answer his mother called:

"Come now, you children have been up long enough. Get back to bed or you'll want to sleep so late in the morning that it will be dinner time before you get up. The elephant-cow has gone away. Uncle Tad will lead her to the foot of the hill, near the brook, where she can get a drink of water and she won't bother you any more. So go back to your cots."

Bunny and Sue went. They could hear Uncle Tad leading the elephant cow, as they called her, through the bushes, and hear him talking to her.

"Come bossy! Come on now. That's a good cow!"

The cow seemed to lead along easily enough, and pretty soon no more noises could be heard in camp except the chirping of the crickets or the songs of the katydids and katydidn'ts.

Bunny and Sue covered themselves up in their cots, for it was cool getting up in the middle of the night. They both tried to go to sleep, but found it not so easy as they had hoped.

"Sue! Sue!" whispered Bunny, after a while.

"Yes. What is it?"

"Are you asleep?"

"No, 'course not. How could I answer you if I was?"

"That's so. You couldn't. Well, I just wanted to know."

There was silence for a few seconds and then Sue whispered:

"Are you asleep, Bunny?"

"No, 'course not. If I was how could I talk to you?"

"Well, I thought maybe you might have gone to sleep. Say, Bunny!"

"Well, what is it?"

"I-I'm not quite sure about that cow havin' two crumpled horns or one."

"Neither'm I," said Bunny. "That's what

I woke you up to find out about."

"You didn't wake me up 'cause I wasn't asleep. But I think the cow had two crumpled, twisted horns."

"That's what I thought," said Bunny. "And, if she did, then she didn't belong to the raggedy man, for his cow had only one."

"That's so," admitted Sue. "But maybe she twisted the other horn pushing her way through the bushes to our tent."

"Bushes aren't strong enough to twist a cow's horn!" replied Bunny, trying to set his little sister right.

"Yes they are too, Bunny Brown! 'Specially a wild grape vine that's strong enough to make a swing!" Sue was growing sleepy and a little cross.

"Well, maybe--"

But now the voice of Mrs. Brown broke in on the talk of the two children.

"Stop talking right away, both of you, my dears," she ordered, and Bunny and Sue knew she meant it.

"All right, Mother," they said, while Sue whispered, just before she closed her eyes: "We'll find out whose cow it is in the morning."

But they did not, at least right away, for when they ran down to the brook before breakfast, to wash their hands and faces as they always did, they saw nothing of the cow.

"Where did you tie her, Uncle Tad?" they asked.

"Right by the big willow tree," he answered. "Maybe she broke away in the night and tried to get back to the tent."

The cow certainly had broken away, for there was one end of the rope still tied to the tree, while the other end was broken and frazzled, showing it had not been cut.

"Well, I guess whoever owns her will find her," said Mr. Brown as he sat down to a breakfast of bacon and eggs. He had to go back to the city that day, and the children were sorry, for they counted on having good times with him.

"But I'll come back Friday night," he promised, "and I'll stay until Monday morning. That will give us two whole days together."

"Oh, then we'll have fun!" cried Bunny.

"And will you help me play with my 'lectricity Teddy Bear?" asked Sue.

"I surely will!" answered Mr. Brown, with a smile.

"And may I play with my e-lec-tric train while you're away?" asked Bunny.

"Yes, but be very careful of it," said his father. "It is strong, but it can be broken or put out of order. So if you play with it take it to some level place in the woods, and be careful how you set up the track. Don't make too big a one."

Bunny promised that he would not, and soon after Mr. Brown had gone away in his automobile, the children, Sue taking her Teddy bear and Bunny his toy train, started into the woods to play.

"Don't go too far," called their mother. "You must hear me when I call you to dinner. These woods are very big, you know."

The children wandered off on a woodland path until, after trying, they found they could just hear their mother's voice.

"And here will be a fine place to play," said Bunny, when they reached a shady level place on top of a little hill that led down to the lake that was near Camp Rest-a-While.

"It will be all right if we don't fall down the hill," said Sue.

"Oh, we'll keep away back from the edge," decided Bunny.

Then he began setting up the track for his toy train of cars, while Sue made a comfortable place for her Teddy bear to sleep, first showing the animal with the electric eyes all about the woods, in which were the big trees and the low bushes.

Bunny set his track around in a circle, and after connecting the strong batteries to the track he put the electric locomotive on and coupled together the cars. Then, when he turned the switch, the engine and train ran along the rails very swiftly.

But Bunny soon grew tired of making the train go around in a circle. He wanted it to run along on a straight track, as the real trains do, and, having plenty of straight lengths of track in his box, he soon set up more rails that stretched off in a straight line.

"Oh, you're gettin' awful near the edge of the hill that goes down to the lake," warned Sue, as she made believe to feed her Teddy bear some huckleberries.

"But I'm putting a curve at the end of the track so the engine and cars will turn back toward me," said Bunny. "Than I'll shut off the power before they can run off on the ground."

Bunny started his train the new way. At first the engine and the cars rolled slowly over the rails, for the ground was a little uphill. Then they came to a part that was downhill.

"Now see 'em go!" cried Bunny in delight.

"They're going awful fast!" cried Sue. "You'd better look out!"

"This is an express train," explained Bunny. "Express trains are very fast."

Indeed the toy locomotive did seem to be going very fast. It rocked and swayed on the tin rails, and it was soon near the end of the line where there was a curve.

And there is where the accident happened. The curve was so sharp, and the electric engine was going so fast, that, instead of turning around, it kept on straight, jumped over the rails and began to run down hill on the dirt and stone path that led to the lake.

"Oh!" gasped Sue.

"Oh, my!" cried Bunny, and then, before Sue could stop him, her brother ran to the edge of the hill. He saw his toy engine and cars rolling over and over toward the lake at the bottom of the hill, and, without stopping a second, over the hill went Bunny Brown himself-slipping, sliding and falling down!

"Oh, Bunny! Come back! Come back!" cried Sue, very much excited.

But Bunny was rolling over and over down the hill after his train, and he could not answer.

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