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Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue in the Big Woods By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 9341

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:03

Bunny Brown was thinking of two things when he started to roll downhill. One was that his train might roll into the water and be spoiled, for his father had told him that there were bits of electrical machinery on the engine that would be spoiled if water touched them.

Then Bunny thought of himself rolling into the water, for the hill was steep on this shore of the lake, and any one rolling down, if he were not stopped before he reached the bottom, would be almost sure to go into the lake.

"But I don't mind so much about myself," thought Bunny. "My clothes will get wet, but I've got on an old suit and water won't hurt that. It won't hurt me, either, for I get wet when I go in swimming, and I can swim now if I have to. But my train can't swim, 'cause that's iron, and iron will sink, daddy told me. So I've got to catch the train before it goes into the lake."

The thought of this made Bunny try to roll over and over faster, so he could win in the race down the hill between himself and the train. If he could get hold of the train before it touched the water all would be well, he hoped. He could toss the train to one side, out of harm's way, even if he fell into the water himself.

"But can I get it?" thought Bunny, as he rolled over and over.

He could hear Sue calling to him at the top of the hill, on the very edge of which he had made the curve of his track. He realized now that it was too near the edge. What Sue was saying Bunny could not hear, but he imagined she was begging him to stop rolling downhill and come back to her.

"As if I could!" thought Bunny to himself. "This rolling downhill isn't any fun. I didn't really mean to do it, but I couldn't help it. I wanted to run or slide down. There are too many stones for rolling."

Indeed there were, for the slope of the hill down to the lake was not of soft grass. Instead it was of gravel and stone and these were very rough for a small boy to roll on. Still Bunny did not mind if he could get his locomotive and train of cars.

He could see them just ahead of him, rolling over and over just as he was doing. Of course there was no electricity in the toy locomotive now. The current, as the electricity is called, was all in the rails, going into them from the batteries, and from there it went into the motor or the wheels, gears and other things inside the engine that made it roll along.

"I guess it's rolling faster than I am," thought Bunny. "It will get to the bottom first, and go in the water."

This seemed to be what would happen. For the engine and cars had started ahead of Bunny, and, too, they were not so big as he. It took him some time to turn over, for there was more of him.

It was not the first time Bunny had rolled downhill. Often he and Sue, finding a nice smooth, grassy slope in the country, had started at the top and rolled all the way to the bottom, over and over, getting up slightly dizzy.

But Bunny had never rolled down such a long, steep and rough hill as this, and he really did not mean to do it. He had started out to run to the bottom, or slide along, his feet buried in the soft sand and gravel. But he had slipped, and the only thing now to do was to roll, just as the train was doing.

Bunny looked down the slope again. He saw that the train was almost in the water, and he was wondering how much spoiled it would be, and whether it could be fixed again, so it could be run, when he suddenly saw a man step from the fringe of bushes at the edge of the lake and pick up the engine and cars just as they went into the water, getting only a little wet in the edge of the lake.

The man was roughly dressed, and for a moment Bunny thought he was the old hermit who lived in the lonely log cabin, and who had sold Bunny and Sue some milk the day before, when the dog had taken their pailful.

But another look, as Bunny tried to slow-up his rolling, told him it was another man. He was just as ragged as the hermit who kept a cow, but he did not have long hair, nor a long white beard, and his face was very dark.

"Oh, that's one of the Indians!" quickly thought Bunny. "Well, he saved my train all right. I'm glad of that."

With a slide and a roll Bunny reached the foot of the hill, and by catching hold of a small tree he saved himself from slipping into the water.

The Indian looked up from the toy train at which he was gazing in puzzled fashion.

"That's mine," said Bunny, speaking slowly. He knew some of the Indians who lived on a reservation in the big woods, not far from Camp Rest-a-While. Some of them could speak fairly good English and understand it. Others knew only a few words and Bunny

wanted to make sure this Indian understood him.

"Huh! This you?" asked the red man, as the Indians are sometimes called.

"Yes, that's mine," said Bunny. "It's a train of cars."

"Oh, puff-puff train. Eagle Feather ride in puff-puff train once. How him go?" and he set Bunny's train down on a smooth rock, while the little boy shook the dust from his clothes and tried to comb it out of his hair with his fingers.

"It can't go now-no track-no electric current," explained Bunny. "Track up there on top of hill," he went on, motioning and speaking as slowly as he could, and with few words, so the Indian would understand.

"Oh, go electricity-same as like lights in big city," said Eagle Feather, which seemed to be the Indian's name. "Me know-Buzz-whizz-flash-go quick-no come back."

"That's it," laughed Bunny Brown. He was not afraid of the Indian. The men and the squaws, or women, used often to come to Camp Rest-a-While to sell their baskets, their bead work or bows and arrows.

"That your train puff-puff cars. You take," said the Indian, handing the toy to the little boy. "Indian see him ready to swim in water, no t'ink good-catch um."

"I'm glad you did," said Bunny. "Thank you. I nearly went into the water myself."

"Water good for boy-good for muskrat too, maybe," said Eagle Feather. "Maybe not so good for meke-believe puff-puff train."

"That's right," said Bunny. "If my toy train had fallen into the lake and stayed there very long, it might never have run again. But I can run after I've been in the water."

Then Bunny heard a voice calling to him from up on top of the hill:

"Bunny! Bunny Brown! Are you all right?"

Bunny looked up quickly, and so did the Indian. Sue was standing on top of the hill, holding her Teddy bear with the little electric eyes.

"I'm all right, Sue," called up Bunny. "Come down if you want to. But come down by the path. My train is all right, too. Eagle Feather saved it for me. He's one of the Indians from the reservation."

The State had set aside certain land for the Indians on which they must live. Bunny and Sue, with their father or mother or Uncle Tad, had often been to the place where the Indians lived.

"Are you all right, Bunny?" asked Sue again.

"Yep. Course. But I'm all dirty. Don't you roll down."

"I won't," promised the little girl, and she started for the path, which was an easier way of getting to the bottom of the hill. The Indian waited with Bunny, and when Sue stood beside the two Eagle Feather gave a sort of grunt of welcome, for Indians are not great talkers.

"Bunny has an 'lectric train," said Sue, for she was no more afraid of the red men than was her brother. "Bunny has an 'lectric train, and I have an 'lectric Teddy bear. See, Eagle Feather!"

She pushed the button, or switch, in the back of her toy, and at once the eyes flashed out brightly.

"Huh! That much like real bear when you see him in dark by campfire," said the Indian. "Much funny. Let Eagle Feather see!"

Sue showed the Indian how to make the eyes gleam by pressing the button in the toy bear's back, and Eagle Feather did this several times. He seemed to think the toy bear was a more wonderful toy than the train he had saved from the lake. He gave this back to Bunny and kept the bear, flashing the eyes again and again.

"You mustn't do it too much or you'll wear out the batteries inside the bear," said Bunny. "The same kind of electric batteries make the eyes of the bear bright as run my train."

"Huh! Indian no want to make little girl's toy bad," said the Indian handing it back. "Great toy, much. Very good to have."

"What are you doing so far away from your camp?" asked Bunny. "Have you some bows and arrows to sell?"

"No got to sell to-day. Indian come to hunt lost cow."

"Have you lost a cow?" asked Bunny and Sue together.

"Yes. Maybe you see him. He got two horns funny twisted-so"; and Eagle Feather picked up a crooked branch, like a fork or crotch, both parts of which were gnarled and twisted. "Horns like him?"

"Yes, just like that," said Bunny. "The cow came to our tent in the night and we thought it was an elephant. Was it your cow? We thought it belonged to the white hermit who sold us milk last night."

"No, two-crooked-horn cow belong Eagle Feather. Where you see him?"

Bunny and Sue told of Uncle Tad having tied the cow in the night and of her having broken loose.

"But maybe we can see which way she went by her hoof-prints in the mud," said Bunny. "Come on, Eagle Feather. You saved my train from going into the lake where maybe I couldn't get it up, so we'll help you find your lost cow."

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