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   Chapter 25 THE TREASURE

Six Little Bunkers at Cousin Tom's By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 18734

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:03


Once more there came sailing through the air a paper "cannon ball." It fell on the ground between Laddie and Russ and burst open, a lot of dry, soft sand spilling out.

"There!" cried Laddie. "See! I didn't throw 'em!"

"No, I don't guess you did," admitted Russ. "But who did?"

Just then a jolly laugh sounded, and out from behind a ridge of sand-one of the dunes made by the wind-came George Carr.

"Did I scare you?" asked George.

"A-a little," admitted Russ, wiggling to get rid of the sand down his back.

"We didn't know who it was," said Laddie. And he, too, squirmed about, for there was sand inside his blouse.

"I thought you wouldn't," said George, laughing again. "I saw you playing soldiers and I thought I'd make believe I was another enemy coming up behind. You didn't make any fort in back of you," he said to Russ, "and so I could easily fire at you."

"But we don't put sand in our paper bullets," complained Laddie.

"Don't you?" asked George. "Then I'm sorry I did. I hope I didn't hurt you, or get any in your eyes."

"No," answered Russ, sort of shaking himself to let the sand sift down through the legs of his knickerbockers. "But it tickles a lot."

"Well, I won't throw any more," promised George. "But lots of times we play soldier down on the beach and we throw sand bullets. Only we don't ever throw 'em at each others' eyes. Sand in your eyes hurts like anything."

"I know it does," agreed Russ. "Mun Bun got some in his the other day and he cried a lot."

"Well, come on, let's play soldier some more," suggested George. "I'll be on Laddie's side. You go in the fort, Russ, and we'll stand against you. Two to one is fair when the one is inside a fort."

"And won't you throw any more sand bullets or cannon balls?"

"No, only paper ones."

"All right, then I'll play."

Russ went back in his fort, and Laddie and George, outside the wall of sand, began pelting him with wads of paper. But now the battle went differently. The attacking force could shoot twice as many paper bullets and balls as could Russ and they soon ran up on him, pelting him so that he had to put his hands over his head.

"All right-I surrender! I give up!" he cried.

"Wait till I haul down the flag!" laughed George.

Then he took down the red and blue penciled handkerchief and he and Laddie took possession of the fort. Russ was beaten, but he did not mind, for it was all in fun. Then he took a turn outside the fort, with Laddie and George inside. However, as this was two against one, Russ could not win, though the three boys had jolly times.

They were pelting away at one another, using paper "bullets" and "cannon balls," shouting and laughing, when, as they became quiet for a moment, they heard a voice asking:

"What is all this?"

They looked up to see Mrs. Bunker with Mun Bun and Margy.

"How-do?" called George, grinning.

"Oh, we're having such fun!" cried Laddie. "We're soldiers and we got a fort, and we had a flag--"

"It's made out of a handkerchief and red and blue pencils," added Russ.

"I want to play soldier!" exclaimed Mun Bun.

"No, it's too rough for you," explained Russ.

"I want to play, too!" insisted Margy.

"We're done playing fort and soldier," said Russ. "We'll play something else."

"Let's see who can dig the deepest hole," suggested George. "I'll go and get a shovel, and you have yours, Russ and Laddie. Let's see who can dig the deepest hole!"

The two older Bunker boys thought this would be fun, and George ran over to his cottage to get his shovel.

"Can we play that game, Mother?" asked Margy.

"Yes, you and Mun Bun can do that," said Mrs. Bunker.

The warm sun was drying out the beach, and when George came back with his shovel he and Laddie and Russ began three holes in a row, each one trying to make his the deepest. Mun Bun and Margy, each of whom had a small shovel, also began to dig, though, of course, they could not expect to dig as fast as the boys, nor make as deep holes.

"I'll sit on the sand and watch you," said Mrs. Bunker.

"Maybe we'll find a treasure," suggested Russ.

"What treasure?" asked George.

"Oh, before we came down here, when we were at our Aunt Jo's in Boston," Russ explained, "we knew a boy named Sammie Brown. His father dug up some treasure on a desert island once. We thought maybe we could dig up some here."

"But we didn't-not yet," added Laddie.

"And I don't guess we ever will," said Russ. "Only we make believe, lots of times, that we're going to."

The three boys dug away and Mun Bun and Margy did the same, only more slowly. Then along came Rose and Violet.

"What are you doing?" Violet asked, getting in her question first, as usual.

"Digging holes," answered Russ.

"Seeing who can make the biggest," added George. "Mine's deeper than yours!" he said to Russ.

"Yes, but mine's going to be bigger. I'm going to make a hole big enough so I can stand down in it and dig. I'm going to make a regular well."

"I guess I will, too," decided George.

"So'll I," said Laddie.

"Well, if you come to water, don't fall in," advised Mrs. Bunker with a laugh.

"You go get a shovel and dig, too," called Russ to Rose.

"No, I don't want to," said his sister. "I'll watch you."

My, how the sand was flying on the beach now! Russ, Laddie and George were all digging as fast as they could with their shovels, each one trying to make the biggest hole. Mun Bun and Margy dug also, but, though they made a lot of sand fly, they did not always dig in the same place. Instead of keeping to one hole they made three or four. But they had just as much fun.

Suddenly Laddie, who had made a hole in which he could stand, it being so deep that he was half hidden from sight in it, uttered a cry.

"What's the matter?" asked his mother. "Did you hurt yourself?"

"Did you dig up a Sallie Growler?" asked Vi.

"Maybe it's a crab," said Mun Bun, and he dropped his shovel and started for his mother.

"No, nothing like that," said Laddie. "Only-oh, goody-I guess I've found the treasure!" he shouted.

"Treasure!" cried Russ. "What do you mean?"

"I guess I've found some gold in my hole!" went on Laddie. "Come and look! It shines like anything!"

Russ and George leaped out of the holes they were digging and ran toward Laddie. Mrs. Bunker got up and hurried down the beach. Mun Bun and Margy followed. Rose and Violet went too.

"Where is it?" asked Russ, stooping over the edge of his brother's hole. "Where's the treasure?"

"There," answered Laddie, pointing to something shining in the sand. It did glitter brightly and it was not buried very deeply, being near the top of the hole, but on the far edge, where Laddie had not done much digging.

"It is gold!" cried George. "Whoop! Maybe that boy you knew was right, and there is pirate's treasure here!"

Mrs. Bunker bent down and looked at what Laddie had uncovered. Then she took a stick and began carefully to dig around it.

"Here, take my shovel," offered Laddie.

"No, I don't want to scratch it, if it is what I think," said his mother. "I had better dig with the stick."

She went on scratching away the sand. As she did so the piece of shiny thing became larger. It sparkled more brightly in the sun.

"Is it treasure?" asked Laddie eagerly. "Did I find some gold treasure?"

"Yes, I think you did, Son," said Mrs. Bunker. "It is gold and it is a treasure."

"Did the pirates hide it?" demanded Russ.

"No, I think not," said Mrs. Bunker with a smile. "I think Rose lost it."

"Rose lost it!" cried the two Bunker boys. "What?"

"Yes, it is her locket that she dropped when we first came here and never could find," went on Mrs. Bunker. "Laddie, you have found it. You have discovered the golden treasure-Rose's locket!"

Having dug away the sand in which it was imbedded, Mrs. Bunker lifted up a dangling gold chain to which was fastened the gold locket.

"Oh, it is mine!" cried Rose. "Oh, how glad I am to get it back again! Oh, Laddie, how glad I am!"

Her mother handed the little girl her long-lost locket. It was not a bit hurt from having been buried in the sand, for true gold does not tarnish in clean sand. And the ornament was as good as ever. Rose clasped it about her neck and looked very happy.

"How did it get in my hole?" asked Laddie.

"It didn't," said his mother. "You happened to dig in just the place where Rose dropped her locket and you uncovered it. Or this may not have been the exact place where it fell. Perhaps the sands shifted and carried the locket with them. That is why we could not find it before. But now we have it back."

"It was like finding real treasure," said Russ.

"I wish we'd find some more," said George. "I'm going to dig a big hole."

But, though he scooped out more sand, he found no more gold, nor did Russ, though they found some pretty shells.

Daddy Bunker, Cousin Tom and Cousin Ruth came down to the beach to see what all the joyful laughter was about and they were told of the finding of the lost locket Rose had dropped in the sand.

"I never thought I'd get it back," she said, "but I did."

"And I never thought I'd get my doll back," said Vi, "and I didn't. But I got a nicer one out of the sea."

"Well, that was very good luck," said Daddy Bunker. "For once digging in the san

d had some results."

They all walked up to Cousin Tom's bungalow.

On the way Laddie seemed rather quiet.

"What's the matter?" asked his father. "Aren't you glad you found your sister's gold locket?"

"Oh, yes, very glad," answered Laddie. "Only I was trying to think up a riddle about it and I can't. But I have one about why is the ocean like a garden?"

"'Tisn't like a garden," declared Russ. "It's all water, the ocean is."

"It's like a garden in my riddle," insisted Laddie.

"Why?" his mother asked.

"The ocean is like a garden 'cause it's full of seaweed," answered Laddie.

"I don't think that's a very good riddle," remarked Russ.

"It wouldn't be a very good garden that had weeds in it," said Mr. Bunker with a laugh. "Anyhow we ought to be happy because Rose has her locket back."

And they all were, I'm sure.

"What makes gold so bright?" asked Vi, as she saw the locket sparkling in the sun.

"Because it is polished," her mother answered.

"What makes it polished?" went on Vi.

"Oh, my dear, if you keep on asking questions I'll get in such a tangle that I'll never be able to find my way out," laughed her mother. "Come, we'll get ready to go crabbing this afternoon and that will keep you so busy you won't want to talk."

"We never came to any nicer place than this, did we?" asked Russ of Rose as they sat on the pier that afternoon catching crabs by the dozen.

"No, we never had any better fun than we've had here. I wonder where we'll go next."

"I don't know," answered Russ. "Home, maybe."

But the children did not stay at home very long, and if you want to hear more about their adventures I invite you to read the next book in this series. It will be called: "Six Little Bunkers at Grandpa Ford's," and in it is told all about what happened that winter and how the ghost--

But there. I guess you'd better read the book.

"Daddy! Daddy! Come quick!" called Mun Bun, as he felt a tug at his line. "I got a terrible big crab!"

"Well, I should say you had!" exclaimed his father, as he caught it in the net. "It's a wonder it didn't pull you off the pier!"

The crab was a large one, the largest caught that day, and Mun Bun was very glad and happy. But he was no more glad than was Rose over her locket that had been lost and found.

And so we will leave them, the six little Bunkers, enjoying the last days of their visit at Cousin Tom's.

THE END

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