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Six Little Bunkers at Aunt Jo's By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 10459

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04

Mrs. Bunker, who was busy talking to Grandma Bell, looked up just in time to see Laddie, Violet, Margy and Mun Bun running off through the woods.

"Children! Children!" she cried. "Where are you going?"

Faintly came back Laddie's answer:

"There's a little boy or girl lost in the woods, an' they're callin' to us and we're going to hunt for 'em!"

"Oh, my!" exclaimed Mother Bunker. "Wait, children! Wait for me!" she continued. "Russ-Rose! Come off the raft! I don't want you on it while I'm not near you!"

"Where are you going?" asked Grandma Bell, as she saw her daughter getting up.

"I'm going to see what those children mean," was Mrs. Bunker's answer. "I can't tell what mischief they may get into."

And while Rose and Russ poled the raft toward shore, as their mother told them to, and got off, Mrs. Bunker started after the other children, who were going to find the strange voice that had called to them.

And while this is going on I shall have a chance to tell my new readers something about the little Bunkers. There were six of them, as, perhaps, you have counted. Russ, or Russell, to give him the whole of his name, was eight years old. He was the oldest, a great boy for making things to play with, such as a steamboat out of some old boards, or an automobile from a chair and a sofa cushion. He was also very fond of whistling, and knew several real tunes.

Rose, who came next, was seven years old. She was a regular "mother's helper," and often sang as she washed the dishes or did the dusting. She had light hair and blue eyes while Russ had a dark complexion.

Then there came Violet and Laddie, the twins, aged six. Laddie's real name was Fillmore Bunker, but he was seldom called that. His hair was curly, and his eyes were gray, and whether that made him so fond of making up riddles, or of asking those others made up, I can't say. Anyhow he did it. His twin sister loved to ask questions. She could ask more questions in a day than several persons could answer. No one ever tried to answer all Vi asked. Her hair and eyes were just like Laddie's.

Next came Margy and Mun Bun. Margy was five, and her brother was a year younger. He had blue eyes and golden hair, and, you can easily imagine, was a pretty picture.

"Daddy" Bunker, whose name was Charles, had a real estate and lumber office in Pineville, which was in Pennsylvania, and was on the Rainbow River. About twenty thousand people lived in Pineville, and it was a very nice place indeed. The home of the Bunkers was on the main street of the town, and was less than a mile from Daddy Bunker's office.

Then there was Mother Bunker, whose hands were full keeping house and looking after the six little Bunkers. Her name was Amy, and before she married Daddy Bunker her last name had been Bell.

Those of you who have read the first book of this series, called "Six Little Bunkers at Grandma Bell's," remember that there were two other members of the "family"-Norah O'Grady, the good-natured Irish cook, and Jerry Simms, the man who had once been a soldier and who was very kind to the children. Jerry did odd bits of work about the house, and often ran the automobile for Mr. Bunker.

The Bunkers had many relatives. There was Grandma Bell, who was Mrs. Bunker's mother, and there was Grandpa Ford, who was Daddy Bunker's stepfather. He was kind and good, and had loved Daddy Bunker when Daddy Bunker was a little boy, and now loved the six little Bunkers as well. Grandma Bell lived in Maine, near Lake Sagatook, and Grandpa Ford lived at Tarrington, New York, his place being called Great Hedge Estate.

Then there was Miss Josephine Bunker (she was "Aunt Jo," you know), who lived in Boston; Uncle Frederick Bell, of Moon City, Montana; and Cousin Tom Bunker, who lived at Seaview, on the New Jersey coast.

In the first book I told you about the six little Bunkers when on a visit to Grandma Bell, in Maine, and how they helped solve a mystery and find some valuable real estate papers that an old tramp lumberman had carried off in a ragged coat.

I can't begin to tell you, here, all the fun the six little Bunkers had at Grandma Bell's. They spent the last of July and the first part of August there, and now, just before leaving, they were planning for the rest of the summer vacation.

But, just at the present moment, something else was happening. The children's play had been stopped by the voice in the woods; a voice heard by Laddie, Vi, Mun Bun and Margy.

"Are you sure it was a little child you heard calling?" asked Mrs. Bunker, overtaking the four children.

"Oh, yes; sure!" answered Laddie. "It was a little boy."

"I think it was a little girl," said Violet.

"Hark!" exclaimed Grandma Bell, who had come with Mother Bunker. "There it goes once more!"

And, surely enough, the voice called again:

"Come and get me! I'm lost!"

"Poor thing!" said Grandma Bell. "I wonder whose little boy or girl it is."

"'Tisn't any of us," said Violet, "'cause we're all here!"

"Yes, I counted to make sure," said Mother Bunker. "But we must find out who it is. Come on, children. Are we going too fast for you, Mother?" she asked Grandma Bell.

"Oh, no, indeed!"

"We mus

t find the lost one," Mother Bunker continued, and so they kept on with the queer hunt. Every now and then they could hear the voice calling. Pretty soon Mrs. Bell said:

"I can hear some one coming."

Then the voice called again:

"Come and get me! I'm lost!"

"Oh, there it is! Over in that direction!" exclaimed Grandma Bell.

They hurried toward a thick clump of trees, from which the voice seemed to come. Then, all at once, another voice called:

"Oh, there you are! I see you! Now come right here to me, and don't go away again!"

"Why, I know who that is!" exclaimed Grandma Bell.

Before the children could ask they heard a funny voice say:

"Oh, hello! Pretty Poll! Pretty Poll! Polly wants a cracker!"

"Well, you'll get one, and it won't be a sweet cracker, either, if you fly out of your cage again," said a man's voice. "You'll get a fire-cracker! Now you flutter right down to me and be good!"

"Hello! Hello!" said the funny voice, and then came a strange laugh. "Ha! Ha! Ha!"

"Why-why! It's a parrot!" shouted Laddie. "I can see his green feathers!"

"Yes, and there is Mr. Hixon after him," said Grandma Bell. "You have been fooled by Bill Hixon's parrot, children, just as you were teased once before. It wasn't a little boy or girl lost in the woods at all. It was just the parrot."

"That's just what it was, Mrs. Bell," said Mr. Hixon, and a man stepped out from behind a tree. "Were you after him, too?" he asked, as he held out his hand the parrot flew down out of the tree and alighted on his finger.

"The children, playing in the woods, heard your parrot calling, and thought it was a lost child," said Mrs. Bunker. "Did he get out of his cage?"

"That's what he did," said Mr. William Hixon, or "Bill," as his neighbors called him. "He got out early this morning, and I've been looking for him ever since. I followed along through these woods, because a man said he had seen a green bird flying about in here, and, surely enough, I heard my Polly singing out about being lost, and wanting some one to come and get her. She always begs that way when she gets lost."

"We heard her," said Laddie. "But I thought it was a little boy."

"And I thought it was a little girl," added Violet.

Mun Bun and Margy didn't say anything. They just stood and looked at the green parrot on Mr. Hixon's finger. The bird seemed happy now, and bent its head over toward its owner.

"She wants it scratched," said Mr. Hixon. "Well, I'll be nice to you now, but I won't like you if you get out of your cage again," he said. "She can open the door herself," he explained to Grandma Bell and Mrs. Bunker.

"She talks very plainly for a parrot," said Grandma Bell. "I remember the day the six little Bunkers first came, and Polly was in the back of the auto. We thought it was a child then."

"Yes, Polly is a good talker," said Mr. Hixon, who lived not far from Grandma Bell's. "But I think I'll have to get her a new cage so she can't get out. It keeps me busy chasing after her."

"Polly wants a cracker! Polly wants a sweet cracker!" chanted the parrot.

"Well, you'll get a sour one if you aren't good!" said Mr. Hixon, with a laugh. "I'm sorry my parrot fooled you, and made you think a child was lost in the woods," he went on.

"Oh, that's all right," said Mother Bunker. "We didn't mind hunting, and we're glad no one was lost."

"How are all the six little Bunkers?" asked the owner of the green parrot, as he started for his home.

"Well, these four, as you see, are fine," said Grandma Bell. "The other two, Russ and Rose, are playing steamboat on the lake. But I am going to lose them all."

"Lose them all!" cried Mr. Hixon. "How's that?"

"We are going to pay a visit to Mr. Bunker's sister, who lives in Boston," explained Mrs. Bunker. "She wrote and asked us to come, and this is our last week at Grandma Bell's."

"Well, I'm sure we'll miss the six little Bunkers when they go," said Mr. Hixon.

"Indeed we shall!" said Grandma Bell. "But they are coming to see me again."

"We love it here," put in Vi.

"And we've had lots of fun," added Margy.

"Maybe we'll have fun at Aunt Jo's," said Laddie.

"I'm sure you will. I guess you could have fun anywhere, you six," said Mr. Hixon with a laugh. "Well, good-bye, if I don't see you again!"

"Good-bye!" said the others.

"Good-bye," echoed the parrot.

Grandma Bell, Mother Bunker and the four children went back to the shady cove of the lake.

"Where'd you go?" asked Russ and Rose, who were walking along to meet them.

"Oh, we thought somebody was lost in the woods," answered Laddie.

"But it was Mr. Hixon's parrot," added Vi.

The children went back to their play.

A day or so later they helped pack the things they had brought with them to Grandma Bell's.

"We're going to Aunt Jo's! We're going to Aunt Jo's!" shouted Rose, dancing about.

"In Boston! In Boston!" added Russ. "And we'll have Boston baked beans!"

The next day the children said good-bye to Grandma Bell and, with Daddy and Mother Bunker, started for Aunt Jo's. They hardly even dreamed of all the good times they were to have there, nor of the strange things that were to happen.

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