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Six Little Bunkers at Aunt Jo's By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 10427

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04

Mun Bun smiled happily. This was more fun than he had ever expected to have at Aunt Jo's house. In fact, what little thinking he did about it was to the effect that he could have had a lot more fun by staying at Grandma Bell's.

Up he sat on the seat of the junkman's wagon, holding the reins as he had helped Russ or Laddie hold the reins on the big dog Alexis, who pulled the six little Bunkers in the express wagon.

"This is fun!" said Mun Bun.

The horse slowly walked along. Junkmen's horses hardly ever run. There are several reasons for this.

In the first place, a junkman's horse goes slowly because the junkman is never in a hurry. He wants to look at the houses on each side of the street to see if any one is going to call him in to sell him paper, rags, old bottles, rubber boots or broken stoves.

So, of course, a junkman wants his horse to go slowly, for then he has a chance to look at the houses on each side of the street. For nowadays the junkmen, in the cities, at least, are not allowed to ring bells and shout loudly or make much noise. They used to do that, but they can't any more.

Another reason why a junkman's horse walks slowly is that the poor horse is nearly always old and thin and hungry.

And I suppose it's a good thing this junkman's horse was old and thin and tired and hungry. That's what made him go slowly, so Mun Bun was not rattled off the seat. He was only a little fellow, and it would not have taken much of a jolt of the wagon to have tossed him off. But as long as the wagon went slowly he was all right.

"Gid-dap!" cried Mun Bun in a jolly voice, and he pulled on the reins, thinking what fun it was really to drive, and not make-believe, as he and the others had done with Alexis.

All this while the junkman was in Aunt Jo's yard, talking with William about the old rags and papers the chauffeur had to sell. The five other little Bunkers were playing at different games, Daddy Bunker was downtown, and Aunt Jo and Mother Bunker were busy at something or other, I've forgotten just what.

So there was no one in particular to see what Mun Bun was doing, and he was just having the grandest time, all by himself, driving the poor, thin horse. Of course he wasn't really driving it. The horse just went along as it always did, as slowly as it could, and, very likely, it didn't know, or care, whether Mun Bun was driving it, or the junkman.

"Gid-dap!" cried the little fellow again, and he pulled on the reins. And then a funny thing happened. He pulled a little harder on the left rein than on the right, and, just as the animal had been used to doing whenever this happened, the horse turned to the left, and went down a side street.

Mun Bun didn't mind this. He didn't care which way the horse went as long as he was having a ride and was doing the driving. Down the side street went the junk wagon, with Mun Bun on it. He was now out of sight of any one who might be looking from Aunt Jo's yard.

The little fellow was halfway down the new block when a woman, looking from the window of her house, saw the bony horse and the old rattly, rickety wagon.

"Oh, there's a junkman!" she cried. "I've been looking for one a long time to take the papers out of the cellar. There's a junkman!"

"No, it's a junk boy," said the woman's cook, who happened to be with her. "There's no one but a little boy on the wagon."

"Well, maybe it's the junkman's little boy," said the woman. "They let them drive when they go in after the junk. Run after him, Jane, and stop him. I want to get the trash cleaned out of the cellar."

So the cook ran quickly to the front door and cried:

"Hey! Junk boy! Stop! We got some papers for you!"

Mun Bun heard, and turned around.

"I isn't the junkman," he said. "I'm just havin' a ride!"

"We have some old papers for you," called the cook.

Mun Bun didn't know just what it all meant, but he saw the cook waving her hand at him, and he heard her calling, though he could not make out all the words, because the wagon rattled so. But Mun Bun had an idea.

"I guess maybe she wants a ride," he said. "She likes to ride same as I do. I'll give her a ride with me."

He pulled on the reins, and called:


But either Mun Bun did not pull hard enough, or he did not call loudly enough, for the horse did not stop. Perhaps it thought that if it did stop it would be too hard work to start again, so it kept on going.

"Stop! Stop!" cried the cook. "We have some papers to sell you!"

"Whoa!" called Mun Bun again. But the horse did not stop.

Just then a policeman came down the street. He saw Mun Bun on the seat of the wagon, and he saw the cook waving at him and calling. And the policeman needed to take only one look to make him feel sure that Mun Bun was not the junkman's little boy driving the wagon. Mun Bun was not dressed as a junkman's little boy would probably be dressed.

"That's funny," said the policeman to himself. "I must see about this." He walked toward the wagon. By this time the cook had come out on the sidewalk. She knew the policeman.

"Stop him!" she called, pointing to the wagon. "Stop that junkman!"

"That isn't a junkman," said the o


"Well, stop that junk boy then, Mr. Mulligan," begged the cook, smiling at the policeman.

"Nor yet it isn't a junk boy," said the officer. "He doesn't belong on that wagon."

"Do you mean to say he stole it?" asked the cook. "Mrs. Rynsler has some junk she wants to get out of the cellar, and--"

"This boy'll never take it," said Mr. Mulligan, the policeman. "In the first place he's too little, and in the second place he isn't a junk boy. I must see about this," and, hurrying along for a little distance, then walking out to the curb, he reached out his hand and stopped the horse. It was not hard work. The bony horse was ready to stop almost any time.

"Whoa!" said the policeman.

"Whoa!" echoed Mun Bun, and he smiled at the officer.

"Where are you going?" asked Mr. Mulligan.

"I'm having a ride," said Mun Bun. "The junkman is at my Aunt Jo's house, and I got up on the seat and I'm having a ride!"

"Land love us! And look at the size of him!" murmured the cook, who had followed the policeman.

"He is little," said the policeman. "But you'd better get down, my little man. You might fall off."

"I had a nice ride, anyhow," said Mun Bun, as the policeman lifted him down from the wagon.

"But now I've got to find out where you live, and who owns this rig," went on the officer.

"The idea of him drivin' off with it all alone-the likes of him!" murmured the wondering cook.

"Oh, he's a smart little chap!" said the policeman, smiling at Mun Bun. "But, unless I'm mistaken, here comes the real junkman. He looks worried, too."

Around the corner of the street came the man who had been talking to William in Aunt Jo's yard. He was running hard, and his hat had fallen off.

"My horse! My wagon!" he cried. "Somebody ran away with them!"

"No, they didn't, Ike!" said the policeman, who had seen the junk collector before. "Your horse just walked away with this boy, and it's lucky the little chap didn't fall off the seat. Get on now, and drive back where you came from. Where does this boy belong?"

"How should I know?" asked the junkman. "I never saw him before."

"Well, he must have got on the wagon at the last place you stopped," said the officer. "Where was that?"

"Oh, sure! I know what you mean!" exclaimed the junkman. "I know the lady's house. Her automobile man often sells me old papers. I can tell you," and he did, mentioning Aunt Jo's house.

"I'll just take the boy back," said the policeman.

His hand in that of the big policeman, Mun Bun went back gladly enough, and just in time, too, for his mother, looking out and "counting noses" had not seen him with the other children, and, fearing he had wandered away, she was just starting out to look for him.

"Where have you been?" she cried, as she saw Mun Bun with a policeman.

"Oh, I had a nice ride," answered the little boy.

"He was on the junk wagon," Mr. Mulligan explained.

"Oh, ho! So it was you who ran with Ike's rig, was it?" asked William. "Well, well! He was frightened when he didn't see his horse out in front where he had left it. How do you like the junk business, Mun Bun?"

"I like the horse, and I did drive him, I did!" said the little fellow proudly.

"Well, don't do it again," sighed Mrs. Bunker.

"No'm, I won't!" promised Mun Bun.

The six little Bunkers always promised this whenever they did anything they ought not to have done. But the trouble was that they did something different the next time, and not the same thing they were told not to do.

"I wish I'd had a ride with you," said Margy, as her little brother, after the policeman had gone, told what had happened.

"Well, I don't!" exclaimed Mrs. Bunker.

So Mun Bun got safely back home again, and the rest of the day his mother saw to it that he played in the yard and around the house with his brothers and sisters.

"Did anybody ever come for the pocketbook and the sixty-five dollars?" asked Rose one day, after breakfast, when the six little Bunkers were wondering what to do to have fun.

"No, we haven't yet found an owner," said her father. "But there is time enough yet."

"And you didn't find my doll that the balloons took away, did you?"

"Not yet, Rose. I'm afraid Lily is gone forever," answered her mother. "Some day I'll get you a new doll."

"Yes; but she wouldn't be Lily," said Rose, and she felt quite bad about what had happened.

Out in the yard went the children to play. Russ was making what he said was going to be a kite, and Laddie and Violet were playing in the sand. Rose was watching Parker bake a cake and Margy and Mun Bun walked up and down the porch, pulling two little rubber dolls in a thread box, which they pretended was a big automobile.

Pretty soon, down the street came a two-wheeled cart, pushed by a man who had gold rings in his ears, and the cart made a cheerful whistling sound.

"Oh, listen!" cried Mun Bun.

"It's like a choo-choo car!" said Margy.

"Let's go and look at it!" cried Mun Bun.

"All right," agreed his sister.

Leaving the thread-box automobile and the two little dolls on the porch, the two small children ran down to the front gate to look at the whistling wagon.

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