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   Chapter 15 LADDIE'S FUNNY RIDDLE

Six Little Bunkers at Aunt Jo's By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 6016

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04


"Doesn't it make a nice noise?" asked Mun Bun of Margy.

"Terrible nice," agreed the little girl. "What makes it?"

Mun Bun looked at the whistling wagon. It was, as I have said, a two-wheeled cart, and was pushed by a man who had gold rings in his ears. His face was very dark, too, but he smiled pleasantly at the children.

"It's a teakettle, that's what makes it," said Mun Bun, as he looked. "See the steam coming out, just like it does out of the kettle in Parker's kitchen," and he pointed to something on one end of the cart.

This something looked like a little stove, and the children could see the glow of fire in one end of it. And, as Mun Bun had said, steam was coming from what seemed to be a spout.

"The steam whistles," said Mun Bun.

"Yes," agreed Margy. "I like it!"

The steam did make a shrill whistling sound.

The wagon was out in front of Aunt Jo's house now, and suddenly Mun Bun sniffed the air. He smelled something good.

"Oh, I know what it is!" he cried. "It's peanuts! The man is roasting peanuts and they whistles to tell him they're done. Don't you 'member, down at the corner by Daddy's office, home, there's a man an' he sells peanuts and they whistles."

"Oh, yes!" said Margy. "I 'members! I likes peanuts, too!"

"So do I!" said Mun Bun.

The man with the gold rings in his ears was stopping in front of Aunt Jo's house now. He smiled at the children, while the steam from the hot peanut-roaster made a louder whistling sound, and the man yelled:

"Hot peanuts, five cents a bag!"

"Oh, I wish we had some!" sighed Mun Bun.

"So do I," added his sister. "Have you five cents, Mun Bun?"

"Nope! Has you five cents, Margy?"

"No."

Mun Bun thought for a few seconds while the smiling Italian man, with the whistling wagon, looked at the two little Bunkers hanging on Aunt Jo's gate.

"Please go 'way!" said Mun Bun. "We hasn't got any five cents for your hot peanuts."

"No gotta five cents?" asked the Italian.

"No," and Mun Bun shook his head.

"An' we like peanuts," added Margy. "If you've any left over you could give us some."

"Hot peanuts-five a bag!" said the peddler in a sort of sing-song voice.

"Please go 'way!" begged Mun Bun again. "They smells awful good, but we hasn't got any five centies!"

"Maybe you go in th' house, li'l' boy, you get money," the Italian went on.

Margy looked at Mun Bun and Mun Bun looked at Margy.

"Oh, maybe we could!" exclaimed the little girl eagerly. "Let's go an' ask, Mun Bun!"

"All right!" said he. "We will!"

And they did. Into the room where Aunt Jo and Mother Bunker were sewing burst the two children, out of breath from their run up the gravel drive.

"Oh, Mother!" cried Mun Bun. "He wants five cents."

"An' he's got a whistlin' wagon!" added Margy.

"An' they smell awful good!" went on her brother.

"Come an' hear the whistle," begged the little girl.

"My goodness me!" cried Aunt Jo. "What is this all about?"

"It's hot peanuts-five a

bag!" answered Mun Bun, in a sing-song voice almost like the Italian's.

"But we haven't the five cents," added Margy. "An' we want some peanuts."

"Well, I think you may have some," said Mrs. Bunker. "I'll come down to the whistling wagon with you and see about it."

Margy and Mun Bun led her down to the front gate, where the peanut man, still smiling, was waiting. The hot oven on his wagon, in which he roasted the peanuts, was still whistling. Afterward Daddy Bunker told the children that the steam came out and made the whistling sound by puffing itself through a tin thing with holes in it, just as a boy blows his breath through the same kind of tin thing to make a whistle.

"And the reason the Italian puts water in the top of his peanut-roaster is so that the peanuts in the bags, where he puts them to keep warm, will not burn," the father of the six little Bunkers told them. "The whistling is like the bell the old-fashioned ice-cream man used to ring. People hear it and come to buy, just as you did."

Mrs. Bunker found the Italian's peanuts fresh and nicely browned and roasted, and she bought enough for all the children.

"You have to thank Margy and Mun Bun for them," she said to Russ, Rose and the twins. "They first heard the whistling wagon and ran out to see what it was."

The children had a sort of little play-party with the peanuts, though Laddie stuffed some of his in his pocket.

"I'm going to save 'em," he said.

"What for?" asked Russ, who had his kite partly finished.

"Oh, maybe I'll see an elephant in a circus parade," the little boy answered.

"Circus parades never come up in our Back Bay section," said Aunt Jo with a smile. "So I don't believe you'll see an elephant, Laddie."

"Oh, well, then I can eat the peanuts myself," he returned. "But maybe I might see a squirrel."

"Yes, we have some of them in our parks," went on Aunt Jo. "And I have seen them so tame that they would come up and take a nut from your fingers. Some day we'll go to the park and look for the little fellows. But I'm afraid you won't have any peanuts left then, Laddie."

"Well, we can get some more," said the little boy with a laugh.

It was a little later that same afternoon, when Rose, who was out on the porch, getting her doll dressed for supper, as she said, came running in, looking very much excited.

"Well, what is it now?" asked her mother. "Has Mun Bun or any of the others, ridden off on a junk wagon?"

"Oh, no," answered the little girl. "But Laddie went off down the street with his peanuts in his pocket, and now he's come back and he has a funny riddle."

"A funny riddle!" exclaimed Mrs. Bunker. "What do you mean? Is it a riddle about the peanuts?"

"I don't know," answered Rose. "But Laddie has something hid under his coat, and he asked me to guess what it was, so it must be a riddle. And it makes a funny squeaking noise."

"My goodness!" exclaimed Mrs. Bunker. "I must see what Laddie's riddle is this time!"

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