Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue at Camp Rest-a-While/Chapter 13

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CHAPTER XIII


A BAD STORM


Bunker Blue was sitting out in front of the big camp-tent, on a bench, one day, with a pile of long sticks in front of him. With his knife Bunker was whittling the sticks to sharp points.

Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, who had been out in the woods, gathering wild flowers for the dinner table, came up to Bunker, and Bunny asked:

"What you doing, Bunker?"

"Why, I'm sharpening these sticks, Bunny," was the answer.

"What for?" asked Sue, as she put her wax doll down in the shade, so the sun would not melt the nose.

"Oh, I know!" cried Bunny. "You're making arrows! Are you going to have a bow, and shoot the arrows like an Indian, Bunker?"

Bunker Blue shook his head and smiled.

"You'll have to guess again, Bunny," he said.

Bunny took up one of the pointed sticks.

"Are they spears?" asked the little boy, as he put his finger gently on the sharp point. "Indians use spears to catch fish. Are you going to do that, Bunker?"

Bunker shook his head.

"You haven't guessed yet," he said.

"Oh, tell us!" begged Sue. "Is it a secret?"

"Sort of," said Bunker.

"Oh, how nice!" cried Sue. "I just love to guess secrets! Let me have a turn, Bunny."

The two children sat down in the shade near the tent. Bunker kept on making sharppointed sticks with his knife. Over in the dining-tent Tom Vine was setting the dinner table. This was some days after the cross man had come to the camp and had gone away. He had not come back since.

"Well, what is your guess. Sue?" asked Bunker, as he kept on making the sharp-pointed sticks.

"Let me see," pondered the little girl. "Oh! I know what they are for. You're going to put some other pieces of wood on the end of these sticks, Bunker, and make croquet mallets of them so we can have a game!"

"Is that it?" asked Bunny. "Is it for croquet?"

"No, that isn't what they're for," answered Bunker, smiling.

"Anyhow," went on Bunny Brown, "we couldn't play croquet in the woods here, 'cause we haven't any croquet balls."

"Oh, we might use round stones, mightn't we, Bunker?" Sue asked.

"Yes, we might," replied Bunker slowly, as he laid down one sharp-pointed stick and began whittling another. "We might, but that isn't the secret."

"Now, it's my turn to guess!" said Bunny. "You had a turn, Sue."

"Well, what do you say it is?" asked Bunker. "Go on, Bunny."

Bunny thought for about half a minute.

"Are you going to make a trap to catch something?" the little boy asked. Ever since he had come to Camp Rest-a-While he had begged Bunker to make a trap to catch a fox, or a squirrel, or something like that. Bunny did not want to hurt the wild animals, but he thought he would like to catch one in a trap, and try to tame it.

"No, I'm not making a trap," answered Bunker. "I don't believe you children could guess what these sticks are for if you tried all day. And, as it isn't my secret, I don't believe I'd better tell you. You go and ask your mother—it's mostly her secret—and if she wants to tell you—why, all right."

"Oh, we'll go and ask mother!" cried Bunny. "Come on, Sue!"

The two children found Mrs. Brown in the cooking-tent, getting dinner ready.

"What's the secret?" cried Sue.

"What is Bunker making all the sharp-pointed sticks for?" Bunny wanted to know.

Their mother smiled at them. From a shelf over the oil stove she took down a large platter on which she put the eggs she was cooking.

"What is the secret. Mother?" begged Bunny. "Please tell us!"

"Yes," added Sue. "We've guessed and guessed, but we can't guess right. Bunker said you might tell us."

Mrs. Brown laughed, and, after she had put the platter of eggs on the table, she pointed to two large, round, tin boxes on a chair in the big tent.

"Can you read what it says on those boxes?" Mrs. Brown asked Bunny.

Bunny looked at the long word. "It begins with a 'M' he said, "and the next letter is 'A' and then comes——"

"Oh, I know what's next!" cried Sue. "It's a 'R.' I can tell by the funny little tail that kicks up behind. It's just like the 'B' for Brown in our name, only the R has a kick-up tail at the end. That letter is a 'R'; isn't it, Mother?"

"Yes," answered Mrs. Brown. "But what is the whole word. Bunny? If you can tell what it is you'll know the secret."

Bunny could spell out each letter one after another and he did, until he had spelled this big word:

MARSHMALLOW


But he could not say it. The word was too big for him. So his mother said it for him.

"Those are marshmallow candies in the tin boxes," said Mrs. Brown. "Now can you guess the secret?"

"Oh, I know!" cried Sue. "We're going to have a m.arshmallow roast by the campfire tonight! Is that it, Mother? And the sharp sticks Bunker is making are to put the marshmallow candies on to hold over the fire and roast! Isn't that it?"

"Yes, Sue, you have guessed it."

"Pooh! I was just going to say that," cried Bunny.

"Well, Sue said it first, dear," went on Bunny's mother. "Now get ready for dinner. After dinner we'll take a nice walk, and this evening, when it gets dark. Uncle Tad is going to build a campfire and we'll all roast marshmallows."

"Oh, what fun!" cried Sue, clapping her hands.

"Jolly, jolly fun!" laughed Bunny.

And that was why Bunker Blue was making the pointed sticks.

"Now for our walk!" called Mother Brown, when the dinner things had been cleared away, and Tom Vine had washed and dried the dishes, Bunny and Sue helping. "We'll take a walk over near the waterfall. I want to take a picture of it."

But, when they were all ready to start—Bunker Blue, Splash and all—Tom Vine could not be found.

"Why, where is he?" asked Bunny. "He was here a minute ago, for I saw him."

"Maybe he's losted," said Sue. She and Bunny got lost or "losted," as they called it. so often, that Sue thought that trouble could very easily happen to anyone.

"No, he isn't lost," said Daddy Brown. "Tom! Tom!" he called. "Where are you?"

"I'm here," was the answer, and Tom stood up. He had been sitting behind a thick bush, down near the edge of the lake.

"Oh, we were looking for you," Mr. Brown said. "Don't you want to come for a walk with us? We are going over toward the waterfall. It is very nice there."

Tom shook his head.

"I don't believe I'll go, thank you," he said.

"Why not?" asked Mrs. Brown. "Don't you feel well? Don't you like to walk in the woods, Tom?"

"Oh, yes'm, I like the woods, and I feel fine. I never had such good things to eat as I've had in this camp."

"Then why don't you want to come with us?"

"Well—er—well, because, you see that farmer I worked for lives over near the waterfall, and maybe he'll catch me if I go there."

"Oh, I won't let him catch you!" exclaimed Mr. Brown. "Come along, Tom. I'll look after you."

Then Tom came out of his hiding plpce, where he had gone after he heard Mrs. Brown say they were going to the fall. Soon the party of campers were marching through the woods, Tom holding Bunny's hand, while Bunker Blue looked after Sue.

The waterfall was very pretty, the water from a small river falling down over green, mossy rocks, into a deep glen, foaming and bubbling. Mrs. Brown took some pictures AT Camp Rest-a-While with her photograph camera, and then they sat down in a shady spot, and ate a little lunch they had brought with them. Splash, the big dog, had his share, too.

And that night was the grand marshmallow candy roast. Uncle Tad built a fire of wood in front of the big tent. When the smoke and the hottest flames had died away Bunny and Sue and the others, sitting on logs around the fire, toasted the candies, holding them over the fire on the pointed ends of the sticks Bunker Blue had made with his sharp knife.

"Oh, aren't they good!" cried Sue, as she began to eat a candy she had roasted.

"Look out! They're hot!" called Uncle Tad. But he was too late.

"Ouch!" cried Sue, as the hot candy burned her tongue, "Oh, it hurts!" she sobbed. "It hurts me!"

But Mother Brown put some cold, sweet cream on Sue's tongue, and soon the burning pain stopped.

After that Sue waited until the brown and toasted candy had cooled before she ate any.

"Oh, dear!" suddenly cried Bunny, as he was roasting a marshmallow for himself. "Oh, dear!"

"What's the matter with you?" asked his father. "Did you burn your tongue, Bunny?"

"No, but my candy slipped oE my stick, and it's all burning up in the fire."

"Never mind," said Mother Brown, "Here's another candy. Next time don't hold the marshmallow over the fire so long. That makes it soft, so it melts, and it won't stay on the stick."

After Bunny and Sue learned how to do it they had no trouble roasting the marshmallows. Everyone roasted some except Splash, and he was very glad to eat the browned and puffed-up sweets, even if he could not hold them over the fire. But Splash took good care not to burn his tongue, as Sue had burned hers.

When the candies were all roasted, and eaten, it was time to go to bed. After Bunny and Sue were tucked in their cots. Bunny heard his father and Bunker Blue going about outside the tent. They seemed to be doing something to the ropes.

"What are you doing, Daddy?" Bunny asked.

"I think there's going to be a storm," answered Mr. Brown, "and I want to be sure the tents won't blow away. I'm making the ropes tight."

Pretty soon everyone at Camp Rest-a-While was in bed. It was not long before the wind began to blow and then, all at once, there came a bright flash of lightning, and a loud clap of thunder.

"Oh, what's that?" cried Bunny, sitting up in his cot, for the noise had awakened him. "What's the matter?" he asked.

"It's a thunder storm," replied his father. "Go to sleep, for it can't hurt you."

But Bunny could not go to sleep, nor could Sue. She, too, was awakened by the bright lightning, and the loud thunder. The wind, too, blew very hard, and it shook the sleeping tent as if it would tear it loose from the ropes.

"Do you think it is safe?" asked Mother Brown.

"Oh, I think so," answered her husband. "Bunker and I put on some extra ropes before we came in. I guess the tent won't blow away."

Everyone was wide awake now. The storm was a very heavy one. The wind howled through the trees in the wood, and, now and then, a loud crash could be heard, as some tree branch broke off and fell to the ground.

Then, suddenly, it began to rain very hard. My! how the big drops did pelt down on the tent, sounding like dried corn falling on a tin pan!

"Oh, the rain is coming in on me!" cried Bunny. "I'm getting all wet, Daddy!"

Surely enough, there was a little hole in the tent, right over Bunny's cot, and the rain was coming in there.

"Swish!" went the lightning.

"Bang!" went the thunder.

"Whoo-ee!" blew the wind.

It was certainly a bad storm at Camp Rest-a-While.