Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue at Camp Rest-a-While/Chapter 22

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CHAPTER XXII


IN THE WOODS


Bunker Blue seemed to be gone a long time. Five, ten—fifteen minutes went past and he did not come back. Bunny and Sue began to get tired.

"He must be catching a lot of fish," said Bunny, after a bit, while he dangled his own hook in the water. Bunny wasn't catching anything—he didn't have even a nibble, though he was using the right kind of hook and line, and he had a real "squiggily" worm on his hook—Bunker had put it there for him.

"Maybe Bunker caught a big fish," said Sue, "and it pulled him into the water, eh, Bunny?"

Bunny shook his head.

"No," he said. "That didn't happen."

"Maybe it might," went on Sue. "There might be big fish in this lake. Or maybe it was a muskrat, like the one Splash barked at."

Splash, asleep up in the front of the boat, hearing his name spoken, looked up and wagged his tail.

"I didn't call you," said Sue. "But, oh, Bunny! maybe Bunker did fall in!"

Bunny shook his head again.

"No, he didn't fall in," said the little fellow. "If he had we'd have heard him holler, and he hasn't hollered."

Sue thought that over. It seemed all right. She knew she would "holler," as Bunny called it, if she fell into the water, and of course if a big fish or a muskrat had pulled in Bunker, he, too, would cry out. And it had been very still and quiet since the red-haired boy had gone ashore on the island.

"I know what we can do," said Bunny, after a bit.

"What?" asked Sue.

"We can untie the boat, and row around to the other side of the island where Bunker went," suggested Bunny. "He told us not to get out of the boat until he came back, and we won't, 'cause mother told us to mind Bunker. But he didn't tell us not to row the boat around where he is."

"That's right," agreed Sue. "We can do that."

Bunny and Sue knew something about boats, and they could each row a little. So while Bunny loosed the rope by which the boat was tied, Sue took up one oar. Then Bunny took the other. He shoved the boat out a little way. It began to move, first slowly, and then faster. All at once Sue cried:

"Oh, Bunny! My umbrella!"

It was open, and a gust of wind almost blew it out of the boat. Bunny caught the umbrella just in time. To do this he had to let go of his oar, and it slid overboard, into the water. But Bunny was not thinking about the oar just then. He had a new idea.

As he held the open umbrella he felt the wind blowing strongly against it. The wind was almost strong enough to blow the umbrella out of his hands. But he held on tightly.

"Oh, Bunny, your oar is gone!" cried Sue, as she saw it float away.

"I—I can't help it," answered her brother. "I can't reach it, Sue. You get it."

"I can't. It's too far away."

  • Well, let it go!" cried Bunny. "I know something else we can do, Sue. Oh, this will be fun! It's better than fishing!"

Sue was pulling, as best she could, on her one oar. But boats are not meant to be rowed with one oar, though you can scull, or paddle, with one. If you row with one oar your boat swings around in a circle, instead of going straight ahead.

"I can't row this way, Bunny!" called Sue. She knew enough about boats for that. "You'll have to get your oar, Bunny."

"We won't need it, Sue," called her brother. "Take in your oar. We won't need that either. We're going to sail. Look! the umbrella is just like a sail."

And so it was. The wind, blowing on the open umbrella Bunny held, was sending the rowboat along just as if a sail had been hoisted. The boat was moving quite fast now. Bunny and Sue were so pleased that they did not think about the lost oar, which had fallen overboard and had floated away. As Bunny had said, they did not need oars now.

"Isn't this fun!" cried Bunny.

"Yes," said Sue. "I like it. My dolly likes it, too! Do you like it, Splash?"

Splash did not answer. He hardly ever did answer, except with a bark or a whine, when Bunny or Sue spoke to him, and the children did not understand dog language. Anyhow, Splash seemed to like the umbrella sail, for he stretched out in the bottom of the boat and went to sleep.

Bunny held the open umbrella, and Sue held her doll. Of course, the doll had nothing to do with the sailing of the boat, but Sue kept her in her arms.

"You aren't going to sail very far; are you, Bunny?" asked Sue as the boat kept on going faster and faster.

"Not very far," Bunny answered. "We'll just sail around the end of the island where Bunker went fishing."

Now this would have been all right if the children had sailed around the end of the island where Bunker Blue happened to be. But they did not. It was not their fault, either. For Bunker had gone to the other end of the island, and he was sitting on a log, waiting for a fish to bite.

You see, this is the way it was. Bunker Blue told about it afterward. He went on the island, leaving Bunny and Sue in the boat. Bunker walked to the lower end of the island. Bunny and Sue saw him going. He was going to try for fish there.

But when the red-haired boy got to that end of the island he saw that the water was so shallow that no large fish could be caught in it.

"I'll just go to the other end," thought Bunker.

So, without calling to Bunny and Sue, Bunker walked along the other shore of the island, to the upper end. And Bunny and Sue, being behind a lot of trees and bushes, did not know that Bunker was not in the place where he had said he was going.

Bunker found the water deep enough at the upper end of the island, and there he sat down to fish.

"I'll just see if they're biting good here," he said to himself, "and, if they are, I'll go back and get the children."

Bunker had to wait quite a while for his first bite, and by that time Bunny and Sue had decided to start off themselves in the boat. And so they did, with the umbrella for a sail, as I have told you.

Faster and faster they went, around the lower end of the island. They expected to see Bunker there, but they did not, because he was at the upper end.

"Why—why—Bunker isn't here," said Sue, in surprise.

"Then we'd better go back," announced Bunny, still holding to the umbrella. "Stick your oar in the water, Sue, and steer back to where we were."

You can steer a boat with one oar, if you can't row it with one, and Sue knew a little bit about steering. But the oar was too heavy for Sue's little hands, and it soon slipped over into the lake. She tried to grab it, but was too late. The second oar was lost overboard.

"Oh, dear!" Sue cried. "It's gone."

"Never mind," said Bunny. "We don't need oars with the umbrella for a sail. Only we can't sail back where we were unless the wind blows the other way. And I don't see where Bunker is."

"Maybe he's gone home and left us," said Sue.

"He couldn't—not without a boat," objected Bunny. "We'll have to sail over to camp and get daddy or Uncle Tad to row back for him."

"Yes, let's sail to our camp," agreed Sue. "Won't they be s'prised to see us come up this way with an umbrella?"

"I guess they will," said Bunny.

The wind blew stronger. It was all Bunny could do to hold to the umbrella now. The wind almost blew it from his hands. Even with Sue to help him it was hard work.

"If you could only tie it fast," suggested Sue.

"Maybe I can," said Bunny. "Here's a rope."

The rope by which the boat had been tied to a tree on the island lay in the bottom of the boat. The umbrella had a crooked handle, and the tying of one end of the rope around this, helped Bunny to hold the queer sail.

The boat now went on faster and faster.

"Why, there's our camp, away over there!" cried Sue, pointing. "Why don't you sail to it, Bunny?"

Bunny looked. Indeed, the white tents of Camp Rest-a-While were on the other side of the lake—far away. And the wind was blowing the boat farther and farther off. Bunny and Sue could not get back to camp, for now they had nothing with which to steer their boat. Of course, if the wind had been blowing toward the tents, instead of away from it, they could have gotten there without steering. But now they could not.

"Oh, dear!" cried Sue. "Where are we going, Bunny?"

"We are going to the woods, I guess," he said. They were sailing toward the wooded shores of the lake, away on the other side from their camp, and a long way down from the island where they had left Bunker Blue.

Harder blew the wind on the umbrella sail. Faster went the boat. Finally it ran up on shore, right where the woods came down to the edge of the lake.

Splash jumped out with a bark, and began stretching himself. He did not like to stay too long in a boat. He wanted to run about on shore.

"Bunny, where are we?" asked Sue.

"I don't know," answered her brother. "But we are on land somewhere, I guess. It's nice woods, anyhow."

The trees and bushes grew thick all about.

"Let's get out," Bunny went on. He shut down the umbrella sail, and took off the rope. Then he tied the boat to a tree. He got out, and helped Sue.

"Where's our camp?" the little girl wanted to know.

Bunny looked across the lake. He could not see the white tents. Neither could Sue.

"Bunny—Bunny," said the little girl slowly. "I—I guess—we're losted again."

"I—I guess so, too," agreed Bunny Brown.