Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue on Grandpa's Farm/13
THE TURKEY GOBBLER
Bunny Brown had seen some of the older boys, near his house, build a sort of wall across a brook, so that the water was held back, making a little pond. And then, when the pond was full, the water ran over the top of the mud wall, and down on the other side. That was why it was called a "waterfall."
"Now I'll put some stones down first," Bunny explained to Sue. "You get some pieces of grass, with the dirt on the roots, and put them on top of the stones. That's good to hold the water back."
"Shall I get wood, too?" asked Sue.
"No. Wood will only float away on top of the water," Bunny said. "We have to have something that will sink, like stones and dirt."
The two children were soon making the waterfall. They splashed about in the mud and water, but they did not mind. For they had taken off their shoes and stockings, though their mother had not said they could do so.
"But she wouldn't want us to go into the water with our shoes and stockings on would she, Sue?" asked Bunny.
"No, I guess not."
"So we'll have to take them off "
That was all there was to do. The children rolled up their sleeves, for they had to reach down in the mud to get the stones and clumps of grass to make the waterfall.
Pretty soon Bunny and Sue had built such a high wall of stones, mud and grass across the little brook, that no more water ran down the little stream. The water had gathered into a sort of pond, that was getting larger all the while, as it rose behind the stones.
"Oh, now it's running over!" cried Sue.
"Yes, now it's a waterfall!"
The water was trickling over the edge of the top of the wall. In a moment it ran down in quite a stream on the other side.
"If I only had a water-wheel the water would make it go around," said Bunny.
"Can't you make one?" Sue wanted to know. She was always anxious to see something new and different.
"I guess water-wheels are hard to make," Bunny said. "But I'll ask Bunker Blue when we go home."
Bunker Blue had also stayed on grandpa's farm. He helped with the work, and he said he liked it almost as much as going out in boats, or helping catch fish.
But as they did not have a water-wheel, and as Bunny could not make one there, the children had what fun they could. They floated sticks, and bits of bark from the trees, on the little pond that was made at the waterfall, and they watched the tiny "boats," sucked over the edge of the fall by the current. The fall was about a foot high, about as far as from Bunny's knee down to his toes.
"If we had a real boat we could go for a ride on the pond," said Sue, for the water back of the fall looked like a little pond now, though of course it was not large enough for any boat bigger than a make-believe one.
"Maybe I could make a boat," Bunny answered. He began looking in the woods on either side of the brook for some boards, of which to make a boat, but of course he could not find any.
"I could make a raft, like Robinson Crusoe did, if I could get some big pieces of trees," Bunny said to his sister. He tried to pull down to the water's edge some big tree branches that had been broken off in a storm, but he was not strong enough.
"Maybe we could fish in our pond," suggested Sue, when she saw that her brother could not build a raft, on which to go sailing.
"We haven't anything to fish with," replied Bunny. "And, anyhow, I guess there wouldn't be any fish. They won't come where you play in the water. They're scared to come. But, oh, Sue! I know what we can do!"
"We can go wading in the water. It's real nice and deep, now."
"Yes," said Sue, as she looked at the pond of water back of the fall. "It's deep, Bunny."
"Oh, come on!" cried Bunny. "I'll go in first, Sue, and show you how deep it is!"
Bunny rolled up his little trousers as far above his knees as they would go. Then, taking a stick, to poke in the water ahead of him, to make sure it was not too deep, he started to wade.
"Oh, Sue!" he cried, "This is fun! Come on in!"
"I'm afraid I'll get my dress wet, Bunny."
"Oh, come on!" Bunny cried. "This is fun! It's just like&mdash"
Bunny suddenly stopped speaking, and a queer look came over his face.
"Oh, Sue! Sue!" he cried. "I'm sinking down in the mud! I—I can't pull my feet loose! Oh dear! Help me out. Sue!"
But Sue was not going to step into that deep-looking water. For if Bunny was stuck fast she would be stuck, too.
"I—I'm afraid. Bunny," she called to him.
"But I have to get out, Sue! I can't get out if you don't help me!"
Bunny tried to raise fifst one leg, and then the other. Both were held fast in the sticky mud under the water. He almost fell over, he tried so hard to pull loose his feet.
"Oh, look out!" cried Sue, as she saw her brother nearly fall.
"Oh, Sue! Sue!" and Bunny was almost crying. "What am I going to do? Will I have to stay here forever?"
Sue didn't know just what to answer. But finally she said:
"Wait, Bunny. I'll get a long stick, and let you take hold of one end of it. I'll keep hold of the other end, and I'll stay here and pull you out."
"All right! But hurry up! I'm sinking down deeper all the while."
Sue looked about on the bank of the stream, until she found a long, thin branch from a tree, where it had blown to the ground. She held one end of this branch out to her brother, and he took hold of it.
"Now I'll pull you out!" cried Sue, as she held her end of the branch in both her hands.
But instead of Sue pulling Bunny, it was Bunny who pulled Sue, as he was stronger than she was.
"Oh, look out, Bunny! Look out!" cried the little girl. "I'll fall in!"
"Yes," said Bunny, as he stopped pulling on the stick Sue held, "I guess you will. But oh, Sue! You'll have to help me! I'm sinking down more and more."
And Bunny was. The water was nearly up to his trousers now. He was sinking down deeper in the mud.
"I'll go and tell papa and mamma!" Sue cried, as she threw down the tree branch, and ran through the woods. "They'll know how to get you out."
Away ran Sue, but she did not go far before she met Bunker Blue.
"Well!" he cried. "I was just wondering where you were. Your mother sent me to look for you. Where's Bunny, Sue?"
"Oh, he's sinking down in the mud!"
"Sinking down in the mud? Why, what do you mean?"
"Oh, hurry, Bunker Blue! Bunny made a waterfall, and then he went wading in it, and he can't get his feet out, and he 'most pulled me in and he's scared and so am I and—and—"
But poor Sue could say no more.
"Well, well!" cried Bunker. "I don't know what it's all about, but show me where Bunny is."
He took hold of Sue's hand, and hurried back with her, and pretty soon Bunker saw Bunny in the middle of the little pond. Bunker did not stop to take off his shoes and stockings.
Wading in, with his shoes on, Bunker reached Bunny, who was just about to cry. In his strong arms Bunker lifted Bunny up out of the mud and water and waded with him to dry land.
"There! Now you're all right," he said. "What did you do that for, Bunny?"
"Well, we—we wanted to make a waterfall, and then we couldn't go sailing on it in a boat, or on a raft, so I thought I'd go wading. I did wade, but I got stuck in the mud."
"I should say you did!" replied Bunker, looking at Bunny's bare, muddy feet and legs, and at his own dripping shoes and trousers. "You sure did get stuck in the mud! It is better to keep out of these ditches, and little brooks. The bottom is almost always soft mud, and you'll sink away down in it. Now go over there, where the bottom is sandy. You won't sink there. And you can wash the mud off your legs. I'll have to wash, too, I guess."
Bunker showed Bunny a shallow place in the brook where there was no danger of sinking in the mud, and soon the little fellow was quite clean. His trousers were wet on the bottoms, but the sun and wind would soon dry them.
Bunny and Sue were telling Bunker how they had built the waterfall, when they heard a rustling in the bushes, and a noise as if some one, or something, were coming nearer.
"I guess it's our dog, Splash," said Bunny.
"No, Splash was asleep in the barn when I came to look for you," said Bunker.
And then, through the trees, came a man.
"Hello, children!" he cried. "Oh, ho! So this is the trouble; eh?" he went on. "I wondered why no water was running down into my chicken yard, and I came to see what had stopped up my brook. It's your waterfall!"
"Ye—yes; I made it" Bunny said, wondering whether he had done something wrong.
"And he got stuck in the mud," added Sue. She always wanted to tell everything.
"Yes this mud is pretty sticky," remarked the man. "But if you are done playing waterfall I guess I'll just take it away. You see it stops the water from coming down the brook—that is, it stops nearly all of it. And I need the water."
With a long stick the man began poking away the mud and stones Bunny and Sue had piled up to make the waterfall.
"This little brook goes right through my chicken yard," the man explained, "and the chickens like to drink the water. When I saw, a while ago, that there was only a little coming down, not enough for the hens and roosters to drink, I thought something had happened. And it was you children who did it all," and the man smiled.
"Well, I know you want to have fun, but please don't stop up my brook any more; will you?" he asked.
"No, sir," answered Bunny. He had had enough of waterfalls, for a while at least. Then he and Sue went back to grandpa's.
"Oh, Bunny, Bunny!" was all his mother said when she heard what had happened. "What will you and Sue do next?"
"I don't know, Mother," Bunny answered.
Two days after that, Bunny and Sue, nicely washed and combed, with Sue wearing her new red dress, started for the next farmhouse to play with a little boy and girl who lived in it. They went across the fields. Sue stopped to pick some flowers, while Bunny went on ahead.
Pretty soon he heard his little sister calling:
"Oh, Bunny! Bunny! Come quick! He's after me!"
Bunny turned, thinking it might be a goat running after his sister, as one had done, though it did not hurt Sue.
But this time it was no goat. Bunny saw a big bird, with his wings dragging along on the ground, his feathers all puffed up, and with what looked like a red tassel hanging dangling, dangling down over his beak, strutting toward Sue.
"Oh, Bunny! Bunny! What is it?" Sue cried. "Take him away!"
"It's a big turkey gobbler!" said Bunny. "I'll drive him away for you, Sue! Don't be afraid."
"Gobble—obble—obble!" cried the turkey, but of course Bunny Brown and his sister Sue Sdid not know what the gobbler was saying.
"Oh, take him away, Bunny! Take him away!" cried the little girl, dancing up and down, her red dress fluttering in the wind.