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HOME > Short Stories > Neddie and Beckie Stubtail > STORY I NEDDIE AND BECKIE IN TROUBLE
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 So many different kinds of stories as I have told you! My goodness me, sakes alive, and some molasses popcorn! I should think you would get tired of them. But I hope you do not, and, as everyone likes something new once in a while, I thought I would make up some new stories for you. I have been telling you about rabbits and squirrels and ducks and chickens. How would you like to hear now about some little bear children? Not bad, savage bears, you know, but nice, kind, gentle, tame ones who always minded the papa and mamma bears, went to bed when they were told, and all that.
Of course, I could tell you some stories about bad, growly and scratchy bears if I wanted to, but I’d rather not, if it’s all the same to you.
10Now, then, for some bear stories.
Once upon a time, not so very many years ago, there lived in a house, called a cave, in the side of a hill, a family of bears. Their cave-house was not far from where Jackie and Peetie Bow Wow, the puppy dogs, had their kennel, and the bear cave was only a short distance away from where Joie and Tommie and Kittie Kat lived.
There were seven bears in the family, five grown-up ones and two children. There was a chap named Neddie, who was as nice a boy bear as you would want to meet. And there was a little girl bear named Beckie, and she was as cute as a soap bubble, if not cuter.
Then there were the papa and mamma bears. And their last name was Stubtail, for bears, you know, have only a little, short stubby tail—hardly a tail at all, to tell the truth. But still it is more of a tail than Buddy and Brighteyes, the guinea pig children, have.
Also living with this same Stubtail family of bears was an old gentleman bear named Uncle Wigwag, and the reason he was called that was because he was always playing tricks, or telling jokes, and when he laughed, after he had fooled anybody, he would wig and wag his head from side to side.
Also there was Aunt Piffy, who was so fat 11that she used to puff and pant as she came upstairs, and lastly there was a real old bear gentleman named Mr. Whitewash. He was called that because he was all white—he was a polar bear from the North Pole, and he always wanted to sit on a cake of ice.
So these bears lived together in the cave in the side of the hill, and they did many things, about which I shall have the pleasure of telling you. Neddie and Beckie did the most things to tell about, but, of course, sometimes the other bear folks did things also.
One day when Neddie and Beckie had come home from their school, Mrs. Stubtail, the bear lady, said to her children:
“Neddie—Beckie, I wish you would walk a little way through the woods, and meet your papa when he comes home from his work in the bed factory.” You see Mr. Stubtail worked at making mattresses for beds. With his long sharp claws he would make the inside of the mattresses all fluffy and soft so, no matter how wide awake you were, you always fell asleep when you stretched out on one of the beds the bear gentleman made.
“Why do you want us to meet papa?” asked Neddie.
“I want you to tell him to stop at the store 12on his way home and bring some honey,” said Mrs. Stubtail. “We are going to have hot cornmeal biscuits and honey for supper.”
“Oh, joy!” cried Beckie, clapping her paws together. Then she waltzed around on her hind paws and she and Neddie hurried off down the road to meet their papa.
As they were going along they heard a voice calling to them:
“Oh, ho! Children, wait a minute! Here comes your Uncle Wiggily with some ice cream cones for you!”
“Oh, let’s wait for our uncle, the rabbit gentleman,” said Neddie.
So he and Beckie waited, and they heard a rustling in the bushes and their mouths were just getting ready for the ice cream cones when out popped Uncle Wigwag, the joking old bear.
“Ha! Ha!” he cried, laughing and wigging and wagging his head. “That’s the time I fooled you!”
Neddie and Beckie were so disappointed that they did not know what to say. Uncle Wigwag was laughing at his joke, but when he saw how badly the bear children felt he said:
“Never mind. I’ll give you each a penny and you can buy yourself some ice cream cones.”
So he did, and then Beckie and Neddie were 13happy, and they went on to meet their papa, while Uncle Wigwag looked around for some one else on whom he could play a joke.
“We ought to meet papa soon now,” said Neddie, as he looked under an old stump to see if he could find any crabapples growing there.
“A little farther on and we’ll see him,” spoke Beckie.
They went on a little more, and all of a sudden Neddie saw a large hollow log lying on the ground. It was just like a stovepipe, only bigger and it had a hole all the way through it.
“Ha! I’m going to crawl through that hollow log!” cried Neddie.
“Better not,” warned Beckie. “Maybe something in it might catch you.”
“Pooh! I’m not afraid!” cried Neddie. “Anyhow, I can look all the way through. There’s not a thing in it.”
So he started to crawl through the hollow log, but my goodness me, sakes alive and some onion pancakes! Neddie had not gone very far before he found the hole in the log getting smaller.
“I don’t believe I’ll be able to crawl through to the other end,” thought the little boy bear. Then he tried to back out, but he could not—he was stuck fast inside the hollow log.
“Oh, help! Help!” cried Neddie, wiggling 14and trying to get out. But he was tightly held. He could hardly move.
“What’s the matter?” asked Beckie from where she stood outside the hollow log.
“I’m stuck! I can’t get out!” cried Neddie, and his voice sounded as if it were down cellar.
“Wait! I’ll get a long stick and poke you out, just like you poke out a bean that gets stuck in your putty-blower,” said Beckie. So she got a long stick, and poked it in through the hollow log. All at once the stick came up against something soft.
“What’s that?” asked Beckie, surprised like.
“Stop! Ouch! It’s me!” yelled Neddie. “Stop it! You’re tickling my back.”
“But I want to get you out,” said Beckie, poking in the stick again.
“You can’t do it that way,” said her brother. “I guess you’ll have to crawl in after me and pull me out.”
“All right,” said Beckie kindly, “I will.” So she climbed through the log from the same end where her brother had gone in. “I’m coming,” called Beckie. Then she grunted, all of a sudden.
“What’s the matter?” asked Neddie, anxious-like.
“I’m stuck, too,” answered Beckie. “Either 15I am too fat, or this log is too small. I can’t move either way, and I can’t help you.”
“Oh, dear!” cried Neddie. So there the two little bear children were in trouble inside the hollow log. They wiggled and squirmed and did everything they could think of to get out, but it was of no use. They were stuck fast.
I don’t know how long they might have had to stay, nor what might have happened to them, had not their papa come along just then from the bed factory. The bear gentleman heard cries coming from the hollow log, and, listening a moment, he knew they were made by his children, Beckie and Neddie.
“Ah ha!” cried Mr. Stubtail. “They are in the hollow log! I’ll soon get them out.”
Then, with his strong claws, Mr. Stubtail made a big hole in the side of the log, taking care not to scratch Beckie or Neddie. Soon the hole was large enough for the two bear children to come out about the middle of the side of the log. And, oh! how glad they were.
“I’ll never go in a hollow log again!” cried Beckie.
“Nor I,” added Neddie. Then they told their papa about their mamma wanting honey, and he took them by the paws and led them to the store where honey was sold and bought some. Next 16they all went home to supper, and Uncle Wigwag said it was a good joke on Beckie and Neddie to get stuck in the hollow log. Perhaps it was, but the bear children did not think so. But they liked the honey, anyhow.
So in the next story, if the jumping-jack doesn’t fall off his stick down into the cake dish, and get all covered with frosting so he looks like a candy doll, I’ll tell you about Beckie and the buns.

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