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HOME > Short Stories > Neddie and Beckie Stubtail > STORY II BECKIE AND THE BUNS
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 The next day, after Neddie and Beckie Stubtail, the little bear children, had been caught in the hollow log, and their papa had to claw them out, they didn’t go to school. It was not because they were not well enough, for, after all, being stuck inside a hollow log doesn’t hurt a bear child very much. You see they have a lot of soft, fluffy fur on them. No, that wasn’t the reason Beckie and Neddie didn’t go to school. And it wasn’t because it was Saturday, either. No, it was because there was no school on account of the teacher bear having a toothache. And when a bear has the toothache he really can’t do anything. He has to go to the dentist right away.
It was so with the teacher bear.
On the outside of the school house door the bear teacher hung a white piece of birch bark, on which was printed:
18“Oh, goodie!” cried Neddie when he read it, and he felt so happy that he tried to wag his little short tail, only he couldn’t.
“Why, Neddie, I’m s’prised at you!” exclaimed Tommie Kat, who, with his brother and sister, Joie and Kittie, had also come to school.
“Oh, I’m not glad ’cause teacher’s got the toothache,” said Neddie Stubtail quickly, “it’s just because there’s no school.”
“Oh, then so’m I glad,” said Kittie Kat, purring softly.
So all the animal children went home on account of the school being closed, and when Mrs. Stubtail saw Beckie and Neddie coming up to the cave-house, she exclaimed:
“Why, what does this mean?” The little bears told their mamma, and Aunt Piffy, who had just come up from down cellar, said:
“Well, if there is no (puff) school, I can (puff) hear your (puff) lessons!” You see she puffed because she was all out of breath.
“Oh, no, thank you,” said Neddie quickly, “we’ll have to-day’s lessons to-morrow, so we don’t have to study any now.”
Then he went out to have some fun: and one of the things he did was to watch his uncle Wigwag and Mr. Whitewash, the polar bear gentleman, building a new room onto the cave-house. 19It was a room made from a big hollow log—not the same one that Neddie and Beckie had been caught in, however, but another one. Mrs. Stubtail wanted her cave-house made larger so Uncle Wigwag suggested adding on a hollow log for a sitting-room.
So that’s what he and Mr. Whitewash were doing, and Neddie helped them by getting in their way every now and then, so they wouldn’t work too fast and get all tired out. Finally Uncle Wigwag said:
“Neddie, I wish you’d go to the store and get me some red paint to color this log green.” And, never thinking it was a joke, off Neddie ran.
Pretty soon after that his mamma wanted him to go to the store to get her a yeast cake, so she could make bread. But, as Neddie was not in sight, Beckie went.
On her way home with the yeast cake in her paws Beckie had to go past a house where some other bears lived. Now these bears were not nice and good. In fact they were bad, and because they were bad, and because the Stubtail family was a family of good bears the bad bears did not like them.
Why, would you believe it? Often those bad bears would take rabbit and squirrel and guinea 20pig children off to their dens and keep them there for ever and ever so long, just to be mean, you know. But none of the Stubtails, or Mr. Whitewash, or Uncle Wigwag, or Aunt Piffy would do anything like that. Maybe Uncle Wigwag would play a joke, or do something funny, but nothing that was real mean.
And once Mr. Whitewash met a little boy kitten in the woods—Joie Kat I think it was. And Joie was wiggling and squirming and twisting this way and that.
“What’s the matter, Joie?” asked Mr. Whitewash. “Have you the measles?”
“Oh, dear!” exclaimed Joie, “my back itches me terribly, and I can’t reach the place to scratch it. Oh, dear!”
Now, there’s nothing worse than to have an itchy place in your back and not be able to scratch it. Mr. Whitewash, the polar bear, knew that, so with his claws he gently scratched Joie’s back for him and tickled the little kitten boy very much.
But if Joie had met one of the bad bears, why, my goodness me, and some peanut butter on your cracker! The bad bear would, just as soon as not, have taken Joie off to his den and made him pull chestnuts out of the fire for the 21other bears to eat. That’s what it is to be a bad bear!
And that was the cave-house in the woods which Beckie had to go past on her way home from the store with the yeast cake. But she was not afraid, even of the bad bears.
However, one of the bad bears, looking out of a window in his cave-house, saw her coming and he said to his brothers:
“Ha! There’s that goody-goody little Stubtail girl! I’m going to get her in here and pull her hair!”
“How are you going to do it?” asked another bear.
“I’ll show you!” spoke the first one.
So he went to the cupboard and got a lot of sweet buns. Bears, you know, love buns almost more than anything else. If ever you see some tame bears in a cage or in a park give them a few buns, and see how they enjoy them. That is, if the keeper lets you, not otherwise.
So this bad bear, who wanted to pull Beckie’s hair, just because she was good, threw a bun out of his window. It fell close to the little bear girl, who looked at it in surprise.
“Ha!” she exclaimed, “that is strange! I wonder if it is raining buns from the sky?” She looked up, but she could see none falling 22from the clouds, and because the bad bear who had thrown the bun was hiding behind the window curtains Beckie could not see him, either.
“Well, I’ll eat it,” the little animal said, and she did, for it was a good bun, even if a bad bear did throw it.
“Ha!” said one of the bad bears to his brother, “I don’t see how you’re going to get her in here to pull her hair just by tossing buns at her.”
“You just watch,” said the first bad bear.
Then he threw another bun, when Beckie wasn’t looking, and this one he did not toss quite so far. It fell nearer to the cave-house of the bad bears.
“Oh joy!” cried Beckie, seeing the second bun, “someone is very good to me to-day!”
Ah! If she had only known.
“See!” exclaimed one bad bear to the other, “that’s how I’m going to get Beckie in here! Every bun she picks up will bring her closer and closer to us, and soon I can jump out and grab her!”
Oh, wasn’t he the bad old bear!
Well, Beckie ate the second bun, and then came a third one, sailing through the air.
“Why, it surely is raining buns!” cried 23Beckie in delight. “I mustn’t eat them all. I’ll save some to take home to Neddie.”
So she began to put the buns in her pocket, and she never noticed that each one she picked up brought her nearer and nearer and nearer to the cave of the bad bears.
The last bun was almost on their doorstep, and, just as Beckie reached over for it, the bad bear jumped out and grabbed her.
“Oh dear!” cried poor Beckie Stubtail.
But the bad bears did not get a chance to take her into their house. Just as they were going to do it along came Mr. Whitewash, the kind polar bear. He was looking for Neddie to tell him Uncle Wigwag was only joking about the red paint to make a log green. And then Mr. Whitewash saw the bad bear grab Beckie who had picked up the buns.
And what do you think Mr. Whitewash did?
Why, the big, brave white polar bear went right up to the bad black bear and he cuffed him on the ears with his broad paws, and pushed him back inside his own house, and then he tickled that furry creature in the ribs until the bad bear had to laugh whether he wanted to or not, and then Mr. Whitewash just grabbed Beckie up under his paw and hurried away home 24with her. And, oh, how angry the bad bears were, because they could pull no one’s hair.
“Beckie, you must be very careful about going near that bear house again,” said her mamma when she heard the story.
“I will, but, anyhow, I got the buns,” said Beckie, as she gave Neddie some.
So that’s all now, if you please, but the next story will be about Neddie and the bees’ nest—that is, if the nutmeg grater doesn’t scratch the piano and make it cry when the rubber doll tries to play a song on it.

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