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HOME > Short Stories > Neddie and Beckie Stubtail > STORY VI THE STUBTAILS RUN AWAY
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 “What are you thinking of, Neddie?” asked Beckie Stubtail, the little bear girl, one Saturday morning when there was no school and when she and her brother were out in front of the cave-house brushing up the dried leaves to make a bonfire. “Oh, I’m not thinking of much,” said Neddie, with a look through the woods to see if he could see his Uncle Wigwag trying to play any tricks on him.
“Oh, but you must be thinking of something,” insisted Beckie. “For I have had to speak to you twice before you answered, and when mamma asked if you didn’t want to scrape out the frosting dish when she was making a cake, you said: ‘I would if I didn’t have to have a ring in my nose.’ What in the world did you mean, Neddie?”
“Hush!” exclaimed the little bear boy, looking all around. “Not so loud. Some one may hear you!”
50“Well, what if they do?” asked Beckie in surprise. “I only said what you said about having a ring in your nose——”
“Hush, that’s it!” exclaimed Neddie. “You know——”
“I know you said the tame trained bear had one,” went on Beckie, “but what has that got to do with you!”
“Hush!” exclaimed Neddie, coming nearer and taking hold of Beckie’s paw, “that’s it, Beckie. How would you like to become a trained bear and do tricks, Beckie?”
“Like it? Why, I wouldn’t like it at all!” exclaimed the little bear girl. “I think it would be perfectly horrid to have a ring in your nose.”
“Well, maybe we wouldn’t have to,” went on her brother. “That’s what I’ve been thinking of.”
“Why, Neddie Stubtail!” exclaimed Beckie. “I’m going straight and tell mamma! The very idonical idea!”
“No, don’t do that!” cried Neddie, grabbing his sister by the paw before she could run into the cave-house. “Wait and I’ll tell you about it.”
“Oh, I know,” spoke Beckie, and tears came into her eyes. “You’re thinking of running away and becoming a trained bear! Oh, don’t do it!”
51“Why not?” asked Neddie. “I think it would be fun. You know the day the skillery-scalery alligator had me by the neck, the good tame bear came along and tickled the ’gator so that he had to let me go.”
“Yes,” said Beckie. “I remember that, but I don’t see why——”
“Listen!” went on Neddie, just as the nice telephone girl says it, “listen and I’ll tell you all about it.”
So Beckie listened as hard as she could.
“The trained tame bear said he could do lots of tricks,” went on Neddie, “and he did some for me. And he also said the man gave him buns and popcorn and lots of good things to eat.”
“Oh, but papa has always taught us to be afraid of real men,” said Beckie.
“Yes, maybe real men, with guns and dogs. But this man only had a stick, like mamma’s clothes pole, and a brass trumpet. And as I ran away through the woods I could hear him blowing a lovely tune on it. I’m sure he was a good man.”
“Well, maybe,” admitted Beckie. “But are you going to run away and become a tame trained bear?”
“I’m thinking of it,” answered Neddie. “And maybe you would like to come, too. Just imagine—sweet 52buns every day—and popcorn balls, no lessons—and doing tricks, and having that man play on the brass horn for you——”
Now it wasn’t right of Neddie to do this, and try to make Beckie come away with him. It was bad enough for the little boy bear to think of going off by himself. But when he wanted his sister to come, too—well, it wasn’t right; that’s all. Neddie was older than Beckie and he should have known better. But that’s the way it is sometimes, even with boys in real life. Of course I don’t mean any of you, but there are some other children I could name if I wanted to. But I’m not going to.
Well, anyhow, Neddie talked of how nice it would be for him and Beckie to run away, and become trained bears, and do tricks, and have good things to eat and finally Beckie said:
“Well, I’ll run away for a little while with you.”
“Yes, we’ll just try it. If we don’t like it we can run back again,” spoke Neddie.
“Jackie and Peetie Bow Wow, the puppy dog boys, once ran away,” said Beckie, “and they were glad enough to run home again.”
“I know, but this is different,” said Neddie; “they went to join a circus. We’ll just go with 53a kind man. There will be all the difference in the world.”
“All right, we’ll try it,” said Beckie, and she sighed a little at the idea of leaving her mamma and papa and Uncle Wigwag, and Aunt Piffy and Mr. Whitewash, the polar bear gentleman, and her nice cave-house, and all that.
“Could I take any of my dolls with me?” asked Beckie, after a bit.
“Well, maybe one,” said Neddie, “though I never heard of anybody that ran away taking a doll. But maybe one won’t do any harm.”
“Then I’m going to take Maryann Puddingstick Clothespin, my very nicest doll,” said Beckie.
“All right,” agreed her brother. “Now we must get ready. And, mind you, it’s a secret. No one must know anything about it.”
“Can’t I tell—tell mamma?” asked Beckie, tears coming in her eyes.
“No, not even mamma.”
“Then I’m not going!”
“Oh, that’s just like you girls!” cried Neddie. “We fellows get everything going nicely and you won’t play fair. You can leave a note for mamma, after we’re gone, telling that you’ve run away, if you like.”
“Then I’ll do it,” said Beckie.
54“And you must pack up what clothes you’ll need,” went on Neddie. “Put ’em in a paper bag, and I’ll do the same. Then when it gets dark we’ll go out and run away to find the man with the brass horn.”
“And when will we get some sweet buns and popcorn?” asked Beckie, anxious-like.
“Oh, as soon as we find him,” said Neddie. “Now I’m going to get ready. Mind! Not a word to anybody.”
So the two bear children prepared to run away. Of course I’m not saying they did right—I guess you wouldn’t say so yourself, but I have to tell this story exactly as it happened, or it wouldn’t be fair. Of course I might make a mistake, but I’ll do as nearly right as I know how.
Neddie and Beckie packed up a few of their clothes in paper bags they found in the kitchen. Beckie also took some things for her doll, Maryann Puddingstick Clothespin. The doll herself the little bear girl wrapped in an old salt bag that had been washed clean.
“I wonder what those two children are up to anyhow?” asked Aunt Piffy, the fat bear lady as she helped Mrs. Stubtail do the washing.
“Oh, maybe they’re planning some trick to play on Uncle Wigwag, to pay him back for all 55the joking he has done,” said Mrs. Stubtail. “I guess they’re all right.”
But if she had only known what Neddie and Beckie were going to do. Oh dear! Isn’t it too bad mothers don’t always know? They could save so much trouble!
But there! I must tell about the story.
Beckie and Neddie had their supper, and they had hidden their bags of things out under the front porch. They were not very hungry. They were too excited; and then, too, they were thinking of what the bear man might give them. Perhaps they were also a little sad about leaving their nice home. But Neddie had made up his mind to run away.
Finally the bear children went off to bed. But they did not sleep, and when the house was all dark and still they quietly got up and went out the back door. Silently they went to where they had left their bundles and got them.
“Come on!” whispered Neddie. “At last we’re running away!”
“And—and—maybe we’ll be glad to—run back again!” whispered Beckie, and her voice choked.
“Oh, don’t be a cry-baby!” said Neddie. “Come on!”
“Oh, but it’s dark!” objected Beckie.
56“The moon will soon be up,” said her brother.
On and on through the woods they went, and soon the moon did come up. Then it was lighter. On and on went the two bear children; when, all of a sudden, they heard a noise in the bushes.
“What’s that?” asked Beckie, sliding close up to her brother.
“I—I don’t know,” he whispered. And just then, through the woods, they heard a sound like this:
“Ta-ra! Ta-ra-ta! Ta-ra-ta! Ta-ra-ta! Toot! Toot!”
“Come on!” cried Neddie, joyfully. “There is the trained bear man. Now we are all right,” and holding tightly to Beckie’s paw he raced on through the woods toward the bugle sound.
And what happened next, and what Neddie and Beckie did when they found the trained bear and his master, I’ll tell you on the next page, when the story will be about Neddie and Beckie up a pole—that is I will if the letter-carrier doesn’t put a clothespin on our little doggie’s tail and mail him away off where he can’t go to the moving picture show in our cellar.

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