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HOME > Short Stories > Neddie and Beckie Stubtail > STORY XVI MR. WHITEWASH AND THE STOVE PIPE
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 “Oh, dear!” “What’s the matter?”
“Where’s all that smoke coming from?”
“Oh, ker-choo! Wuzz! Fuzz!”
Every one seemed shouting at once.
There was great excitement in the cave-house, where the Stubtail family of bears lived. Neddie and Beckie, the two little bear children, had jumped out of bed and were choking and sneezing in the hall.
“Why, the house is filled with smoke!” cried out Aunt Piffy, the fat old lady bear, and she puffed so hard because her breath nearly got away from her, that she almost slid downstairs.
“Is the house on fire?” asked Papa Stubtail, as he looked around for a pail of water.
“Maybe this is one of Uncle Wigwag’s tricks,” said Beckie, as she wiped the tears out of her eyes. She wasn’t exactly crying, you 128understand, but you know smoke always makes tears come into your eyes.
“No, no! There’s no fire!” called Mamma Stubtail, from down in the kitchen. “I was getting breakfast when the stovepipe suddenly fell down. I guess you’ll have to come and fix it, Hiram,” she called to Mr. Stubtail. His first name was Hiram, you see.
“Let me do it,” said Mr. Whitewash, the polar bear, and before any one else could hurry down to the kitchen Mr. Whitewash had slid down the stairs, and soon he had the stovepipe in place again, and the stove cooked things without smoking, and Mrs. Stubtail finished getting breakfast.
But that wasn’t all about Mr. Whitewash and the stovepipe. Just you wait until you get to the end of the story and you’ll see.
Soon breakfast was over, and Beckie and Neddie had started for school. Then Mr. Stubtail went to work, and Uncle Wigwag went over to call on Uncle Wiggily Longears, the rabbit gentleman, to talk about Christmas and Santa Claus.
That left Mr. Whitewash home with Mrs. Stubtail, who was washing the breakfast dishes.
“How did the stovepipe happen to come down?” asked Mr. Whitewash, curious-like.
“I guess it’s getting old and couldn’t stand 129up much longer,” answered the lady bear. “The first I knew it had tumbled over and the smoke poured out.”
“Yes, there was lots of smoke,” said Mr. Whitewash. “We all were frightened. I must take a look at that pipe,” which he did, putting on his glasses so he could see better.
“Ha!” he cried, after a bit. “I thought so. That stove needs a new pipe. I’ll go after it and fix it before the children come home. Then we won’t have any more trouble when you get up to get the breakfast, Mrs. Stubtail.”
“That will be very kind of you,” said the lady bear.
So off Mr. Whitewash went to get the stovepipe. And very nice he looked, too, walking along through the woods and over the fields, with his white fur all combed out like a French poodle’s when he’s had his bath. Mr. Whitewash was snow-white—and when he walked along sometimes his friends took him for a snowman, and threw snowballs at him. But Mr. Whitewash never minded that.
Well, he got to the stovepipe store all right, but the cow gentleman, who kept it, said:
“I am very sorry, Mr. Whitewash, but we are all out of stovepipe this morning. I expect some in at the end of the week.”
130“But I cannot wait that long,” said the white polar bear gentleman. “Our old pipe may fall down any day, and fill the house with smoke again. Then the fire engines will come out and squirt water in our cave, and there’ll be a terrible time. I must have some stovepipe.”
“Well, I’ll tell you what I’ll do,” said the cow gentleman. “I sold some pipe to Grandfather Goosey Gander, the duck gentleman, the other day, and after he used it awhile he said he wanted a different kind.
“So he took down that I had sold him, and got some different kind. The old pipe is out in his back yard now, and I think he would give it to you.”
“It will do no harm to ask, anyhow,” said Mr. Whitewash.
Over he went to the house of Grandfather Goosey Gander, and there, surely enough, was the pipe.
“Certainly you may have it,” said the duck gentleman. “I am glad to give it to you. But be careful, for it is full of black soot, and it may get on your white coat.”
“Oh, I can wrap it up in a paper,” said Mr. Whitewash, which ............
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