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HOME > Short Stories > Neddie and Beckie Stubtail > STORY XX BECKIE AND HER COUGH MEDICINE
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 “Ker-choo! Ker-choo! Ker-choo!” sneezed little Beckie Stubtail, the bear girl, as she sat up in her bed of straw one night. “Ker-choo! A-ker-choo! Boo-hoo!” “My goodness me sakes alive and some castor oil!” cried Aunt Piffy, the nice old bear lady, waking up from a sound sleep in the next room. “What ever is the matter, Beckie?”
“Oh, dear! I don’t know!” cried Beckie, as she rubbed her eyes in the dark. “But I feel so queer! My nose is all stopped up, and I can’t breathe and my throat tickles and I’m cold——”
“Oh my goodness!” cried Aunt Piffy, jumping out of bed so quickly that she almost stepped on the pussy cat’s tail.
Mrs. Stubtail, the mamma bear, had also heard her little cub girl sneezing and coughing, and Mamma Stubtail jumped up too, and ran to Beckie’s room, turning up the night light so she could see what was the matter.
160“What is it, Beckie? What has happened?” asked mamma.
“Oh, dear! I’m so miserable,” said poor Beckie, crying.
“Oh, no wonder!” remarked Aunt Piffy. “See, she is all uncovered, and she has taken cold. We must put her feet in hot mustard water at once, and send for Dr. Possum. Oh, the dear child is going to be ill!”
“I hope not,” said Mamma Stubtail, but she was afraid just the same.
Then such a time as there was with the two lady bears bustling around to look after Beckie. And all through it Papa Stubtail never waked up, for he had worked hard that day, and was a sound sleeper. But Uncle Wigwag, the funny old bear gentleman, did awaken, and, putting on his dressing gown and slippers, he stuck his head in Beckie’s room, and asked:
“Is there anything I can do?”
“Yes,” said Aunt Piffy. “You might heat some water. We want to give Beckie a hot bath.”
“I will,” said Uncle Wigwag, and he didn’t try to play any tricks at all then, but heated the water at once. And Uncle Wigwag was very fond, too, of playing tricks and jokes, let me tell you.
161Well, soon Beckie was nice and warm, and she had soaked her paws in mustard water, and taken some sweet medicine. And all this while Neddie her little bear brother, had not awakened from his sleep.
But Mamma Stubtail and Aunt Piffy were kept very busy until nearly morning looking after Beckie. Finally she did not cough or sneeze so much, and she fell asleep. Everybody was glad.
“When it’s morning we’ll have Dr. Possum,” said Mrs. Stubtail, softly.
Well, morning came after a while, but it always seems to come very slowly when you are awake and waiting for it, especially if some one is ill. And Beckie was quite ill. She seemed to get worse all the while.
When Dr. Possum came, right after breakfast, he felt of Beckie’s paw to tell how fast her pulse was beating. Then he made her put out her tongue to see how red it was, and the animal doctor gentleman said:
“Yes, Beckie is a pretty sick little bear girl. But I think I can cure her. She needs some cough medicine.”
“Will it be bad, bitter medicine, doctor?” asked Beckie, as she sat up in bed, with a dry-leaf quilt wrapped around her.
162“Well, Beckie, I might as well tell you the truth, for you would find it out anyhow as soon as you tasted it,” said Dr. Possum. “The cough medicine is going to be very bitter and bad. I will not deceive you. But I can do one thing—I can make it a pretty color.”
“Do, please, then,” begged Beckie. “But why is it that you doctors can’t make medicine that is not bitter?”
“I’ll tell you why, Beckie,” spoke Dr. Possum. “You see the bad cold or other disease gets inside you and it likes you so well it stays there, and as long as it stays you can’t get better. So we give bitter medicines—not to you, but to the bad cold that’s inside you.
“And when the cold sees that bad, bitter medicine coming down your dear little red throat, the cold says to itself:
“‘Ha! Hum! This is no place for me! I’d better get out!’ And out the cold goes, and then you get better. That’s what bitter medicines are for.”
“I see,” said Beckie. “Well, I’ll take it.”
“And you can make as many faces as you like when you swallow it,” said Dr. Possum with a laugh. Then he mixed up some bitter cough medicine for Beckie, but he colored it pink, just 163to match the shade of the little bear girl’s hair ribbon.
“There, now,&rdquo............
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