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HOME > Short Stories > Neddie and Beckie Stubtail > STORY XXI NEDDIE AND THE TOOTING HORN
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 “Mamma, can’t Beckie come out and play?” asked Neddie, the little bear boy, as he ran home from school one afternoon. “I came home early on purpose. It was such a nice, sunny day that teacher said I might come out before the others, to amuse Beckie.” “That was very kind of you,” spoke Mrs. Stubtail, “and I think I will let Beckie out a little while. But you must look after her, and see that she does not stay late, for it gets cold after the sun goes down, and you know she is hardly over her cough yet.”
“Oh, I’ll be careful of her,” said Neddie, and he was so glad he could take out his little sick sister, that he stood up on the end of his short, stubby tail.
That is, Neddie tried to stand on the end of his tail, but the truth of the matter is, my dear little friends, that Neddie was getting to be such a fat, heavy little chap of a bear cub that his tail would not hold him any more.
168So over he fell, ker-thump-o! But he landed in a pile of leaves so he was not hurt at all.
“Don’t let Beckie try that, Neddie,” said Mrs. Stubtail, with a laugh. “She is only just out of a sick bed, you know.”
“I won’t!” laughed Neddie, as he picked himself up and brushed off the leaves. You know I told you, in the story before this one, how Beckie had to take some pink, bitter medicine for her cough that Dr. Possum gave her. Hold on, I don’t mean that Dr. Possum gave her the cough—no, he gave her the medicine to cure it. And a bad lion got in after Beckie, and he swallowed the whole bottle of medicine and that gave him such a conniption fit that he was glad to leave the little girl bear alone.
So while Neddie waited outside the bear cave, Mrs. Stubtail went inside to get Beckie ready to take a little walk in the woods.
“Oh, it is just lovely to get out again, after being in the house so long!” sighed Beckie, as she walked along with her brother Neddie, holding his paw.
Neddie was as nice as could be, and he walked slowly with his sister who had been ill, taking good care that she did not stumble over a stick or a stone.
On and on they went, and pretty soon, when 169Neddie was thinking it was about time to start for home with his sister, all of a sudden they heard a tooting horn in the woods.
“Hark! what’s that?” cried Beckie, giving a jump.
“I don’t know,” answered Neddie, and he looked all around, ready to run in case there should be danger.
“Maybe it’s a hunter and his dogs,” suggested Beckie. “Oh, Neddie, I’m so frightened!”
“Don’t be frightened, Beckie,” he said gently. “I’ll take care of you. Maybe, after all, it’s only the nice trained bear, George, and the professor man who toots on his brass horn.”
“Oh, but if it’s he maybe he’ll want to take us back to the circus barn,” went on Beckie. “I wouldn’t like that.”
“Nor I,” said Neddie. “But I don’t believe it is. Let’s take a look.”
So the two bear children looked all around, and then they heard the tooting horn again. And this time they saw who was blowing it. It was a hunter man, and he had his gun and his dog with him.
“Quick! Jump behind this big tree!” cried Neddie, and he helped Beckie to hide herself. They were only just in time, too, for just then the 170hunter looked around, and he might have seen the bear children, except for the tree.
Then the hunter blew his horn again, and, not seeing anything to shoot, he whistled to his dog, put his gun over his shoulder and slinging the horn by his side, down the hill he went, leaving Beckie and Neddie alone. And, oh, how happy they were!
“Well, I’m glad that’s over,” said Beckie, with a long breath. “We won’t come to these woods again.”
“I guess not,” said Neddie. “Let’s hurry home.”
“What kind of a horn was it that the hunter man had?” asked Beckie, as she and her brother took hold of paws again, and started for home. “It wasn’t at all like the one the professor man blew on. His was brass.”
“I know it,” answered Neddie, “and this one was made of birch bark, rolled up like a cornucopia such as come on Christmas trees. Only those are filled with candy, and this one had nothing but air in it.”
“I see,............
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