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HOME > Short Stories > Neddie and Beckie Stubtail > STORY XXX NEDDIE HELPS SANTA CLAUS
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 “Only three days more until Christmas! Aren’t you glad, Neddie?” asked Beckie Stubtail, the little girl bear, one morning as she jumped out of her bed in the clean straw of the cave-house where she lived, and ran to the door of her brother’s room. “Aren’t you just glad, Neddie?” “Glad? Well, I guess I am!” answered Neddie, as he tickled himself with a clothespin to make himself laugh. “I don’t even want to go to school to-day, I’m so happy.”
“Oh, but I s’pose we do have to go,” spoke Beckie. “But maybe we’ll get out early.”
Just then from the kitchen came a call:
“Hurry, Neddie—Beckie—breakfast is ready! Come and get your griddle cakes with honey on!”
Then Beckie and Neddie, the little bear children, hurried downstairs. Soon they were eating their breakfast. Their papa, Mr. Stubtail, the 240old bear gentleman, had had his breakfast some time ago and gone to work. Uncle Wigwag, the gentleman bear, who was always playing tricks and cracking jokes, as a squirrel cracks nuts, was sitting in a corner, trying to think of something new to do to make Aunt Piffy, the fat lady bear, laugh.
Mr. Whitewash, the Polar bear gentleman, was out in the yard, looking for a fresh cake of ice to sit on while he read the morning paper.
Pretty soon Neddie and Beckie started for their classes. They had on their fur coats, for it was rather cold, you see. And in a little while, when the bear children were almost at school, and had met Tommie and Joie and Kat, the kitten children, in their red mittens and rubber boots, it began to snow.
“Oh, how nice!” cried Beckie, jumping about.
“It’s just fine!” exclaimed Neddie. “I always like it to snow around Christmas, for I’m going to get a new sled.”
“And I’m going to have a pair of skates,” said Tommie Kat. “At least I asked Santa Claus for them, and I hope he brings them, and also some ice, so I can use them.”
“Mr. Whitewash will lend you his cake of ice to skate on, if the pond doesn’t freeze,” said Neddie.
241And then the school bell rang, and the animal children had to hurry on, so they would not be late.
Such fun as they had in school that day! It was so near Christmas that the professor-teacher was not very strict, and when the children missed their lessons he gave them another chance.
And the Professor let Beckie draw a picture of Santa Claus on the blackboard, with a red cap, and fur on the coat and a big pack on his back—I mean Santa Claus had all these things on, though of course the blackboard had also, after Beckie got through drawing.
Well, when school was out, Neddie and Beckie ran home with the rest of the animal children, but, all of a sudden, as the little bear boy came to the old hollow stump, where Bully, the frog, used to give jumping lessons in summer, Neddie happened to think that he had left his reading book in school.
“I’ll run back and get it,” he said. “You go on, Beckie, and I’ll soon catch up to you.”
But Neddie Stubtail didn’t come back as soon as he thought he would, for when he got to the school he found that a little mouse boy had taken the reading book down a rat hole to look at the pictures. And by the time Neddie got his book back it was quite late, and growing dark.
242“But I’m not afraid,” said Neddie as he hurried on toward home, with the book under his paw. On and on he went, through the wood. It became darker and darker. Neddie began to whistle, so he could not hear any rustling in the bushes. For when the bushes rustled he imagined it might be the skillery-scalery alligator, or maybe............
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