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HOME > Short Stories > Neddie and Beckie Stubtail > STORY XXXI NEDDIE AND BECKIE IN THE CHIMNEY
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 “Neddie, what makes you act so queerly?” asked Beckie Stubtail, the little bear, one morning when she and her brother were on their way to school. “Queer! Do I act queer?” asked Neddie, as he turned around to see if any snowballs were growing on the end of his tail. None were, I’m glad to say.
“Queer! I really think you do act strange,” said Beckie, as politely as she could, while eating a bun Aunt Piffy had given her.
“What do I do that’s queer?” asked Neddie, curious-like.
“Why, you go around looking up in the air all the while, and listening, and then looking up again. I should think you would get a stiff neck,” said Beckie. “Why do you do it, Neddie?”
“Oh, that’s nothing,” said Neddie, sort of 247confused like. “I—er—I guess I’m looking up to see if it’s going to snow any more for Christmas.”
“Neddie Stubtail!” exclaimed Beckie, shaking her paw at him. “That isn’t it at all! You’re looking for something in the air and I know it. And, besides, you talked in your sleep last night!”
“Did I?” asked Neddie, sort of anxious-like. “What did I say, Beckie?”
“Well, I couldn’t understand it all. But it was something about a tree, and getting caught in it, and then you hollered out: ‘I won’t tell, Sandy!’ That’s what you talked.”
“Did I say Sandy?” asked Neddie.
“Well, it sounded like that,” answered Beckie. “But I won’t be sure.” Then she looked at her brother. Neddie was all sort of red back of his ears, and his little stubby tail was going wiggle-waggle-wog. Then Beckie suspected something.
“Neddie Stubtail!” she cried. “I believe you know something about Santa Claus! That’s it! It was Santa—not Sandy. Oh! Neddie, do you—really? Tell me, please! I won’t tell. Come on, do, it’s so near Christmas!”
Beckie took hold of Neddie’s paw and kissed him on the nose.
“Aw, quit!” he cried. “I’m not a girl!”
248“I know, Neddie, dear,” said Beckie softly. “But I love you!”
“Huh! Yes! I guess you want me to tell you the secret, don’t you?” he asked, and really Neddie did not speak as politely as he might have done. But he did not mean to be unkind.
“Oh, a secret!” cried Beckie, clapping her paws. “Do tell me, Neddie, dear.”
“I promised not to,” said the little boy bear, looking at his toes.
“Oh, if you will,” said Beckie, “I’ve got a honey cake, and I’ll give it to you. Do tell me!”
“Well,” said Neddie, slowly, as he ate the cake his sister gave him, “It happened last night. I promised not to tell, but then you’re my sister and it’s almost Christmas, anyhow. I guess he won’t care.”
And then, because he loved his little sister bear, Neddie told all about having helped Santa Claus, who got caught in the tree top with his airship, as I told you in the story before this one.
“Oh, how perfectly lovely!” cried Beckie, clapping her paws. “Neddie, if I had another honey cake I’d give it to you. Just to think! You really saw Santa Claus!”
“But it’s a secret!” said Neddie, quickly.
“Of course—I know,” said Beckie, sticking 249up her nose just the little tiniest bit. “I won’t tell a single soul.”
And then they were at school. They studied their lessons and then, as it was recess, all the animal children went out in the yard to play. And, of course, Beckie had to go and tell that she had a secret.
And, of course, all the girls wanted to know what the secret was. And, of course, Beckie said she couldn’t tell, but the girls, like Alice and Lulu Wibblewobble, the ducks, and Kittie Kat, and Brighteyes, the guinea pig girl, all begged and teased, and well——
“Now promise, cross your heart and twist your paws you’ll never, never tell if I tell you,” asked Beckie.
“Oh, we promise,” said all the animal girls.
Well, you can easily guess what happened. Beckie told how her brother Neddie had helped Santa Claus out of the tree in his airship. And, of course, all the girls promised not to even whisper it. And then, somehow, all the boys had heard of what happened to Neddie. And, in a short time, everybody in the school knew all about the little boy bear having seen Santa Claus.
“Well, it’s very queer!” excl............
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