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Title: Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue Playing Circus
Author: Hope, Laura Lee
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue Playing Circus" ***

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PLAYING CIRCUS***


BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE PLAYING CIRCUS

by

LAURA LEE HOPE

Author of
The Bunny Brown Series, The Bobbsey
Twins Series, The Outdoor Girls
Series, etc.

Illustrated by Florence England Nosworthy



[Illustration: THEN BUNNY AND SUE JUMPED THROUGH HOOPS COVERED WITH
PAPER.
_Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue Playing Circus._ Frontispiece
(P. 117).]



New York
Grosset & Dunlap
Publishers

1916


       *       *       *       *       *



BOOKS

By LAURA LEE HOPE

       *       *       *       *       *

12mo. Cloth, Illustrated. Price, per volume, 50 cents, postpaid.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE BUNNY BROWN SERIES

BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE
BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE ON GRANDPA'S FARM
BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE PLAYING CIRCUS
BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT AUNT LU'S CITY HOME
BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT CAMP REST-A-WHILE


THE BOBBSEY TWINS SERIES

For Little Men and Women


THE BOBBSEY TWINS
THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN THE COUNTRY
THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT THE SEASHORE
THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT SCHOOL
THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT SNOW LODGE
THE BOBBSEY TWINS ON A HOUSEBOAT
THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT MEADOW BROOK
THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT HOME

       *       *       *       *       *

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS SERIES

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS OF DEEPDALE
THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE
THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN A MOTOR CAR
THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN A WINTER CAMP
THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN FLORIDA
THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT OCEAN VIEW
THE OUTDOOR GIRLS ON PINE ISLAND

       *       *       *       *       *

Grosset & Dunlap
Publishers New York


       *       *       *       *       *



Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue Playing Circus



CONTENTS

CHAPTER                       PAGE
    I. BUNNY IS UPSIDE DOWN          1
   II. LET'S HAVE A CIRCUS!         10
  III. THE POOR OLD HEN             21
   IV. A STRANGE BOY                30
    V. SOMETHING QUEER              40
   VI. BEN HALL HELPS               48
  VII. BUNNY HAS A FALL             56
 VIII. THE DOLL IN THE WELL         65
   IX. THE STRIPED CALF             73
    X. THE OLD ROOSTER              82
   XI. PRACTICE FOR THE CIRCUS      93
  XII. THE LITTLE CIRCUS           102
 XIII. THE WILD ANIMALS            111
  XIV. BUNNY AND SUE GO SAILING    121
   XV. SPLASH IS LOST              131
  XVI. GETTING THE TENTS           142
 XVII. BUNNY AND THE BALLOONS      152
XVIII. THE STORM                   163
  XIX. HARD WORK                   174
   XX. THE MISSING MICE            185
  XXI. THE BIG CIRCUS              194
 XXII. BUNNY'S BRAVE ACT           206
XXIII. BEN DOES A TRICK            215
 XXIV. BEN'S SECRET                227
  XXV. BACK HOME AGAIN             238



BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE PLAYING CIRCUS



CHAPTER I

BUNNY IS UPSIDE DOWN


"Grandpa, where are you going now?" asked Bunny Brown.

"And what are you going to do?" asked Bunny Brown's sister Sue.

Grandpa Brown, who was walking down the path at the side of the
farmhouse, with a basket on his arm, stood and looked at the two
children. He smiled at them, and Bunny and Sue smiled back, for they
liked Grandpa Brown very much, and he just loved them.

"Are you going after the eggs?" asked Sue.

"That basket is too big for eggs," Bunny observed.

"It wouldn't be--not for great, great, big eggs," the little girl said.
"Would it, Grandpa?"

"No, Sue. I guess if I were going out to gather ostrich eggs I wouldn't
get many of them in this basket. But I'm not going after eggs. Not this
time, anyhow."

"Where are you going?" asked Bunny once more.

"What's a--a ockstritch?" asked Sue, for that was as near as she could
say the funny word.

"An ostrich," answered Grandpa Brown, "is a big bird, much bigger than
the biggest Thanksgiving turkey. It has long legs, and fine feathers,
and ladies wear them on their hats. I mean they wear the ostrich
feathers, not the bird's legs."

"And do ockstritches lay big eggs?" Sue wanted to know.

"They do," answered Grandpa Brown. "They lay eggs in the hot sand of the
desert, and they are big eggs. I guess I couldn't get more than six of
them in this basket."

"Oh-o-o-o!" exclaimed Bunny and Sue together, with their eyes wide open.

"What big eggs they must be!" went on Bunny.

"And is you going to get hens' eggs or ockstritches' eggs now, Grandpa?"
asked Sue.

"Neither one, little brown-eyes, I'm going out in the orchard to pick a
few peaches. Grandma wants to make a peach shortcake for supper. So I
have to get the peaches."

"Oh, may we come?" asked Sue, dropping the doll with which she had been
playing.

"I'll help you pick the peaches," offered Bunny, and he put down some
sticks, a hammer and nails. He was trying to make a house for Splash,
the big dog, but it was harder work than Bunny had thought. He was glad
to stop.

"Yes, come along, both of you," replied Grandpa Brown. "I don't believe
you can reach up to pick any peaches, but you can eat some, I guess. You
know how to eat peaches, don't you?" he asked, smiling again at Bunny
Brown and his sister Sue.

"Oh, I love peaches!" said Sue.

"And I do, too--and peach shortcake is awful good!" murmured Bunny.

"Well, come along then. It's nice and shady and cool in the peach
orchard."

Grandpa Brown put the basket over his arm, and gave Bunny one hand to
clasp, while Sue took the other. In this way they walked down the path,
through the garden, and out toward the orchard.

"Bunny! Sue! Where are you going?" called their mother to the children.
Mrs. Brown had come out on the side porch.

"With Grandpa," answered Bunny.

"I'll look after them," said Grandpa Brown.

Bunny and his sister, with their papa and mamma, were spending the
summer on the farm of Grandpa Brown away out in the country. The
children liked it on the farm very much, for they had good fun. A few
days before they had gone to the circus, and had seen so many wonderful
things that they talked about them from morning until night, and,
sometimes, even after they got to bed.

But just now, for a little while, they were not talking or thinking
about the circus, though up to the time when Grandpa Brown came around
the house with the basket on his arm, Bunny had been telling Sue about
the man who hung by his heels from a trapeze that was fast to the top
of the big tent. A trapeze, you know, is something like a swing, only it
has a stick for a seat instead of a board.

"I could hang by a trapeze if I wanted to," Bunny had said to Sue.

"Oh, Bunny Brown! You could not!" Sue had cried.

"I could if I had the trapeze," he had said.

Then along had come Grandpa Brown.

"How many peaches do you think you can eat, Bunny?" asked Grandpa, as he
led the children toward the orchard.

"Oh, maybe seven or six."

"That's too many!" laughed Grandpa Brown. "We should have to have the
doctor for you, I'm afraid. I guess if you eat two you will have enough,
especially with shortcake for supper."

"I can eat three," spoke up Sue. "I like peaches."

"But don't eat too many," said Grandpa. "Now I'll see if I can find a
little, low tree, with ripe peaches on it, so you children can pick some
off for yourselves."

They were in the orchard now. It was cool and shady there, and the
children liked it, for the sun was shining hot outside the orchard. On
one edge of the place, where grew the peach trees, ran a little brook,
and Bunny and Sue could hear it bubbling as it rippled over the green,
mossy stones. The sound of running water made the air seem cooler.

A little farther off, across the garden, were grandpa's beehives, where
the bees were making honey. Sue and her brother could hear the bees
buzzing as they flew from the hives to the flowers in the field. But the
children did not want to go very close to the hives, for they knew the
bees could sting.

"Now here's a nice tree for you to pick peaches from," said Grandpa
Brown, as he stopped under one in the orchard.

"You may pick two peaches each, and eat them," went on the childrens'
grandfather.

"And don't you want us to pick some for you, like ockstritches' eggs,
an' put them in the basket?" asked Sue.

"Well, after you eat your two, perhaps you can help me," answered
Grandpa Brown with a smile. But I think he knew that by the time Bunny
and Sue had picked their own peaches he would have his basket filled.
For, though Bunny and Sue wanted to help, their hands were small and
they could not do much. Besides, they liked to play, and you cannot play
and work at the same time. But children need to play, so that's all
right.

Leaving Bunny and Sue under the tree he had showed them, where they
might pick their own peaches, Grandpa Brown walked on a little farther,
looking for a place where he might fill his basket.

"Oh, there's a nice red peach I'm going to get!" exclaimed Sue, as she
reached up her hand toward it. But she found she was not quite tall
enough.

"I'll get it for you," offered Bunny, kindly.

He got the peach for Sue, and she began to eat it.

"Oh, Bunny!" she cried. "It's a lovely sweet one. I hope you get a nice
one."

"I will," Bunny said. Then as he looked at his sister he cried: "Oh,
Sue! The juice is running all down your chin on your dress."

"Oh-oh-o-o-o!" said Sue, as she looked at the peach juice on her dress.
"Oh-o-o-o!"

"Never mind," remarked Bunny. "We can wash it off in the brook."

"Yes," said Sue, and she went on eating her peach. "We'll wash it."

Bunny was looking up into the tree for a peach for himself. He wanted to
get the biggest and reddest one he could find.

"Oh, I see a great big one!" Bunny cried, as he walked all around the
tree.

"Where is it?" asked Sue. "I want a big one, Bunny."

"I'll get you another one. I see two," and Bunny pointed to them up in
the tree.

"You can't reach 'em," asserted Sue. "They're too high, Bunny."

"I--I can climb the tree," said the little boy. "I can climb the tree
and get them."

"You'll fall," Sue said.

"No, I won't, Sue. You just watch me."

The peach tree was a low one, with branches close to the ground. And, as
Bunny Brown said, he did know a little bit about climbing. He found a
box in the orchard, and, by standing on this he got up into the tree.

Up and up he went, higher and higher until he was almost within reach of
the two peaches he wanted. Grandpa Brown was busy picking peaches at a
tree farther off, and did not see the children.

"Look out, Sue. I'm going to drop a peach down to you," called Bunny
from up in the tree.

"I'll look out," said Sue. "I'll hold up my dress, and you can drop the
peach in that. Then it won't squash on the ground."

She stood under the tree, looking up toward her brother. Bunny reached
for one of the two big, red peaches, but he did not pick it. Something
else happened.

A branch on which the little boy was standing suddenly broke, and down
he fell. He turned over, almost like a clown doing a somersault in the
circus, and the next moment Bunny's two feet caught between two other
branches, and there he hung, upside down, his head pointing to the
ground.



CHAPTER II

LET'S HAVE A CIRCUS!


"Bunny! Bunny! What are you doing?" cried Sue, as she saw her brother
hanging, head down, in such a funny way from the peach tree branches.
"Don't do that, Bunny! You'll get hurt!"

"I--I didn't mean to do it!" cried Bunny, and his voice sounded very
strange, coming from his mouth upside down as it was. Sue did not know
whether to laugh or cry.

"Oh, Bunny! Bunny, is you playing circus?" she asked.

"No--no! I'm not playing circus!" and Bunny wiggled, and wiggled again,
trying to get his feet loose. Both of them were caught between two
branches of the peach tree where the limbs grew close together.

And it is a good thing that Bunny could not get his feet loose just
then, or he would have wiggled himself to the ground, and he might have
been badly hurt, for he would have fallen on his head.

"Oh, Bunny! Bunny! You _is_ playing circus!" cried Sue again. She had
finished her first peach, and now, dropping the stone, from which she
had been sucking the last, sweet bits of pulp, she stood looking at her
brother, dangling from the tree.

"No, I'm not playing circus!" and Bunny's voice sounded now as though he
was just ready to cry. "Run and tell grandpa to help me down, Sue!" he
begged. "I--I'm choking--I can't hardly breathe, Sue! Run for grandpa!"

Bunny was almost choking, and his face, tanned as it was from the sun
and wind, was red now--almost as red as the boiled lobster, the hollow
claw of which Bunny once put over his nose to make himself look like Mr.
Punch, of the Punch and Judy show. For when boys, or girls either, hang
by their feet, with their heads upside down, all the blood seems to run
there if they hang too long. And that was what was happening to Bunny
Brown.

"Are you _sure_ you isn't playin' circus?" asked Sue.

"No--I--I'm not playing," answered Bunny. "Hurry for grandpa! Oh, how my
head hurts!"

"You look just like the circus man," said Sue. For one of the men in the
circus Bunny and Sue had seen a few days before had hung by his toes
from a trapeze, upside down, just as Bunny was hanging, with his head
pointing toward the ground, and his feet near the top of the tent.

But of course the circus man was used to it, and it did not hurt his
head as it did Bunny's.

"Hurry, Sue!" begged the little boy.

"All right. I'll get grandpa," Sue cried, as she ran off toward the tree
where Grandpa Brown was picking peaches.

"Oh, Grandpa!" cried the little girl. "Come--come hurry up.
Bunny--Bunny--he----"

Sue was so out of breath, from having run so fast, and from trying to
talk so fast, that she could hardly speak. But Grandpa Brown knew
something was the matter.

"What is it, Sue?" he asked. "What has happened to Bunny? Did a bee
sting him?"

"No, Grandpa. But he--he's like the circus man, only he says he isn't
playin' he is a circus. He's upside down in the tree, and he's a
wigglin' an' a wogglin' an' he can't get down, an' his face is all red
an' he wants you, an'--an'----"

"My goodness me!" exclaimed Grandpa Brown, setting on the ground his
basket, now half full of peaches. "What is that boy up to now?"

For Bunny Brown, and often his sister Sue, did get into all sorts of
mischief, though they did not always mean to do so. "What has Bunny done
now, I wonder?" asked grandpa.

"He--he couldn't help it," said Sue. "He slipped when he went up the
tree, and now he's swinging by his legs just like the man in the circus,
only Bunny says he isn't."

"He isn't what?" asked Grandpa Brown, as he hurried along, taking hold
of Sue's hand. "What isn't he, Sue? I never did see such children!" and
Grandpa Brown shook his head.

"Bunny says he isn't the man in the circus," explained Sue.

"No, I shouldn't think he would be a man in the circus," said grandpa.

"He _looks_ just like a circus man, though," insisted Sue. "But he says
he isn't playin' that game."

Sue shook her head. She did not know what it all meant, nor why Bunny
was hanging in such a queer way. But Grandpa Brown would make it all
right. Sue was sure of that.

"There he is! There's Bunny upside down!" cried Sue, pointing to the
tree in which Bunny was hanging by his feet.

"Oh, my!" cried Grandpa Brown. Then he ran forward, took Bunny in his
arms, and raised him up. This lifted Bunny's feet free from the tree
branches, between which they were caught, and then Grandpa Brown turned
the little boy right side up, and set him down on his feet.

"There you are, Bunny!" cried grandpa. "But how did it happen? Were you
trying to be a circus, all by yourself?"

"N--n--no," stammered Bunny, for he could hardly get his breath yet.
"I--I slipped down when I was reaching for a big, red peach for Sue. But
I didn't slip all the way, for my feets caught in the tree."

"Well, it's a good thing they did, or you might have been hurt worse
than you were," said Grandpa Brown. "But I guess you're not hurt much
now; are you?"

Bunny looked down at his feet. Then he felt of his own arms and legs. He
took a long breath. His face was not so red now.

"I--I guess I'm all right," he answered, at last.

"Well, don't climb any more trees," said Grandpa Brown. "You are too
little."

Bunny thought he was quite a big boy, but of course grandpa knew what
was right.

"I--I won't climb any more _peach_ trees," said Bunny Brown.

"No, nor any other kind!" exclaimed his grandfather. "Just keep out of
trees. Little boys and girls are safest on the ground. But now you had
better come over where I can keep my eyes on you. I have my basket
nearly filled. We'll very soon go back to the house."

Bunny Brown was all right now. So he and Sue went over to the tree where
grandpa was picking. They helped to fill the basket, for some of the
peaches grew on branches so close to the ground that the children could
reach up and pick them without any trouble.

Bunny Brown and his sister Sue had been on grandpa's farm since early
summer. Those of you who have read the first book in this series do not
need to be told who the children are. But there are some who may want to
hear a little about them.

In the first book, named "Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue," I told you
how the children, with their father and mother, lived in the town of
Bellemere, on Sandport bay, near the ocean. Mr. Brown was in the boat
business, and many fishermen hired boats from him.

Aunt Lu came from New York to visit Mrs. Brown, the mother of Bunny and
Sue, and while on her visit Aunt Lu lost her diamond ring. Bunny found
it in an awfully funny way, when he was playing he was Mr. Punch, in the
Punch and Judy show.

In the second book, "Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue on Grandpa's Farm,"
I told you how the Brown family went to the country in a big automobile,
in which they lived just as Gypsies do. They even slept in the big
automobile van.

And when Bunny and Sue reached grandpa's farm, after a two days' trip,
what fun they had! You may read all about it in the book. And Bunny and
Sue did more than just have fun.

The children helped find grandpa's horses, that had been taken away by
the Gypsies. The horses were found at the circus, where Bunny and Sue
went to see the elephants, tigers, lions, camels and ponies. They also
saw the men swinging on the trapeze, high up in the big tent.

Bunny Brown and his sister Sue always wanted to be doing something. If
it was not one thing it was another. They often got lost, though they
did not mean to. Sometimes their dog Splash would find them.

Splash was a fine dog. He pulled Sue out of the water once, and she
called him Splash because he "splashed" in so bravely to get her.

In Bellemere, where Bunny and Sue lived, they had many friends. Every
one in town loved the children. Even Wango, the queer monkey pet of Mr.
Winkler, the old sailor, liked Bunny and Sue.

But they had not seen Wango for some time now; not since coming to the
farm in the country. They had seen a trained bear, which a man led
around by a string. The bear climbed a telegraph pole, and did other
tricks. Bunny and Sue thought he was very funny. But they did not like
him as much as they did the cunning little monkey at home in Bellemere.

Carrying the basket of peaches on his arm, and leading the children,
Grandpa Brown walked back to the house. Mrs. Brown, the mother of Bunny
and Sue, watched them come up the walk.

"Oh, Sue!" cried her mother. "Look at your dress! What did you spill on
it?"

"I--I guess it's peach juice, Mother. It dripped all over. But Bunny
hung upside down in the tree, just like the man in the circus, only he
wasn't."

I guess Sue was glad to talk about something else beside the peach juice
stains on her dress.

"What--what happened?" asked Mother Brown, looking at grandpa. "Did
Bunny----?"

"That's right," he said, laughing. "Bunny was hanging, upside down, in a
tree. But he wasn't hurt, and I soon lifted him down."

"Oh, what will those children do next?" asked their mother.

"I--I didn't mean to do it," said Bunny. "It--it just--happened. I--I
couldn't help it."

"No, I suppose not," said his mother. "But you must go and wash now.
Sue, I'll put a clean dress on you, and then I'll see if I can get the
peach stains off this one. You ought to have on an old apron."

A little later, Bunny and Sue, now nice and clean, were sitting on the
side porch. It was almost time for supper.

"Bunny," asked Sue, "did it hurt when you were playin' you were a circus
man only you weren't?"

"No, it didn't exactly _hurt_," he said slowly. "But it felt funny. Did
I really look like a circus man, Sue?"

"Yep. Just like one. Only, of course, you didn't have any nice pink suit
on, with spangles and silver and gold."

"Oh, no, of course not," agreed Bunny. "But did I swing by my feet?"

"Yes, Bunny, you did."

For a moment the little chap said nothing. Then he cried out:

"Oh, Sue! I know what let's do!"

"What?"

"Let's have a circus! It will be lots of fun! We'll get up a circus all
by ourselves! Will you help me make a circus?"



CHAPTER III

THE POOR OLD HEN


Sue looked at Bunny with widely-opened eyes. Then she clapped her hands.
Sue always did that when she felt happy, and she felt that way now.

"Oh, Bunny!" she cried. "A circus? A real circus?"

"Well, of course not a _real_, big one, with lions and tigers and all
that," said the little boy. "We couldn't get elephants and camels and
bears. But maybe grandpa would let us take his two horses, that he got
back from the Gypsies. They have lots of horses in the circus."

"I'd be afraid to ride on a horse," objected Sue, shaking her head.

"You wouldn't if Bunker Blue held you on; would you?"

"No, maybe not then."

"Well, we'll get Bunker Blue to hold us on the horse's back," said
Bunny.

Bunker Blue was a big, red-haired boy--almost a man--and he worked for
Mr. Brown. Bunker was very fond of Bunny and Sue. Bunker had steered the
big automobile in which the Brown family came to grandpa's farm, and he
was still staying in the country.

"Do you think we could really get up a circus?" asked Sue, after
thinking about what Bunny had said.

"Of course we can," answered the little boy. "Didn't we get up a Punch
and Judy show, when I found Aunt Lu's diamond ring?"

"Yes, but that wasn't as big as a circus."

"Well, we need only have a little circus show, Sue."

"Where could we have it, Bunny?"

The little boy thought for a moment.

"In grandpa's barn," he answered. "There's lots of room. It would be
just fine."

"Would you and me be all the circus, Bunny?"

"Oh, no. We'd get some of the other boys and girls. We could get Tom
White, Nellie Bruce, Jimmie Kenny, Sallie Smith and Ned Johnson. They'd
be glad to play circus."

"Yes, I guess they would," said Sue. "It will be lots of fun. But what
can we do, Bunny? You haven't any lobster claw to play Mr. Punch now,
'cause it's broke."

"No, we don't want to give a Punch and Judy show, Sue. We want to make
this just like a circus, with trapezes and wild animals and----"

"But you said we couldn't have any lions or tigers, Bunny. 'Sides, I'd
be afraid of them," and Sue looked over her shoulder as if, even then,
an elephant might be reaching out his trunk toward her for some peanuts.

"Oh, of course we couldn't have any real wild animals," said Bunny.

"What kind, then?" Sue wanted to know.

"Make believe kind. I could put some stripes on Splash, and make believe
our dog was a tiger, Sue."

"How could you put stripes on him, Bunny?"

"With paint."

"No!" cried Sue, shaking her head. "Splash is half my dog, and I don't
want him all painted up. You sha'n't do it, Bunny Brown!"

"All right, then. I'll only paint _my_ half of Splash," said the little
boy. "_My_ half can be a striped tiger, and _your_ half can be just a
plain dog."

"That would be a funny wild animal," Sue said. "A half tiger and half
dog."

"Lots of folks would like to see an animal like that," Bunny said. "I'll
just stripe my half of Splash, and leave your half plain, Sue."

"All right. But is you only going to have one wild make-believe animal,
Bunny?"

"No, Ned Johnson has a dog. We can make a lion out of him."

"But Ned's dog hasn't any tail," said Sue. "I mean he has only a little
baby tail, like a rabbit. Lions always have tails with tassels on the
end."

"Well," said Bunny, slowly. "We could make believe this lion had his
tail bit off by an elephant."

"Oh, yes," said Sue.

"Or else maybe I could tie a cloth tail on Ned's dog," went on Bunny.

"And lions have manes, too. That's a lot of hair on their neck, like a
horse," went on Sue.

"Well, we could take some carpenter shavings and tie them on Ned's dog's
neck," said Bunny. "We could make believe that was the lion's mane."

"Yes," agreed Sue, "we could do that. Oh, I think a circus is nice,
Bunny. But what else can we have besides the wild animals?"

"Oh, I can make a trapeze from the clothes-line and a broom handle. I
could hang by my feet from the trapeze."

"Oh, Bunny! Wouldn't you be afraid?"

"Pooh! No! Didn't I hang in the tree? And I was only a little scared
then. I'll get on the trapeze all right."

"And what can I do, Bunny?"

"Oh, you can ride a horse when Bunker Blue holds you on. We'll get
mother to make you a blue dress out of mosquito netting, and you can
have a ribbon in your hair, like a real circus lady."

"Oh, Bunny, do you s'pose mother will let us have the circus?"

"I guess so. We'll tell her about it, anyhow. But we'll have to get some
other boys and girls to help us. And we'll have to make a cage to keep
Splash in. He's going to be the wild tiger, you know."

"Oh, but I don't want Splash shut up in a cage!" cried Sue. "I sha'n't
let you put my half of him in a cage! And I do own half of him, right
down the middle; half his tail is mine, too. You can't put my half of
him in any old cage!"

Bunny did not know what to say. It was easy enough to put make-believe
tiger stripes on one side, or on half a dog, but it was very hard to put
half a dog in a cage, and leave the other half outside. Bunny did not
see how it could be done.

"Oh, it won't hurt Splash," said the little boy. "Come on, Sue. Please
let me put your half with my half of Splash in a cage."

"No, sir! Bunny Brown! I won't do it! You can't put my half of Splash in
a cage. He won't like it."

"But, Sue, it's only a make-believe cage, just as he's a make-believe
tiger."

"Oh, well, if it's only a make-believe cage, then, I don't care. But you
mustn't hurt him, and you can't put any paint stripes on my half."

"No, I won't, Sue. Now let's go out to the barn and look to see where we
can put up the trapezes and rings and things like that, and where I can
hang by my feet and by my hands."

"Oh, Bunny! Are you going to do that?"

"Sure!" cried the little boy, as though it was as easy as eating a piece
of strawberry shortcake. "You just watch me, Sue."

"Well, I don't want to do that," said Sue. "I'm just going to be a
pretty lady and ride a white horse."

"But grandpa hasn't any white horses, Sue. They're brown."

"Well, I can sprinkle some talcum powder on a brown horse and make him
white," said the little girl. "Can't I?"

"Oh, yes!" cried Bunny. "That will be fine! But it will take an awful
lot of talcum powder to make a big horse all white, Sue."

"Well, I'll just make him spotted white then. I've got some talcum
powder of my own, and it smells awful good. I guess a horse would like
it; don't you, Bunny?"

"I guess so, Sue. But come out to the barn."

Grandpa Brown had two barns on his farm. One was where the horses and
cows were kept, and the other held wagons, carriages and machinery. It
was in the horse-barn where the children went--the barn where there were
big piles of sweet-smelling hay.

"I can fall on the hay, 'stead of falling in a net, like the circus men
do," said Bunny.

"Anyhow, we haven't any circus net," suggested Sue.

"No," agreed Bunny. "But the hay is just as bouncy. I'm going to jump in
it!"

He climbed up on the edge of the hay-mow, or place where the hay is
kept, and jumped into the dried grass. For hay is just dried grass, you
know.

Down into the hay bounced Bunny, and Sue bounced after him. The children
jumped up and down in the hay, laughing and shouting. Then they played
around the barn, trying to pretend that they were already having the
circus in it.

"Oh, it will be such fun!" cried Sue.

"Jolly!" cried Bunny.

"Let's go and ask mother now," said Sue.

The children started for the house. On the way they had to pass a little
pond of water. On the edge of it stood a hen, clucking and making a
great fuss. She would run toward the water and then come back again,
without getting her feet wet.

"Oh, the poor old hen!" cried Sue. "What's the matter? Oh, see, Bunny!
All her little chickens are in the water. Oh, Bunny! We must get them
out for her. Oh, you poor old hen!"



CHAPTER IV

A STRANGE BOY


Bunny Brown and his sister Sue stood on the shore of the little pond,
looking at the old hen, who was fluttering up and down, very much
excited, clucking and calling as loudly as she could.

And, paddling up and down in the water in front of her, where the hen
dared not go, for chickens don't like to get wet you know, paddling up
and down in front of the hen were some soft, fluffy little balls of
downy feathers.

"Oh, her chickens will all be drowned!" cried Sue. "We must get them
out, Bunny. Take off your shoes and stockings and wade in. I'll help you
save the little chickens for the poor old hen."

Sue sat down on the ground, and began to take off her shoes.

Bunny began to laugh.

"Why, what--what's the matter?" asked Sue, and she seemed rather
surprised at Bunny's laughter. "Don't you want to save the little chicks
for the hen?" Sue went on. "Maybe somebody threw them in the water, or
maybe they fell in."

"Those aren't little chickens, Sue!" exclaimed Bunny, still laughing.

"Not chickens? They aren't? Then what are they?"

"Little ducks! That's the reason they went into the water. They know how
to swim when they're just hatched out of the eggs. They won't get
drowned."

Sue did not know what to say. She had never before seen any baby ducks,
and, at first, they did look like newly hatched chickens. But as she
watched them she saw they were swimming about, and, as one little baby
duck waddled out on the shore, Sue could see the webbed feet, which were
not at all like the claws of a chicken.

"But Bunny--Bunny--if they're little ducks and it doesn't hurt them to
go in the water, what makes the old hen so afraid?" Sue asked.

"I--I guess she thinks they are chickens. She doesn't know they are
ducks and can swim," said Bunny. "I guess that's it, Sue."

"Ha! Ha! Yes, that's it!" a voice exclaimed behind Bunny and Sue. They
looked around to see their Grandpa Brown looking at them and laughing.

"The old hen doesn't know what to make of her little family going in
swimming," he went on. "You see, we put ducks' eggs under a hen to
hatch, Bunny and Sue. A hen can hatch any kind of eggs."

"Can a hen hatch ockstritches' eggs?" Sue wanted to know.

"Well, maybe not the eggs of an ostrich," answered Grandpa Brown. "I
guess a hen could only cover one of those at a time. But a hen can hatch
ducks' or turkeys' eggs as well as her own kind."

"So as we don't always have a duck that wants to hatch out little ones,
we put the ducks' eggs under a hen. And every time, as soon as the
little ducks find water, after they are hatched, they go in for a swim,
just as if they had a duck for a mother instead of a hen.

"And, of course, the mother hen thinks she has little chickens, for at
first she can't tell the little ducks from chickens. And when they go
into the water she thinks, just as you did, Sue, that they will be
drowned. So she makes a great fuss. But she soon gets over it."

"I guess she's over it now," said Bunny.

Indeed, the old mother hen was not clucking so loudly now, nor was she
rushing up and down on the shore of the pond with her wings all fluffed
up. She seemed to know that the little family she had hatched out, even
if they were not like any others she had taken care of, were all right,
and very nice. And she seemed to think that for them to go in the water
was all right, too.

As for the little ducklings, they paddled about, and quacked and
whistled (as baby ducks always do) and had a perfectly lovely time. The
old mother hen stood on the bank and watched them.

Pretty soon the ducks had had enough of swimming, and they came out on
dry land, waddling from side to side in the funny way ducks do when they
walk.

"Oh! How glad the old hen is to see them safe on shore again!" cried
Sue.

And, indeed, the mother hen did seem glad to have her family with her
once more. She clucked over them, and tried to hover them under her warm
wings, thinking, maybe, that she would dry them after their bath.

But ducks' feathers do not get wet in the water the way the feathers of
chickens do, for ducks feathers have a sort of oil in them. So the
little ducks did not need to get dry. They ran about in the sun,
quacking in their baby voices, and the mother hen followed them about,
clucking and scratching in the gravel to dig up things for them to eat.

"They'll be all right now," said Grandpa Brown. "The next time the
little ducks go into the water the old hen mother won't be at all
frightened, for she will know it is all right. This always happens when
we let a chicken hatch out ducks' eggs."

"And I thought the little chickens were drowning!" laughed Sue, as she
put on her shoes again.

"Well, that's just what the mother hen thought," said Grandpa Brown.
"But what have you children been doing?"

"Getting ready for a circus," answered Bunny Brown.

"A circus!" exclaimed grandpa, in surprise.

"Yes," explained Sue. "Bunny is going to get a trapeze, and fall down in
the hay, where it doesn't hurt. And he's going to paint his half of our
dog Splash, so Splash will look like a tiger, and we're going to have a
horse, and Bunker Blue is going to hold me on so I can ride
and--and----"

But that was all Sue could think of just then.

Grandpa Brown looked surprised and, taking off his straw hat, scratched
his head, as he always did when thinking.

"Going to have a circus; eh? Well, where abouts?"

"In your barn," said Bunny. "That is, if you'll let us."

Grandpa Brown thought for a little while.

"Well," he said slowly, "I guess I don't mind. I s'pose it's only a
make-believe circus; isn't it?"

"Yes," answered Bunny. "Just pretend."

"Oh, well, go ahead. Have all the fun you like, but don't get hurt. Are
you two going to be the whole circus?"

"Oh, no!" exclaimed Bunny. "We're going to have Tom White and Ned
Johnson----"

"And Nellie Bruce and Sallie Smith," added Sue.

"All the children around here; eh?" asked grandpa. "Well, have a good
time. I used to have a trained dog once. He would do finely for your
circus."

"What could he do?" Bunny wanted to know.

"Oh, he could pretend to say his prayers, make believe he was dead, he
could turn somersaults and climb a ladder."

"Oh, if we only had him for our circus!" cried Bunny.

"Where is that dog now, Grandpa?" asked Sue.

"Oh, he died a good many years ago. But I guess you can get your dog
Splash to do some tricks. Have a good time, but don't get into
mischief."

"We won't!" promised Bunny Brown and his sister Sue. And they really
meant what they said. But you just wait and see what happens.

The rest of that day Bunny and Sue talked about the circus they were
going to have. Grandma Brown, as well as father and Mother Brown, said
she did not mind if a circus was held in the barn, but she wanted Bunny
to be careful about going on the trapeze.

"Oh, if I fall I'll fall in the hay," said the little fellow with a
laugh.

"And what are you going to use to put stripes on your half of Splash?"
asked his mother.

"Paint, I guess," said Bunny.

"Oh, no. Paint would spoil Splash's nice, fluffy hair. I'll mix you up
some starch and water, with a little bluing in, that will easily wash
off," promised Mother Brown.

"Blue stripes!" cried Bunny. "A tiger doesn't have blue stripes, and my
half of Splash is going to be a tiger."

"You can pretend he is a new sort of tiger," said Grandma Brown, and
Bunny was satisfied with that.

That afternoon Bunny and Sue went to the homes of the neighboring
children to tell them about the circus. Nearly all the children said
they would come, and take part in the show in the barn.

"Oh, we'll have a fine circus!" cried Bunny Brown that night when they
were all sitting on the porch to cool off, for it was quite hot.

"Yes, I guess we'll all have to come and see you act," said Daddy Brown.

"Hark! What's that?" suddenly asked Grandma Brown. They all listened,
and heard some one knocking at the back door.

"I'll go and look," said grandpa. "Maybe it's a tramp. There have been
some around lately."

Bunny and Sue thought of the tramps who had taken the big
cocoanut-custard cake, about which I told you in the book before this
one. Perhaps those tramps had gotten out of jail and had come to get
more cake. Bunny and Sue sat close to mother and father while grandpa
went around the corner of the house to see who was knocking at the back
door.

They all heard grandpa speaking to some one. And the answers came in a
boy's voice.

"What do you want?" asked grandpa.

"If--if you please," said the strange boy's voice, "I--I'm very hungry.
I haven't had any dinner or supper. I'm willing to do any work you want,
for something to eat. I--I----"

And then it sounded as though the strange boy were crying.

"That isn't a tramp!" exclaimed Grandma Brown, getting up. "It's just a
hungry boy. I'm going to feed him."

They all followed Grandma Brown around to the back stoop. There was a
light in the kitchen, and by it Bunny and Sue could see a boy, not quite
as big as Bunker Blue, standing beside grandpa. The boy had on clothes
that were dusty, and somewhat torn. But the boy's face and hands were
clean, and he had bright eyes that, just now, seemed filled with tears.

"What is it?" asked Grandma Brown.

"It's a hungry boy, Mother. A strange, hungry boy!" said grandpa. "I
guess we'll have to feed him, and then we'll have him tell us his
story."



CHAPTER V

SOMETHING QUEER


"Come right in and sit down!" was Grandma Brown's invitation. And she
said it in such a kind, pleasant voice that the strange boy looked
around as though she were speaking to some one who had come up behind
him, that he could not see.

"Come right in, and get something to eat," went on the children's
grandmother.

"Do you--do you mean _me_?" asked the strange boy.

"Why, yes. Who else do you s'pose she meant?" asked Grandpa Brown.

"I--I didn't know, sir. You see I--I'm not used to being invited into
places that way. I thought maybe you didn't mean it."

"Mean it? Of course I mean it!" said Grandma Brown.

"You're hungry; aren't you?" asked Grandpa Brown.

"Hungry. Oh, sir--I--I haven't had anything since breakfast, and then it
was only a green apple and some berries I picked."

"Land sakes!" cried Grandma Brown. "Why didn't you go up to the first
house you came to and ask for a meal?"

"I--I didn't like to, ma'am. I thought maybe they'd set the dog on me,
thinking I was a tramp."

By this time Splash, the big pet dog, had come around the path. The
strange boy looked around as though getting ready to run.

"He won't hurt you," said Bunny quickly. "Splash is a good dog."

Splash went up to the strange boy, rubbed his cold, wet nose on the
boy's legs, and then Splash began to wag his tail.

"See, he likes you," said Sue. "He's going to be in our show; Splash is.
He's going to be half a blue-striped tiger when we have our circus."

"Circus!" cried the strange boy. "Is--is there a circus around here?"
and he seemed much surprised, even frightened, Bunny thought afterward.

"No, there isn't any circus," said Grandpa Brown. "It's only a
make-believe one the children are getting up. But we musn't keep you
standing here talking when you're half starved. Get him something to
eat, Mother. The idea of being afraid to go to a house and ask for
something!" said Grandpa Brown, in a low voice.

"That shows he isn't a regular tramp; doesn't it?" asked Mother Brown.

"I should say so--yes," answered grandpa. "But there is something queer
about that boy."

By this time Grandmother Brown had gone into the kitchen. She told the
strange boy to follow her, and soon she had set out in front of him some
bread and butter, a plate of cold meat and a big bowl of cool, rich,
creamy milk.

"Now you just eat all you want," said Grandma Brown, kindly.

Bunny and Sue had come out into the kitchen, and they now stood staring
at the strange boy. He had a pleasant face, though, just now, it looked
pale, and all pinched up from hunger, like a rubber ball that hasn't any
air in it.

The boy looked around the kitchen, as though he did not know just what
to do. In his hand he held a ragged cap he had taken off his head when
he came in.

"Did you want something?" asked Grandma Brown.

"I--I was looking for a place to hang my hat. And then I'd like to wash.
I'm all dust and dirt."

Grandma Brown smiled. She was pleased--Bunny and Sue could see that--for
Grandma Brown liked clean and neat boys and girls who hung up their hats
and bonnets, and washed their faces and hands, without being told to do
so.

"Hang your cap over on that nail," said Grandpa Brown, pointing to one
behind the stove. "And you can wash at the sink to-night. Now you two
tots had better go to bed!" grandpa went on, as he saw Bunny and Sue
standing with their backs against the wall, watching the strange boy.

"We--we want to stay and see him eat," objected Sue.

The boy smiled, and Mrs. Brown laughed.

"This isn't a circus, where you watch the animals eat," she said. "You
come along with me, and, when this young man has finished his supper,
you can see him again."

"Oh, but--if you please--you're very good. But after I eat this nice
meal I'll--I'll be going on," said the boy.

"No you'll not!" said Grandpa Brown. "You'll just stay here all night.
We can put you up. I think it's going to storm. You don't want to be out
in the rain?"

"Oh, that's very good of you," the boy said, "But I don't want to be a
trouble to you."

"It won't be any trouble," Grandpa Brown said. Then he went out of the
kitchen with Mother Brown, Bunny and Sue, leaving Grandma Brown to wait
on the strange boy. Splash stayed in the kitchen too. Perhaps the big
dog was hungry himself.

"That boy isn't a regular tramp," said Grandpa Brown. "But there is
something queer about him. He seems afraid. I must have a talk with him
after he eats."

"He seems nice and neat," said Mother Brown.

"Yes, he's clean. I like him for that. Well, we'll soon find out what he
has to tell me."

But the boy did not seem to want to talk much about himself, when
Grandpa Brown began asking questions, after the meal.

"You have run away; haven't you?" Grandpa Brown asked.

"Yes--yes, sir, I did run away."

"From home?"

"No, I haven't had any home, that I can remember. I didn't run away from
home. I was working."

"On a farm?"

"No, sir. I didn't work on a farm."

"Where was it then?"

"I--I'd rather not tell," the boy said, looking around him as though he
thought some one might be after him.

"Look here!" said Grandpa Brown. "You haven't been a bad boy; have you?"

"No--no, sir. I've tried to be good. But the--the people I worked for
made it hard for me. They wanted me to do things I couldn't, and they
beat me and didn't give me enough to eat. So I just ran away. They may
come after me--that's why I don't want to tell you. If you don't know
where I ran from, you won't know what to tell them if they come after
me. But I'll go now."

The boy got up from the table, as though to go out into the night. It
was raining now.

"No, I won't let you go," said Grandpa Brown. "And I won't give you up
to the people who beat you. I'll look into this. You can stay here
to-night. You can sleep in the room with Bunker Blue. He'll look after
you. Now I hope you have been telling me the truth!"

"Oh, yes, sir. It's all true. I did work for--for some people, and they
half starved me and made me work very hard. I just had to run away, and
I hope they don't catch me and take me back."

"Well, I hope so, too," Grandpa Brown said. "I can't imagine what sort
of work you did. You don't look very strong."

"I'm not. But I didn't have to be so very strong."

"Not strong enough to work on a farm, I guess."

"Oh, I'm strong enough for that--yes, sir! Feel my muscle!" and the boy
bent up his arm. Grandpa Brown put his hand on it.

"Yes, you have some muscle," he said. "Well, maybe you will be all
right. Anyhow you'll be better off for a good night's sleep. I'll call
Bunker and have him look after you."

The strange boy, who said his name was Ben Hall, went up stairs with
Bunker Blue to go to bed. Bunny and Sue were also taken off to their
little beds.

"Well, what do you think of the new boy?" Bunny heard his father ask of
Grandpa Brown, just before the lights were put out for the night.

"Well, I think there's something queer about him," Grandpa Brown said.
"I'd like to know where he was working before he came here. But I'll ask
him again to-morrow. He seems like a nice, clean boy. But he certainly
is queer!"



CHAPTER VI

BEN HALL HELPS


Early the next morning Bunny and Sue jumped out of bed, and ran down
stairs in their bath robes. Out into the kitchen they hurried, where
they could hear their grandmother singing.

"Where is he?" asked Bunny, eagerly.

"Did he have his breakfast?" Sue wanted to know.

"Who?" asked Grandma Brown. "What are you children talking about? And
why aren't you dressed?"

"We just got up," Bunny explained, "and we came down stairs right away.
Where is Ben Hall?"

"Did he go away?" asked Sue, and she looked all around the kitchen.

"Bless your hearts!" exclaimed Grandma Brown. "You mean the strange,
hungry boy, who came last night? Oh, he's up long ago!"

"Did he go away?" asked Sue.

"I hope he didn't," cried Bunny. "I like him, and I hope he'll stay here
and play with us. He could help us with the circus."

"Did he go away?" asked Sue again, anxiously.

"Oh, no," Grandma Brown answered. "He went out to help Bunker Blue feed
the chickens and the cows and horses. He is very willing to work, Ben
is."

"Is grandpa going to keep him?" Bunny asked.

"For a while, yes," said his grandmother. "The poor boy has no home, and
no place to go. Where he ran away from he won't tell, but he seems badly
frightened. So we are going to take care of him for a little while, and
he is going to help around the farm. There are many errands and chores
to do, and a good boy is always useful."

"I'm glad he's going to stay," said Bunny.

"So'm I," added Sue. "Maybe he can make boats, Bunny, and a water wheel
that we can fix to turn around at a waterfall."

"Maybe," agreed Bunny. "Where is Ben, Grandma?"

"Oh, now he's out in the barn, somewhere, I expect. But you two tots
must get dressed and have your breakfast. Then you can go out and play."

"We'll find Ben," said Bunny.

"Yes," agreed Sue. "We'll have two boys to play with now--Ben and Bunker
Blue."

"Oh, you two children mustn't expect the big boys to play with you all
the while," said Grandma Brown. "They have to work."

"But they can play with us sometimes; can't they, Grandma?" asked Bunny.

"Oh, yes, sometimes."

A little later the two children, having had their breakfast, ran to the
barn, to look for Ben and Bunker. They found them leading the horses out
to the big drinking trough in front. The trough was filled from a
spring, back of the barn, the water running through a pipe.

"Oh, Bunker, give me a ride on Major's back!" cried Sue, as she saw her
father's red-haired helper leading the old brown horse.

"Put me on his back, Bunker!"

"All right, Sue! Come along. Whoa, there, Major!"

Major stood still, for he was very gentle. Bunker lifted Sue up on the
animal's broad back, and held her there while he led the horse to the
drinking trough.

"Do you want a ride, too?" asked Ben Hall of Bunny.

"Yes," answered the little boy.

"Here you go then. We'll both ride this horse to water."

Ben Hall did a strange thing. All at once he jumped up in the air, and
before Bunny or Sue knew what he was doing the strange boy was sitting
on the back of Prince, the other horse. He had jumped up as easily as a
bouncing, rubber ball.

"Now then, come over here, and I'll lift you up in front of me!" called
Ben to Bunny, and soon the little fellow was sitting on the back of
Prince, while Ben guided him to the drinking trough.

"Say, that's a good way to get up on a horse's back, Ben!" called Bunker
Blue, who had seen what Ben had done. "Where did you learn that trick
of jumping up?"

"Oh, I--I just sort of learned it--that's all. It's easy when you
practise it."

"Well, I'm going to practise then," said Bunker. "I'd like to learn to
jump on a horse's back the way you did."

When the horses had had their water Bunker lifted Sue down from the back
of Major.

"But I want to ride back to the barn," the little girl said.

"And in a minute so you shall," promised Bunker. "Only, just now, I want
to see if I can jump up the way Ben did."

Bunker tried it, but he nearly fell.

"I can't do it," he said. "It looks easy, but it's hard. You must have
had to practise a good while, Ben."

"Yes, I did."

"How long?"

"Oh, about five years!"

Bunker Blue whistled in surprise.

"Five years!" he cried. "I'll never be able to do that. Let me see once
more how you do it."

Ben lifted Bunny down, and once more the strange boy leaped with one
jump upon the back of the horse.

"Why, he does it just like the men in the circus!" exclaimed Sue. "Oh,
Bunny, Ben will make a good jumper in our circus."

"Yes," agreed the little boy. "Do you think, Ben, you could show me how
to get on a horse's back that way?" Bunny asked.

"Well, I'm afraid not--not such a little boy as you," answered Ben, as
he lifted Bunny up on Prince's back once more for the ride to the barn.

The horses were tied in their stalls again, after Bunny and Sue had been
lifted from the backs of the animals. Then Bunny said:

"You are going to stay here and help work on the farm, Ben. My
grandmother said so. And, if you are, will you come out and look at the
barn where we are going to have our circus? Maybe you and Bunker can
help us put up the trapeze."

"Not now, Bunny boy," said Bunker. "We have to go and pull weeds out of
the garden. We'll look at the barn right after dinner."

And this Ben and Bunker did. Bunny and Sue showed Ben the mow, and the
pile of hay, into which the trapeze performers were to fall, instead of
into nets.

"So they won't get hurt," Bunny explained. "We haven't any nets,
anyhow."

"Do you think we could have a circus here?" Sue wanted to know.

"Why, I should think so," Ben answered, looking up toward the roof of
the barn. "Yes, you could have a good make-believe circus here."

"Will you help?" asked Bunny eagerly.

Ben Hall laughed, and looked at Bunny and Sue in a queer sort of way.

"What makes you think I can help you make a play-circus?" he asked.

"Oh, I guess you can, all right," spoke up Bunker Blue. "I guess you
know more about a circus than you let us think. Don't you now?"

"Oh, well, I've seen 'em," said Ben, slowly.

"And the way you jumped on the horse--why, you must have been watching
pretty hard to see just how to do that," Bunker went on. "I've seen
lots of circuses, but I can't jump up the way you can, Ben."

"Then he can ride a horse in our circus," said Sue.

"Can you hang on a trapeze?" asked Bunny.

"Well, maybe," the new boy answered. "But you haven't any trapeze here,
have you?"

"We can make one, out of a broom stick and some clothes line," said
Bunny. "I've got 'em all ready," and he showed where he had put, in a
hole in the hay, the rope and stick.

"Good! That's the idea!" exclaimed Ben Hall. "Now I'll just climb up to
the roof beams, and fasten the rope of the trapeze."

Up climbed Ben, and he was making fast the ropes, when, all at once
Bunny, Sue and Bunker Blue, who were watching the strange boy, saw him
suddenly slip off the beam on which he was standing.

"Oh, poor Ben!" sighed Sue. "He's going to get an awful hard bump, so he
is!"



CHAPTER VII

BUNNY HAS A FALL


Down and down, from the big beam near the top of the barn, fell Ben
Hall. And, as Bunny Brown and his sister Sue watched the new, strange
boy, something queer happened.

For, instead of falling straight down, head first or feet first as you
would think any one ought to fall, Ben began turning over and over. Over
and over he turned, first his feet and then his head and then his back
being pointed toward the pile of hay on the bottom of the barn floor.

"Oh, look! look!" cried Sue.

"What--what makes him do that?" asked Bunny Brown.

"I guess he wants to," answered Bunker Blue. Bunny and his sister
thought they were going to be frightened when they saw Ben slip and
fall. But when the children saw Bunker Blue laughing they smiled too.

It was queer to see Ben turning over and over in that funny way.

"I guess he likes to do it," said Bunker.

"Whoop-la!" yelled Ben as he came somersaulting down, for that is what
he was doing; turning one somersault after another, over and over in the
air as he fell.

And then, in a few seconds, he landed safely on his feet in a soft pile
of hay, so he wasn't hurt a bit.

"Oh!" exclaimed Sue.

"Oh my!" cried Bunny Brown.

"Say, that was fine!" shouted Bunker Blue. "How did you do it?"

"Oh, I--I just did it," answered Ben, slowly, for he was a little out of
breath. "I slipped, and when I found I was going to fall, I began to
turn somersaults to make it easier coming down."

"I should think it would be harder," said Bunny Brown.

"Not when you know how," answered Ben, smiling.

"Where'd you learn how?" Bunker wanted to know.

"Oh, a man--a man showed me how," returned Ben. "But never mind about
that now. I must fasten the rope to the beam, and then we'll fix the
trapeze so Bunny can do some circus acts on it."

"But not high up!" cried Sue. "You won't go on a high trapeze, will you,
Bunny?"

"Not very high," he answered. "But I would like to turn somersaults in
the air like you, Ben. Will you show me how?"

"Some day, when you get bigger. You're too small now."

"I wouldn't want to turn somersaults," said Sue, shaking her head.

"They aren't for girls, anyhow," flung forth Bunny.

Bunker Blue looked at Ben sharply.

"I think I can guess where you learned to turn those somersaults in the
air," said the boat-boy. "It was in a--"

"Hush! Don't tell any one!" whispered Ben quickly. "I'll tell you all
about it after a while. Now help me put up the trapeze."

Bunny heard what Ben and Bunker said, but he did not think much about it
then. The little boy was looking up to see from what a height Ben had
fallen, and Bunny was wondering what he would ever do if he tumbled down
so far.

Bunker and Ben climbed the ladder to the beam far above the hay pile,
and soon they had fastened up the ropes of the trapeze. They pulled hard
on them to make sure they were strong enough, so Bunny would not have a
fall.

Then the piece of broom handle was tied on the two lower ends of the
ropes, and the trapeze was finished.

"Now you can try it, Bunny," said Bunker, after he had swung on the
trapeze for a few times to make sure it was safe.

Bunny walked across the barn floor where some hay had been spread to
make a sort of cushion.

"We'll use hay, instead of a net as they do in a circus," Bunny said.

"Anyhow we haven't got any net," put in Sue.

"We can make believe the hay is a new kind," said her brother.

Bunny hung by his hands from the wooden bar of the trapeze, just as he
had seen the men do in the circus. Then he began to swing slowly back
and forth.

"Oh, Bunny!" cried Sue. "That's fine. Now turn yourself inside out, like
the circus man did."

"No, Bunny can't do that yet," said Ben. "He must first do easy things
on the trapeze. Turning yourself inside out is too hard. Bunny is not
strong enough for those tricks."

To and fro swung Bunny, but soon his arms began to get tired.

"I--I want to get down!" he called. "Stop the swing--I mean the
trapeze," for the trapeze was very much like a swing, as I have told
you, only, instead of a board, it had only a stick to which the little
boy was holding by his hands. "I want to get down," Bunny called. "Stop
me, Bunker."

"Let go and jump," advised Ben.

"Oh, I--I'm afraid," said Bunny.

"You won't get hurt!" exclaimed the older boy. "You must learn to jump
from the trapeze into the soft hay. That's what they do in a circus.
Jump while you're swinging. You won't get hurt."

"Are you sure, Ben?"

"Sure. Give a jump now, and see what happens."

Bunny wanted to do some of the things he had seen the circus men do, and
one of them was jumping from the trapeze. The little boy looked down at
the pile of hay below him. It seemed nice and soft, but it also looked
to be a good distance off.

"Come on, Bunny, jump!" called Bunker.

"All right. Here I come!"

Bunny let go of the trapeze bar. He shot through the air, and, for a
second or two, he was afraid he was going to be hurt. But, the next
thing he knew, he had landed feet first on a soft pile of hay and he
wasn't hurt a bit!

"Good!" cried Bunker Blue.

"You did that well!" said Ben Hall.

"Just like in a circus," added Sue.

"Did I do it good?" asked Bunny Brown.

"You surely did. For the first time it was very good for such a small
boy," answered Ben. "Now try again."

"Oh, I like it!" Bunny cried. "I'm going to do it lots and lots of
times, and then I'm going to turn somersaults."

"Well, not right away," advised Ben. "Try the easy part for a while
yet."

Bunny swung on the trapeze some more, and dropped into the soft hay. He
was not at all afraid now, and each time he did it he liked it more and
more.

Sue, also, wanted to try it, and so she hung by her little hands. But
Bunker Blue put his strong arms under her so, in case she slipped, she
would be caught. Sue did not swing on the trapeze, nor jump, as Bunny
had done.

Bunker and Ben put up more trapezes in the barn--big ones for
themselves. Ben could swing and turn somersaults and drop off into the
hay from away up near the roof of the barn. Bunker could not do quite as
well as this, but, for all that, he was pretty good.

"Will you two act in our circus?" asked Bunny of Bunker and Ben.

"Why, yes, I guess I will, if your grandfather lets me stay here on this
nice farm," Ben answered.

"Oh, he'll let you stay," Bunny said. "I'll tell him we want you in our
circus."

"All right," laughed Ben. "Bunker and I will practise some trapeze acts
for your show."

For a little while longer Bunny and Sue played about in the barn. Bunny
found an old strawberry crate, with a cover on.

"This will make a wild animal cage," he said. "The slats are just like
the bars of a cage, and the animal can look through."

"What wild animal will you put in there?" asked Bunker.

"Oh, I guess I'll put in Splash. He is going to be half a blue striped
tiger."

"No! No!" cried Sue. "That crate isn't big enough for Splash. You'll
squash him all up. I'm not going to have my half of Splash all squashed
up, Bunny Brown!"

"Well, then I'll get a bigger cage for Splash. We can get a little dog,
and put him in here."

Two or three days after this Bunny and Sue again went out to the barn to
look at the circus trapezes, and play. Bunker Blue and Ben were not
with them this time, as the two older boys were weeding the garden for
Grandpa Brown.

Bunny swung on his little, low trapeze, and then, after he had jumped
off into the hay as Ben had taught him, the little fellow began climbing
the ladder to the beam on which was fastened the big and high trapeze.

"Oh, Bunny! Where you going?" asked Sue.

"Up here. I want to see how high it looks."

"Oh, Bunny Brown! You come right down, or I'll go and tell mamma! She
said you weren't to climb up high."

"I--I'm not going very high, Sue."

Bunny was half way up the ladder. And, just as he spoke to Sue, his foot
slipped, and down he fell, in between two rounds of the ladder.

"Oh! oh!" cried Sue. "Oh, Bunny! You're going to fall!"

But Bunny did not fall all the way. As he slipped, his hands caught hold
of a round of the ladder, and there he clung, just as if he had hold of
the bar of his swinging trapeze.



CHAPTER VIII

THE DOLL IN THE WELL


Bunny Brown hung there on the ladder, swinging to and fro. On the barn
floor below him, stood his sister Sue, watching, and almost ready to
cry, for Sue was afraid Bunny would fall.

"Oh, Bunny! Bunny!" she exclaimed. "Don't fall! Don't fall!"

"I--I can't help it," Bunny answered. "My fingers are slipping off!"

And indeed they were. He could not hold to the big round stick of the
ladder as well as he could to the smaller broom-handle stick of his
trapeze.

Bunny Brown looked down. And then he saw something that frightened him
more than had Sue's cries.

For, underneath him was the bare floor of the barn, with no soft hay on
which to fall--on which to bounce up and down like a rubber ball.

"Oh, Sue!" cried Bunny. "I'm going to fall, and--and--"

He did not finish what he started to say, but he wiggled his feet and
legs, pointing them at the bare floor of the barn, over which he hung.

But Sue saw and understood.

"Wait a minute, Bunny!" she cried. "Don't fall yet! Wait a minute, and
I'll throw some hay down there for you to fall on!"

"All--all right!" answered Bunny. He did not want to talk much, for it
took nearly all his breath and strength to hold on to the ladder. But he
was glad Sue had thought of the hay. He was going to tell her to get it,
but she guessed it herself.

Putting her doll carefully in a corner, on a little wisp of hay, Sue ran
to the edge of the mow, where there was a big pile of the dried grass,
which the horses and cows eat.

With both her chubby hands, Sue began to pull the hay out, and scatter
it on the barn floor under Bunny. Her brother hung right over her head
now, clinging to the ladder.

"Haven't you got 'most enough hay there now, Sue?" asked Bunny. "I--I
can't hold on much longer."

"Wait just a minute!" called Sue, as she ran back to the mow. This time
she managed to gather up a lot of hay in her two arms. This she piled on
the other, and she was only just in time.

"Look out!" suddenly cried Bunny. "Here I come!"

And down he did come. Plump! Right on the pile of hay Sue had made for
him. And it was a good thing the hay was there, or Bunny might have hurt
his legs by his tumble. He did not try to turn a somersault as Ben did,
the time he fell. Bunny was glad enough just to fall down straight.

"Oh, Bunny! Bunny! Did you hurt yourself?" cried Sue, as she saw her
brother sit down in the pile of hay.

Bunny did not answer for a minute. He looked all around, as though he
did not know exactly what had happened. Then he glanced up at the ladder
to which he had clung.

"That--that was a big fall," he said slowly. "I--I'm glad the hay was
there, Sue. I'm glad you put it under me."

"So'm I glad," declared Sue. "I guess you won't want to be in a circus,
will you, Bunny?"

"Sure I will. Men fall in circuses, only they fall in nets. But hay is
better than a net, 'cept that it tickles you," and Bunny took from his
neck some pieces of dried grass that made him wiggle, and "squiggle," as
Sue called it.

"Hello! What happened here?" asked a voice, and the children looked up
to see, standing in the door of the barn, Grandpa Brown. "What
happened?" asked the farmer. "Did you fall, Bunny?"

I think he must have guessed that, from seeing the way Bunny was sitting
on the little pile of hay.

"Yes, I--I slipped off the ladder," said the little boy. "But I didn't
get hurt."

"'Cause I spread hay under him," said Sue. "I thought of it all by
myself."

"That was fine!" said Grandpa Brown. "But, after this, Bunny, don't you
climb up on any ladders, or any other high places. If you are going to
use my barn for your circus, you must not get hurt."

"We won't!" Bunny promised.

"Then keep off ladders. Your little low trapeze is all right, for you
will fall in the hay if you slip off that. But no more ladder-climbing!"

"All right, Grandpa." Bunny got up. Sue picked up her doll, and Grandpa
Brown put back the hay into the mow, for he did not like his barn floor
covered with the dried grass, though, of course, he was very glad Sue
had put some there for Bunny to fall on.

Bunny and Sue went out of the barn, and walked around to the shady side.
It was only a little while after breakfast, hardly time to go in and ask
for something more to eat, which the children did every day about ten
o'clock. At that hour Grandma Brown generally had some bread and jam, or
jelly tarts, ready for them.

"What can we do until jam-time?" asked Sue, of her brother.

"I don't know," he answered. "It's pretty hot."

There was nothing more they could do about the circus just then. Bunker
and Ben were to make some more trapezes, put other things in the barn,
and make the seats. Several other boys and girls had been asked to take
part in the "show," but they were not yet sure that their mothers and
fathers would let them.

So, for a few days, Bunny and Sue could do no more about the circus.

"But we ought to do _something_," said Bunny. "It's so hot--"

That gave Sue an idea.

"We could go paddling in the brook, and get our feet cooled off," said
Bunny's sister.

"Yes, but we wouldn't be back here in time to get our bread and jam."

"That's so," Sue agreed.

It would never do to miss "jam-time."

"My doll must be hot, too," Sue went on. "I wonder if we could give her
a bath?"

"How?" Bunny wanted to know.

"Why, down in the well," suddenly cried Sue. "We could tie a string
around her, and let her down in the well water. That would give her a
bath. She's a rubber doll, and a bath won't hurt her. It will do her
good."

"We'll do it!" cried Bunny.

The well was not far from the house. A little later, with a string he
had taken from his kite, Bunny was helping Sue lower her rubber doll
down the big hole, at the bottom of which was the cool water that was
pulled up in a bucket.

"Splash!" went the doll down in the well. By leaning over the edge of
the wooden box that was built around the water-place, Bunny and Sue
could see the rubber doll splashing up and down in the water far below
them.

"Oh, she likes it! She likes it!" cried Sue, jumping up and down in
delight. "Doesn't she just love it, Bunny?"

"I guess so," her brother answered. "But she can't talk and tell us so,
of course."

"Course not!" Sue exclaimed. "My dolls can't talk, 'ceptin' my
phonograph one, and she says 'Mamma' and 'Papa,' only now she's broken,
inside, and she can't do nothin' but make a buzzin' sound, but I like
her just the same."

"But if a doll can't talk, how do you know when she likes anything?"
asked Bunny.

"Why, I--I just know--that's all," Sue answered.

"All right," agreed Bunny. "Now it's my turn to pull her up and down,
Sue."

There was a long string tied around the doll, and the two children were
taking turns raising and lowering Sue's play-baby, so the rubber doll
would splash up and down in the water.

"All right. I'll let you do it once, and then it's my turn again," Sue
said. "I guess she's had enough bath now. I'll have to feed her."

"And we'll get some bread and jam ourselves, Sue."

Just how it happened neither Bunny nor Sue could tell afterward, but
Bunny either did not get a good hold of the string, or else it slipped
through his fingers.

Anyhow, just as Sue was passing the cord to him, it slipped away, and
down into the well went doll, string and all.

"Oh, Bunny! Bunny Brown!" cried Sue. "You've drowned my lovely doll! Oh,
dear!"



CHAPTER IX

THE STRIPED CALF


Bunny Brown was so surprised at seeing the rubber doll and string slip
back with a splash into the well, that, for a moment, he did not know
what to do or say. He just stood leaning over, and looking down, as
though that would bring the doll back.

"Oh, dear!" sighed Sue again. "Oh, Bunny!"

"I--I didn't mean to!" pleaded Bunny sadly enough.

"But I'll never get her back again!" went on Sue. "Oh, my lovely rubber
doll!"

"Maybe--maybe she can swim up!" said Bunny.

"She--she can not!" Sue cried. "How can she swim up when there isn't any
water 'cept away down there in the bottom of the well?"

"If she was a circus doll she could climb up the bucket-rope, Sue."

"Yes, but she isn't a circus doll. Oh, dear!"

"And if I was a circus man, I could climb down the rope and get her!"
Bunny went on.

"Oh, don't you dare do that!" Sue fairly screamed. "If you do you'll
fall in and be drowned. Don't do it, Bunny!" and she clung to him with
all her might.

"I won't, Sue!" the little fellow promised. "But I can see your doll
down there, Sue. She's floating on top of the water--swimming, maybe, so
she isn't drowned.

"Oh, I know what let's do!" Bunny cried, after another look down the
well.

"What?" Sue wanted to know.

"Let's go tell grandpa. He'll get your doll up with the long-handled
rake."

"With the rake?" cried Sue.

"Yes. Don't you remember grandpa told us how once the bucket of the well
got loose from the rope, and fell into the water. He fished the bucket
up with the rake, tied to a long pole. He can do that to your doll."

"But he might stick her with the teeth of the rake," said Sue. She knew
the iron teeth of a rake were sharp, for once she had stepped on a rake
when Bunny had left it in the grass, after raking the lawn at home.

"Well, maybe grandpa can tangle the rake in the string around the doll,
and pull her up that way. It wouldn't hurt then."

"No," agreed Sue. "That wouldn't hurt."

"Then let's go tell grandpa," urged Bunny once more.

Leaving the doll to swim in the well as best she could, the two children
ran toward the house. They saw their grandpa coming from it, and at once
they began to cry:

"Oh, Grandpa, she fell in!"

"Come and get her out of the well!"

"Bring the long-handled rake, Grandpa!"

Grandpa was so surprised, at first, that he did nothing except stand
still and look at the children. Then he managed to ask:

"Who is it? What is it? What happened? Who fell down the well? Did Bunny
fall in? Did Sue?"

Then as he saw the two children themselves standing and looking at him,
Grandpa Brown knew nothing had happened to either of them.

"But who is in the well?" he asked.

"My rubber doll," answered Sue. "Bunny let the string slip when we gave
her a bath."

"But I didn't mean to," Bunny said. "I couldn't help it. But you can get
her out with the rake; can't you, Grandpa. Same as you did the bucket."

"Well, I guess maybe I can," Grandpa Brown answered. "I'll try anyhow.
And, after this, you children must keep away from the well."

"We will," promised Bunny.

The well bucket often came loose from the rope, and grandpa had several
times fished it up with the rake, which he tied to a long clothes-line
pole. In a few minutes he was ready to go to the well, with Bunny and
Sue. Grandpa Brown carried the rake, and, reaching the well, he looked
down in it.

"I don't see your doll, Sue," he said.

"Oh, then she's drowned! Oh, dear!"

"But I see a string," went on Grandpa Brown. "Perhaps the string is
still fast to the doll. I'll wind the string around the end of the rake,
and pull it up. Maybe then I'll pull up the doll too."

And that is just what grandpa did. Up and up he lifted the long-handled
rake. Around the teeth was tangled the end of the string. Carefully,
very carefully, Grandpa Brown took hold of the string and pulled.

"Is she coming up, Grandpa?" asked Sue anxiously.

"I think she is," said grandpa slowly. "There is something on the end of
the string, anyhow. But maybe it's a fish."

Grandpa smiled, and then the children knew he was making fun.

"Oh, dear!" said Sue. "I hope my doll hasn't turned into a goldfish."

But nothing like that had happened. Up came the rubber doll, safely, on
the end of the string. Water ran from the round hole in the doll's
back--the hole that was a sort of whistle, which made a funny noise when
Sue squeezed her doll, as she did when "loving" her.

"There you are! Your doll's all right," said Grandpa Brown. "Now you
children must not come near the well again. When you want to give your
doll a bath, Sue, dangle her in the brook, where it isn't deep. And if
you put a cork in the hole in her back, she won't get full of water and
sink."

"That's so," said Bunny Brown. "The water leaked in through that hole.
We'll stop it up next time, Sue."

"Oh, no!" Sue cried. "That hole is where she breathes. But I'll only
wash her in a basin after this, so she can't get drowned."

It was now time for bread and jam, and Sue and Bunny were soon eating it
on the shady back porch. Mother Brown told them, just as their grandpa
had done, to keep away from the well, and they said they would.

Bunny and Sue then went wading in the brook until dinner time. And then
they had a little sleep in the hammocks in the shade, under the apple
tree.

"What shall we do now, Bunny!" asked Sue when she awoke from her little
nap, and saw her brother looking over at her from his hammock. Sue
always wanted to be doing something, and so did Bunny. "What can we do?"
asked the little brown-eyed girl.

"Let's go out to the barn again," said Bunny. "Maybe Bunker Blue, or
Ben, is out there now, making some more circus things."

But when Bunny and Sue reached the place where they were going to have
their show in a few weeks, they saw neither of the big boys. They did
see something that interested them, though.

This was the hired man who, with a big pot of green paint, was painting
the wheelbarrow.

"Hello, Henry!" exclaimed Bunny to the man, who was working in the shade
at one side of the barn.

"Hello, Bunny!" answered Henry. "How are you this afternoon?"

"Good. How is yourself?"

"Oh, fine."

Henry went on putting green paint on the wheelbarrow. Then Bunny said:

"I couldn't do that; could I, Henry? I mean you wouldn't let me paint;
would you?"

"No, Bunny. I'm afraid not. You'd get it all over your clothes. I
couldn't let you."

"I--I thought you couldn't," returned Bunny with a sigh. "But I just
asked, you know, Henry."

"Yes," said the hired man with a smile. "I know. But you'd better go
off and play somewhere else."

It was more fun, though, for Bunny Brown and his sister Sue to watch
Henry paint, and they stood there for some time. Finally the hired man
stopped painting.

"Guess I'll go and get a drink of water," he said, putting the brush in
the pot of green paint. "Now don't touch the wheelbarrow."

"We won't!" promised Bunny and Sue.

Just then, inside the barn, there sounded a loud:

"Baa-a-a-a-a!"

"What's that, Bunny?" asked Sue.

"One of the new little calves. Want to see them?"

Of course Sue did, and soon she and Bunny were petting one of the
calves. They were in little pens, by themselves, near the mother cows,
and the children could reach over the sides of the pens, inside the
barn, and pat the little animals.

All at once Bunny cried:

"Oh, Sue. I know what we can do!"

"What?" she asked.

"We can stripe a calf green, with the green paint, and we'll have a
zebra for our circus."

"What's a zebra?" Sue wanted to know.

"It's a striped horse. They have 'em in all circuses. We'll make one for
ours."

"Does zebras have green stripes, Bunny?"

"I don't know. But green paint is all we have, so we'll use that. A
green striped zebra would be pretty, I think."

"So do I, Bunny. But Henry told us not to touch the paint."

"No, he didn't, Sue. He only told us to keep away from the wheelbarrow,
and I am. I won't go near it. But we'll get the pot of paint, and stripe
the calf green."

"All right," agreed Sue. "I'll hold the paint-pot, and you can dip your
brush in."

Not meaning to do anything wrong, of course, Bunny and Sue hurried to
get the pot of paint. Henry had not come back. Leaning over the edge of
the calf's pen, Bunny dipped the brush in the paint, and began striping
the baby cow.

"Baa-a-a-a-a!" went the little animal, and the old cow went: "Moo!"



CHAPTER X

THE OLD ROOSTER


Again and again Bunny Brown dipped the brush in the green paint the
hired man had left, and stripe after stripe did the little fellow put on
the calf.

"She'll be a regular circus zebra when I'm done," said Bunny Brown to
his sister Sue. Both children laughed in glee.

"Are you going to paint both sides of the calf, Bunny?"

"I am if I can reach. Maybe I can't. Anyhow, a zebra ought to be painted
on both sides. Not like we're going to do our dog Splash; only on one
side, to make a pretend blue-striped tiger of him."

Sue seemed to be thinking of something.

"Doesn't he look nice?" asked Bunny of his sister. "Isn't he going to be
a fine zebra?"

He stood back from the box-stall where the calf was kept, so Sue could
see how the little animal looked.

"Doesn't he look pretty, Sue? Just like a circus zebra, only of course
they're not green. But isn't he nice?"

"Yes," said Sue, "he is pretty."

The calf, after jumping around some when Bunny first put the paint on,
was now standing very still, as though he liked it. Of course the calf
did not know that the paint would not wear off for a long time. Then,
too, the cow mother had put her head over from the next stall, where she
was tied, and she was rubbing her big red tongue on the calf's head. The
calf liked its cow mother to rub it this way, and maybe that is why the
little calf stood still.

"It's going to look real nice, Bunny," said Sue, as she looked at the
green stripes Bunny had put on. "I--I guess I'll let you put blue
stripes on my half of Splash, too. Then he'll look all over like a
tiger; won't he, Bunny?"

"Sure. I'm glad you'll let me, Sue. 'Cause a dog, only half striped,
would look funny. Now I'll see if I can put some stripes on the other
side of the calf."

Bunny tried to reach the side of the little animal he had not yet
painted, but he could not do it from where he stood.

"I'm going over in the stall with it," Bunny said. "You hand me the pail
of paint when I get there, Sue."

"Oh, Bunny! Are you going right in with the calf?"

"Yes."

"He--he'll bite you!"

"No, he won't. Calves haven't any teeth. They only eat milk, and they
don't have to chew that. They don't get teeth until they're big.

"I'm not afraid," said Bunny Brown, as he climbed over into the calf's
pen. Sue stood as near as she could, so Bunny could dip his brush in the
green paint. Bunny was careful not to get any on his own suit, or on
Sue's dress. That is he was as careful as any small boy could be. But,
even then, he did splash some of the paint on himself and on Sue. But
the children did not think of this at the time. They were so busy having
fun, turning a calf into a circus zebra.

[Illustration: THEY WERE BUSY TURNING A CALF INTO A CIRCUS ZEBRA.

_Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue Playing Circus_ _Page 84._]

Bunny had put a number of green stripes on one side of the calf, and now
he was ready to put some on the other. But the calf did not stand as
still with Bunny inside the stall with her, as when he had been outside.
The calf seemed frightened.

"Baa-a-a-a-a!" it cried. "Baa-a-a-a-a! Baa-a-a-a-a!"

And the old mother cow cried:

"Moo! Moo! Moo!"

She did not like to see Bunny so close to her baby calf, I guess. But
the old cow did not try to hook Bunny with her horns. She only looked at
him with her big, brown eyes, and tried to reach her tongue over and
"kiss" the calf, as Sue called it.

"Stand still!" Bunny said to the calf, but the little animal did not
want to. Perhaps it thought it had had enough of the green paint. It
moved about, from one side of the box to the other, and Bunny had hard
work to put on any more stripes.

"Isn't that enough?" asked Sue, after a bit. "It looks real nice Bunny.
You had better save some green paint for the other calf."

"Yes, but I'm only going to stripe one," answered Bunny. "It's too hard.
One zebra is enough for our circus. We'll make the other calf into a
lion. A lion doesn't have any stripes."

"All right," agreed Sue. "Then come on out, Bunny, 'cause I'm tired of
holding this paint for you."

"In a minute, Sue. I'll be right out. I just want to put some stripes on
the calf's legs. They have to be striped same as the sides and back."

And that was where Bunny Brown made one of his mistakes. He should have
let the calf's legs alone. For, no sooner did the little animal feel the
tickling of the paint brush on its legs than it gave a loud cry, and
began to kick.

Out with its hind legs it kicked, and, as Bunny happened to be stooping
down, just then, near the calf's feet, the little boy was kicked over.
Right over he went, spilling some of the paint on himself, but the most
of it, I am glad to say, went on the straw in the calf's box-stall.

"Oh, Bunny!" cried Sue. "Oh, Bunny Brown!"

Her brother did not answer. He had fallen down on his face, and his
mouth was full of straw. And when he did get up he saw that the calf had
kicked open the gate of its stall, and was running around the barnyard,
all green striped and spotted.

"Moo! Moo!" cried the mother cow, when she saw her little one break out.
Then the old cow pushed very hard on the gate that shut her in. Open
went the gate, and out ran the cow to be with her little calf.

"Oh, Bunny! Look!" cried Sue. "Our circus zebra-cow will run away!"

Bunny jumped to his feet, and, leaving the overturned pot of paint
behind him, out he ran into the barnyard.

"Whoa! Whoa there, bossy-calf!" he cried.

"You don't say whoa to cows, you say that to horses!" called Sue to her
brother.

"What do you say to cows?" Bunny wanted to know.

"You call 'Co boss! Co boss! Co boss'!" answered Sue. "I know 'cause I
heard grandma call them to be milked. Call 'Co boss!' Bunny."

The little boy did, but there was no need to, for the little calf, once
it found that the mother cow was with it, did not run any farther. The
mother cow put out her red tongue and "kissed" her little calf some
more. She did not seem to mind the green paint, though perhaps if she
had gotten some in her mouth she might not have liked it.

"Well, anyhow," said Bunny Brown, "we have a striped zebra for our
circus. And when I get some blue paint I'll paint our dog Splash, and
make a tiger of him, Sue."

"Did the calf-zebra hurt you when she kicked you over, Bunny?" Sue
wanted to know.

"No, hardly any. Her feet are soft, and I fell on the straw. But all the
paint is spilled."

"Maybe there's a little left so Henry can finish the wheelbarrow,"
suggested Sue.

"I'll go and look," offered Bunny. But he did not get the chance. For
just then Henry came into the barnyard.

"Have you seen my pot of green paint," he asked. "I left it--"

Then he saw the green striped calf. At first he laughed and then he
said:

"Oh, this is too bad! That's one of your grandpa's best calves, and he
won't like it a bit, painting him that way."

"He's a zebra," said Bunny.

"No matter what he is," and Henry shook his head, "it's too bad. I
shouldn't have left the paint where you could get it. I'll have to tell
Mr. Brown."

Bunny and Sue felt bad at this. They had not thought they were doing
anything wrong, but now it seemed that they were.

"Will--will grandpa be very sorry?" asked Sue.

"Yes, he'll be very sorry and angry," answered the hired man, "he'll not
like it to see his calf all streaked with green paint."

But Grandpa Brown was not as angry at Bunny and Sue as he might have
been. Of course he said they had done wrong, and he felt bad. But no one
could be angry for very long at Bunny Brown and his sister Sue. They
were so jolly, never meaning to be bad. They just didn't think.

But of course you know that not thinking what you are doing often makes
as much trouble as though you did a thing on purpose.

"Well, I guess I'll have to forgive you youngsters this time," said
Grandpa Brown. "But don't paint any more of my farm animals without
asking me. Now I'll see if we can get the green paint off the calf."

"Oh, can't you leave it on, Grandpa?" asked Bunny. "It was awful hard to
make him striped like a zebra, and we want him in our circus to be one
of the wild animals. Let the stripes stay on."

And grandpa had to, whether he wanted to or not, for they would not come
off. The hired man tried soap and water. But the calf would not stand
still long enough to let him scrub her.

"I guess we'll just have to let the green paint wear off," said Grandpa
Brown. "But never do such a thing again, Bunny."

"I won't," promised the little boy.

The calf and the mother cow were put back in their stalls. Bunny and Sue
were cleaned of the green paint that had splattered on them, and Henry
found enough paint left in the can to finish the wheelbarrow.

"Well, we've got a start for our circus, anyhow," said Bunny to Sue a
few days after he had painted the calf. The green stripes had dried now,
and made the calf look very funny indeed. Some of the other cows and
calves seemed frightened at the strange, striped one, but the mother cow
was just as fond of her little one as before.

"You'll need other animals besides a striped calf, and your dog Splash,
in the circus," said Bunker Blue to Bunny one day.

"Yes, I guess we will. I'll go and ask Sue about it."

Bunny always liked to talk matters over with his sister. He found her on
the side porch, making a doll's dress.

"Sue," said Bunny, "we have to have more make-believe wild animals for
our show."

"Yes?" asked Sue. "What kind?"

"Well, maybe we ought to have a camel."

"Camels is too hard to make," said Sue. "Their humps might fall off. Why
don't you make a ockstritch, Bunny? An ockstritch what lays big eggs,
and has tail feathers for ladies' hats. Make a ockstritch."

"How?" asked Bunny.

Sue thought for a minute. Just then the old big rooster strutted past
the porch.

"He would make a good ockstritch, Bunny," said Sue. "He has nice long
tail feathers. Can you catch him?"

"Maybe," hesitated Bunny. "Oh, I know what I'll do!" he exclaimed. "I'll
get the clothes line for a lasso, and I'll pretend to be a Wild West
cowboy. Then I can lasso the rooster and make an ostrich of him."

"Oh, fine!" cried Sue, clapping her hands. The rooster, who did not in
the least guess what was going to happen to him, flapped his wings and
crowed loudly.



CHAPTER XI

PRACTICE FOR THE CIRCUS


Bunny Brown took a piece of clothes line that hung down from one of the
posts. He was sure his grandma or his mother would not want this end, so
he could take it.

"Anyhow, it isn't wash-day," said Bunny to Sue, "and as soon as I lasso
the rooster I can put the line back again. I can tie on what I cut off."

Bunny had an old knife Bunker Blue had given him. It was a knife Bunker
had used to open clams and oysters, and was not very sharp. That was the
reason Bunker gave it to Bunny. Bunker did not want the little boy to
cut himself. With this old knife Bunny cut off a bit of clothes line. He
had to saw and saw back and forth with the dull blade of the knife
before he could cut the line.

But at last he had a long piece of rope.

"Now I'll make a lasso just like the cowboys have in the Wild West,"
said Bunny.

Bunny had once seen a show like that, so he knew something of what the
cowboys did with their lassos, which are long ropes, with a loop in one
end. They throw this loop around the head, or leg, of a cow or a horse,
and catch it this way, so as not to hurt it.

"Now see me catch the rooster, Sue!" called Bunny.

"I'll help you," offered the little girl. "You stand here by the rose
bush, I'll shoo the rooster up to you, then you can lasso him."

"All right!" cried Bunny, swinging the piece of clothes line around his
head as he had seen the cowboys do in the show.

"Cock-a-doodle-do!" crowed the rooster, and then he made a funny
gurgling noise, as he saw Sue running toward him. The old rooster was
not used to children, as, except when Bunny Brown and his sister Sue
came to their grandpa's farm, there were no little ones about the place.
And when the old rooster saw Sue running toward him, he did not know
what to make of the little girl.

"Shoo! Shoo!" cried Sue, waving her hands. "Shoo! Scat!"

"Cock-a-doodle-do!" crowed the rooster, and it sounded just as if he
said, "I don't know what to do!"

"Shoo! Shoo!" cried the little girl, and she tried to drive the rooster
over toward Bunny, so he could lasso the big crowing bird.

But the rooster was not going to be caught as easily as that. He ran to
one side, around the rose bush and off toward the garden.

"Get him, Bunny! Get him!" cried Sue.

"I will!" shouted the little make-believe cowboy. After the rooster he
ran, swinging his lasso. "Whoa there! Whoa!" called Bunny.

"Shoo! Shoo!" exclaimed Sue.

"No--no! Don't do that!" begged Bunny.

"Don't do what?" Sue asked.

"Don't shoo him that way. That makes him run. I want him to stand still
so I can catch him."

"But you said cowboys catched things when they were running, like this
rooster is," objected Sue.

"Yes," agreed Bunny, "but I haven't been a cowboy very long you see. I
want the rooster to stand still so I can lasso him. So don't _shoo_
him--just whoa him!"

Then Bunny called:

"Whoa! Whoa there!"

"That's what you say to a horse--not to a rooster," said the little
girl.

"I know," Bunny answered. "But I guess this rooster knows horse talk,
'cause there's horses around here. Whoa there!"

But even if the rooster did understand horse talk, he was not going to
stop and let Bunny lasso him. That was sure. On and on the rooster ran,
crowing and cackling. The hens and other roosters heard the noise, and
crowed and cackled too, wondering what it was all about.

"Here he comes, Bunny! Here he comes!" cried Sue, as the big old
rooster, having run toward a fence, until he could go no farther, had to
turn around and run back again. "Get him, Bunny!"

"I will!" cried the little boy. "I'll get him this time."

But the rooster was running very fast now, for he was very much scared.
Back and forth he went, from one side to the other. He did come close to
Bunny, but when the little boy threw his clothes line rope lasso it fell
far away from the rooster.

"Oh, you missed him!" cried Sue, much disappointed.

"But I'll get him next time," said Bunny, as he picked up his lasso and
ran after the rooster.

Back and forth around the garden, under the lilac and rose bushes, ran
Bunny and Sue after the old rooster. The rooster was getting tired now,
and could not go so fast. Neither could Bunny nor Sue, and Bunny's arm
was so tired, from having thrown his lasso so much, that he wanted to
stop and rest. But still he wanted to catch the rooster.

"Here he comes now--get him, Bunny!" cried Sue, as she went around one
side of the currant bush, while Bunny came around the other side. The
rooster was right between the two children, and as there was a fence on
one side of him, and the bush on the other, it looked as if he would be
caught this time.

"Oh, get him, Bunny!" Sue called. "Get him!"

"I--I will!" answered her brother. "I'll just grab him in my arms. I can
put the lasso on him afterward."

The rooster was running away from Sue who was right behind him, and the
rooster was heading straight for Bunny. The little boy put out his arms
to grab the big fowl, when the rooster, with a loud crow and cackle,
flew up over Bunny's head, over the fence and into the meadow beyond.

And Bunny was running so fast, and so was Sue, that, before they could
stop themselves, down they both fell, in the soft grass. For a moment
they sat there, looking at one another. Then Sue smiled. She was glad to
sit down and rest, even if she had fallen. And so was Bunny.

"Well, we didn't get him," said Bunny slowly, as he looked at the
rooster, now safe on the other side of the fence.

"No," said Sue. "But you can climb over the fence in the meadow."

"I--I guess I don't want to," said the little fellow.

"Hello! What's going on here? Who's been chasing my old rooster?" asked
Grandpa Brown, coming up just then, and looking at the two children.

"We--we were chasing him Grandpa," said Bunny, who always told the
truth.

"We was goin' to make a ockstritch of him," Sue explained. "A ockstritch
for our circus in the barn."

"Oh, an ostrich!" laughed Grandpa Brown. "Well, I'd rather you wouldn't
take my best big rooster. I have some smaller, and tamer ones, you may
take for your circus."

"Really?" asked Bunny. "And can we pretend they are ostriches?"

"Yes, you can put them in wooden cages and make believe they are
anything you like," said Grandpa Brown. "Only, of course, you must be
kind to them."

"Sure!" said Bunny Brown. "We won't hurt the roosters."

"When are you going to have your show?" asked Grandpa Brown.

"Oh, next week," Bunny answered. "Some of the boys and girls are coming
over to-day, and we're going to practise in the barn."

"Well, be careful you don't get hurt," said their grandpa.

"And can we have the green-striped calf for a zebra?" Bunny wanted to
know.

"Oh, I guess so; yes. The stripes haven't worn off him yet, and they
won't for some time. So you might as well play with him."

"We don't want to play with him," Bunny explained. "He--he jumps about
too much. We just want to put him in a cage and make believe he is a
wild animal."

"Like a ockstritch," added Sue. The ostrich seemed to be her favorite.

"An ostrich isn't an animal," carefully explained Bunny. "It's a big
bird, and it hides its head in the sand, and they pull out its tail
feathers for ladies' hats."

"Well, it's wild, anyhow," said Sue.

"Yes, it's wild," admitted Bunny.

Grandpa Brown showed the children two tame roosters, that would let
Bunny and Sue stroke their glossy feathers.

"You may put them in a box, and make believe they are any sort of wild
bird or animal you like," said the farmer.

The children promised to be kind to the roosters. They did not put them
in cages that day, as it was too soon.

That afternoon Tom White, Nellie Bruce, Jimmie Kenny, Sallie Smith and
Ned Johnson came over to see Bunny and Sue. They all went out to the
barn, and there they got ready for the circus. Bunny and Sue, as well as
the other children, were to be dressed up in funny clothes, which their
mothers said they would make for them.

Bunny was to do some "acts" on the trapeze, and fall down in the hay.
Then he and Sue were to do part of a little Punch and Judy show they had
once given, though Bunny, this time, had no big lobster claw to put on
his nose.

"All ready now!" called Bunny, when his friends were in the barn. "All
ready to practise for the circus!"



CHAPTER XII

THE LITTLE CIRCUS


"Bunny! Bunny Brown! What am I going to be in the circus? I want to be a
clown!"

"Yes, I want to be a clown, too, and throw water over another clown,
like I saw in a circus once!"

"Well, you're not going to throw any water on me!"

"Yes I can if Bunny Brown says so! It's _his_ circus!"

Tom White, Jimmie Kenny and Ned Johnson were talking together in one
corner of the barn. Ned wanted to be a clown, and throw water on some
one else. Jimmie did not want to be the one to get wet, nor did Tom
White.

"Bunny, can't I be a clown?" asked Ned.

"I'm going to be a wild animal trainer--make-believe!" exclaimed Sue,
"and I'm going to be near the cage where the blue-striped tiger is. I'm
going to make him roar."

Sallie Smith looked a bit scared.

"Oh, it's only make-believe," Sue explained.

"Yes, I know," said Sallie. "But--Oh, dear! a blue-striped tiger!"

"Oh, it's only our big dog Splash," went on Sue. "First I was only going
to let Bunny stripe his half of Splash. But a half a blue-striped tiger
would look funny, so I said he could make my half of Splash striped too.
It will wash off, for it's only bluing, like mother puts on the
clothes."

"And we're going to have a striped zebra, too," said Bunny.

"Oh, let's see it!" begged the three boys.

"It's only one of grandpa's calves," cried Sue, "but it really has green
stripes on it. Bunny put them on, and they're green paint, and they
won't come off 'till they wear off, grandpa says, and the calf ran away,
and kicked Bunny over and----"

"Oh, Sue, don't tell everything!" cried Bunny. "You'll spoil the show."

"Let's see the striped calf!" begged the three boys.

"No, we've got to practise for the circus," Bunny insisted. "Now I'll do
my trapeze act," and he climbed up to the bar that hung by the long
ropes from the beam in the barn.

"I want to do a trapeze act, too!" cried Tom White.

"Say, we can't all do the same thing!" Bunny said. "That isn't like a
real circus. It's got to be different acts."

"Oh, say!" cried Ned Johnson. "I know what I can do! I can ride you in a
wheelbarrow, Tom, and upset you. That will make 'em all laugh."

"It won't make me laugh, if you upset me too hard!" declared Tom.

"I'll spread some hay on the floor, like the time I did when Bunny
fell," said Sue. "Then you won't be hurt. It doesn't hurt to fall on
hay; does it, Bunny?"

"Nope."

"All right. Ned can upset me out of the wheelbarrow if he does it on the
hay," agreed Tom.

So those two boys began to practise this part of the circus, while Bunny
swung from the trapeze. Jimmie Kenny said he would climb up as high as
he could and slide down a rope, like a sailor.

"I'll have some hay under me, too, so if I slip I won't be hurt," he
said.

Indeed, if it had not been for the big piles of soft hay in grandpa's
barn I don't know what the little circus performers would have done.

While the boys were practising the things they were going to do, Sue and
her little girl friends made up a little act of their own.

Each one had a doll, and they practised a little song which they had
sung in school. It was about putting the dollies to sleep in a cat's
cradle, and a little mouse came in and awakened them, and then they went
out to gather flowers for the honey bees.

Just a simple little song, but Sue and her friends sung it very nicely.

"And I know something else you can do, Sue, besides being a keeper of
wild animals," said Bunny.

"What?" asked his sister.

"You can ride in the wheelbarrow and drive Ned and Tom for your
horses--make-believe, you know."

"But I don't want to be upset, even on the hay!" Sue said.

"No, we won't upset you," promised Ned.

Then they practised that little act with Sue.

"When we give our real circus," said Bunny, "we can cover the
wheelbarrow with flowers, and nobody will know what it is you're riding
in, Sue."

"That will be nice!"

As the days went on, Bunny and Sue found they would have to have more
children in their little circus, so others were invited. One boy brought
an old rocking horse, and another had one almost like it, so they gave a
"pretend" horse race around the barn floor.

Bunker Blue made a big sea-saw for the children, and every one who came
to the show was to have a free ride on this.

"We ought to have a merry-go-'round," said Bunny one day.

"I'll make you one," offered Ben Hall, the strange boy, who was still
working on grandpa's farm.

"Oh, will you! How?" asked Bunny.

Ben took some planks and nailed them together, criss-cross, like an X.
Then he put them on a box, and on the ends of the planks that stuck out
he fastened some wagon wheels. When four children sat down on the
planks, and some one pushed them, they went around and around as nicely
as you please, getting a fine ride around the middle of the barn floor.

"But we ought to have music," said Sue.

"I'll play my mouth organ," offered Bunker Blue.

At last the day of the little circus came. Bunny and Sue had decided
that it was to be free, as they did not want pins, and none of the
country children had any money to spend. So the circus was free to old
folks and young folks alike.

"You'll come; won't you, Mother?" asked Bunny the morning of the circus.

"Oh, yes, of course."

"And will you, Daddy?" Sue wanted to know.

"Yes, little girl. I want to see you ride in your chariot, as you call
it." For Bunny had named the wheelbarrow that was to be covered with
flowers, a chariot, which is what they use to race with in a real
circus.

Splash had been most beautifully striped with blue, and, though he did
not like being shut up in a box, with slats nailed in front to serve as
iron bars, still the big dog knew it was all in fun, so he stayed
quietly where Bunny put him.

The striped calf was in another cage, and he was given a nice pail full
of milk to keep him quiet, so he would not kick his way out. Calves like
milk, you know.

The two roosters, which Sue said were the wild "ockstritches," behaved
very nicely, picking up the corn in their cage as though they had been
in a circus many times before. Grandpa also let the children take the
old turkey gobbler and put him in a box.

"What shall we call him?" asked Sue, just before the show was about to
begin.

"Oh, he'll be the elephant," said Bunny. "See, he's got something
hanging down in front like an elephant's trunk. And we didn't get time
to dress the pig up like an elephant."

"But a elephant has four legs, Bunny, and the turkey has only two."

"Oh, well, we can pretend he was in a railroad wreck, and lost two of
his legs. Circuses do get wrecked sometimes."

"All right, Bunny."

All the children who were to take part in Bunny's and Sue's show were in
the barn, waiting for the curtain to be pulled back. For grandmother and
Mother Brown had made a calico curtain for the children. Bunker Blue and
Ben said they would stand, one on either side, to pull the curtain back
when the show started.

Bunker was going to play his mouth organ, while Ben said he would make
what music he could by whistling and blowing on a piece of paper folded
over a comb. You can make pretty good music that way, only, as Ben said,
it tickles your lips, and you have to stop every once in a while.

Many children from nearby farms came to the little circus in the barn,
and some of their fathers and mothers also came. It was a fine day for
the show.

"Are you all ready, Bunny?" asked Bunker, who, with Ben, stood behind
the curtain.

"All ready," answered the little boy.

"Here we go!" cried Bunker. Then he played on his mouth organ, Ben
tooted on the comb and the curtain slid back on the wires by which it
was stretched across the stage, or platform, in the barn.

"Welcome to our show!" cried Bunny Brown, making a bow to the audience
which was seated on boxes and boards out in front. "We will now begin!"
he went on. "And after the show you are all invited to stay and see the
wild animals. We have a blue-striped tiger, a wild zebra and an----"

"An elephant, only he lost two legs in a accident," said Sue in a shrill
whisper, fearing Bunny was going to forget about the turkey.



CHAPTER XIII

THE WILD ANIMALS


Everyone laughed when Sue said that, and Sue herself blushed as red as
the ribbon on her hair, and the sash her mother had pinned around her
waist.

"Does your elephant eat peanuts?" asked Daddy Brown, smiling.

"No, I don't guess so," answered Sue. "He likes corn better."

"Now the show's going to begin!" cried Bunny Brown. "Get ready
everybody. The first will be a grand trapeze act! Come on, boys! Play
some music, please, Bunker!"

Bunker played a new tune on his mouth organ. Then Bunny, Ned Johnson and
Tom White got on the trapezes, for Bunny had decided that his one act,
like this, was not enough. It would look more like a real circus with
three performers.

Back and forth on the flying trapezes swung Bunny and his two friends.
Of course such little fellows could not do many tricks, but they did
very well, so all the grown folks said. They hung by their hands, and by
their legs, and Ned Johnson, who was quite strong for his age, "turned
himself inside out," as he called it, by pulling up his legs and putting
them over his head, and under the trapeze bar.

Suddenly Bunny Brown gave a call.

"All ready now for our big swing!"

"I'm ready!" answered Tom.

"So am I," added Ned.

The three boys swung back and forth. All at once Bunny cried:

"Let go!"

Away they sailed through the air.

"Oh, they'll be hurt! They'll fall and be hurt!" cried Grandma Brown.

"No, this is only part of the show," said Mother Brown.

And so it was. For Bunny, Ned and Tom landed safely on a big pile of
hay, having jumped into the mow when they let go of the trapeze bars.

"How was that?" cried Bunny, laughing while Bunker and Ben played the
music.

"Fine!" cried Daddy Brown.

"It's almost as good a show as the one I paid real money to see,"
laughed grandpa.

"What's next?" asked Jimmie Kenny's mother, who had come with her
neighbor, Mrs. Smith.

"It's your turn now, Sue," whispered Bunny to his sister. "Do your act."

So Sue, and her little girl chums, sang their doll song. It was very
much liked, too, and the people clapped so that the little girls had to
sing it over again.

The curtain was now pulled across the stage while Ned and Tom got ready
for one of the clown acts. They were dressed in queer, calico suits,
almost like those worn by real clowns in a circus, and the boys had
whitened their faces with chalk, and stuck on red rose leaves to make
red dots.

Ned came out in front, with Tom in a wheelbarrow, for they had decided
this between themselves. Ned wheeled Tom about, at the same time singing
a funny song, and then, out from behind a barrel, rushed Jimmie Kenny.
Jimmie had a pail, and he began crying:

"Fire! Fire! Fire!"

So loudly did he shout, and so much in earnest did he seem, that some of
the farmers began to look about as though they were afraid Grandpa
Brown's barn was on fire.

"Don't worry! It's only in fun," said grandpa.

Ned and Tom did not seem to know what to make of Jimmie's act. He was
not supposed to come out when they did.

"Now this is where I upset you, Tom," said Ned in a low voice.

"Well, as long as you turn me over on the soft hay I don't mind,"
answered the other boy, for they had made this up between them.

Over went the wheelbarrow, and Tom was spilled out.

"Fire! Fire! Fire!" cried Jimmie again, and then dashed a pail of water
over Tom and Ned.

"Waugh! Ouch! Stop that!" spluttered Ned. "Stop it!"

"That--that wasn't in the show!" stammered Tom, for some of the water
went in his mouth.

"I know it wasn't in it," laughed Jimmie, "but I thought I'd put it in!"

At first Tom and Ned were a little angry, but when each looked at the
other, and saw how funny he was, with half the white and red spots
washed off his face, each one had to laugh.

The audience laughed, too. The water did no harm, for it was a hot day,
and the boys had on old clothes. So they did not mind. But Tom and Ned
decided to play a little trick on Jimmie. So, while he was laughing at
what he had done to them, they suddenly ran at him, caught him, and put
him in the wheelbarrow. Before he could get out they began wheeling him
around the barn floor.

"Now dump him!" suddenly cried Tom, and out shot Jimmie on a pile of
hay. Before he could get up Tom had dashed some water on him.

"Now we're even!" cried Ned. "You're wet, too!"

It was all in fun, and no one minded getting wet. Then the circus went
on. Sue was ridden in the flower-covered wheelbarrow, driving Ned and
Tom. The boys acted like very nice horses indeed, and went slowly or
fast, just as Sue called to them. She had a wreath of daisies on her
hair, and looked like a little flower queen.

After that Bunker Blue and Ben Hall played some music on the mouth organ
and comb, while Bunny and Sue were getting ready to give their little
Punch and Judy show, which they had played once before, back home.

"Why don't you do some of your tricks, Ben?" asked Bunker of the new
boy, when Bunny and Sue were almost ready.

"Oh, I can't do any tricks," said Ben, turning away.

"Yes you can! I guess you know more about a circus than you are willing
to tell; don't you?"

But Ben did not answer, and then the curtain had to be pulled back to
let Bunny and Sue be seen.

I will not tell you about the Punch and Judy show here, as I have
written about it in the first book. Besides, it was not as well done by
Bunny and Sue as was the first one.

Bunny forgot some of the things he should have said, and so did Sue.
Besides, Bunny had no big, red, hollow lobster claw to put over his
nose, to make himself look like Mr. Punch. But, for all that, the show
was very much enjoyed by all, especially the children.

The race on the two rocking horses was lots of fun, and toward the end
one of the boys rocked his horse so much that he fell over, but there
was some straw for him to fall on, so he was not hurt. Up he jumped, on
to the back of his horse again, and away he rode. But the other boy won
the race.

Then Bunny and Sue jumped from some carpenter horses, through hoops that
were covered with paper pasted over them, just like in a real circus.

"Crack!" went the paper as Bunny and Sue jumped through.

"Oh, it's just like real; isn't it, Mother?" called a little girl in the
audience. It was very still when she said this, and everyone laughed so
loudly that Bunny Brown looked around. And, as he did not look where he
was jumping, he tumbled and fell off the saw-horse.

But Bunny fell in a soft place, and as a saw-horse is only made of wood,
like a rocking horse, it did not kick, or step on, the little boy. So
everything was all right.

The performing part of the circus came to an end with a "grand concert."
Bunny, Sue and all the others stood in line and sang a song, while
Bunker Blue played on the mouth organ, and Ben on the paper-covered
comb.

"And now you are all invited to come and see the wild animals!" called
Bunny. "Señorita Mozara will show you the blue striped tiger that does
tricks. Señorita Mozara is my sister Sue," he explained, "but wild
animal trainers all have fancy names, so I made that one up for her."

Everyone laughed at that.

"Right this way, ladies and gentlemen, to see the wild animals!" cried
Sue. Ben Hall had told her what the circus men said, and Sue tried, in
her childish voice, to do it as nearly like them as possible. "Right
this way!" she cried. "You will see the blue-striped tiger--of course
it's only our dog Splash, and he won't hurt you," said Sue quickly, as
she saw some of the little children hanging back.

"He will eat meat from my hand, and stand up on his hind legs. He will
lie down and roll over. This way, everybody!"

Splash did look funny, all striped with bluing as he was. But he did the
tricks for Sue, and everyone thought it was a very nice part of the
circus.

"Over this way is the striped zebra," went on Sue, as she led the way to
where the green-painted calf was shut in a little pen. The men, women
and children were laughing at the queer animal, when something happened.

Splash got out of his cage. Either some one opened the door, or Splash
pushed it open. And as Splash bounded out he knocked over the cage where
the turkey gobbler "elephant" was kept.

"Gobble-obble-obble!" went the turkey, as it flew across the barn.
Children screamed, and some of them backed up against the cage of
roosters, so it broke open and the crowing roosters were loose.

"Baaa-a-a-a!" went the green striped calf, and giving a big jump, out of
the box it came, and began running around, upsetting both Bunny and Sue.

"Oh, the wild animals are loose! The wild animals are loose!" cried a
little girl, while the big folks laughed so hard that they had to sit
down on boxes, wheelbarrows, boards or whatever they could find. It was
very funny.



CHAPTER XIV

BUNNY AND SUE GO SAILING


Certainly all the animals in the circus which Bunny and Sue had gotten
up, were loose, though of course they were not exactly "wild" animals.
The green-striped calf was wild enough when it came to running around
and kicking up its heels, but then calves do that anyhow, whether they
are striped like a zebra or not, so that doesn't count.

"Look out! Look out, everybody!" cried Bunny Brown. For, just then, the
calf, having run to one end of the barn and finding the doors there
closed, had run back again, and was heading straight for the place where
they were all standing.

"Somebody catch him!" cried Ben Hall.

"It would take a cowboy to do that," spoke up Bunker Blue. "A cowboy
with a lasso!"

"I'll catch him! I'll get him!" cried Bunny. "I had a lasso that I was
trying to catch the old rooster with. I'll lasso the calf!"

"No, little man. You'll not do anything of the sort!" exclaimed Mr.
Brown, catching his son up in his arms. "You'd better stay away from
that calf. It would not mean to hurt you, perhaps, but it might knock
you down and step on you."

The calf was now running back and forth, bleating and looking for some
place where it could get out of the barn. For it did not like being in a
circus, though, at first, it had been quiet enough.

Splash thought it was great fun. He ran here and there, barking loudly,
and racing after the calf. The two roosters were crowing as loudly as
they could, fluttering here, there, everywhere. One nearly perched on
top of Grandma Brown's head.

The horses could be heard neighing and stamping about in their stalls.
Perhaps they, too, wanted to join in the fun.

"Oh, dear!" cried Sue. "I don't like this. Let's go out, Bunny."

But with the calf running back and forth in the barn, crossing this way
and that, it was not easy for Bunny, Sue and the others to keep out of
its way.

"I guess I'll have to take a hand in this," said Grandpa Brown. He knew
how to handle cows, horses and calves you see. But there was no need for
him to do anything.

Just then the hired man, who had been milking some of the cows, opened
the barn door to see what all the noise meant. He had a pail of milk in
his hand, and, no sooner had the calf seen this, than the striped
creature made a rush for the hired man.

"Look out!" cried Grandpa Brown.

"Come back here!" cried Sue, to the calf.

Perhaps she thought the calf would mind her, since Sue had been the
make-believe wild animal trainer in the circus. But all the
green-striped calf thought of just then was the pail of milk it saw.

Right at the hired man it rushed, almost knocking him down.

"Here! Here! Look out! Stop it! That milk isn't for you!" cried the
hired man, trying to push the calf to one side.

But the calf was hungry, and it had made up its little mind that it was
going to have that milk. And it did. Before the hired man could stop it,
the calf had its nose down in the pail of nice, warm, fresh milk.

"Let him have it," said Grandpa Brown, with a laugh. "The milk will keep
him quiet, and we folks can get out. The circus is over; isn't it,
Bunny?"

"Oh, yes, Grandpa. But we didn't think the wild animals were going to
get loose. How did you like it?"

"Do you mean how did I like the wild animals getting loose?" asked
Grandpa Brown, with a laugh.

"No, the circus," answered Bunny. "Was it good?"

"It certainly was!" cried his grandfather. "I liked it very much!"

"And so did I," said grandma. "But I was afraid you would be hurt when
you jumped that time, Bunny."

"Oh, that's just a circus trick," Bunny said. "You ought to see Ben
jump. Go on, Ben, show 'em how you can turn over in the air."

"Not now, Bunny. I haven't time. I'm going to help Bunker clean up the
barn."

There were many things to be put away after the circus, for Grandpa
Brown had said if the children used his barn they must leave it neat and
clean when they finished.

By this time the grown people who had come to the circus, and the boys
and girls, too, began to leave. The calf was now standing still,
drinking the milk from the pail. Splash had stopped barking. The two
roosters had gotten out of the barn, and everything was quiet once more.

The circus was over, and everyone said he had had a good time. Some of
the little folks wanted to see it all over again, but Bunny said that
could not be done. The grown folks said Bunny Brown and his sister Sue
were very clever to get up such a nice little show.

"But of course we didn't do it all," explained Bunny, who like to have
others share in the praise. "We never could have done it if grandpa
hadn't let us take his barn, or if Bunker and Ben hadn't helped us. It
was as much their show as it was ours."

"Yes, Bunker and Ben were very good to help you," said Bunny's mother.
"And now I think it is time for you and Sue to wash and get ready for
supper."

"I'd like to have a bigger show, in a tent Some day," said Bunny.

"Yes, that would be nice," agreed Sue.

"Well, if I'd known you wanted a tent instead of my barn, I could have
given you one," said Grandpa Brown.

"Oh, have you really a tent?" asked Bunny, eagerly.

"Yes, it's an old army tent. Not very big, though. When I used to go
camping with some old soldier friends of mine we took it with us. It's
up in the attic now, I guess. But your circus is over, so you won't want
a tent now."

"Maybe we'll have another circus some day," suggested Bunny. "Then could
we take your army tent?"

"Oh, I guess so."

And when Bunny, Sue and the children and the grown folks had left the
barn, Bunker Blue said to Ben Hall:

"Say, it wouldn't be such a bad idea to get up a circus among us big
boys; would it?"

"Yes, it might be fun."

"If Mr. Brown has a tent we could use that, and we might borrow another.
Would you like to do that, Ben?"

"I might."

"Say, look here!" exclaimed Bunker, "why don't you tell us more about
yourself? You know something about a real circus."

"What makes you think so?" Ben asked.

"Oh, because I do. Were you ever in one?"

Instead of answering Ben cried:

"Look out! That plank is going to fall on your foot!"

Ben and Bunker were putting away the boxes and boards that had been used
for seats in the circus. And, as Ben spoke, one of the boards slipped
off a box. Bunker pulled his foot away, but not in time to prevent being
struck by the board.

"Ouch!" he cried, and then he forgot that he had asked Ben about that
boy's having been in a circus. Ben was glad he did not have to answer
that question.

When Bunker and Ben had made the barn look as neat as it was before the
little circus was held, and when the blue stripes had been washed off
Splash, the two big boys sat and talked until supper was ready.

"What do you think about getting up a larger circus?" asked Bunker.

"Why, I guess we could do it," said Ben.

"Are there some big boys around here?"

"Lots of 'em. I've met some since I came here with Bunny, Sue and their
family. We could get the big fellows together, and give a real show, in
a tent."

"Would we have any little folks in it?"

"Well, we'd have Bunny and Sue, of course, because they started this
circus idea. They're real cute; don't you think?"

"They certainly are," agreed Ben. "I like 'em very much. Well, we'll
think about another circus. We'll need a larger tent than the one Mr.
Brown has. Can we get one?"

"I think so. The folks around here used to have a county fair in a tent,
and we might get that. We could charge money, too, if we gave a good
show."

"That would be nice," said Ben, with a laugh. "I'd like to earn some
money."

That night after supper, when Bunny and Sue were getting ready for bed,
after having talked the circus all over again, they heard their
grandfather saying to Daddy Brown:

"I can't make out what sort of boy that Ben Hall is."

"Why, isn't he a good boy?" asked Bunny's father.

"Oh, yes, he's a very good boy. I wouldn't ask a better. He does his
work on the farm here very well. But there is something strange about
him. He has some secret, and I can't find out what it is."

That was all Bunny heard. Sue did not stop to listen to that much. But
Bunny wondered, as he was falling asleep, what Ben's secret was. It was
some time before he found out.

"What are we going to do to-day, Bunny?" asked Sue, as she and her
brother went outdoors, after breakfast next morning.

Bunny did not answer at first. He walked slowly down to the edge of the
little pond where the ducks swam, and there he saw an old barn door
that had been laid down so Grandma Brown would not have to step in a wet
and muddy place when it rained.

"What can we do to have some fun, Bunny?"

Still Bunny did not answer. He went closer to the old door, and then he
suddenly said:

"Sue, we're going sailing!"

"Going sailing?"

"Yep. This will be our ship. All we'll have to do will be to put a sail
on it and we'll sail across the duck pond. Come on."

Bunny found an old bag that had held corn for the chickens. He nailed
this bag to a stick, and fastened the stick up straight in a crack in
the barn door, which lay down flat on the ground. Then he and Sue
managed to get the door in the duck pond, on the edge of which it had
been placed over a mud puddle.

"There!" cried Bunny. "Get on the boat, Sue."

Bunny and Sue, who had taken off their shoes and stockings, stood up on
the big door. It floated nicely with them. A little wind blew out the
bag sail, and away they went.



CHAPTER XV

SPLASH IS LOST


"Bunny! Oh, Bunny! We're sailing! We're sailing!" joyfully cried Sue, as
she felt the barn-door raft moving through the water.

"Of course we're sailing," Bunny answered, as he stood up near the mast,
which is what the stick that holds the sail is called. The mast Bunny
had made was only a piece of a lima bean pole, and the sail was only an
old bag. But the children had just as much fun as though they were in
one of their father's big sail boats.

The duck pond was not very wide, but it was quite long, and when Bunny
and Sue had sailed across it to the other side, they turned around to go
to the upper end.

Bunny had found a piece of board, which he had nailed to another short
length of bean pole, and this made a sort of oar. This he put in the
water at the back of the raft to steer with.

Bunny Brown knew something about steering a boat, for he had often been
out with his father or Bunker Blue. And Bunny was quick to learn, though
he was not much more than six years old.

Harder blew the wind on the bag-sail, and faster and faster went Bunny
and Sue to the upper end of the pond. There were many ducks swimming on
the water, or putting their heads down below, into the mud, to get the
weeds that grew there. Sometimes they found snails, which some ducks
like very much.

But when the ducks saw the barn-door raft sailing among them, they were
afraid, and, quacking loudly, they paddled out of the way.

"Oh, Bunny!" cried Sue, as they sailed along, "there's the little ducks
that were hatched out by the hen mother."

"So they are!" exclaimed the little boy. The little ducks were swimming
in the water, and the hen mother was clucking along shore. She would not
go in the water herself, but stayed as near to it as she dared, on
shore. Perhaps she wanted to make sure the little ducks would not
drown. Of course they would not, unless a big fish pulled them under
water, for ducks are made on purpose to swim. And there were no big fish
in the pond, only little minnows, about half as big as a lollypop stick.

"Oh, Bunny!" cried Sue, as she saw the hen mother watching the little
ducks paddle about, "Oh, Bunny, I know what we can do."

"What?"

"We can give the hen mamma a ride on our boat. Poor thing! She never can
go paddling or swimming with her family. Let's take her on our boat, and
she can sail with her little ducks then, and not get wet."

"That's what we'll do!" Bunny cried. "I'm glad you thought of it, Sue.
We'll give the old hen a sail, and the ducks can paddle around with us."

Bunny steered the raft over to the shore where the hen was clucking
away, calling to her ducklings to come to dry land. Perhaps she thought
they had been in bathing long enough.

"Can we catch her?" asked Sue. "You know it's hard work to catch a
chicken. You couldn't catch the old rooster."

"Oh, this is easier," Bunny said. "The hen mother won't run away from
her little ducks."

And, for a wonder, Bunny was right. But then, as Grandma Brown told him
afterward, the old hen was a very tame one, and was used to being picked
up and petted.

So when Bunny and Sue reached the shore the hen did not run away. She
let Bunny pick her up, and she only clucked a little when he set her
down in a dry place on the door raft.

"Now we'll go sailing again," Bunny said, as he pushed off from the
shore.

The old hen clucked and fluttered her wings. She was calling to her
little ducks. And they came right up on to the raft, too. Perhaps they
wanted to see what sailing was like, and then, too, they may have had
enough of swimming and paddling for a time. At any rate, there the old
mother hen and her little ducks were on the raft, with the two children.

"Now we'll give them a fine ride!" cried Sue. "Aren't they cute,
Bunny?"

"Yes," said Bunny. He steered the raft, while Sue picked up one of the
little ducks and petted it in her hand.

"Oh, you dear, cute, sweet little thing!" murmured Sue. "I wish I had
you for a doll!"

On and on sailed Bunny and Sue, and I think it was the first time the
old hen mother ever went sailing with her family of ducks. She seemed to
like it, too, Bunny and Sue thought.

Finally, when the raft was in the middle of the pond, the little ducks
gave some quacks, a sort of whistle and into the water they fluttered
one after the other.

"Cluck! Cluck! Cluck!" went the hen mamma, fluttering her wings.
"Cluckity-cluck-cluck!"

I suppose that meant, in hen talk:

"Come back! Come back! Stay on the boat and have a nice ride!"

But the little ducks wanted to swim in the water. And they did.

"Never mind," said Sue. "We'll keep on sailing, Bunny, and we'll sail
right after the little ducks, so the hen mamma can watch them."

And this the children did. The little ducks paddled around in the water
at the edge of the raft, and on the middle of it, in a dry place,
perched the hen mother. It was great fun, and Bunny and Sue liked it
very much.

"She is just like a trained hen," said Bunny. "If we have another and
bigger circus, Sue, we can have this hen in it."

"Are we going to have another circus?"

"Maybe--a big one, in two tents. Bunker Blue and Ben are talking about
it."

"Oh, that would be fun!" cried Sue, clapping her hands.

And then, all at once, as soon as Sue did this, the little ducks took
fright, and hurried toward the shore. Perhaps they thought Sue was
shooing them away, as her grandmother sometimes shooed the hens out of
the garden.

Anyhow, the little ducks, half swimming and half flying, rushed for the
shore, and no sooner had the hen mother seen them go, than with a loud
cluck she raised herself up in the air, and flew to shore also. She had
had enough of sailing, and she wanted to be with her little duck
family.

"Oh, I didn't mean to scare them," said Sue.

"Never mind," Bunny comforted her. "I guess they had ride enough. Now
we'll sail down to the other end of the pond."

But the wind was quite strong now. It blew very hard on the bag-sail,
and the raft went swiftly through the water.

All at once there was a cracking sound, and the raft turned to one side.

"Oh, dear!" cried Sue. "What's the matter?"

Something flew down over her head, covering her eyes, and she could see
nothing.

"Stop! Stop!" cried the little girl. "Is that you, Bunny?"

But Bunny did not answer. Sue pulled the thing off her head. When she
could see she noticed that it was the bag sail. The beanpole mast had
broken off close to where it was stuck in a crack in the barn door, and
the sail had fallen on Sue.

But where was Bunny Brown?

Sue looked all around and then saw her brother, off the raft, standing
up in the water behind her.

"What--what's the matter, Bunny?" asked Sue. "Don't you want to sail any
more? What makes you be in the water? Oh, you're all wet!" she cried, as
she saw that he had fallen in, right over his head.

"I--I couldn't help it," said Bunny. "I slipped in when the wind broke
the sail. I--I fell on my back, and a lot of water got in my nose and
mouth, but--but I got on my feet, and I'm all right now, Sue."

Bunny's father had taught him a little about swimming, and Bunny knew
that the first thing to do, when you fall in water, is to hold your
breath. Then, when your head bobs up, as it surely will, you can take a
breath, and stand up, if the water isn't too deep.

So Bunny stood up, with the muddy water dripping from him, looking at
Sue who was still on the raft, all alone.

"Oh, Bunny!" cried the little girl. "What shall I do? I--I'm afraid!"

"You're all right," Bunny answered bravely. "I'll come and push you to
shore. I'm all wet so I might as well stay wading now."

The duck pond was not very deep, and Bunny was soon wading behind the
raft, pushing it, with Sue on it, toward shore. So his sister did not
get more than her feet wet, and, as she had on no shoes or stockings,
that did not matter.

"Oh, Bunny! What happened?" asked his mother, when she saw how wet he
was, as, a little later, the two children came to the farmhouse. "What
happened, Bunny?"

"Oh, Mamma. We gave the old hen a ride, so she could be with her little
ducks," said Sue, "and the wind broke our sail, and it fell on me, and
the ducks flew away and so did the hen mother, and Bunny fell in. That's
what happened!"

"Mercy me, sakes alive! I should think that was enough!" cried Grandma
Brown.

"Yes, perhaps you had better keep away from the duck pond after this,"
said Mother Brown. "Now I'll have to change all your clothes, Bunny."

Bunny was sorry his mother had so much work to do for him, but, as he
said, he could not help it.

Washed and clean, Bunny and Sue, a little later, went down the road to
the house of Nellie Bruce.

"We'll take Splash with us," said Bunny. "Where is he? Here, Splash!
Splash!" he called.

"I didn't see him all to-day," said Sue. "Maybe he didn't like being a
blue-striped tiger in a circus, and he's gone back to our home by the
ocean."

"He wouldn't go that far," said Bunny. "Besides, he liked being in the
circus. He wagged his tail 'most all the while, and when he does that
he's happy. Here, Splash!" he called again.

But Splash did not come, even when Sue called, and the two children went
off to play without him. For a time they did not think about their dog,
as they had such fun at the home of Nellie Bruce. They played tag, and
hide-and-go-seek, as well as teeter-tauter, and bean-bag.

Then Mrs. Bruce gave them some cookies and milk, and they had a little
play-party. But, when it came time for Bunny and Sue to go home, they
thought of Splash again.

"I wonder if he'll be there waiting for us," said Sue, as they came
within sight of their Grandpa Brown's house.

"I hope so," said Bunny.

But no Splash was there, and he had not been seen since early morning,
before Bunny and Sue went sailing on the duck pond.

"Oh, dear!" sighed Sue. "Splash has run away. He's lost!"

"Dogs can't get lost!" Bunny declared.

"Yes, he is too lost," and tears came into Sue's eyes.



CHAPTER XVI

GETTING THE TENTS


Bunny Brown himself thought it was strange that Splash was not about to
greet him and his sister as they came home from play. The big shaggy
dog, that had once pulled Sue from the water, was very fond of the
children, and if he did not go with them (which he did nearly every
time) he was always waiting for them to come back.

But this time Splash was not to be seen. Bunny went about the yard,
whistling, while Sue called:

"Splash! Here, Splash! I want you! Come here, Splash!"

But the joyful bark of Splash was not heard, nor did he come bounding
around the side of the house, to play with Bunny Brown and his sister
Sue, when they called.

"It is queer," said Mother Brown. "I saw him early this morning, when I
gave him his breakfast, and I thought he went with you, Bunny, when you
and Sue went down to the duck pond."

"No, Splash didn't go with us," said Bunny. And this was rather strange,
too, for the dog loved water, and played near it whenever he could,
dashing in to bring out sticks that Bunny or Sue would throw in for him.

"And didn't he go down to Nellie Bruce's with you?" asked Grandma Brown.
She was as fond of Splash as anyone.

"No, he didn't follow us," Sue answered. "We wanted him, too. But we
thought sure he'd be here waiting for us. But he isn't," and again the
little girl's eyes filled with tears.

"Oh, we'll find him," said Bunny.

But that was easier said than done. All about the house and barns in the
farmyard, down through the meadows and over the pasture they looked for
Splash. Mother and Grandmother Brown helped search, but Bunny and Sue,
with Bunker Blue and Ben Hall, went farther off to look. It was nearly
time for supper, but Bunny and Sue did not want to wash and get clean
ready for the meal until they had found Splash.

But Splash, it seemed, was not to the found.

"We'll have to ask some of the neighbors if they've seen him," said
Bunker. "We'll go down the road a way and ask everyone we meet."

Splash, by this time, was pretty well known at the houses along the road
where Grandpa Brown lived, for the dog made friends with everyone, and
was fond of children.

But Bunker, Ben, Bunny and Sue had to ask at a number of places before
they found anyone who had seen Splash.

"Your dog lost; eh?" exclaimed Mr. Black, who lived about a mile from
Grandpa Brown's house. "Why, yes, I saw Splash this morning. He was
running over the fields back of my house. I called to him, thinking you
children might be with him, and there's an old ram, over in my back
pasture, that I didn't want to get after you.

"But Splash wouldn't come when I called to him, and when I saw you two
youngsters weren't with him, I didn't worry about the ram. I knew
Splash could look out for himself."

"Did you see him come back?" asked Bunker.

"No. I didn't notice. I was too busy."

"Then we'll go over and look for him," said Ben. "Maybe the old ram got
him after all."

"Well, maybe he did," said the farmer, "but I guess a dog like Splash
can run faster than a ram. Anyhow we'll have a look."

"Are you going, Bunny?" asked Sue.

"Sure. Aren't you? Don't you want to find Splash?"

"Yes--but--but I don't want a old ram to hook me with his horns."

"I'll take care of you, Sue," said Farmer Black. "I'll take a big stick
with me, and the ram is afraid of that. We'll find Splash for you."

They all went over the field where Mr. Black had seen Splash trotting
early that morning. They saw the ram, who, at first, seemed about to run
toward them. But when Mr. Black shook the stick at him the ram turned
away and nibbled grass.

"No sign of Splash here," said the farmer, as he stood on the fence and
looked across the field.

"Then he's just lost," said Bunny. He was glad the ram had not hurt his
dog. But where could Splash be?

They went on a little farther, and Sue called:

"Splash! Splash! Where are you?"

But there was no answer. Then they went on a little farther, and Bunny
called:

"Splash! Ho, Splash!"

Hark! What was that?

They all listened.

From somewhere, a good way off, the faint barking of a dog could be
heard.

"There he is!" cried Bunker Blue. "That's Splash!"

"Oh, I'm so glad!" cried Sue.

"But why doesn't he come to us?" Bunny asked. "Splash always comes when
you call him. Why doesn't he come?"

No one could answer this. They listened and waited. They could hear the
dog barking, but the sound was as far off as ever.

"Maybe he can't come," said Ben. "Maybe he's caught, or hurt, and can't
walk. We'll have to go to him."

"I guess that's right," said Farmer Black. "We'll find that dog of yours
after all."

They listened in order to tell where the barking came from, and then
started off toward a little grove of trees. It seemed that Splash was
there. And, as they came nearer the barking sounded more plainly.

"Oh, Splash! Splash!" cried Sue.

The dog barked and whined now.

"He's hurt!" said Bunker Blue. "He must be caught in a trap!"

And it was there they found poor Splash.

He had stepped with one paw into a trap that was hidden under the
leaves, and there he was, held fast. For the trap, which was a string
spring one, was fastened by a chain to a heavy log. And as Splash could
not pull the log and trap too, he had had to stay where he was caught.

"Oh, you poor, dear Splash!" cried Sue, putting her arms around the
dog's neck. Splash licked her face with his red tongue, and whined.
Bunny, too, put his arms around his pet.

"Some boy must have set that trap here to catch musk rats," said Farmer
Black. "I've told 'em not to, but they won't mind. Let me see now if I
can't set Splash loose."

This was soon done. The trap was not a sharp one, with teeth, as some
are made, and though one of the dog's paws was pinched and bruised, no
bones were broken, nor was the skin cut. But poor Splash was quite lame,
and could only walk on three legs.

"Splash, what made you run away from home?" asked Bunny.

Of course the dog could not answer. But he may have found some other dog
to play with, and run off to have some fun. Then he had stepped into the
trap, and there he was held until his little friends came to find him.

"And it's a good thing you looked for him," said Bunker Blue, "or he
might have been out here all night, caught in the trap."

"Poor Splash!" said Sue, as she hugged him again.

As Splash could not walk along very well, on three legs, Mr. Black said
he would hitch up a wagon and take the dog, and everyone else, to
grandpa's place. And, a little later, this was done.

Grandpa Brown put some liniment on the sore leg, and bound it up in soft
cloths. Then Splash went to sleep in the kitchen.

"Oh, I'm so glad he isn't lost!" sighed Sue, as she and Bunny went to
bed that night.

"So am I," echoed her brother.

For several days Splash had to go about on three legs, holding the lame
one, with the cloth on, up in the air. Then the pain and bruise of the
trap passed away, and he could run around the same as before, on four
legs, though he limped a little. Soon he was over that, and as well as
ever.

"And you must keep out of traps," said Bunny, shaking a finger at his
pet.

"Bow-wow!" barked Splash, and I guess that he meant he would.

It was about a week after this that Bunny Brown and his sister Sue saw
Bunker Blue and Ben Hall out in a field with a big pile of white cloth.

"Oh, maybe they're going to send up a balloon!" exclaimed Bunny, for he
had once seen this done at a park.

"Let's go watch!" cried Sue.

They found the two big boys stretching out the white cloth, to which was
fastened many ropes.

"Is it a balloon?" asked Bunny.

"No," answered Bunker. "It's a tent."

"A tent! What a big one!"

"It's the army tent your grandfather used to sleep in when he went to
camp. He let us take it. We're going to put it up and see how many it
will hold."

"What for?" Bunny wanted to know. "Are you going camping? Can Sue and I
come?"

"No, we're not going camping," answered Ben. "But we want this tent, and
perhaps another one, bigger, for the circus we are going to give."

"Oh, are you going to have a circus?" asked Bunny.

"Well, we big boys are thinking of it," said Bunker. "You young ones
gave such a good one, that we want to see if we can't come up to you.
That's why we're going to put up this tent."

"We'll help," said Bunny. Then he and Sue began pulling on ropes and
hauling on the ends of the white canvas, of which the tent was made. The
children thought they were helping, but I guess Bunker and Ben could
have done better if left alone. Still they liked the children, and did
not want to send them away.

But Bunny, who had gone away from Sue, soon grew tired of pulling on the
heavy ropes.

"I guess I'll come back when you have the tent up," said the little
fellow. "Come on, Sue," and he looked around for his sister.

But she was not in sight.

"Sue! Sue!" called Bunny. "Where are you?"

"Maybe she's gone home," said Ben.

"No, she wouldn't go without me," Bunny declared. "Oh, maybe she's lost;
or caught in a trap, just like Splash was!" and Bunny began to cry.



CHAPTER XVII

BUNNY AND THE BALLOONS


Bunker Blue, Ben, and some of the large boys from nearby farms, who had
been invited to come over and help put up the big tent, stopped pulling
on the ropes, or driving in stakes, and gathered around Bunny Brown.

"What's the matter?" asked one big boy, who had a snub nose.

"My--my little sister is lost," Bunny explained, half crying.

"Who is your sister?" the big boy asked. He came from a farm a good way
off, and was somewhat of a stranger.

"She's Sue--that's my sister," Bunny explained. "She was here a little
while ago, but now she's lost!"

"This is Bunny Brown," explained Bunker to the other boys. "He and his
sister Sue are staying at Grandpa Brown's farm. Their grandfather let us
take this tent," he said.

"Oh, I see!" exclaimed the big boy. "Well, we'll help you hunt for your
sister, Bunny."

They began looking all around the big tent, which was spread out on the
ground and not yet up on the poles, as it would be later, so the people
could come in it to see the show of the big boys. But Sue was not in
sight. Nor could she be seen anywhere in the field where the tent was to
be put up.

"Are you sure she didn't go back to the house, Bunny?" asked Ben.

"I'm sure she didn't," said the little boy. "She was here with me a
little while ago. If she'd gone she'd have told me so, and Splash would
have gone with her. He goes with her more than he does with me. And see,
here is Splash!"

This was true. The big dog lay in the shade, watching what Bunny and the
others were doing, and wondering, I suppose, why people were so foolish
as to work in hot weather, when they could just as well lie down in the
shade, and stick out their tongues to keep cool--for that is what dogs
do.

"Maybe Splash can find Sue," said Bunker.

"Hi there, Splash!" he called. "Where's Sue? Find her!"

Splash jumped up with a bark, and ran to Bunny.

"You tell him what to do," said Bunker. "He'll mind you better than he
will me."

"Find Sue, Splash! Find Sue!" said Bunny.

Splash barked again, looked up into Bunny's face, as if to make sure
what was wanted, and then, with a bark he ran to where a big pile of the
white canvas was gathered in a heap. It was a part of the tent the boys
had not yet unfolded, or straightened out.

Splash stood near this and barked. Then he began poking in it with his
sharp nose.

"He--he's found something," said Ben.

"Maybe it's Sue," cried Bunker. "Come on!"

Taking hold of Bunny's hand, Bunker ran with him toward the pile of
canvas. The other boys ran too. But before they got there Sue was
sitting up in the middle of it, and Splash was standing near her,
barking and jumping about now and then, as if he felt very happy.

"Why--why, Sue!" Bunny cried. "Were you there all the while?"

"How long is all the while?" asked Sue, rubbing her sleepy eyes. "I was
playing house here, Bunny, and I pulled a bed spread over me, and went
to sleep. Splash put his cold nose on me and woke me up. What are you
all lookin' at me for?" Sue asked, as she saw the circle of boys, her
brother among them, staring at her.

"We--we thought you were lost, Sue," said Bunny. "And we came to find
you."

"I--I wasn't losted at all!" Sue protested. "I was here all the while! I
just went to sleep!"

And that was what had happened. When Bunny was busy helping Ben and
Bunker pull on some of the tent ropes, Sue had slipped off by herself,
and had lain down on the pile of canvas.

Feeling sleepy, she had pulled a part of the tent over her. She made
believe it was a white spread, such as was on her bed in her Grandpa
Brown's house. This covered Sue from sight, so Bunny and none of the
others could see her. And there she had slept, while the others looked.
And had not Splash known where to find the little girl, she might have
slept a great deal longer, and Bunny and the boys might not have found
her until dark.

"But I've slept long enough, now," said Sue. "Is the tent ready for the
big circus?"

"Not yet," answered Bunker Blue. "We've got to use the piece of canvas
you were sleeping on, so it's a good thing you woke up. But we'll soon
have the tent ready, and then we'll go and get the bigger one."

"Oh, are you going to have two?" asked Sue.

"Yes," answered Ben. "Oh, we're going to give a fine show! And we want
you and your sister Sue in it, too, Bunny," went on the strange boy who
had come to Grandpa Brown's so hungry that night. "You'll be in the big
circus; won't you?"

"To give the Punch and Judy show?" asked Sue.

"Well, maybe that, and maybe some of the things you did in your own
little circus," Bunker said. "There's time enough to get up something
new if you want."

"All right. That's what we'll do," said Bunny. "Come on, Sue, and we'll
practise a new act for the big boys' circus."

The little circus, gotten up by Bunny and Sue, had made quite a jolly
time for the people in the country where Grandpa Brown lived. It was
talked of in many a farmhouse, and it was this talk of the little circus
that had made Bunker, Ben and the other big boys want to give a larger
show of their own.

Some of the boys were quite strong, and they could do tricks on the
trapeze that Bunny and his little friends did not dare try. Then, too,
one of the boys had a trained dog, that had once been in a real city
theatre show, and another had some white mice that could do little
tricks, and even fire a toy cannon that shot a paper cap.

"Oh, it's going to be a real circus all right, in real tents," said
Bunker Blue.

As I have told you, Grandpa Brown let the boys take his old army tent,
and they were to have another, and larger one, that had once been used
at a county fair.

Leaving Bunker, Ben and the other big boys to put up their tent, Bunny
and Sue, with Splash, their dog, went back to the farmhouse.

"What trick can we do, Bunny?" asked Sue. "What can we do in the
circus?"

"Oh, we'll make up a surprise, so they'll all laugh," he said. "I wish I
had another big lobster claw, so I could put it on my nose, and look
funny."

"Maybe you could find something else to put on your nose," said the
little girl. "Oh, Bunny, I know!" she suddenly cried. "I've just thought
of something fine!"

"What?" asked Bunny.

Sue looked all around, to make sure no one was listening, and then she
whispered to Bunny. And what it was she told him I'm not allowed to tell
you just now, though I will when the right time comes.

Anyhow, Bunny and Sue were very busy the rest of the day. They were
making something out in the barn, and they kept the doors closed so no
one could see what they were doing.

It was the day after this that Bunny and Sue were asked by their grandma
to go on a little errand for her. It was about half a mile down the
safe country road, to a neighbor's house, and as the two children had
been there before, they knew the way very well.

Hand in hand they set off, with Splash following after them. They walked
slowly, for there was no hurry. Now and then they stopped to pick some
pretty flowers, or get a drink at a wayside spring. Once in a while they
saw a red, yellow or blue bird, and they stopped to watch the pretty
creatures fly to their nests, where their little ones were waiting to be
fed.

"Oh, isn't it just lovely in the country," said Sue. "Don't you just
love it, Bunny?"

"Yes," he answered. "I do. And won't we have fun at our circus, Sue,
when I dress up like a----"

"Hush!" exclaimed the little girl. "Don't tell anyone! It's a secret you
know."

"Pooh! There's nobody here to tell!" laughed Bunny.

In a little while they were at the house of the neighbor to whom Grandma
Brown had sent them. They gave in the little note grandma had written,
and then Mrs. Wilson, to whom it was sent, after writing an answer, gave
Bunny and Sue each a cookie, and a cool glass of milk.

"Sit down in the shade, on the porch, and eat and drink," said Mrs.
Wilson. "Then you will feel better when going home."

Bunny and Sue liked the cookies and milk very much. They were just
eating the last crumbs of the cookies, and drinking the last drops of
milk, when Bunny, looking out toward the road, saw, going past, a man
with a large number of balloons, tied to strings, floating over his
head. There were red balloons, and blue ones; green, yellow, purple,
white and pink ones.

"Oh, look, Sue!" cried Bunny. "The balloons! That's just what we want
for our circus."

"What do we want of balloons?" asked the little girl.

"I mean we ought to have somebody sell them outside the tents," Bunny
went on. "It won't look like a real circus without toy balloons."

"That's so," agreed Sue. "But how can we get 'em?"

"We'll ask the balloon man," said Bunny. He was not a bit bashful about
speaking to strangers.

Setting down his empty milk glass, Bunny ran down the front path toward
the road, where the balloon man was walking along through the dust. Sue
ran after her brother.

"Hey! Hi there!" called Bunny.

The man stopped and turned around. Seeing the two children, he smiled.

"You wanta de balloon?" he asked, for he was an Italian, just like the
one who had a hand organ, and whose monkey ran away, as I have told you
in the book before this one.

"We want lots of balloons," said Bunny.

"Oh, sure!" said the man, smiling more than ever.

"We want all the balloons for our circus," Bunny explained.

"Circus? Circus?" repeated the balloon man, and he did not seem to know
what Bunny meant. "What is circus?" he asked.

"We're going to have a circus," Bunny explained. "My sister Sue says we
must have toy balloons. You come to our circus and you can sell a lot.
You know--a show in a tent."

"Oh, sure! I know!" The Italian smiled again. He had often sold balloons
at fairs and circuses. "Where your circus?" he asked.

"Come on, we'll show you," promised Bunny. Then he and Sue started back
toward Grandpa Brown's house, followed by the man with the balloons
floating over his head--red balloons, green, blue, purple, yellow, white
and pink ones.



CHAPTER XVIII

THE STORM


"Bunny! Won't it be just grand!" whispered Sue to her brother, as they
walked along ahead of the balloon man.

"Fine!" said Bunny. "We'll have him stand outside the tent, and sell his
balloons. It'll look just like a real circus then. It wouldn't without
the balloons; would it, Sue?"

"No. And, oh, Bunny! I've thought of something else."

"What is it?"

"Pink lemonade."

"Pink lemonade?"

"Yes, we'll have the balloon man sell that, and peanuts. Then it will be
more than ever like a real circus."

"But how can he sell pink lemonade and peanuts and balloons?" Bunny
wanted to know.

"Oh, he can do it," said Sue, who seemed to think it was very easy. "He
can tie his bunch of balloons to the lemonade and peanut stand, and when
anybody wants one they can take it and put down the five cents. Then the
balloon man will have one hand to dish out the hot peanuts, and the
other to pour out the pink lemonade."

"Yes, I guess he could do that," said Bunny. "We'll ask him, anyhow.
Maybe he won't want to."

Bunny and Sue stopped and waited for the balloon man to catch up with
them. The man, seeing the children waiting for him, hurried forward, and
stopped to see what was wanted.

"Well?" he asked, looking at his balloons to make sure none of them
would break away, and float up to the clouds.

"Can you sell pink lemonade?" asked Bunny.

"Penk leemonade," repeated the Italian, saying the words in a funny way.
"Whata you calla dat? Penk leemonade?"

"You know--what they always have at a circus," said Bunny. "This color,"
and he pointed to a pink balloon. "You drink it you know, out of a
glass--five cents."

"No can drinka de balloon!" the man exclaimed. "You put your teeth on
heem and he go--pop! so--no good!"

"No, I don't mean that!" cried Bunny, laughing at the Italian, who made
funny faces, and waved his hands in the air. "I mean can you sell pink
lemonade--to drink--at our circus?"

"And peanuts?" added Sue.

"Yes, we'd want you to sell peanuts, too," went on the little boy.

"Ha! Peanuts? No! I used to pusha de peanut cart--make de whistle
blow--hot peanuts. No more! I sella de balloon!" exclaimed the Italian.
"No more makea de hot peanuts!"

"Oh, dear!" sighed Sue. "He won't do it! We'll have to get some one
else, Bunny."

"Well, we can easy do that," said Bunny. "Maybe the hired man will sell
peanuts and lemonade for us. I asked him if he would like to be in the
big circus, and he said he would. I asked him if he could do any acts."

"What'd he say?" Sue wanted to know, while the Italian balloon peddler
stood looking at the two children, as if wondering what they would do
next.

"Well, the hired man said all he could do was milk a cow, and plow up
the ground. He wanted to know if they were circus acts, and I said I
guessed not," replied Bunny. "So maybe he'd be glad to sell lemonade and
peanuts."

"I think he would," said Sue. "You needn't do anything except blow up
your balloons and sell 'em," she went on to the Italian. "Never mind
about the peanuts and the pink lemonade."

"Alla right," said the man, with a smile that showed what nice white
teeth he had. "Me sella de balloon!"

He and the children walked on a little longer. Then the man turned to
Bunny and asked:

"How much farder now--to de circus?"

"Not far now," said Bunny. "The circus isn't quite ready yet, but you
can stay at our grandpa's house until it is. You see we don't get many
balloon peddlers out this way. You're the first one we've seen, so you'd
better stay. It won't be more than a week, or maybe two weeks."

"Circus last all dat time?" asked the Italian. "Sella lot de balloons.
Buy more in New York--sella dem! Mucha de money!"

"We've an aunt in New York," said Sue. "Her name is Aunt Lu. If you sell
all these balloons she'll buy some more for you in New York, so you
won't have to go away."

"Yes," said Bunny, "that would be best. We'll get Aunt Lu to send you
more balloons. And when you haven't any to sell, while you're waiting,
you could help the hired man sell pink lemonade and peanuts. 'Cause,
anyhow, maybe the hired man sometimes would have to go to milk the cows,
and you could take his place."

The Italian shook his head. He did not quite know what Bunny and Sue
were talking about. All he thought of was that he was being taken to a
circus, where he might sell all his balloons, and make money enough to
buy more to sell.

"There's grandpa's house now," said Sue, as they went around a turn in
the road.

"Where de circus--where de tents?" the Italian wanted to know.

"Oh, they're not all up yet," said Bunny. "The big boys are doing that.
You just come with us."

And so Bunny Brown and his sister Sue walked up the front path, followed
by the Italian with the many-colored balloons floating over his head.

"Mercy me! What's all this?" cried Mother Brown, when she saw the little
procession. "What does this mean, Bunny--Sue?"

"It's balloons, for the circus," explained Bunny. "We saw this man down
the road, and we invited him to come with us. He's going to stay here
until it's time for the circus, next week, and then he's going to sell
balloons outside the tent."

"We wanted him to sell pink lemonade and peanuts," said Sue, "but he
wouldn't. So the hired man can do that. Now, Grandma," went on the
little girl, "maybe this balloon man is hungry. We're not, 'cause we
had some cookies and milk; didn't we, Bunny?"

"Yep."

"But he didn't have any," Sue went on. "And he'll have to have a place
to sleep, 'cause he's going to stay to the circus, and sell balloons.
And if he sells them all Aunt Lu will send him more from New York and he
can sell them. Won't it be nice, Mother?"

Mrs. Brown did not know what to say. Neither did Grandma Brown. They
just looked at one another, and then at the Italian, and next at Bunny
and Sue.

"Me sella de balloon!" explained the Italian, as best he could in his
queer English. "Little boy--little gal--say circus. Me likea de circus.
But me no see any tents. Where circus tents?"

"Oh these children!" cried Mrs. Brown. "What in the world are we to do
with this Italian and his balloons?"

"Me sella de balloons!" said the dark-skinned man.

"Yes, I know," sighed Mrs. Brown. "But the circus is only a make-believe
one, and it isn't ready yet, and--Oh, I don't know what to do!" she
cried. "Bunny--Sue--you shouldn't have invited the balloon man to come
here!"

"But you can't have a circus without balloons," said Bunny.

"Yes, my dear, I know, but----"

"What's all the trouble?" asked Papa Brown, coming out on the porch just
then.

Bunny and Sue, their mother and the Italian, told the story after a
while.

"Well," said Mr. Brown, to the Italian, after he had listened carefully,
"I'm sorry you had your trip for nothing. But of course the children did
not know any better. It is only a little circus, and you would not sell
many balloons. But, as long as you came away back here, I guess we can
give you something to eat, and we'll buy some balloons of you for the
children."

"Thanka you. Mucha de 'bliged," said the Italian with a smile.

He seemed happy now, and after Grandma Brown had given him some bread
and meat, and a big piece of pie, out on the side porch, he started off
down the road again, smiling and happy. Bunny and Sue were each given a
balloon by their father, who bought them from the Italian.

"And don't invite any more peddlers to your circus, children," said Mr.
Brown.

"We won't," promised Bunny. "But we thought the balloons would be nice."

"We can have the hired man sell pink lemonade and peanuts; can't we?"
Sue wanted to know.

"Yes, I guess so--if he wants to," laughed Grandpa Brown.

"Well, we have some balloons ourselves, anyhow," said Bunny to his
sister that night.

The children had much fun with their balloons next day. They tied long
threads to them, and let them float high in the air. Once Sue's nearly
got away, but Bunny ran after the thread, which was dragging on the
ground, and caught it.

The big boys had not forgotten about the circus, all this while. Bunker,
Ben and their friends had put up the tent Grandpa Brown let them take,
and Bunny and Sue went inside.

"My! It's terrible big!" said Sue, looking about the white canvas house.
It was not so very large, but it seemed so to Sue.

"Just wait until you see the other," said Bunker. "The fair tent is
three times as big as this."

And so it was. When that was put up in the meadow, near the army tent of
Grandpa Brown's, the place began to look like a real circus ground.

"When are you going to have the show?" asked Bunny of Ben.

"Oh, in a few days now. Have you and Sue made up what you are going to
do?"

"Yes, but it's a secret," Sue answered.

"So much the better!" laughed Ben. "You'll surprise the people."

The two tents were put up, and the big boys were getting ready for the
circus. One night, about four days before it was to be held, Bunker Blue
and Ben came in from where they had been, down near the tents, and
looked anxiously at the sky.

"What's the matter," asked Bunny.

"Well," said Bunker, "it looks as if we would have a big rain storm.
And if we do, and the meadow brook gets too full of water, it may wash
the tents away."

"Oh, I guess that won't happen," said Ben.

But in the night it began to rain very hard. It thundered and lightened,
and Bunny and Sue woke up, frightened. Sue began to cry.

"Why, you mustn't cry just because it rains," said Mother Brown.

"But I'm afraid!" sobbed Sue. "And it will wash away our circus tents!"
and she sat up in bed, and shivered every time it thundered. "Oh,
Mother! It will wash away all the nice circus tents!"



CHAPTER XIX

HARD WORK


Mrs. Brown did not quite understand what Sue said about the storm
washing away the circus tents. So she asked the little girl to explain.

"Why, Bunker Blue said," Sue told her mother, "that if the storm was too
hard, the brook would get full of water, and wash away our circus tents.
And I don't want that, 'cause me and Bunny is going to do an act, only
it's a secret and I can't tell you. Only--Oh, dear!" cried Sue, as she
saw a very bright flash of lightning. "It's going to bang again!"

"But you musn't be afraid of the storm," said Mother Brown. "See, Bunny
isn't afraid!"

"Yes, I _is_ afraid too!" cried the little boy, who slept in the next
room. "I _is_ afraid, but I wasn't goin' to tell!"

"Well, that's being brave--not to show that you are afraid," said Mother
Brown. "Come now, Sue, you be brave, like Bunny."

"But I can't, Mother! I don't want the circus to be spoiled!"

"Oh, I guess the tents are good and strong," said Mr. Brown, who had
gotten up to see what Sue was crying for. "They won't blow away."

It was about eleven o'clock at night, and quite dark, except when the
lightning came. Then the loud thunder would sound, "just like circus
wagons rumbling over a bridge," as Bunny told Sue, to try and make his
little sister feel less afraid.

But all Sue could talk of was the circus tents, that might be blown over
by the strong wind, which was now rattling the shutters and windows of
the farmhouse. Or else the white canvas houses might be washed away by
the high water.

While Mr. and Mrs. Brown sat up, trying to comfort Sue, by telling her
and Bunny a fairy story, there were sounds heard in another part of the
house.

"I guess that's Grandpa Brown getting up to see if his cows and horses
are all right," said mother. "The cows and horses are not afraid in a
storm, Sue."

"Maybe they are, but they can't talk and tell us about it," said Sue,
who was not quite so frightened now.

Grandpa Brown could be heard speaking to some one in the hall.

"Hello, Bunker Blue," he called, "is that you getting up?"

"Yes, Mr. Brown," was the answer the children heard.

"And who is that with you?"

"Ben Hall."

"What are you going to do?" Bunny Brown heard his grandpa ask.

"We're going down to see about our circus tents," said Bunker. "We're
afraid they may be carried away in the storm."

"Well, perhaps they may," said Grandpa Brown. "It's a bad storm all
right, but we'll be safe and comfortable in the house. Take a lantern
with you, if you're going out, and be careful."

"We will," promised Bunker.

Bunny put on his slippers and bath robe and went to the bedroom door. It
was open a little way, and out in the hall he could see Bunker Blue and
Ben Hall. The two big boys had on rubber boots and rubber coats, for it
was raining hard.

"Oh, Bunker!" called Bunny. "May I go with you?"

"What, little shaver! Are you awake?" Bunker asked. "You'd better get
back to bed. It's raining cats and dogs!"

"Really?" called Sue, from her father's lap, where she was sitting all
"cuddled up." "Is it really raining cats and dogs? Is it raining my dog
Splash? If it is I want to see it!"

"No, I didn't exactly mean that," answered Bunker with a laugh. "I meant
it was raining such big drops that they are almost as large as little
baby cats and dogs. But it is storming too hard for you two youngsters
to come out. Ben and I will see about the tents."

"Don't let them blow away!" begged Bunny.

"Or wash down the brook," added Sue.

"We won't!" promised the big boys.

Then they went out into the storm. The wind was blowing so hard they
could not carry umbrellas, for if they had taken them the umbrellas
would have been blown inside out in a minute. But with rubber hats,
coats and boots Bunker and Ben could not get very wet.

Bunny and Sue, looking from their windows, saw the flicker of the
lantern, as Bunker and Ben walked with it toward the circus tents.

Harder rumbled the thunder, and brighter flashed the lightning. The rain
pounded on the roof as though it would punch holes in it, and come
through to wet Bunny and Sue. But nothing like that happened, and soon
the two children began to feel sleepy again, even though the storm still
kept up.

"I--I guess I'll go to bed," said Sue. "Will you stay by me a little
while, Daddy?"

"Yes," answered her father. "I'll sit right by your little bed."

"And hold my hand until I get to sleep?"

"Yes, I'll hold your hand, Sue."

"All right. Then I won't be scared any more. You can hold Bunny's hand,
Mother."

"Pooh, I'm not afraid!" said Bunny. "But I like you to hold my hand,
Mother!" he added quickly, for fear his mother would go away and leave
him.

"All right, I'll sit by you," she said, with a smile.

Bunny and Sue soon fell asleep again. The thunder was not quite so loud,
nor the lightning so bright, but it rained harder than ever, and as
Bunny felt his eyes growing heavy, so that he was almost asleep, he
again thought of what might happen to the circus tents.

"If they wash away down the brook, we can't have any show," he thought.
"But maybe it won't happen."

Bunny roused up a little later, when some one came into the farmhouse.
The little boy thought it was Bunker and Ben, but he was too sleepy to
get up and ask. He heard some one, that sounded like his grandpa, ask:

"Did they wash away?"

Then Bunker's voice answered:

"Yes, they both washed away. It's a regular flood down in the meadow.
Everything is spoiled!"

"I wonder--I wonder if he means the circus?" thought Bunny, but he was
too sleepy to do anything more, just then, than wonder.

In the morning, however, when the storm had passed, Bunny Brown and his
sister Sue heard some bad news. After breakfast Bunker and Ben came in
and Bunker said:

"Well, little folks, I guess we can't have any circus!"

"No circus!" cried Bunny, and he was so surprised that he dropped his
fork with a clatter on his plate, waking up Splash, the big dog, who was
asleep in one corner of the room.

"Why can't we have a circus?" asked Sue. She and Bunny had almost
forgotten about the storm the night before.

"We can't have a circus," explained Bunker, "because both our tents were
washed away during the night. The brook, that is generally so small that
you can wade across it, was so filled with rain water that it was almost
turned into a river. It flooded the meadow, the water washed out the
tent poles and pegs, and down the tents fell, flat. Then the water rose
higher and washed them away."

"Where did it wash them?" asked Bunny.

"Oh, away down toward the river, I guess. I'm afraid we'll never get 'em
back."

"It's too bad," said Ben. "Just when we were all ready for the nice
circus. But, Bunker, we won't give up yet. We'll look for those tents,
and maybe we can put them up again."

"Well, maybe we can do it," said the red-haired boy. "But I'm afraid
everything is spoiled."

"We'll help you look for the tents," said Bunny. "Won't we, Sue?"

"If--if the water isn't too deep," said Sue. She was always afraid of
deep water, though she, like Bunny, was learning to swim.

"Oh, the water isn't deep now," Bunker assured her. "It was a regular
flood in the night when Ben and I went out to look at it, but it has all
gone down now, since the rain stopped."

"Was it deep when you were out last night?" Bunny wanted to know.

"It surely was," answered Bunker. "It was almost over our boots. We
couldn't get near the tents, and we had to watch them be knocked down
by the flood, and carried away on the big waves. Then we came back to
the house."

"We couldn't do anything in the dark, anyhow," remarked Ben. "But now
that it's daylight maybe we can find the tents."

"We'll help--come on!" exclaimed Bunny to his sister.

They finished their breakfast, and, after promising to keep out of
mischief, Bunny and Sue were allowed to go with Bunker and Ben to look
for the missing tents.

First they went down to the meadow where the white canvas houses had
been first put up. The brook was higher than Bunny or Sue had ever seen
it before, and the bent-over, twisted and muddy grass showed how high up
in the meadow the water had come. There were some wooden pegs still left
in the ground, to show where the tents had stood.

"And now they're gone," said Bunny sadly.

"Yes. Carried away in the flood," remarked Bunker.

"But maybe we'll find them," said Ben hopefully.

They walked along the bank of the brook. About a mile farther on it
flowed into a small river.

"And if our tents have floated down the river we may never get them
back," said Bunker. "Now everybody look, and whoever first sees the
white tents, caught on a stone or on a log, tell us, and we'll try to
get them," said Bunker.

You may be sure Bunny and Sue kept their eyes wide open, and were very
desirous to be the first to see the tents. It was Sue who had the first
good look.

As she and Bunny, with Ben, Bunker and some other big boys who had come
to help, went around a turn in the brook, Sue, who had run on ahead, saw
something white bobbing up and down in the water.

"Oh, there's a tent--maybe!" she cried.

The others ran to her side.

"So it is!" shouted Bunker. "That's the small tent, caught fast on a
rock in the brook. We'll get that out first!"

He and the other boys took off their shoes and stockings, and waded out
to the tent. It was hard work to get it to shore, but they finally
managed to do it. The tent was wet and muddy, and torn in two places,
but it could be dried out, mended and used.

"And now for the big tent--see if _you_ can find that, Bunny!" called
Ben.

But Bunny was not as lucky as was his sister Sue. After they had walked
on half a mile farther, it was Bunker himself who saw the big tent,
caught on a sunken tree, just where the brook flowed into the river.

"Now if we get that we'll be all right," he said.

"Yes, but it isn't going to be as easy to get that as it was the little
one," commented Ben Hall. "We'll have to work very hard to get that tent
to shore."

"I'll help," offered Bunny Brown, and the other boys laughed. Bunny was
so little to offer to help get the big tent on shore.



CHAPTER XX

THE MISSING MICE


The big tent, once used at the fair, but which the boys had now borrowed
for their circus, was all tangled up in the water. The ropes and cloth
were twisted and wound around among the sticks and stones, where the
tent had drifted, after the flood of the night before had carried it
away.

"Oh, we'll never get that out so we can use it," said Charlie Tenny, one
of the boys who was helping Ben, Bunker and the others.

"Yes, we'll get it out," said Ben. "We've got Bunny Brown to help us you
know."

Some of the boys laughed, and Bunny's face grew red.

"Now I mean just what I say!" cried Ben. "Bunny Brown is a brave little
chap, and if it hadn't been for him and his sister Sue we big fellows
wouldn't have thought of getting up a circus show. So it's a good thing
to have a chap like him with us, even if he is small."

Bunny felt better after this, and he thought Ben was very kind to speak
as he had done.

"Splash is here, too," said Bunny. "He can get hold of a rope and pull
like anything."

"That's right," said Bunker Blue. "Maybe Splash can help us. He is a
strong dog."

"It's a good thing the tent didn't go all the way down to the river,"
said Charlie. "Otherwise we might never have found it."

"Yes," put in Bunker. "And now let's see if we can get it to shore. It's
not going to be easy."

The boys worked hard, and Bunny helped. He could wade out, where the
water was not too deep, and pull on the ropes. There were a great many
of these ropes to hold the tent together, but now they were all tangled.

But Ben Hall seemed to know how to untangle them, and soon the work of
getting the tent to shore began to look easier. Splash did his share of
work, too. He pulled on the ropes Bunker Blue handed him, shutting his
strong, white teeth on them, and straining and tugging until you would
have thought that Splash, all alone, would pull the tent ashore.

And, finally, with all the boys and the dog and Bunny Brown pulling and
tugging, they got the tent out of the water. It was still all twisted
and tangled, but now that it was on shore it was easier to make smooth.

"We'll have to get a wagon to haul it back to the meadow where we are
going to set it up again," said Bunker.

"My grandpa will let us take a horse and wagon," said Bunny. "He wants
to see the circus."

"I guess we'll have to give him a free ticket if he lets us take a horse
and wagon to haul the tent," said Ben with a laugh. "You've a good
grandpa, Bunny Brown."

"Yep. I like him, and so does Sue," said the little fellow.

Grandpa Brown very kindly said he would go down to the river himself, in
his wagon, and help the boys bring up the tent. He did this, and he also
helped them set it up again. This time they put the two circus tents
farther back from the brook.

"Then if it rains again, and the water gets high and makes a flood, it
won't wash away the tents," said Bunker Blue.

"When is the show going to be?" asked Sue. She was anxious to see it,
and she and Bunny were waiting for the time when they could let their
secret become known. For they had told no one yet.

"Oh, we'll have to wait a few days now, before having the circus," said
Ben. "The tents are all wet, and we want them to dry out. Then we've got
to make the seats all over again, because the flood carried them away. I
guess we can't have the show until next week."

There was much more work to be done because the flood had come and
spoiled everything. But, after all, it did not matter much, and the boys
set to work with jolly laughs to get the circus ready again.

Bunny and Sue helped all they could, and the older boys were glad to
have the children with them, because both Bunny and Sue were so
good-natured, and said such funny things, at times, that it made the
others laugh.

The seats for the circus were made of boards, laid across boxes, just as
Bunny and Sue had made theirs when they gave their first Punch and Judy
show in their barn at home.

There were seats all around the outer edge inside the big fair tent. It
was in this one that the real "show" was to be given. Here the big boys
would swing on trapezes, have foot and wheelbarrow races, ride horses
and do all sorts of tricks.

"The people will sit here and watch us do our funny things," said Ben.
"We're going to have clowns, and everything."

"And what's going to be in the little tent--the army one grandpa let you
take?" asked Bunny.

"Oh, that's for the wild animals," said Bunker Blue.

"Are you going to have our dog Splash striped like a blue tiger again?"
asked Sue.

"No, I think we'll have some different wild animals this time," said
Ben. "There'll be some surprises at our show."

"Oh, I wish it were time now!" cried Sue.

"We've got a surprise too; haven't we, Bunny?"

"Yep!" answered her brother. "Come on out to the barn, Sue and we'll
practise it again."

What it was Bunny and Sue were going to do, none of the big boys could
guess. And they did not try very hard, for they had too much to do
themselves, getting ready for the "big" circus as they called it, for
the first one, gotten up by Bunny and Sue, was only a little one.

So the smaller tent was made ready for the "wild" animals, though of
course there would really be no elephants, tigers or anything like that.
You couldn't have them in a boys' circus, and I guess the boys didn't
really want them. "Make-believe" was as much fun to them as it was to
Bunny and Sue.

There was nice, clear weather after the storm and flood, and soon the
circus tents were dried out again. The boards were once more put across
the boxes for seats.

One day Bunker and Ben went into the big tent. There they saw Bunny and
Sue tying some pieces of old carpet on to some of the planks down near
the front sawdust ring. For there was a real sawdust ring, the sawdust
having come from grandpa's ice-house.

"What are you putting carpet on the planks for?" asked Ben, of the two
children.

"To make preserved seats," answered Sue.

"Reserved seats, Sue. _Re_served--not _pre_served seats, Sue," corrected
Bunny.

"Well, it's just the same, 'most," said Sue, as she went on tying her
bit of carpet to a board. "We're making some nice, soft reserved seats
for grandpa and grandma, and mother and daddy."

"Oh, I see!" laughed Bunker. "That's a good idea. We can make soft seats
for the ladies, Ben. We'll get some more pieces of old carpet and have a
lot of reserved seats."

And this the big boys did. Bunny and Sue, little as they were, had given
them a good idea.

And now began the real work of getting ready for the circus. That is the
boys began taking into the smaller tent queer looking boxes and crates.
These boxes and crates were covered with cloth or paper, so no one
could see what was in them.

"What are they?" asked Sue, as she and Bunny stood outside the smaller
tent, for Bunker would not let them go inside.

"Oh, those are some of the wild animals," said the red-haired boy.

"Really?" asked Sue, her eyes opening wide.

"Well--really-make-believe," laughed Bunker.

"And are the white mice there?" asked Bunny.

"Yes, the white mice are in the tent," said Bunker.

One of the country boys, who had a lot of white mice had promised to
lend them to the circus. He had taught them to do some little tricks,
and this was to be a part of the show.

"Oh, I can hardly wait!" cried Sue. "I want to see the circus."

"Well you can now, in a day or so," said Bunker. "Hi there! What have
you?" he asked of a boy who came up to the tent with a box on a
wheelbarrow.

"This is the wild lion," was the answer.

"Oh-o-o-o-o!" exclaimed Sue, getting closer to Bunny. "A lion!"

"Oh, I've got him well trained," said the boy. "He won't hurt you at
all. He won't even roar if I tell him not to."

Certainly the lion in the cage seemed very quiet, and the boy carried
him very easily.

"I guess maybe he's a baby lion," whispered Sue to Bunny.

That afternoon there was a great deal of excitement down at the "circus
grounds," as Bunny and Sue called the place in the meadow where the
tents stood.

One of the boys who had been helping Bunker and Ben, came running out of
the tent crying:

"They're gone! They're gone!"

"What's gone?" asked Ben.

"My white mice! The cage door is open and they're all gone!"



CHAPTER XXI

THE BIG CIRCUS


Bunny Brown and his sister Sue looked at one another. If the white mice
had escaped from the circus tent, some of the other animals might also
get away. And suppose that should happen to the lion, which Ben had said
was in one of the boxes! Just suppose!

"I--I guess we'd better go home, Bunny," said Sue, in a whisper.

"Yes," he answered. "I--I guess mother wants us. Come on!"

"What's the matter?" asked Bunker Blue. "I thought you were going to
stay and help us, Bunny."

"I--I was. But if those mice got away--"

"Oh, I see!" laughed Bunker Blue. "You're afraid some of the other
animals might also get out. But don't be afraid. We haven't any of the
other wild beasts in here yet."

"But that--that lion," said Bunny, looking toward the animal tent.

"Oh, he's asleep," said Ben. "Besides he wouldn't hurt anyone even if he
was out of his cage. You needn't be afraid. He's the only animal, except
the mice, that we've put in the tent yet. But how did your mice get out,
Sam?" he asked the boy who owned them.

"I don't know. They were all right last night, but, when I went to feed
them this morning, the cage door was open, and they were all gone."

"Will--will they bite?" asked Sue.

"No, they're very tame and gentle," answered Sam. "White mice and white
rats, you know, aren't like the other kind. I guess being colored white
makes them kind and nice. They run all over me, in my pockets and up my
sleeves. Sometimes they go to sleep in my pockets.

"Why, even my mother isn't afraid of them, and she'll let them go to
sleep in her lap, and she wouldn't do that for a black mouse or a black
or gray rat. No sir!"

"No, I guess not!" exclaimed Bunker. "Other rats and mice would bite.
But it's too bad your white ones are gone. We'll have to find them. We
can't have a good circus without them. Everybody help hunt for Sam's
lost mice!" cried Bunker.

"I--I know how to get them," said Sue.

"How?" Sam wanted to know. He and the others, including Bunny and Sue,
had gone inside the tent to look at the empty mouse cage.

"With cheese," answered Sue. "Don't you know the little verse: 'Once a
trap was baited, with a piece of cheese. It tickled so a little mouse it
almost made him sneeze.' And when your mices sneeze, when they smell the
cheese, you could hear them, and catch them, Sam."

"Yes, maybe that would be a good plan," laughed Bunker Blue. "But do
your mice like cheese, Sam?"

"Yes, they'll eat almost anything, and they'll take it right out of my
hand. Oh dear! I hope they come back!"

Sam felt very bad, for he had had his white mice pets a long time, and
had taught them to do many little tricks.

"We'll all help you look for them," said Ben. "Did you ever teach any of
them the trick of opening the cage door?" he asked.

"No," replied Sam. "I don't believe they could do that, for the door was
fastened on the outside, and white mice haven't paws like a trained
monkey. Maybe I didn't fasten the cage door good last night."

"Oh, Bunny!" cried Sue. "Wouldn't it be fun if we could send and get Mr.
Winkler's monkey Wango for our circus? Wouldn't it?"

"Yes, maybe it would," replied Bunny. "But I don't guess we could do it.
Come on, Sue, I'm going to look for the white mice."

"All right," Sue said. Maybe some little girls would be afraid of mice,
white, black or gray. But Sue was not. Perhaps it was because she knew
Bunny was going to be with her. Then, too, Sue was very anxious to have
the circus as good as it could be made, and if the mice were missing
some of the people who came might not like it. So Sue and Bunny said
they would help hunt for the lost white mice.

With the big boys, the children looked all around the animal tent. The
ground had been covered with straw, and the mice might be hiding in
this, or among the boxes and barrels in the tent. But, look as every one
did, the mice were not to be found.

"What's in that box?" asked Sue, pointing to one covered with a horse
blanket.

"That's the lion," answered Bunker Blue. "But don't be afraid," he went
on, as he saw Sue step to one side. "He's asleep now. Besides he can't
hurt anyone. You'll see, when we have the circus."

No one knew where the white mice had gone. Even Splash could not find
them, though both Bunny and Sue told their dog to look for Sam's pets.

"I guess Splash isn't a rat dog," said Ben.

"No, and I'm glad he isn't," Sam said. "Rat dogs might think white mice
were made for them to shake and kill, just as they shake and kill the
other kind of rats and mice. I'd rather lose my white mice, and never
see them again, than have them killed."

But, even though the white mice were missing, the circus would go on
just the same. And now began a busy time for all the big boys. The show
would be given in two more days, and there was much to be done before
that time.

Sam and Bunker Blue had painted some signs which they tacked up on
Grandpa Brown's barn, as well as on the barns of some of the other
farmers. Everybody was invited to come to the circus, and those who
wanted to could give a little money to help pay for the hire of the big
tent. Many of the farmers and their wives said they would do this.

One by one the animal cages, which were just wooden boxes with wooden
slats nailed in front, were brought into the animal tent. They were put
around in a circle on the straw which covered the ground.

In the other tent the boys had made a little wooden platform, like a
stage. They had put up trapezes and bars, on which they could do all
sorts of tricks, such as hanging by their hands, by their heels and even
by their chins.

No one except themselves knew what Bunny and his sister Sue were going
to do. The children had kept their secret well. They had asked their
grandma for two old bed sheets, and she had let them take the white
pieces of cloth. Bunny and Sue were making something in the harness room
of the barn, and they kept the door shut so no one could look in.

It was the night before the circus, and Bunny and Sue had gone to bed.
They were almost asleep when, in the next room, they heard their mother
call:

"Oh, Walter!" exclaimed Mrs. Brown to her husband. "There's something
under my bed. I'm sure it's one of the animals from the boys' circus! Do
look and see what it is!"

"Oh, it can't be anything," said Mr. Brown. "All the animals are shut up
in the tent. Besides, they are only make-believe animals, anyhow."

"Well, I'm sure _something_ is under my bed!" said Mrs. Brown. "I heard
it move. Please look!"

Mr. Brown looked. Sue and Bunny wondered what it was their papa would
find. They heard him say:

"Oh, it's nothing but a piece of white paper. You heard it rattle in the
wind. Come and see for yourself."

Bunny and Sue heard their mother cross the room. She stooped down to
look under the bed. Then she cried:

"Oh, Walter! It's alive! It isn't paper at all. It's coming out!"

"Why, so it is!" said Mr. Brown. "I wonder what--?"

Then Mrs. Brown screamed, and Mr. Brown laughed.

"Oh, it's a mouse! It's a rat! It's a whole lot of mice!" said Bunny's
mother.

"Yes, it's a whole lot of mice, and they're white!" said Mr. Brown with
a jolly laugh. "Hurrah! We've found the lost white mice from the boys'
circus! You needn't be afraid of them!"

Mrs. Brown did not scream any more. She was not afraid of white mice.
Bunny and Sue ran into the room where their mother and father were.
There they saw their father picking up the white mice in his hands, and
petting them. The mice seemed to like it.

"Oh, where did you find them?" cried Bunny.

"Under our bed," his mother said.

"Oh, how glad Sam will be!" said Sue. "Now we can have the circus all
right."

And so the white mice were found. They had gotten out of their cage in
the tent, and had, somehow or other, found their way to the farmhouse.
There they had hid themselves away, until that night when they came out
into Mr. Brown's room.

"Well, I'm glad they are found," said Mrs. Brown. "Give them something
to eat, and put them in a box until morning."

This Mr. Brown did, after Bunny and Sue had held in their hands the
queer pets, which had such funny pink eyes.

"I want to see them do some tricks," said Sue.

"Sam can hitch them to a little cart and drive them," said Bunny. "He
told me so."

The mice were put safely away ready for the circus the next day, and
soon the house was quiet, with everyone asleep.

The sun was brightly shining. There was just enough wind to make it
cool, and the weather was perfectly fine for the circus. Bunny, Sue,
Bunker and Ben were up early that morning, for there was still much to
do.

Sam, the boy who owned the white mice, came over to ask if his pets had
been found. And when told that they were safe in a box down in the
cellar, he was very happy indeed.

"I must put them back in their cage, and let them practise a few of
their tricks," he said. "They may have forgotten some as they have been
away from me so long."

Bunny and Sue had to get their things ready. They were to have a little
place in the big tent to dress and get ready for their act. They were
the smallest folks in the circus, and everyone was anxious to see what
they would do.

On the big, as well as on the little, tent the boys had fastened flags.
Some were the regular stars and stripes of our own country, and other
flags were just pieces of bright-colored cloth that the boys' mothers
had given them. But the tents looked very pretty in the bright and
sparkling sunshine, with the gay banners fluttering.

Just as in a real circus, the people who came were to go first into the
animal tent, and from there on into the one with the seats, where they
would watch the performance.

Soon after dinner the farmers and their wives, with such of their
children who were not taking part in the show, began to come.

"Right this way to see the wild animals!" called Ben Hall, who was
making believe he was a lion tamer. "This way for the wild animals! Come
one! Come all!"

The people crowded into the small tent. All around the sides were wooden
boxes, with wooden slats. These were the "cages."

"Now watch the trained white mice!" cried Ben. "The big circus is about
to begin!"

"Over this way! Over this way!" cried Sam, as he stood on a box with his
trained white mice in their cage in front of him. "Right this way to see
the wonderful trained white mice, which escaped from their cage and were
caught by brave Mr. Brown and his wife!"

Everyone clapped and laughed at that.

Then Sam made his pink-eyed pets do many tricks. They ran up his arms to
his shoulders, and sat on his head. Some of them jumped over sticks, and
others through paper-covered hoops, like the horse-back riders in a real
circus. One big white mouse climbed a ladder, and two others drew a
little wagon, in which a third mouse sat, pretending to hold the reins.
One big white mouse fired a toy cannon, that shot a paper cap.

Then Sam made his mice all stand up in a line, and make a bow to the
people.

"That ends the white mice act!" cried Sam. "We will now show you a wild
lion. But please don't anybody be scared, for the lion can only eat
bread and jam, and he won't hurt you."

"What a funny lion--to eat bread and jam," laughed Sue.

"Hush!" exclaimed Bunny. "He's going to take the blanket off the cage."

Everyone looked to see what sort of wild lion there was in the circus.



CHAPTER XXII

BUNNY'S BRAVE ACT


"Now, ladies and gentlemen, as well as boys and girls," began Ben Hall,
who was a sort of ring-master, in the play-circus, "I am about to show
you that this lion does really eat bread and jam, and that he is a very
kind and gentle lion indeed, though he can roar. Roar for the people!"
cried Ben, shaking the horse blanket that was hung in front of the
"lion's cage."

The next second there came such a real "roar," that some of the smallest
children screamed.

"Don't be afraid!" cried Ben. "He won't hurt you. I will now raise the
curtain, and you can see the lion."

Slowly he pulled aside the blanket. And then everyone laughed--that is
they did after a few seconds. For at first it did look like a real lion
in the box.

He had a real tail, and a big, shaggy mane, and his mouth was wide open,
showing his red tongue and his white, sharp teeth. But when you looked a
second time you saw that it was only the skin of a lion, which had been
made into a rug for the parlor. And it was Tom White, one of the boys
with whom Bunny played, who was pretending to be a lion, with the skin
rug pulled over him, and the stuffed head over his head.

Underneath the open mouth of the lion peered out Tom's smiling face, and
as he looked through the wooden slats of the cage Ben put in a piece of
bread and jam, which Tom ate as he knelt there on his hands and knees.

"See! I told you this was a kind and gentle lion, and would eat bread
and jam," announced Ben. "I will now have him roar for you again, ladies
and gentlemen. Roar, lion, roar!"

But instead of roaring, Tom, for a joke, went:

"Meaou! Meaou! Meaou!" just like a pussy cat.

Of course everyone laughed at that. The idea of a big, savage lion
meaouing like a kitten! Tom had to laugh and then he couldn't pucker up
his lips to meaou any more.

"Ladies and gentlemen, as well as boys and girls," went on Ben. "We will
now pass to the next cage. This is a real wild animal. He has sharp
teeth, so do not go too close to his cage. He is the wild chicken-eater
of the woods!"

"Oh, I wonder what that can be?" whispered Sue.

"We'll see in a minute," Bunny answered. The two children, as well as
the other boys who were to take part in the show in the big tent later
on, were now following the crowd around to see the animals.

"Behold the wild chicken-eater of the woods!" cried Ben, as he pulled
aside a blanket from another wooden box-cage.

This time there was a sort of snarl and bark. It was so real that
everyone knew this was a real animal, and not a boy dressed up in a skin
or fur rug. Some of the little children tried to run out of the tent.

"Don't be afraid!" called Ben. "He can't get loose. There he is!"

He pulled the blanket aside and there everyone saw a small reddish
animal, as big as a dog, with a large, bushy tail, a sharp pointed nose,
and very bright eyes.

"What is it?" asked Sue. "Oh! what is it?"

"It's a fox," answered her brother. "I once saw one in the real circus
where grandpa found his horses the Gypsies took."

"Yes, it is a fox," said Ben. "And a fox just loves to eat chickens and
live in the woods."

"Where did you get him," Bunny asked.

"Oh, one of the boys caught him in a trap, and saved him for the circus.
He is going to tame him, but the fox is quite wild yet."

And indeed the fox was. For he jumped about, and tried to bite and
scratch his way out of the cage. But the wooden bars were too strong for
him.

The people who had come to the circus gotten up by the big boys, stood
for some time looking at the fox, which was a real wild animal. Some of
the farmers, though they had lived in the country all their lives, had
never seen a fox before.

"Now, if you will come down this way!" said Ben, as he started toward a
place in the tent that had been curtained off, "I will show you our
trained bear."

"Oh, is it real?" asked Sue.

"You'll see," said Ben, who seemed to know how to talk and act, just
like a real ring-master in the circus.

Ben stood in front of the little corner of the tent, that was curtained
off, so no one could see what was behind it.

"Are you all ready in there?" Ben called, loudly.

"Yes, yes, all ready!" was the quick answer. And the voice did not sound
like that of any of the boys from the nearby farms.

"Oh, I didn't know a bear could talk," cried Sue, and everyone laughed,
for the tent was very still and quiet just then, and Sue's voice was
heard all over.

"That wasn't the bear talking," said Ben. "It was his trainer. The man
who makes the bear do tricks you know."

"Oh, is it a trick bear?" Sue asked.

"Yes," answered Ben.

"A real truly one?" Bunny wanted to know.

"You'll see in a minute," Ben told her. "All ready now, Signore
Allegretti! We are going to have you do some tricks with your trained
bear!"

With that Ben pulled aside the curtain, and there stood a real, live,
truly, big brown bear, and with him was a man wearing a red cap. The man
had hold of a chain that was fastened to a leather muzzle on the bear's
nose.

"Oh! Oh! Oh!" cried the children.

"Why, he's real!" gasped Sue.

"Of course he's real!" laughed Ben.

"He's just like the bear the man had out in front of grandpa's house
last week, doing tricks," said Bunny.

A man had gone past Grandpa Brown's house with a trained bear, and he
had stopped to make the big, shaggy animal do some tricks. Bunny and Sue
had given the man pennies, and Grandma Brown gave him something to eat.
The man gave part of his bread and cake to the bear.

"This is the same man," said Ben. "When I saw him, I thought he and his
bear would be just the thing for our circus. So I asked him to come back
to-day and give us a little show on his own account. And here he is. He
came last night and stayed in the barn so no one would see him until it
was time for the circus. I wanted him for a surprise."

"Well, he is a surprise," said Bunny. "I didn't think it was a _real_
bear."

"Let's see him do some tricks!" called a boy.

"All right. He do tricks for you," promised the man with the red cap.
"Come, Alonzo. Make fun for the children. Show dem how you laugh!"

The bear, who was named Alonzo, opened his mouth very wide, and made
some funny noises. I suppose that was as near to laughing as a bear
could come.

[Illustration: THERE STOOD A REAL, LIVE, TRULY, BIG BROWN BEAR

_Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue Playing Circus. Page 211._]

"Now turn a somersault!" cried the bear's trainer, and the big, shaggy
creature did--a slow, easy somersault. Then he did other tricks, such as
marching like a soldier, with a stick for a gun, and he pretended to
kiss his master. Then the bear danced--at least his master called it
dancing, though of course a big, heavy bear can not dance very fast.

"Now climb a pole!" cried the bear's master. "Climb a pole for the
little children, and they will give us pennies to buy buns."

There was a big pole in the middle of the animal tent, and the bear
trainer led the animal toward it.

"I make him climb dis!" he said.

"Is the pole strong enough to hold him?" asked Grandpa Brown. "The bear
is pretty heavy, I think."

"Oh, dat pole hold him! I make Alonzo climb very easy," the Italian
bear-trainer said. "Up you go, Alonzo!"

The bear stuck his long sharp claws in the pole. It was part of a tree
trunk, for the regular tent pole had been broken when the tent was
carried away in the flood.

Up and up went the bear, until he was half way to the top. The children
looked on with delight and even the old folks said it was a good trick.

And then, all of a sudden, something happened. The big centre pole,
half way up which was the bear, began to tip over. Some of the ropes
that held it began to slip, because they were not tied tightly enough to
hold the pole and the bear too.

"Look out!" called Daddy Brown. "The tent is going to fall! Run out
everybody!"

"They haven't time!" said Grandpa Brown. "The tent will come down on our
heads."

Bunny Brown stood right beside one of the ropes that held up the pole.
Bunny saw the rope slipping, and he knew enough about ropes and sails to
be sure that if the rope could be held the pole would not fall.

"I've got to hold that rope!" thought Bunny. Then, like the brave little
fellow he was, he reached forward, and grasped the rope with both hands.
He knew he could not hold it from slipping that way, however, so he
wound the rope around his waist as he had seen his father's sailors do
when pulling in a heavy boat. With the rope around his waist, brave
Bunny found himself being pulled forward as the pole swayed over more
and more, with the bear on it.



CHAPTER XXIII

BEN DOES A TRICK


"Look out!"

"Run, everybody!"

"Somebody help that little boy hold up the pole! He's doing it all
alone!"

"Oh, Bunny! Bunny Brown! You'll be hurt!"

It was Bunny's mother who called this last. It was some of the farmers
in the circus tent who had shouted before that, not seeming to know what
to do. Daddy Brown and grandpa were hurrying from the other side of the
tent to help Bunny hold the rope.

The pole was slowly falling, the tent seemed as if it would come down,
and the Italian was calling to his bear. As for the bear, he seemed to
think that he ought to climb higher up on the pole. He did not seem to
mind the fall he was going to get.

Bunny Brown, small as he was, knew what he was doing. He had seen that
the rope, which help up the pole, ran around a little wooden wheel,
called a pulley. If he could stop the rope from running all the way
through the pulley, the pole would not fall down, and the tent would
stay up.

"And if I keep the rope tight around my waist, the end of it can't get
over the pulley wheel," thought Bunny. He had often seen sailors do this
with his father's boats, when they slid down the steep beach into the
ocean.

And then, all of a sudden, Bunny found himself jerked from his feet. He
struck against the bottom of the tent pole, and his side hurt him a
little, but he still held to the rope about his waist.

"The pole has stopped falling! The pole has stopped falling!" some one
cried.

"Yes, and Bunny stopped it!" said Sue. "Oh, Bunny, are you hurted?"

Bunny's breath was so nearly squeezed out of him that he could not
answer for a moment. But his mother had reached him now. So had Daddy
Brown, his grandpa and some other men. In another moment the rope that
held up the big pole was unwound from Bunny's waist and made fast to a
peg in the ground.

"Now the pole can't fall!" said Grandpa Brown. "We're safe now!"

"Is--is the tent all right?" asked Bunny, as his father picked him up in
his arms.

"Yes, brave little boy. The tent is all right! You stopped it from
falling on the people's heads."

"And the bear--is the bear all right?" asked Bunny. From where his
father held him Bunny could not see the shaggy creature.

"Yes, the bear is all right," answered Mr. Brown. "He is coming down the
pole now."

"That bear is too big and heavy to climb the tent pole," said Grandpa
Brown. "He is too fat. But it's lucky Bunny grabbed that rope."

"I--I saw it slipping," said Bunny, "and I--I just grabbed it!"

The bear came to the ground, and made a low bow, as his master had
taught him to do. The tent pole was now made tight and fast, and the
circus could go on again. Some of the ladies, with their little boys and
girls, who had run out of the tent when they thought it was going to
fall, now came back again.

"The show in the animal tent is now over," said Ben Hall. "We invite
you, one and all, into the next tent where we will do some real circus
tricks."

"And there's preserved seats for grandpa and grandma, and daddy and
mother!" called out Sue, so clearly that everyone heard her. "The
preserved seats have carpet on," said Sue.

"Reserved seats, Sue, not preserved," said Bunny in a shrill whisper,
and everyone who heard him laughed.

Into the big tent, with its rows of seats around the elevated stage and
sawdust ring the people walked. They were still laughing at the funny
sights they had seen, the lion, made from a parlor rug, with a boy
inside it. And they were talking about Bunny's brave act, in stopping
the pole of the tent from falling down.

"You and Sue go and get ready for what you are to do," whispered Bunker
Blue to the two children. "I'll tell you when it's your turn to come out
on the stage."

"All right," answered Bunny. "Come on, Sue. Now's the time for our
secret."

He and Sue went into a little dressing room that had been made
especially for them. It was a part of the big tent, curtained off with
blankets.

In this little room Bunny and Sue, earlier in the day, had taken the
things they needed to do their "trick." You will soon learn what it was
they had kept secret so long.

It took some little time for all the people to take their places in the
"preserved" seats, as Sue called them. Daddy Brown and his wife, and
grandpa and grandma were given places well down in front, where they
could see all that went on.

"The first act!" cried Ben Hall, "will be some fancy riding on a horse,
by Ted Kennedy! Come on, Ted!" he called.

"Oh, Ben's dressed up like a real clown!" called Bunny to Sue, as they
looked out between their blanket curtains, and saw what was going on.
Ben had made himself a clown suit out of some calico. With a pointed cap
on his head, and his face all streaked with red and white chalk, he
looked just like a real clown in a real circus. Ben and some of the
others had "dressed up," while the people were taking their seats in the
big tent.

"Oh, look, Bunny!" cried Sue. "It's a real horse Ted is riding!"

And so it was. When Ben called for the first act, in came Ted riding on
the back of one of his father's farm horses. Ted wore an old bathing
suit, on which he had sewed some pieces of colored rags, and some small
sleigh bells, that jingled when he danced about on the back of the
horse. For the horse was such a slow one, with such a broad back, that
there was no danger of Ted's falling off.

Around and around the sawdust ring rode Ted. Now he would stand on his
hands, and again on his feet. Then he would sit down and ride backwards.
Finally, when the horse was going a little faster Ted jumped off, jumped
on again, and then turned a somersault in the air.

[Illustration: OUT CAME BUNNY, THE SCARECROW BOY, AND SUE, THE
JACK-O'-LANTERN GIRL. _Page 224._

_Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue Playing Circus._]

"Wasn't that great, Bunny?" cried Sue, who was watching.

"It sure was. But hurry up, or we'll be late."

The people clapped and laughed as Ted rode out of the ring after his
act. Then came more of the circus tricks. Two of the bigger boys
pretended they were an elephant. One was the hind legs and tail and the
other boy was the front legs and trunk. The boys were covered with a
suit of dark cloth, almost the color of an elephant, and when they
walked around the ring it was very funny. Then a little boy was given a
ride on the "elephant's back." He liked it very much.

Two other boys pretended they were horses, with long bunches of grass
for tails. Each one took a smaller boy on his back, and then these "boy
horses" raced around the sawdust ring.

Two of the girls were dressed up like real circus ladies, one in a pink,
and the other in a blue dress, made from mosquito netting. They sat on
sawhorses, which Bunker Blue got from the village carpenter shop. And
though the sawhorses could not run, or gallop, or even trot, the girls
pretended they could, and they had such a funny make-believe race that
everyone laughed. The girls even jumped through paper hoops, just as the
real riders do in a circus.

Then there was a wheelbarrow race between two boys, each of whom had to
push another boy around the tent. All went well until one of the clowns
put a pail of water in front of one of the wheelbarrows. Over this pail
the boy stumbled, and he and the one he was wheeling got all wet.

But it was only in fun, and no one minded. There were several boys who
did fancy tricks on the trapeze bars. They hung by their arms and legs,
and "turned themselves inside out," as Bunny called it.

Other boys did some high and broad jumping, while Bunker Blue pretended
he was the big strong giant man, who could lift heavy weights. But the
weights were only empty pasteboard boxes, painted black to look like
iron. Bunker pretended it was very hard to lift them, but of course it
was easy, for they were very light.

One boy, Tommie Lutken, did a very good trick though. He walked on a
tight rope stretched from one end of the tent to the other. This was a
real trick, and Tommie had practised nearly two weeks before he could do
it. He walked back and forth without falling. But when the people
clapped, and wanted him to do it again, Tommie did not do so well. He
slipped and fell, but he did not get hurt.

"Now, Bunny and Sue, it's your turn!" called Ben to them, when he came
out of the ring, after having done some funny clown tricks. "Are you all
ready?"

"All ready!" answered Bunny. "Come on, Sue."

Out of their dressing room the children came, and when the people saw
them they laughed and clapped their hands. For Bunny was dressed like a
scarecrow out of a cornfield, with a suit of such ragged and patched
clothes on that it is a wonder they did not fall off him. He had a black
mask, cut out of cloth, over his face, and he held his arms and legs
stiff, just as the wooden and straw scarecrow does in the cornfield.

And Sue! You'd never guess how she was dressed.

She was a Jack-o'-lantern. She and Bunny had scooped the inside out of a
big yellow pumpkin, and had made it thin and hollow. Then they had cut a
hole in the bottom, made eyes, a nose and mouth, and Sue put the pumpkin
over her head.

From her shoulders to her feet Sue was covered with an old sheet, and as
she walked along it looked just as if a real, Hallowe'en Jack-o'-lantern
had come to life.

Out on to the wooden platform of the circus tent went Bunny, the
scarecrow boy, and Sue, the Jack-o'-lantern girl. They made little bows
to each other, and then to the audience, and then they did a funny
dance, while Bunker Blue played on his mouth organ.

"Say, isn't that just fine of our children?" whispered Mother Brown.

"It certainly is," said Daddy.

Up and down the platform danced Bunny and Sue. They were the smallest
ones in the circus, and everyone said they were just "too cute for
anything."

There were many more tricks done by the boys in the tent, and the circus
was a great success. Ben and the other clowns made lots of fun. They
threw water on one another, beat each other with cloth clubs, stuffed
with sawdust, which didn't hurt any more than a feather.

"And now I will do my great jumping trick!" called Ben, "and then the
show will be over. I am going to jump over fourteen elephants and ten
camels."

At the end of the tent was a long board, which sprang up and down like a
teeter tauter. It was called a spring-board, and some of the boys had
made their jumps from it, turning somersaults in the air, and falling
down in a pile of soft hay.

Ben asked some of the boys to stand in a line at the end of the spring
board.

"I'll just pretend these boys are elephants and camels," said Ben, "as
it's hard to get real camels and elephants this summer. But I will now
make my big jump."

Ben went to the far end of the spring board. He gave a run down it, and
then jumped off the springy end. Up in the air he went, and, as he shot
forward, over the heads of the boys standing in a line, Ben turned first
one, then two, and then three somersaults in the air.

"Oh, look at that!"

"Say, that's great!"

"How did he do it?"

"He must be a regular circus performer!"

"Do it again! Do it again!"

Everyone was shouting at once, it seemed. Ben landed on a pile of soft
hay. He stood up, made a low bow, and kissed his hand to the audience,
as performers do in the circus.

A strange man, who had come into the circus a little while before,
started toward Ben Hall. Ben stood there bowing and smiling until he saw
this man.

"Come here a minute, Ben. I want to talk to you," said the man.

But Ben, after one look at the stranger, gave a jump, crawled under the
tent and ran away, all dressed as he was in the clown suit.

"Why--why! What did he do that for?" asked Bunny Brown, very much
surprised.



CHAPTER XXIV

BEN'S SECRET


Everyone was looking at the place where Ben Hall had slid out under the
edge of the tent and run away. Why he had done it no one knew.

Then all eyes were turned toward the strange man who had come into the
tent just in time to see Ben's big jump, and his three somersaults. The
man was a stranger. No one seemed to know him.

This man stood for a moment, also looking at the place where Ben had
slipped under the tent. Then he cried out:

"Well, he's got away again! I must catch him!"

Then the man ran out of the tent.

"What is it all about?" asked Mother Brown. "Is this a part of the
circus, Bunny?"

But Bunny did not know; neither did his sister Sue. They were as much
surprised as anyone at Ben's strange act. And they did not know who the
man was, at the sight of whom Ben had seemed so frightened.

"I'll see what it's about," said Grandpa Brown.

He hurried out of the tent, but soon came back again.

"Ben isn't in sight," Grandpa Brown said, "and that queer man is running
across the fields."

"Is he chasing after Ben?" asked Bunny.

"Well, he may be. But if I can't see Ben, I don't see how the man can,
either. I don't know what it all means."

"Maybe the man was a Gypsy," said Sue, "and he wants to catch Ben, same
as the Gypsies took grandpa's horses."

"Gypsies don't take boys and girls," said Mrs. Brown. "Besides, that man
didn't look like a Gypsy. There is something queer about it all."

"I always said that boy, Ben, was queer," asserted Grandpa Brown. "He
has acted queerly from the time he came here so hungry. But he was a
good boy, and he worked well, I'll say that for him. I hope he isn't in
trouble."

"Will he--will he come back?" Sue wanted to know.

"I don't know, my dear," answered her grandfather. "I hope so."

"I hope so, too!" declared Sue. "I like Ben."

"He ran as soon as he saw that man," observed Bunker Blue.

"Did he ever tell you anything about himself?" asked Mr. Brown. "You
were with Ben most of the time, Bunker."

"No, sir, he never told me anything about himself. But he seemed to know
a lot about circuses. I asked him if he was ever with one, but he would
never tell me."

"Well, I don't know that we can do anything," said grandpa. "If Ben
comes back we'll treat him right, and if he is in trouble we will help
him. But, since he is gone, there is no use trying to find him."

The circus was over. The boys who had brought their pets to the show
took them home again. It was now late afternoon, and Grandpa Brown said
the boys could leave the tents up until next day, as there was no sign
of a storm.

"You can take them down then," he said to Bunker Blue. "My tent we'll
store away in the barn, until Bunny and Sue want to give another circus.
The big fair tent can also be taken down to-morrow and put away. But
everyone is too tired to do all that work to-night."

That evening, in grandpa's farmhouse, after supper, nothing was talked
of but the circus, and what had happened at it. Everyone said it was the
best children's circus they had ever seen.

"But poor Ben!" exclaimed Bunny. "I wonder where he is?"

"Did he have his supper?" asked Sue.

No one knew, for Ben had not come back. It was dark now. The cows and
horses had been fed. The chickens had had their supper, and gone to
roost long ago. Bunny, Sue and all the others had had a good meal. But
Ben was not around. Everyone felt sad.

"I wonder why he ran away," pondered Bunker Blue, over and over again,
"I wonder why he ran away, as soon as he saw that man."

No one knew.

Early the next morning Bunny Brown and his sister Sue arose and came
down stairs to breakfast.

"Did Ben come back?" was the first question they asked.

"No," said Grandma Brown. "He didn't come back."

"Oh, dear!" sighed Sue.

"It's too bad!" said Bunny. Then he crooked and wiggled one of his fat
little fingers at Sue. She knew what that meant. It meant Bunny had
something to whisper to her.

"What is it?" she asked, when grandma had gone out into the kitchen to
get some more bread and butter.

"Hush! Don't tell anyone," whispered Bunny. "But we'll go and look for
him and bring him back."

"Bring who back?"

"Ben Hall. We'll go look for him, Sue."

"But we don't know where to find him."

"We'll take Splash," announced Bunny. "Splash likes Ben, and our dog
will find him. We'll go right after breakfast."

And as soon as they had brushed their teeth, which they did after each
meal, Bunny Brown and his sister Sue started out to find Ben Hall, who
had run away from the circus the day before.

Bunny and Sue did not want to go very far away from grandpa's house.
They, themselves, had been lost a number of times, and they did not want
this to happen again. But they thought there would be no harm in just
walking across the meadow where Ben had last been seen. From the meadow
grandpa's house was in plain sight, and if Bunny and Sue did not stray
into the wood, which was at the further side of the meadow, they could
not lose their way.

"I hope we can find Ben," said Sue.

"So do I," echoed Bunny. "Come on Splash, find Ben!"

The big dog barked and ran on ahead.

Bunker Blue, and some of the boys who had helped get up the circus,
were now taking down the big tent. It was to be folded up, put on a
wagon, and taken to the town hall where it was kept when not in use.

"I'm going to be a circus man when I grow up," said Bunny, as he looked
back, and saw the white tent fluttering to the ground, as the ropes
holding it up were loosened.

"I'm not," said Sue. "I--I'd be afraid of the wild animals. I'm just
going to ride in an automobile when I get big."

"You can ride in mine," offered Bunny. "I'm going to have an automobile,
even if I am a circus man."

Over the meadow went the two children and Splash their dog, looking for
Ben Hall. But they did not see him, nor did they see the strange man who
had run after him out of the tent. Bunny and Sue went almost to the
patch of woodland. Then they turned back, for they did not want to get
lost.

"I guess we can't find him," said Bunny sadly.

"No," agreed Sue. "Let's go back."

When the children reached grandpa's house again, the big tent was down,
and Bunker and the other boys were gone. They were taking the tent back.
The smaller tent--the one Grandpa Brown had loaned--was still up.

"Let's go in it and rest," said Bunny. "We can make believe we are
camping out."

"All right," agreed Sue.

Into the tent they went. All the wooden boxes, that had been used as
cages for the make-believe wild animals, had been taken out. There was
only some straw piled up in one corner.

"Watch me jump!" cried Bunny. He gave a run and landed on something in
the pile of soft straw. Something in the straw grunted and yelled. Then
some one sat up. Bunny Brown rolled over and over out of the way.

"Oh! Oh!" cried Sue. "What is it?"

But she did not need to ask twice. She saw a big boy, dressed in a funny
clown's suit, standing up in the straw. Bunny was now sitting up, and
he, too, was looking at the clown.

"Why--why," said Sue, "It's Ben! It's our Ben!"

"So it is!" cried Bunny.

"Yes," answered Ben, rubbing his eyes, for he had been asleep in the
straw when Bunny jumped on him. "Yes, I've come back. I stayed in the
field, under a haystack all night, but I couldn't stand it any longer. I
had to come back."

"What'd you run away for?" asked Bunny.

"Because I was afraid he'd catch me," Ben answered.

"Do you mean that--that man," whispered Bunny.

"Yes."

"He isn't here," said Sue. "Did you stay in this tent all the while,
Ben?"

"No, Sue. I ran across the field when I saw that man looking at me,
after I made my big jump. I ran over to the woods and hid. Then, when it
got dark, I crept back and hid under the hay stack. A little while ago,
when I saw Bunker and the other boys drive away with the big tent, I
came back here. I'm awfully hungry!"

"We'll get you something to eat," said Sue. "Won't we, Bunny?"

"Sure we will. But come on up to the house, Ben. That man isn't there,
and we won't let him hurt you. What's it all about, anyhow?"

"I guess I'll have to tell your folks my secret," Ben answered.

"Oh, have you a secret, too?" asked Sue, clapping her hands. "How nice!"

"No, it isn't very nice," said Ben. "But I guess I will go and ask your
grandmother for something to eat. I'm terribly hungry!"

Holding the hands of Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, Ben, the strange
boy, who had been so queerly found under the straw in the tent, walked
toward grandpa's house.

"Well land sakes! Where'd you come from?" asked Grandma Brown, as she
saw him. "And such a looking sight! You look as if you'd slept in a barn
all night!"

"I did--almost," said Ben, smiling.

"Well, come in and get that clown suit off you," said Mrs. Brown. "Then
tell us all about it. What made you run away?"

"I was afraid that man would get me," said Ben.

"Why should he want to get you?" asked Daddy Brown.

"Because I ran away from his circus where I used to do tricks," Ben
answered. "That's my secret. I used to be a regular circus performer,
but I couldn't stand it any longer, and I ran away. I didn't want you to
know it, so I didn't tell you. But that man, who came into the tent when
I was doing the same jump I used to do in the regular circus--that man
knew me. I thought he had come to take me back, and I didn't want to go.
So I ran away."

"You poor boy!" said Grandma Brown.

There came a knock on the door, and when Mrs. Brown opened it there
stood the same man from whom Ben had run away the day before.

"Oh, you're back again I see!" said the man.

Ben dropped his knife and fork on his plate, and looked around for a
place to hide. Everyone was silent, waiting for what would happen next.



CHAPTER XXV

BACK HOME AGAIN


"Now don't be afraid, Ben," said the man. "I'm not going to hurt you."

"Are you--are you going to make me go back to the circus?" Ben asked
slowly.

"Not unless you want to go, though we want you back with us very much,
for we have missed you," the man replied.

"I'll not go back to be beaten the way I was!" cried Ben. "I can't stand
that. That's why I ran away."

"You can just stay with us; can't he Mother?" pleaded Sue. "He can work
on grandpa's farm with Bunker Blue."

"What does all this mean?" asked Grandpa Brown of the strange man who
had knocked at the door. "Are you after Ben?"

"Yes, sir, I am after Ben," was the answer, and the man smiled. "I have
been looking for him for a long time, and I am glad I have found him. I
will take him back with me if he will come, and I will make him a
promise that he will no more be whipped. I never knew anything about
that until after he had run away from my circus."

"Did you really do that, Ben?" asked Bunny. "Run away?"

"Yes. That was where I came from that night I begged a meal here--a
circus. But I'll go back, for I like being in a circus, if I'm not
beaten."

"Tell us all about it," said grandpa.

"I will," answered the man. "My name is James Hooper. I own a small
circus, with some other men, and we travel about the country, giving
performances in small towns and cities. This boy, Ben Hall, has been in
our show ever since he was a baby. His father and mother were both
circus people, but they died last year, and Ben, who had learned to do
many tricks, and who knew something about animals, was such a bright
chap that I kept him with us. I was going to make a circus performer of
him."

"And I wanted very much to be one--a clown," said Ben. "But the head
clown was so mean to me, and whipped me so much, that I made up my mind
to run away, and I did."

"I don't know that I blame you," said Mr. Hooper. "I never knew that you
had such a hard time. I supposed you ran away just for fun, and I tried
to find you. I asked about you in all the places where we stopped, but
no one had seen you."

"I have been here ever since I left your show," explained Ben. "I like
it here, but I like the circus better. How did you find me?"

"Well, our circus is showing in a town about three miles from here,"
said Mr. Hooper. "Over there, in that town, I heard about a little
circus some boys and girls were getting up here, and--"

"Bunny and I got up the circus first," said Sue, "and then the big boys
made one, but we acted in it."

"I see!" laughed Mr. Hooper. "Well, I heard about your circus over here,
so I came to ask if any of you had seen Ben. I walked into the tent, and
there I saw him doing the jump and somersaults he used to do in our
tent. I knew him right away, but before I could speak to him he ran
away.

"I ran after him, hoping I could tell him how much we wanted him back,
but I could not catch up to him. So I went back to my circus, and made
up my mind I'd come back here again to-day. I'm glad I did, for now I've
found you, Ben."

Ben told Mr. Hooper, just as he had told Bunny and Sue, about sleeping
all night out in the field, under a pile of hay, and then of creeping
back to sleep in the tent.

"Well, do you want to come back with me, or stay here on the farm?"
asked Mr. Hooper. "I'll promise that you'll be well treated, Ben, and
the head clown, who was so mean to you, isn't with us any more. You
won't be whipped again, and you'll have a chance to become a head clown
yourself."

"Then I'll come back with you," said the circus boy. "I'm very much
obliged to you, for all you've done for me," he said to Grandpa Brown
and Grandma Brown, "and I hope you won't be mad at me if I go away."

"Not if you think it best to go," said grandpa. "You have been a good
boy while here, and you have more than earned your board. I don't like
to lose you, but if you want to be a clown, the circus is the best place
for you."

"All his folks were circus people," said Mr. Hooper. "And when that's
the case the young folks nearly always stay in the same business. Ben
will make a good clown when he grows up, and he will be a good jumper,
too."

"I'm going to be a circus man," said Bunny. "Can I be in your show, Mr.
Hooper?"

"Well, we'll see about that when you get a little older. But you and
your sister can come and see our circus, any time you wish, for nothing.
I watched you two do your scarecrow and pumpkin dance, and you did it
very well."

Bunny Brown and his sister Sue were pleased to hear this.

"Yes, it was a pretty good circus for young folks to get up all by
themselves," said Grandpa Brown. "But how soon do you have to take Ben
away with you, Mr. Hooper?"

"As soon as I can, Mr. Brown. Our show is going to move on to-night,
and I'd like to have Ben back in his old place if you can let him go."

"Oh, yes," said Grandpa Brown. "He can go. I hope you'll be happy, Ben."

"I'll look well after him, and he shall have no more trouble," said Mr.
Hooper. Then Ben told what a hard time he had after he ran away from the
circus. He had to sleep in old barns, and under hay-stacks, and he had
very little to eat. And when he came to grandpa's house he did not tell
that he had run away from the show, for fear some one would make him go
back to the bad clown who beat him.

But everything came out all right, you see, and Ben was happy once more.
Of course, Bunny and Sue felt sorry to have their friend leave them, but
it could not be helped.

"But we'll be going back home ourselves pretty soon," said Daddy Brown.

Bunker Blue and Ben Hall shook hands and said they hoped they would see
each other again.

"And to think," said Bunker, "that you were from a circus all the time,
and never told us! But I sort of thought you were, for you knew so much
about ropes, and putting up tents, making tricks and acts and pretend
wild animals, and all that."

"Yes," answered Ben with a laugh, "sometimes it was pretty hard not to
do some of the other tricks I had learned in the circus. I didn't want
you to find out about me, but the secret came out, anyhow."

"Just like ours about the scarecrow and the pumpkin!" laughed Bunny
Brown. "Wasn't ours a good secret?"

"It certainly was!" cried Mother Brown.

That night Ben Hall said good-bye to Bunny, Sue and all the others, and
went back to the real circus with Mr. Hooper.

"I wonder if we'll ever see him again?" asked Bunny, a little sadly.

"Perhaps you will," said his father.

The vacation of Bunny and Sue, on grandpa's farm was at an end. In a few
days they were to go back to their home, near the ocean.

"Oh, but we have had such fun here; haven't we, Bunny?" cried Sue.

"Indeed we have," he said. "Jolly good fun!"

"I wonder what we'll do next?" Sue asked.

"I don't know," answered her brother.

But, as I happen to know, I'll tell you. Bunny and Sue went on another
journey, and you may read all about it in the next book in this series,
which will be named: "Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue at Aunt Lu's City
Home."

In that book I'll tell you all the funny things the little boy and girl
saw, and did, when they were in the big city of New York. It was quite
different from being on grandpa's farm in the country.

One morning, about two weeks after the play-circus had been given, and
Ben Hall had gone back to the real show, to learn to be a clown, Bunker
Blue brought the great big automobile up to the farmhouse.

"All aboard!" cried Bunker. "All aboard for Bellemere and Sandport Bay!
Come on, Bunny and Sue!"

Into the automobile, that was like a little house on wheels, climbed
Bunny and Sue. Mr. and Mrs. Brown also got in. Bunker sat on the front
seat to steer. There were good things to eat in the automobile, and the
little beds were all made up, with freshly ironed sheets, so when night
came, everyone would have a good sleep. Splash sat up on the front seat
with Bunker.

"Good-bye! Good-bye!" called Bunny and Sue, waving their hands out of a
window.

"Good-bye!" answered grandma and Grandpa Brown.

"Good-bye!" called the hired man.

"Bow-wow!" barked Splash.

"Chug-chug!" went the automobile, and, after a safe and pleasant
journey, Bunny Brown and his sister Sue safely reached home, ready for
new fun and fresh adventures which they had in plenty. And so we will
all say good-bye to them.


THE END


       *       *       *       *       *


THE BUNNY BROWN SERIES


By LAURA LEE HOPE

Author of the Popular "Bobbsey Twins" Books

       *       *       *       *       *

Wrapper and text illustrations drawn by

FLORENCE ENGLAND NOSWORTHY

       *       *       *       *       *

12mo. DURABLY BOUND. ILLUSTRATED. UNIFORM STYLE OF BINDING

       *       *       *       *       *

These stories by the author of the "Bobbsey Twins" Books are eagerly
welcomed by the little folks from about five to ten years of age. Their
eyes fairly dance with delight at the lively doings of inquisitive
little Bunny Brown and his cunning, trustful sister Sue.

Bunny was a lively little boy, very inquisitive. When he did anything,
Sue followed his leadership. They had many adventures, some comical in
the extreme.

BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE
BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE ON GRANDPA'S FARM
BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE PLAYING CIRCUS
BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT CAMP REST-A-WHILE
BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT AUNT LU'S CITY HOME
BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE IN THE BIG WOODS
BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE ON AN AUTO TOUR
BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AND THEIR SHETLAND PONY
BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE GIVING A SHOW
BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT CHRISTMAS TREE COVE

       *       *       *       *       *

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK



THE GIRLS OF CENTRAL HIGH SERIES


By GERTRUDE W. MORRISON

       *       *       *       *       *

12mo. BOUND IN CLOTH. ILLUSTRATED. UNIFORM STYLE OF BINDING.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here is a series full of the spirit of high school life of to-day. The
girls are real flesh-and-blood characters, and we follow them with
interest in school and out. There are many contested matches on track
and field, and on the water, as well as doings in the classroom and on
the school stage. There is plenty of fun and excitement, all clean, pure
and wholesome.


THE GIRLS OF CENTRAL HIGH

Or Rivals for all Honors.

     A stirring tale of high school life, full of fun, with
     a touch of mystery and a strange initiation.


THE GIRLS OF CENTRAL HIGH ON LAKE LUNA

Or The Crew That Won.

     Telling of water sports and fun galore, and of fine
     times in camp.


THE GIRLS OF CENTRAL HIGH AT BASKETBALL

Or The Great Gymnasium Mystery.

     Here we have a number of thrilling contests at
     basketball and in addition, the solving of a mystery
     which had bothered the high school authorities for a
     long while.


THE GIRLS OF CENTRAL HIGH ON THE STAGE

Or The Play That Took the Prize.

     How the girls went in for theatricals and how one of
     them wrote a play which afterward was made over for the
     professional stage and brought in some much-needed
     money.


THE GIRLS OF CENTRAL HIGH ON TRACK AND FIELD

Or The Girl Champions of the School League

     This story takes in high school athletics in their most
     approved and up-to-date fashion. Full of fun and
     excitement.


THE GIRLS OF CENTRAL HIGH IN CAMP

Or The Old Professor's Secret.

     The girls went camping on Acorn Island and had a
     delightful time at boating, swimming and picnic
     parties.

       *       *       *       *       *

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK



THE OUTDOOR GIRLS SERIES


By LAURA LEE HOPE

Author of the "Bobbsey Twin Books" and "Bunny Brown" Series.

       *       *       *       *       *

12mo. BOUND IN CLOTH. ILLUSTRATED. UNIFORM STYLE OF BINDING.

       *       *       *       *       *

These tales take in the various adventures participated in by several
bright, up-to-date girls who love outdoor life. They are clean and
wholesome, free from sensationalism, absorbing from the first chapter to
the last.


THE OUTDOOR GIRLS OF DEEPDALE

Or Camping and Tramping for Fun and Health.

     Telling how the girls organized their Camping and
     Tramping Club, how they went on a tour, and of various
     adventures which befell them.


THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE

Or Stirring Cruise of the Motor Boat Gem.

     One of the girls becomes the proud possessor of a motor
     boat and invites her club members to take a trip down
     the river to Rainbow Lake, a beautiful sheet of water
     lying between the mountains.


THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN A MOTOR CAR

Or The Haunted Mansion of Shadow Valley.

     One of the girls has learned to run a big motor car,
     and she invites the club to go on a tour to visit some
     distant relatives. On the way they stop at a deserted
     mansion and make a surprising discovery.


THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN A WINTER CAMP

Or Glorious Days on Skates and Ice Boats.

     In this story, the scene is shifted to a winter season.
     The girls have some jolly times skating and ice
     boating, and visit a hunters' camp in the big woods.


THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN FLORIDA.

Or Wintering in the Sunny South.

     The parents of one of the girls have bought an orange
     grove in Florida, and her companions are invited to
     visit the place. They take a trip into the interior,
     where several unusual things happen.


THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT OCEAN VIEW

Or The Box that Was Found in the Sand.

     The girls have great fun and solve a mystery while on
     an outing along the New England coast.


THE OUTDOOR GIRLS ON PINE ISLAND

Or A Cave and What it Contained.

     A bright, healthful story, full of good times at a
     bungalow camp on Pine Island.

       *       *       *       *       *

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK



THE BOBBSEY TWINS BOOKS


For Little Men and Women

By LAURA LEE HOPE

Author of "The Bunny Brown" Series, Etc.

       *       *       *       *       *

12mo. DURABLY BOUND. ILLUSTRATED. UNIFORM STYLE OF BINDING

       *       *       *       *       *

Copyright publications which cannot be obtained elsewhere. Books that
charm the hearts of the little ones, and of which they never tire.

THE BOBBSEY TWINS
THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN THE COUNTRY
THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT THE SEASHORE
THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT SCHOOL
THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT SNOW LODGE
THE BOBBSEY TWINS ON A HOUSEBOAT
THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT MEADOW BROOK
THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT HOME
THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN A GREAT CITY
THE BOBBSEY TWINS ON BLUEBERRY ISLAND
THE BOBBSEY TWINS ON THE DEEP BLUE SEA
THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN THE GREAT WEST

       *       *       *       *       *

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK



THE MOVING PICTURE BOYS SERIES


By VICTOR APPLETON

       *       *       *       *       *

12mo. BOUND IN CLOTH. ILLUSTRATED. UNIFORM STYLE OF BINDING

       *       *       *       *       *

Moving pictures and photo plays are famous the world over, and in this
line of books the reader is given a full description of how the films
are made--the scenes of little dramas, indoors and out, trick pictures
to satisfy the curious, soul-stirring pictures of city affairs, life in
the Wild West, among the cowboys and Indians, thrilling rescues along
the seacoast, the daring of picture hunters in the jungle among savage
beasts, and the great risks run in picturing conditions in a land of
earthquakes. The volumes teem with adventures and will be found
interesting from first chapter to last.


THE MOVING PICTURE BOYS
Or Perils of a Great City Depicted.

THE MOVING PICTURE BOYS IN THE WEST
Or Taking Scenes Among the Cowboys and Indians.

THE MOVING PICTURE BOYS ON THE COAST
Or Showing the Perils of the Deep.

THE MOVING PICTURE BOYS IN THE JUNGLE
Or Stirring Times Among the Wild Animals.

THE MOVING PICTURE BOYS IN EARTHQUAKE LAND
Or Working Amid Many Perils.

THE MOVING PICTURE BOYS AND THE FLOOD
Or Perilous Days on the Mississippi.

THE MOVING PICTURE BOYS AT PANAMA
Or Stirring Adventures Along the Great Canal.

THE MOVING PICTURE BOYS UNDER THE SEA
Or The Treasure of the Lost Ship.

       *       *       *       *       *

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK



THE BOYS OF COLUMBIA HIGH SERIES

By GRAHAM B. FORBES


Never was there a cleaner, brighter, more manly boy than Frank Allen,
the hero of this series of boys' tales, and never was there a better
crowd of lads to associate with than the students of the School. All
boys will read these stories with deep interest. The rivalry between the
towns along the river was of the keenest, and plots and counterplots to
win the champions, at baseball, at football, at boat racing, at track
athletics, and at ice hockey, were without number. Any lad reading one
volume of this series will surely want the others.

THE BOYS OF COLUMBIA HIGH
Or The All Around Rivals of the School

THE BOYS OF COLUMBIA HIGH ON THE DIAMOND
Or Winning Out by Pluck

THE BOYS OF COLUMBIA HIGH ON THE RIVER
Or The Boat Race Plot that Failed

THE BOYS OF COLUMBIA HIGH ON THE GRIDIRON
Or The Struggle for the Silver Cup

THE BOYS OF COLUMBIA HIGH ON THE ICE
Or Out for the Hockey Championship

THE BOYS OF COLUMBIA HIGH IN TRACK ATHLETICS
Or A Long Run that Won

THE BOYS OF COLUMBIA HIGH IN WINTER SPORTS
Or Stirring Doings on Skates and Iceboats

     12mo. Illustrated. Handsomely bound in cloth, with
     cover design and wrappers in colors.

       *       *       *       *       *

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK



       *       *       *       *       *



Transcriber's Notes:

   Varied usage of -- and ---- were retained as were haystack, hay
   stack and hay-stack.

   Page 10: The word "tree" was inserted into the text as there was
   a space and no word. "...of the peach tree"

   Extraneous punctuation was removed. Such as "No, Ned Johnson has
   a dog. "We can ...

   Incorrect punctuation repaired. "I am going to feed him," to
   "I am going to feed him."

   Page 72: "agian" changed to "again". "my turn again,"

   Page 226: Hyphens added to first Jack-o'-lantern on page to
   conform to rest of text.





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