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´╗┐Title: Sunny Boy in the Country
Author: White, Ramy Allison
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 "Sunny Boy in the Country" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



[Illustration: Indeed there were all kinds of goodies in those boxes.
(See Page 207)]

----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUNNY BOY IN THE COUNTRY

By
RAMY ALLISON WHITE

Illustrated By
CHARLES L. WRENN

BARSE & HOPKINS
Publishers
New York, N.Y.--Newark, N.J.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Copyright, 1920
By
Barse & Hopkins

Sunny Boy in the Country

Printed in the United States of America

----------------------------------------------------------------------

CONTENTS

CHAPTER                       PAGE
      I  The Mended Drum         9
     II  Spreading The News     22
    III  Packing The Trunk      35
     IV  Off For Brookside      49
      V  On The Train           61
     VI  Brookside              73
    VII  Adventures Begin       86
   VIII  A Letter From Daddy    98
     IX  Sunny Boy Forgets     110
      X  Going Fishing         124
     XI  The Hay Slide         136
    XII  Apple Pies            152
   XIII  More Mischief         169
    XIV  Another Hunt          185
     XV  Sunny's Good Luck     201

----------------------------------------------------------------------

ILLUSTRATIONS

                                                                  PAGE

Indeed there were all kinds of goodies in those boxes.    Frontispiece

And tucked the clock away down deep in one of the corner
holes Aunt Bessie had left in the trunk.                            45

He lifted one of the baby rabbits and placed it in
Sunny's hands.                                                     109

With a crash a frightened little boy fell into the
flour barrel.                                                      163

----------------------------------------------------------------------



SUNNY BOY
IN THE COUNTRY

CHAPTER I

THE MENDED DRUM


"Rub-a-dub, dub! Bang! Rub-a-dub-dub--Bang! Bang!" Sunny Boy thumped his
drum vigorously.

Usually when he made such a racket some one would come out and ask him
what in the world was he making a noise like that for, but this morning
every one seemed to be very busy. For several minutes now Sunny Boy had
been trying to attract Harriet's attention. She was doing something to
the front door.

"I spect she needs me," said Sunny Boy to himself.

There were any number of interesting things going on around the front
door this morning, but he was chiefly interested in Harriet, because as a
rule he had to help her Saturday mornings by going with her to the
grocery store at the corner. He liked to stand in her clean, comfortable
kitchen and drum for her until she was ready to start.

This particular morning Harriet's mind seemed to be far away from music.
She was rubbing briskly as Sunny Boy watched her, polishing--that was it:
she was shining the brass numbers on the door--266. Sunny Boy knew them,
and how careful Harriet was to keep them always bright.

"Just think," she would say, as they might be coming up the steps;
"suppose the postman had a letter for 266 Glenn Avenue, and the numbers
were so dull and streaked he couldn't read them! Think how we'd feel if
that should happen to us!"

Sunny Boy was sure such a thing could never happen, not with Harriet
rubbing away at the numbers morning after morning.

From his post at the head of the stairs he could see a man on a
step-ladder, working and whistling. He was hammering in nails over the
door. Dimly Sunny Boy made out another pair of doors standing in the
hall.

"Goodness, Sunny Boy, I nearly fell over you!" Aunt Bessie kissed him on
the back of his neck before he could turn round. That was a trick Aunt
Bessie had, and Sunny Boy was used to it. "Are you watching them put up
the screens and awnings?"

"Are they?" asked Sunny interestedly. "Could I hold the awning? Maybe the
man would like my tool-chest--it's all there but the hammer. I lost that
in the park. Can I help, Auntie?"

Aunt Bessie was going downtown, and she was in a hurry. "If you don't get
in the way, I daresay they'll be glad to have you," she said kindly, and
brushed by him, on down the stairs. She stopped to speak to some one in
the parlor, and then Sunny Boy saw her go out and down the steps.

Sunny Boy sat down on the top stair and took his drum in his lap.
Presently he would go down and help the awning man, but it was very
pleasant where he was. The softest little May breeze came wandering
through the open door up to him, and the canary in the dining room was
singing his cheerful loudest. Sunny Boy leaned his curly head against the
bannister to listen.

His real name, of course, was not Sunny Boy--oh, no, he was named for his
grandpa, and when the postman brought him an invitation to a birthday
party you might see it written out--Arthur Bradford Horton.

But birthday parties happen only once in a while, and Daddy and Mother
called him Sunny Boy because he was nearly always cheerful. As Mother
explained, you can't depend on a party happening to cheer you up, so to
know a little boy who is sure to smile every day--well, that is worth
while. And often Sunny forgot that he had any other name.

Bump--bang--bumpty, bang! Down the stairs suddenly rolled the drum,
making a fearful racket on the steps as it bounded from side to side.
Down the stairs it rolled, across the narrow strip of hall, past Harriet,
now on her knees scrubbing the green and white tiles, under the ladder of
the awning man, down the steps, and right out into the street! After it
scrambled Sunny Boy, as fast as his tan sandals would take him. He was
just in time to see his drum roll to the middle of the street and stop in
the center of the heavy traffic. A big furniture van, drawn by three
horses, was headed right for it.

"It'll be smashed! Oh, oh!" Sunny Boy wailed, hopping up and down on the
curb, but remembering even in his excitement that he had promised not to
go off the pavement when alone. "They'll ride right over my drum!"

"I guess not!" cried a tall man, and darted out from behind Sunny. He
rushed to where the drum lay and snatched it up, almost from under the
horses' feet.

The colored man driving the furniture van grinned.

"Most busted dat drum for sure!" he shouted. "If this off horse, Billy,
ever put his foot through it, good-by drum!"

"And there you are!" The tall man gave Sunny Boy back his drum with a
flourish. "Just as good as new, except for a little hole that I'm willing
to bet a cookie your mother can mend for you. Isn't she waving for you to
come in? I thought so. You run along now, and see if she doesn't mend
it."

Mother was on the front steps watching for him. Sunny thanked the tall
man, who said that it was nothing, nothing at all: he'd never rescued a
drum before, but he was glad to have the experience, and that things
always turned out well for small boys who stayed on the sidewalks and
didn't dash out into the streets to get run over. Then Sunny climbed up
the steps and held out his drum for Mother to see.

"The man said you could mend it," he said wistfully. "Can you, Mother?
'Cause when things break, I miss 'em."

Mrs. Horton managed to hug her son, drum and all, though there really
wasn't much space where they stood. She was under the awning man's
ladder, and he was shaking and moving the large awning about. Inside the
door stood Harriet and her brush and bucket.

"So, 'twas the drum!" smiled Harriet. "I couldn't see what it was went
rolling by me like lightning, and Sunny Boy tearing after it. All I heard
was a noise like thunder."

"We'll go up to my room and mend the drum," declared Mrs. Horton. "Tell
Mr. Bray I'll telephone him about the slip-covers, please, Harriet. I
left him in the parlor when I ran out to see what was happening to Sunny
Boy."

"What," demanded Sunny Boy, carrying his drum upstairs--and you may be
sure that he gripped it tightly this time--"What are slip-covers,
Mother?"

Mrs. Horton laughed.

"Why, slip-covers are--" She thought a minute. "They are covers for the
chairs and sofas to wear in summer," she explained. "Nice, cool, linen
covers, you know, for the furniture, just as you have summer suits."

Sunny Boy understood. He usually did when Mother answered his questions.
And he was very sure that she could mend his drum.

"Do you know," said Mrs. Horton, when she had looked at the hole, "I
think, Sunny Boy, we can mend this nicely with court-plaster?"

"Court-plaster?" echoed Sunny Boy.

"I have some in the medicine closet in the bathroom," went on Mrs.
Horton, drawing the edges of the hole together as she talked. "I'll get
it, dear."

"It's like mending fingers, isn't it, Mother?" Sunny Boy was so anxious
to watch how Mother mended the drum that he nearly put his own pink nose
in the hole. "When Daddy cut his finger he put court-plaster on it. He
said the skin would grow together, and it did--when he took it off, there
wasn't any cut there. Just nothing. Will my drum be like that?"

"No, precious," answered Mother, snipping around the edges of the
court-plaster with the fascinating sharp shears Sunny Boy was forbidden
to touch. "A drum, you know, isn't like a person's skin. It can't grow.
But I think that if you remember to be careful the drum will last a long
time. There you are. My goodness! it makes as much noise as ever, doesn't
it?" and Mrs. Horton covered her ears and laughed as Sunny Boy beat
merrily on his mended drum.

"Letters!" he cried a minute later as a shrill whistle sounded. "I'll get
'em for you, Mother," and downstairs again he tumbled. Only he left the
drum safely on Mother's bed.

"Two--three--ever so many," he announced proudly when he came back. "Are
there any for me, Mother?"

Like some other little folk, Sunny Boy was always expecting letters,
though he almost never wrote any. But he meant to write a great many as
soon as he learned to write with ink, and he was even now learning to
print nicely.

"None for you," answered Mrs. Horton, glancing at the envelopes.
"However, here is one with something in it for you, I suspect. Grandpa
Horton has written to us."

As Mother opened this letter, a little note fell out. That was from
Grandpa Horton to Sunny Boy. He liked to put a little letter inside his
large one, just for his grandson. Sunny waited quietly while Mother read
her letter. When she had read it through, she folded it and put it back
in the envelope.

"Sunny Boy," she said, and her voice made him think of the "laughing
piece" she sometimes played for him on the piano. He looked at her and
her eyes were dancing. "Sunny Boy," she said again, "what do you think?
We're going to visit Grandpa Horton on his farm--going to make him a nice
long visit and see the real country."

"Oh, goody!" cried Sunny Boy. "Is Daddy going?"

"He'll come to see us," promised Mother. "Let me read you what Grandpa
has written you, dear."

Grandpa Horton's note to Sunny told him he was depending on him to help
him with the early haying.

"Wasn't it lucky Harriet rubbed the numbers on the front door this
morning?" chuckled Sunny Boy. "S'posing we didn't get this letter?
Where's Brookside, Mother?"

Brookside was the name of Grandpa's farm. Mrs. Horton explained that it
was many miles away from the city, and that it would take them nearly a
day on the train to get there.

"And if Daddy cannot go with us, you'll have to take care of me," she
said seriously.

"All right, I will," promised Sunny Boy. "I'll have to go and tell
Harriet an' show her my letter. I'll tell the awning man, too. I was
going to help him, but I don't feel helping, somehow. I feel wiggled up,
you know, Mother."

"You're excited," said Mrs. Horton. "Well, we don't go for two weeks,
dear, so you'll have plenty of time to talk about it. I must write to
Grandpa as soon as Daddy comes home."

Dashing out of the room went Sunny Boy, crying the good news at the top
of his lungs--"We're going to the country! We're going to my Grandpa's
farm! Hurrah!"



CHAPTER II

SPREADING THE NEWS


"So you're going off to the country?" said Daddy, as he came whistling
down to the dining room, where Mother and Sunny Boy were waiting for him.
"Well, I see that I'll have to come up and teach you how to catch a brook
trout."

"Did Mother tell you?" asked Sunny Boy, as Daddy swung him into his chair
and Harriet brought in the soup to Mrs. Horton. "When did you find out,
Daddy? I was watching for you so's I could tell."

"I didn't see any little chap in the hall, so I went right upstairs and
found Mother. She said you were going to Brookside, and that the awnings
were up, and the screens in, and she hoped to go downtown to-morrow and
buy your best shoes," and Daddy looked at Mother and laughed.

"Daddy is teasing me," smiled Mrs. Horton. "We have to tell him our news
all in one breath because we see so little of him, don't we, Sunny Boy? I
do hope, Harry, that you'll be able to come up this summer and spend a
real vacation at your father's."

Mr. Horton was making a little well in the mashed potato on Sunny's
plate, and flooding it with the rich brown gravy. That was the way _his_
father had fixed his mashed potato for him when he was a little boy, and
Sunny Boy liked his that way, too.

"Oh, I'll come up," promised Mr. Horton, passing the potato to Sunny Boy.
"I'll have to come and show you both where I had my garden and teach
Sunny how to fool the wise fish."

Sunny Boy put down his fork. He had to wait a minute because his mouth
was full and Mother had her own opinion of a little boy who spoke without
chewing his food properly and swallowing it. Having swallowed his potato,
Sunny Boy was ready to speak.

"Oh, Daddy!" he began eagerly, "were you ever at Brookside? Where was
your garden? Could I drive horses?"

Then Daddy and Mother said the same thing together, both at once, just as
if they were thinking the same thing, as they probably were:

"Why, Sunny Boy!" said Daddy and Mother.

"You can't have forgotten," urged Mrs. Horton, then. "Brookside, you
know, dear, is where Daddy lived when he was a little boy. When he was
just as old as you are now he used to play there were Indians in the
woods. I've told you ever so many times, and now you are going to see the
place yourself where Daddy was a little lad like you."

"Oh!" said Sunny Boy again.

All during the rest of the dinner he was very busy, thinking. He had
forgotten that Daddy had lived at Brookside, or, to be more exact, he had
not understood that Grandpa's farm was the same farm on which Daddy had
been a little boy. Sunny Boy was only five years old, and he had already
moved three times. One lived a long time on a farm it seemed.

Soon after dinner came bed for Sunny Boy, and he dreamed that he had
fallen head-first into his drum and that it was very hot and dark inside.
He was kicking madly to get out, when Mother came in and found him all
wrapped up in the bed-clothes with his head buried in the pillows. When
she drew down the covers he woke up, and after she had tucked him in
smoothly again and brought him a drink of cool water, he went to sleep.
And the next thing that happened was the morning.

After breakfast, Sunny Boy went out into the back yard to play. It wasn't
a very large back yard, but it was pretty. There were ferns along one
side, and gay spring flowers on the other. At one end were Sunny Boy's
swing and sand-box, and the center was in thick, green grass. Mondays the
grass belonged to Harriet, who used it to walk on when she hung out the
clean clothes, but other days Sunny had the whole yard pretty much to
himself.

There was a little gate cut in the fence on one side of the yard. Daddy
Horton had made the gate for Sunny Boy and Nelson and Ruth. Nelson and
Ruth were a little boy and girl who lived next door, at least Ruth was a
little girl--she was only four years old--but Nelson was seven and went
to school. Their last name was Baker, and they and Sunny Boy had very
good times playing together.

As soon as Sunny Boy came out into his yard this morning, the little gate
opened, and in came Ruth, dragging Paulina, her largest doll, by one
arm.

"Don't be cross," begged Sunny Boy. "I want to tell you something."

"I'm not cross," said Ruth with dignity. "What made you think I was going
to be?"

"'Cause you're dragging Paulina and you always treat her like that when
you're cross," answered Sunny more frankly than tactfully. "Listen,
Ruth--we're going to the country to see Grandpa Horton, and I'm going to
drive horses and go fishing, an' help hay, and oh, everything!"

Ruth was interested.

"Can I go fishing?" she wanted to know.

Sunny Boy was troubled. Evidently Ruth thought she was going to the
country, too, and it surely wouldn't be very kind to tell her plainly
that Grandpa Horton hadn't invited her. To his relief Mrs. Baker called
Ruth just then and she went into her own yard, still dragging the
unfortunate Paulina by one arm.

"Sunny Boy," called his own mother from an upstairs window, "Harriet is
going to the store for me--wouldn't you like to go with her?"

Sunny Boy liked to go with Harriet, and he hurried indoors to get his hat
and roller skates. Now Sunny Boy was just learning to skate, and if he
didn't have Harriet to hold on to he never could be quite sure what was
going to happen to him. He could go much faster on his own two feet, but,
as he explained to Harriet, it was most important that he should learn
how to skate because when he could skate well he would be able to go to
the store much more quickly than he could walk. And Harriet said yes, she
understood, and that everybody had to learn how to skate before they
could become really expert.

"Did you ever live on a farm, Harriet?" asked Sunny Boy, as they started
for the store. His mind was full of the coming visit.

"No," admitted Harriet. "I never lived on a farm. But I've often visited
people who did. You'll like it. There'll be brooks to wade in, and little
calves and lambs to play with, and chickens and ducks. And you can play
outdoors all day long."

"When it rains?" asked Sunny Boy.

"When it rains there'll be the barn and the haymow," answered Harriet.
"And now here's Mr. Gray's. You'd better wait out here for me and not try
to clatter in with those skates."

Sunny Boy saw a basket of apples in the window.

"Will you bring me an apple, Harriet?" he teased. "Mother won't mind.
Apples don't hurt you."

Harriet was half way through the door, but she turned.

"It's too early for good apples yet," she said. "You wait till you get to
Brookside, Sunny. You'll have more apples then than you can possibly
eat."

"Millions and dozens?" called Sunny Boy after Harriet.

"Yes, 'millions and dozens,'" she echoed, laughing, and closed the
grocery store door.

The grocer's boy was coming down the steps, and he laughed, too.

"Millions and dozens of what?" he demanded, stopping before Sunny Boy.

"Apples, at my grandpa's farm."

The grocer boy had a basket on his arm and he wore a white coat. He
looked very clean and cheerful. Sunny Boy had a sudden idea.

"If you're going up to our house, could I hang on back of your wheel?" he
said. "I can skate pretty well if I have some one to steer with."

"I don't think Harriet would like it," was the grocer boy's reply. He
knew Sunny Boy and Harriet because he often came to their house to bring
good things to eat. "I'll tell you, Sunny Boy--you wait till you come
back from this visit, and then I'll take you. Or perhaps after you've
eaten the millions and dozens of apples you won't have to hang on to any
one--you'll be big and strong and able to skate by yourself."

Sunny Boy watched him ride merrily off on his bicycle. Still Harriet
didn't come. Sunny suspected there must be a good many people waiting in
the store. He might skate down to the corner and back before she had
bought all the things on Mother's list.

It was all very well for the first few yards, because there was a
convenient iron railing to cling to, and Sunny Boy found himself skating
very easily. But the iron railing ended in a stone stoop, and after that
there seemed to be nothing but miles and miles of pavement without even a
friendly tree to cling to. Sunny Boy's feet began to behave queerly. One
went much faster than the other and in an entirely different direction,
and he had an idea he'd have to wear those skates the rest of his life
because he didn't see how he was ever going to stop to take them off.

Suddenly he found himself headed for an area-way and a flight of stone
steps. He clutched desperately at the cellar window, shot past, and down
the steps--bing! into a huge basket of clothes a fat colored woman was
bringing up. She was as wide as the basket and the basket took up about
all the area-way.

"Land sakes, chile!" she said, as Sunny Boy landed on top of her basket.
"Where you goin'?"

"Skating," said Sunny Boy concisely, glad to find that he wasn't hurt.

The colored woman laughed, a deep, rich, happy laugh.

"You doan seem to be jest sure," she told him. "Stay where you is an'
I'll carry you on up."

She did, too, and started him on his uncertain way down the street. In a
few minutes his feet began to act strangely again, this time sending him
in the general direction of the gutter.

"I spect I'd better go back," said Sunny Boy to himself. But he couldn't
turn around.

Then up the street came a familiar gray-uniformed figure. It was the
postman, the same merry, kind postman who brought letters to Sunny Boy's
house and for whom Harriet was careful to have the number on the front
door bright and shining.

"Stop me!" cried Sunny Boy, wobbling more wildly.

"Right--O!" agreed the postman, and proceeded to stop him by letting
Sunny Boy skate right into him and his mail bag.

"And that's all right," said the cheerful postman, blowing his whistle
and slipping some letters into a mail-box in a doorway as if nothing had
happened. "Don't you want to skate back with me?"

Sunny Boy, seated on a handy doorstep, was unbuckling the skate straps.
He looked up and smiled.

"Thank you very much, but Harriet's waiting for me," he answered
politely. "An' I have to carry my skates, 'cause she won't let me hold
the eggs 'less I walk."



CHAPTER III

PACKING THE TRUNK


Aunt Bessie sat on the floor of Mother's room, with pencil and paper in
her lap. She was Mrs. Horton's sister, and though she did not live with
them, Sunny Boy and Mother saw her nearly every day.

"I wonder if you will need that extra coat?" Aunt Bessie was saying, as
Sunny Boy came into the room.

For the two weeks were nearly gone and it was time to get ready to go to
see Grandpa Horton. Early that morning Daddy had brought down the big
trunk from the storeroom, and ever since breakfast Mother and Aunt Bessie
had been busy packing clothes into it. Aunt Bessie kept a list of the
things they put in so that Mother would be able to tell when the trunk
was full whether she had left out anything she needed.

"I'll go and get my things," announced Sunny Boy, and Aunt Bessie blew
him a kiss and went on with her work.

Upstairs Sunny Boy looked a long time at his toys before he could decide
what to do about them. He couldn't leave his kiddie-car, that was
certain. And there was the woolly black dog he took to bed with him at
night, and a Teddy Bear that he was almost too old to play with, but not
quite, and the wooden blocks. Then he would be sure to need his
fire-engine and the roller skates. He must take all those with him. He
made three trips down to Mother's door with the toys, and then, going
down for the third time, he remembered the wind-mill out in the sand-box
and ran out after that and brought it in.

"Bless the child, what is all this?" cried Aunt Bessie, as he came into
Mother's room, bringing as many of the treasures as he could carry at one
time.

"I'm helping," explained Sunny Boy. "There's more out in the hall."

He put down his load and ran out to bring in the rest.

"But, precious," said Mrs. Horton, looking from the kiddie-car to her
little son, "we can't take all these things with us. Why, Mother wouldn't
have a place to put your socks and blouses, to say nothing of the cunning
bathing-suit we bought yesterday."

"You won't need them, you know," urged Aunt Bessie. "You'll be so busy
playing with the new things you'll find up at Grandpa Horton's that
you'll probably never remember the toys at home. Then when you come back
they will seem like new ones."

Sunny Boy was disappointed. His kiddie-car was the hardest to give up.
The woolly dog, too, was very dear to him. Mrs. Horton understood, and
she sat down in her low rocking chair and took her little boy on her
lap.

"The kiddie-car wouldn't be any fun in the country," she said. "There are
no stone pavements, you see, dear, and it wouldn't run on the grass. As
for the woolly dog, why you will have a real dog to play with--a collie
dog that will run after sticks and bring them to you and take walks with
you. That will be fun, won't it?"

Sunny Boy slid to the floor and stood up. He was excited.

"I am simply crazy to have a real dog," he declared.

Mrs. Horton stared at him, but Aunt Bessie, bending over the trunk, sat
down on the edge and laughed.

"Where in the world did you hear that, Sunny Boy?" asked Mother. "Who
talks like that?"

Aunt Bessie swooped down upon her nephew.

"I do," she told her sister. "But I'll have to be more careful when
little pitchers with big ears are about. Why don't you copy the nice
things I say, Sunny?"

"Isn't that nice?" puzzled Sunny. "Shouldn't I say it? Why not, Mother?"

"It isn't wrong, dear," Mrs. Horton assured him. "Aunt Bessie only means
that speaking that way is rather a bad habit to get into. We call it
exaggeration. Let me see, how shall I make you understand? Well, if I say
'I'm starving to death,' when I mean that I am hungrier than usual for
dinner, that's exaggeration. I couldn't be starving, unless I had had
nothing to eat for several days."

"And though some people think I'm crazy, I'm really not," concluded Aunt
Bessie gayly. "You think I'm rather nice, don't you, Sunny? And now I
wonder if there's a young man about who would be kind enough to take this
skirt down to Harriet and ask her to please press the hem?"

"I will," offered Sunny Boy. "And then I'll come back and put my things
away."

"While you are down in the kitchen, I wish you'd ask Harriet if the oven
is ready for me to make some biscuits for lunch," said Mrs. Horton. "And
tell her I said you might have a glass of milk and one of the sponge
cakes without any pink icing."

Harriet pressed the skirt while Sunny Boy sat at one end of the ironing
board and watched her and ate his sponge cake--which was almost as good
as the kind with pink icing which were only for dessert--and drank his
milk. Then Harriet gave him the skirt to carry back to Aunt Bessie and he
remembered to ask about the oven. Harriet said to tell Mother that it was
just right for baking biscuits.

"That means I must go down right away," said Mrs. Horton, when Sunny Boy
told her. "We've about finished anyway, haven't we, Bessie? The man is to
come at three this afternoon for the trunk."

"I've left a few chinks and corners, in case you want to tuck in some
little trifles at the last minute," replied Aunt Bessie, "but otherwise
it's ready to be strapped and locked."

"Let me lock it," said Sunny Boy eagerly. "I can stand on the top, too. I
did for Cousin Lola when hers wouldn't shut."

Mrs. Horton was tying on a nice clean white apron.

"Thank you, dearest," she said. "Mother isn't quite ready to have the
trunk locked. If we've packed it so full it won't close, why of course
I'll call on you to stand on the top and make it shut."

Sunny Boy hoped the trunk wouldn't close, for he wanted to dance on the
top. Then Mrs. Horton went down to Harriet's kitchen to make puffy white
biscuits for lunch and Aunt Bessie went off to give a music lesson.

Sunny Boy, left to put away his toys, explained matters to the woolly dog
as he carried him upstairs.

"There will be a real dog for me to play with at Grandpa's," he said.
"And little calves and lambs--Harriet said so. Maybe you might get broken
in the trunk, anyway. But I won't like the real dog one bit more than I
do you, and when we come back you can sleep with me every single night."

The woolly dog seemed to think this was all right, and he took it so
cheerfully that Sunny Boy felt better immediately.

Mr. Horton came home to lunch, which was unusual, and after lunch he and
Mrs. Horton had to go downtown to see about the tickets and the parlor
car seats for the trip the next day. Sunny Boy was to take his nap and be
wide awake again by three o'clock, when the man was coming to take their
trunk to the station.

Sunny Boy did not see how they were to find the trunk again if they once
let it go, for surely no trunk could go all alone to Brookside. He
resolved to ask Daddy. While he was wondering if there would be a piano
in the parlor car--and he rather hoped there would and that he might be
allowed to play on it--Sunny Boy fell asleep. Harriet, coming upstairs
with a pile of clean clothes, woke him.

"Is it three o'clock?" he asked, afraid that he had missed the trunk
man.

"Only half-past two," answered Harriet. "Your mother will be back any
minute now to lock the trunk. You can dress yourself, can't you? I've
another tablecloth to iron yet."

Sunny Boy could dress himself, of course. Wandering into Mother's room to
borrow her hairbrush, he saw the little nickel alarm clock on the table.
Mother must have meant to pack that, and in her hurry had forgotten.
Sunny Boy remembered that Daddy had told him all country folk "rose with
the chickens," and upon inquiry he had learned that the chickens rose
very early indeed--almost as soon as the sun. Sunny Boy thought it would
be dreadful if he and Mother should oversleep their first morning at the
farm and come downstairs to find the chickens up and the farmer people
laughing at them. Yes, the alarm clock certainly must go.

He had not a very clear idea of how one went about it to set an alarm
clock, but Daddy, he remembered, always wound the little pegs in the
back. So Sunny Boy trustingly wound all the pegs he saw, as tight as they
would turn, and tucked the clock away down deep in one of the corner
holes Aunt Bessie had left in the trunk.

[Illustration: And tucked the clock away down deep in one of the corner
holes Aunt Bessie had left in the trunk.]

He had hardly packed it in when Mother came running breathlessly up the
stairs crying that the express wagon was at the door. Hurriedly she put
down the trunk lid, locked it, and tied on the tag that Daddy had written
for her.

"That tells the train folks what to do with it," explained the trunk man
to Sunny, swinging the heavy trunk to his shoulder as though it weighed
no more than the kiddie-car and trotting downstairs with it.

Sunny Boy watched him put it in the wagon and drive away.

"Now we're almost ready," said Mrs. Horton smilingly. "We have to pack
our bag and go to bed early, and then, in the morning, we really will be
on our way to Grandpa Horton's."

"But there's the canary," Sunny Boy reminded her hesitatingly. "Can I
carry him?"

"The train would frighten him so he might never sing any more," said Mrs.
Horton. "No, Aunt Bessie is going to keep him for us till we come back."

"Well, let's go now," urged Sunny. "Why can't we go this minute? Let's,
Mother."

"And have Daddy come home to dinner to-night and find us gone?" said
Mother reproachfully. "Why, Sunny!"

"Well--then perhaps we'd better wait," admitted Sunny Boy. "But one whole
night's an awful long time, isn't it?"



CHAPTER IV

OFF FOR BROOKSIDE


Perhaps the most fun of going on a journey is the fun of starting.

Sunny Boy began to get excited the moment he opened his eyes the next
morning, and if he had had his way, they wouldn't have bothered with such
an every-day affair as breakfast. One could eat breakfast any morning,
but a trip on the train to one's grandfather's farm was much more
important.

However, Daddy explained that all experienced travelers ate a good
breakfast before they set out, and as Sunny Boy wanted above all things
to do as real travelers did, he consented to sit down and be interested
for a few moments in his blue oatmeal bowl and its contents.

"You look so nice, Mother," he told Mrs. Horton suddenly.

"So do you," she assured him, smiling. "I think it must be because we are
both wearing our new blue serge suits."

"Remember, you're going to take care of my girl," warned Daddy. "Don't
let her get too tired, and try to make her comfortable, and don't let any
one or anything bother her."

Sunny Boy gravely promised to look after Mother. He felt very proud that
Daddy trusted him to take care of her on their first long journey
together, and he resolved to wait on her all he could and to save her
every possible step.

Harriet, who was not going with them, but who was going to help Aunt
Bessie keep house until they came back, was bustling about, pulling down
shades and closing and locking doors. The canary had gone, and Sunny Boy
had a funny feeling that their house was going on a journey, too. In his
trotting around after Harriet, while Mother was telephoning a last
good-by to some friend, he found a square white box on the parlor table,
neatly tied with red string--one of that mysterious kind that makes your
fingers fairly itch to untie the string and look inside. Sunny Boy went
in search of Mother.

"Could I open it?" he asked coaxingly. "I'll tie it right up again,
Mother. Maybe you have forgotten what is in it."

"'Deed I haven't!" laughed Mrs. Horton. "Give it to me, dear. It's a
surprise for you--we'll open it on the train."

Sunny Boy obediently handed her the package, and in a few minutes he had
forgotten all about it.

At last the house was ready to leave, and Harriet kissed him and said
good-by. Sunny Boy watched her down the street until she turned the
corner. He had a little ache in his throat, but he was too big a boy to
cry.

"Precious," said Mother who knew perhaps how he was feeling, "I'm afraid
I've left my little coin purse on my bureau. Would you mind going up and
getting it for me?"

The house upstairs was very still and hot. Sunny Boy tiptoed softly as he
hurried into Mother's room. There on the bureau lay the little silver
purse and a clean handkerchief that smelled like a bunch of violets.

"You left your hanky, Mother," he cried, running downstairs. "And you
said folks should never, never, begin to go anywhere without a clean
hanky, you know."

Mr. Horton, standing on the front step, opened the screen door and put in
his head.

"Taxi's coming!" he announced. "Ready, Olive? I have the bag right here.
Come, son."

Sunny Boy was thrilled at the thought of riding in that orange dragon of
an automobile. Mother and Daddy had friends who often took them motoring
pleasant afternoons, and sometimes Sunny Boy went with them. But every
one knows that is different from having a gay colored car roll up to your
front door and wait especially for you.

The young man who drove the car opened the door with a flourish and
helped Mrs. Horton in. Then he turned to lift Sunny Boy, but that young
person hung back.

"I could ride with you--up front," he suggested.

"Oh, you might tumble out, going around the corner," cried Mrs. Horton.

Daddy, who had been locking the front door, came down to them, carrying
the black leather bag that was to go with Sunny Boy and Mother.

"Do you know," said Daddy slowly, "I think the bag will have to go in the
front seat, Sunny? I wouldn't like to put it down on Mother's pretty new
patent leather pumps. Sometime when we have no baggage you shall ride
with the chauffeur."

So Sunny Boy climbed in and sat between Mother and Daddy, and the
chauffeur just touched his wheel and they shot off up the street. Indeed
they started so suddenly that Sunny Boy went over backward and laughed so
hard that he quite forgot to be disappointed because he could not sit on
the front seat.

"What's in the bag, Mother?" he asked, as they rolled along through the
streets.

"Hair-brushes and combs and towels and soap, and your tooth-brush and
mine, and the tooth-paste," answered Mrs. Horton. "And pajamas for you
and a nightie for me, in case we can't get the trunk to-night."

"But it is going on the train just like us," urged Sunny Boy. "Daddy said
so."

"But it will be nearly night before we reach Brookside," explained Mrs.
Horton, "and Grandpa will meet us with a horse and surrey most likely. We
will have to leave the trunk at the station till some one can go and get
it for us in the morning. I have a play suit in the bag for you, though,
so trunk or no trunk, you can be real country boy."

Presently the taxi rolled up under a stone arch, and Mr. Horton said they
were at the station. They all got out and went into a great space filled
with people. Porters were rushing about with suitcases and bags, crowds
of men and women were going in several directions at once, and a man
running for his train nearly ran right over Sunny Boy.

"I'll get the trunk checked and then give you the tickets," Mr. Horton
said to his wife. "You sit down over there by the door where I can find
you, and I'll be back in five minutes. We have plenty of time."

Sunny Boy and Mother sat down by the door and watched the people.
Opposite them sat a short, fat woman with a baby in her arms and five
little children, two girls and three boys, in the seats nearest her. They
were each sucking a lolly-pop and took turns giving the baby a taste.
Although they were very sticky and not exactly tidy, they seemed to love
one another very much and to be having a very good time.

"Where do you suppose they're going?" Sunny Boy asked.

Mrs. Horton did not know. Perhaps, if they watched them, they might see
them take the train.

Then Sunny Boy wanted to know where they kept the trains. He could hear
them, and nearly every minute a man with a big trumpet--which Mother said
was a megaphone--would call out something, and from all over the station
people would come rushing to get on the train. But though Sunny Boy
watched carefully, he could not see a single smokestack.

"The trains are downstairs--you'll see when we go out," said Mrs. Horton.
"I wonder what can be keeping your father? He has been gone almost
fifteen minutes."

"Will there be a piano in the parlor car?" Sunny Boy wanted to know
next.

Mrs. Horton laughed merrily.

"A parlor car is like the rest of the cars in a train, except that the
seats are more comfortable," she explained. "Anyway, we have to go in an
ordinary coach, because Daddy and I couldn't get a single parlor car seat
yesterday. They had all been taken. I don't see what can have happened to
Daddy!"

Just then Mr. Horton came up to them. There was a baggage man with him
and they both looked rather excited.

"I guess you'll have to come over to the baggage room, Olive," said Mr.
Horton in a low voice, "and see what you can do about straightening out
this mess. They want to know what you've packed in the trunk."

Sunny Boy clung tightly to Mother's hand while they walked over to a low,
broad window on one side of the station wall. This opened into the
baggage room, and a perfect ocean of trunks was being tossed about in
there. The pink came into Mother's cheeks as she saw the crowd gathered
about the window.

"You see, Ma'am," said the big, tall man at the window in a gruff voice
that was somehow kind and friendly, too, "it's like this--we figure out
something blew up in that trunk of yours about ten o'clock last night,
and naturally we want to know something about it. In fact, we can't check
the trunk for you until we do. A dozen men heard it, and--"

"But I don't understand," protested Mrs. Horton. "I packed nothing that
could possibly blow up, as you say. My sister and I put everything in
with our own hands. I even have a list. I can show you that--" she
fumbled in her velvet handbag with fingers that trembled.

"Probably an infernal machine," declared a shrill voice in the crowd that
was now growing too large for comfort. "With the country in the unsettled
state it is now, you can look for anything."

"What's a 'fernal 'chine?" asked Sunny Boy boldly.

"Like a bomb--it goes off with a whang," answered a freckle-faced boy
standing near. He reminded Sunny of his friend, the grocery boy.

The words, "Goes off with a whang," reminded Sunny Boy of something,
though. He looked up into the friendly blue eyes of the baggage-window
man.

"Maybe--" began Sunny Boy, "Maybe, I guess it was the alarm clock I
packed!" he finished bravely.

"Well, I'll be hanged!" said the baggage-window man. His blue eyes
crinkled.

The crowd had heard, and a ripple of laughter ran through them. As
suddenly as they had gathered, they melted away.

"Let me have your tickets," said the baggage-window man. "I guess you can
still make the ten-forty-five."



CHAPTER V

ON THE TRAIN


Well, though, as Mr. Horton expressed it, they "had to hustle," they did
make the ten-forty-five. They went down in an elevator to board the train
and the ticket man at the gate would not let Mr. Horton through.

Daddy hugged his little boy tight before he let him go, and Mother had
diamonds in her pretty brown eyes as she turned from saying good-by to
him. But when they looked back to wave to him, there was Daddy smiling
gayly at them and waving his hat.

"Have a fine time," he called. "Take care of Mother, Sunny Boy. And look
for me exactly three weeks from to-day."

Sunny Boy and Mother found a seat after they had walked through a number
of cars that were filled, and, though it was rather dark, Sunny Boy could
make out the people near them.

"Look, Mother," he whispered, "there's the woman with the baby and the
other children we saw in the station. Isn't it funny they took our
train?"

Sure enough, there they were, a little further down the aisle on the
other side of the car, lolly-pops and all.

Mrs. Horton took off her hat and Sunny Boy's and put them in a large
paper bag she took from her bag.

"That will keep them clean," she said, "and we shall be cooler and more
comfortable without them. We may have to shut the window when we get out
of the tunnel, but we need the air now. Now we're off! Hear the conductor
calling?"

"All a-bo-ard," Sunny Boy heard some one crying. "All a-bo-ard!" and soon
the train began to move.

Slowly they rumbled out of the dark gray of the train shed, past so many
snorting, sniffing black iron engines that Sunny Boy did not see why they
did not run into each other, past a crew of men working on the railroad
tracks, past red and green lights, into a tunnel without a roof, but
walled high on either side with smooth concrete walls. Just as Sunny Boy
grew tired of looking at this wall, it stopped, and the train was merrily
rushing along through open streets. Sunny Boy looked at Mother and
smiled.

"Isn't it fun?" she said.

For a long time Sunny Boy amused himself by watching the country through
which they were riding. They passed one or two little stations without
stopping, and at the crossings Sunny Boy saw children waving to the
train. He waved to them and hoped that they saw him.

"Tickets!" The conductor had reached their car.

Mrs. Horton took a ticket from her bag and gave it to her son. He held it
out and the conductor punched it and passed on.

"Do you want me to keep it?" he asked.

"I'll put it in my purse so it can't be lost," Mother answered. "But when
the conductor asks for it again you may give it to him. He won't come
again for ever so long."

As Sunny Boy was watching an automobile racing with the train on a road
that ran alongside the tracks, a white-aproned colored man came into
their car.

"First call for lunch!" he shouted. "First call for lunch!"

Sunny Boy felt suddenly hungry. Down the aisle the woman with all the
children had opened a pasteboard box and they were having a picnic right
there. Other people were eating sandwiches.

"We'll go and get our lunch," decided Mrs. Horton. "Be careful going down
the aisle, dear, and don't bump into people any more than you can help."

They had to go through a parlor car to reach the dining car, and Sunny
Boy saw for himself that there was no piano, nothing but chairs on either
side of the aisle. A colored waiter helped him into his seat at a little
table in the dining car, and he thought it great fun to eat chicken broth
while looking out of the window at the telegraph poles galloping by. The
poles seemed to be moving instead of the train, but Sunny Boy knew the
train really moved.

"Will there be another call for lunch?" he asked, remembering what the
man had shouted, as he ate his mashed potato and peas.

"Oh yes, but we won't come," said Mrs. Horton. "That will be for the
people who weren't hungry when we were."

A man at the table across from theirs picked up the menu card.

"Now what on earth shall I order for dessert?" he frowned. "If the doctor
won't let me have meat, I suppose I have to eat something."

"Chocolate ice-cream," suggested Sunny Boy helpfully, feeling sorry for
any one who did not know that it was the finest dessert in the world.

The frown slid away from the man's face and he grinned cheerfully at the
small boy.

"Is that what you are going to have?" he demanded. "All right then, I
will, too."

And when it came, a neat little mountain of it, he and Sunny smiled again
at each other before they buried their silver spoons in the beautiful
dark iciness of it.

Back in their seat in their car, Sunny was restless. To Mother's
suggestion that he take a nap, he said that he didn't feel sleepy. He
wished he had something to do--he was tired of looking at trees and
things.

"I hoped you would take a little nap, but I suppose there is too much
excitement," said Mrs. Horton. "Well, then, how would you like to see the
surprise now?"

"The surprise?" repeated Sunny Boy. "Oh, Mother--is that the box?"

For answer Mrs. Horton opened the leather bag and took out the box neatly
wrapped in white paper that Sunny Boy had seen on the parlor table at
home. She put it in his lap and then took up the magazine she was
reading.

"Oh my!" said Sunny Boy, when he had pulled off string and paper and
lifted the lid.

Inside the box were six little packages, each wrapped in white paper and
tied with pink string. It was like Christmas. Sunny Boy unwrapped them
all, one after another, and underneath he found two long thin boxes, also
wrapped and tied.

In the first package he found a box of colored crayons; in another, a
little pad of drawing paper; another held an envelope stamped and
addressed and a sheet of writing paper. In another was a lead pencil; the
fifth was a cake of sweet chocolate, and the sixth package was a little
lump of modeling wax. The two long thin packages proved to be boxes of
animal crackers.

Sunny Boy was chiefly interested in the envelope, because he could not
read the writing on it.

"Who's it to, Mother?" he urged. "Your writing runs into letters so I
can't read it."

Mrs. Horton explained that the envelope was addressed to Daddy, and that
she thought she and Sunny Boy might write a little note to him and that
he would have it in the morning.

"Is there a mail-box on the train?" asked Sunny, in surprise.

"No, dear. But we will give it to the conductor and he will see that it
is mailed at the next station where we stop. You print on one side of the
sheet, and I will write a little message on the other."

So, taking great pains and holding the pencil very tightly because the
motion of the train made it wobble in his fingers, Sunny Boy printed
this:

                      DEER DADDY: I LOV YOU.
                      WE ARE HAVING A NICE TIME
                      ON THE TRANE. I AM TAKING
                      CARE OF MOTHER. YOUR
                      LOVING SUN, SUNNY BOY.

Then Mother wrote her note, and they folded it up and sealed the letter
and Sunny gave it to the conductor when he next came through.

After that he drew pictures and colored them with the crayons and nibbled
at his chocolate and modeled dogs and cats and horses with the wax. He
opened the cracker boxes, too, and played Noah's ark with them. The
children down the aisle watched him and nudged each other. Their mother
would not let them out into the aisle, or very likely they would have
come closer to see what that boy was doing with so many nice things.

"I'd like, Mother," announced Sunny Boy suddenly, "to pass my crackers to
the little boy with the green tie--he looks like Nelson Baker. Would that
be all right?"

"Why, of course," agreed Mrs. Horton. "Ask their mother if she is willing
for them to have some, and give some to each child, dear. And don't stay
too long, because I shall miss you."

Sunny Boy went down the aisle to the seats where the children were. The
lolly-pops had disappeared long ago, and so had the picnic sandwiches.
They were all stickier than ever, were those children. The heavy baby was
asleep in his mother's lap, and she smiled when Sunny asked her if she
were willing he should pass his crackers.

"Thank you, they'd like 'em first-rate," she said, speaking low so as not
to wake the baby. "Mamie, Ellen, Jamie, Fred, George--say thank you, and
don't grab."

Sunny Boy stayed a little while, talking to them all, and they told him
they were going to another state far away. They would be all night on the
train. Sunny Boy was a bit disappointed that he must get off at
Cloverways, the nearest station to Grandpa's farm, for he had never
stayed all night on a train in his life. He hurried back to Mother to
tell her of the fortunate family who were to spend the night on the
train.

"That poor woman!" Mother, to his astonishment, exclaimed. "She'll be
worn out before she gets all those children safely somewhere. Think of
sitting up all night with that fretful baby! I'll tell you, Sunny Boy--we
get off in about half an hour now; wouldn't you like to leave your
surprise package to amuse those children who are going farther than we
are? I'll help you tie them up again, and I have two more cakes of
chocolate in the bag. You are so careful with your things they are not
hurt at all, and it will keep them busy for an hour or two, playing with
them."

Sunny Boy thought this a fine plan, and he hardly had all the packages
tied up and in the box again when Mrs. Horton pinned on her hat and gave
him his, saying that the next station was theirs. She went down the aisle
with him and they gave the surprise box to the five youngsters who were
delighted to have something new to look at. And then the train stopped,
and the brakeman lifted Sunny Boy down, and he found an old gentleman was
kissing Mother.



CHAPTER VI

BROOKSIDE


Sunny Boy found himself looking into two dark eyes so much like Daddy's
that he almost jumped. But the rest of the old gentleman was not like
Daddy--no indeed. He was short and round instead of tall, and he had the
curliest white hair and beard Sunny Boy had ever seen. Sunny Boy knew
this must be Grandpa Horton, and when he was lifted up in a pair of
strong arms and given a tremendous hug before being gently set down, he
decided that he loved him very much.

"Grandma couldn't come," explained Grandpa, leading the way to an
old-fashioned carriage and pair of horses drawn up at the other end of
the station. "There's only Araminta to help her with the supper, and
Grandma's heart was set on having the biscuits just right. In you go,
Olive. Wait a minute, though, what about your trunk?"

"I have the check, Father," Mrs. Horton answered. "I thought Jimmie would
be coming down in the morning to the creamery. He can get it then."

"An' Mother brought her nightie in the bag an' my pajamas," contributed
Sunny Boy, waiting while Mother and the bag were stowed away on the back
seat.

"Want to ride up with me and help drive?" said Grandpa, turning to him
suddenly.

Poor Sunny Boy was sorely tempted, but he decided quickly.

"I have to take care of Mother," he said. "She might be lonesome all
alone in the back."

"No, indeed," cried Mother instantly. "You ride up there with Grandpa,
precious. You were so good not to tease about the taxi. I'll lean over
the seat and talk to you both."

So Sunny Boy and Grandpa got into the front seat, and Sunny learned that
the horses' names were Paul and Peter, and that they were not afraid of
automobiles, and that he could drive them whenever some older person was
with him. Paul and Peter trotted briskly along, and Grandpa said they
knew they were going home to supper.

They drove through the town, and Sunny Boy thought it looked very cool,
and clean, and pretty, after the warm and dusty train. The grass was
bright green, and, as Sunny Boy wrote Harriet, "millions and dozens" of
robins were singing among the trees. A great red sun was going to bed
back of a high dark hill, and Sunny Boy, sitting beside Grandpa and
holding the reins while Paul and Peter trotted steadily, thought that the
country was the nicest place he had ever been in.

Then, where the road divided, Grandpa took the reins and turned the team
to the left. They entered a lane with white-washed fences on either side
and tall waving trees like soldiers, which Mrs. Horton said were elms.

"Now, Sunny Boy," she told him softly, "here's Brookside."

Sunny Boy saw an old red brick house with a great white porch across the
front and a green lawn all about it. A white picket fence went all around
the lawn, and as Grandpa stopped the horses before the gate, three people
came out. There was a tall, thin young man who went to the horses' heads,
a little girl with flaming red hair who looked about fourteen years old,
and a tall, thin old lady with hair as white and curly as Grandpa's, who
came out to the carriage and took Mother and Sunny Boy both in her arms
at once.

"You're Grandma," said Sunny Boy.

It was Grandma Horton, and she remembered Sunny Boy without a bit of
trouble; though, as he had been only two weeks old the last time she had
seen him, he could not be expected to remember her.

"And this is Araminta," said Grandma, drawing the little red-haired girl
forward. "She is my right hand in the house. You recall Jimmie, Olive?"

Jimmie was the young man holding the horses. He came and shook hands with
Mrs. Horton, blushing a little, and chucked Sunny under the chin. Then he
took the team away to the barn, and Mother and Sunny Boy and Grandpa and
Grandma Horton and Araminta went in to supper.

They had wonderful fresh foamy milk to drink, and hot biscuits and cold
ham for the grown-ups. Sunny Boy was not expected to eat those--not at
night. There were baked apples, too, and honey and cookies. Sunny, seated
before a bowl of bread and milk, held a cookie in his hand and wondered
what was the matter with the hanging lamp with the pretty red shade. It
swung up and down like a train lantern.

"He's sleepy," he heard some one say. It sounded like Araminta.

He opened his eyes as wide as he could make them go, tried to take
another bite of cookie and made one last desperate effort to smile. The
smile ran into a yawn, and Sunny Boy gave up and tumbled, a tired little
ball of weariness, into Mother's lap.

He never knew who carried him upstairs, or when he was undressed. So,
waking in the morning to find the sun shining in four windows at once,
and Mother in her blue dressing gown brushing her hair, he was a bit
surprised.

"Hello!" said Mother gayly. "How do you think you are going to like the
country?"

"Are the chickens up?" asked Sunny Boy.

"Hours ago. Mr. Rooster crowing under our window woke me up at five
o'clock," replied Mrs. Horton. "I heard Jimmie bring in the milk a few
minutes before you sat up. And if you want to ride into town with him
after the trunk--"

Sunny Boy jumped out of bed and fairly galloped with his dressing. He
insisted on using the wash bowl and pitcher, though there was a nice
white bathroom down the hall, because a wash bowl and pitcher were new to
him. Just as he had finished brushing his hair, Araminta rapped at the
door to tell them breakfast was ready.

In the dining room Sunny Boy met another member of the family. Lying on a
rug in the corner was a shaggy brown and white collie that rose as they
came in and, coming over to Mrs. Horton, laid a beautiful pointed nose in
her lap.

"We shut him in the barn last night, because we thought you'd be too
tired to stand his barking," said Grandma. "His name is Bruce, and he is
very gentle. Don't be afraid of him, Sunny Boy."

The collie went back to his rug while they were at breakfast, but when
Jimmie and Sunny Boy started for the door he got up to follow them.

"Is he going, too?" asked Sunny Boy.

"He never goes off the farm," answered Jimmie. "He'll follow us to the
end of the lane and then go back. Hop in lively, now, for we're late as
it is."

Jimmie had harnessed Peter to a wagon that had only one high seat. In
back of this were two cans of milk which Jimmie explained, in answer to
Sunny's questions, would be made into butter at the creamery in
Cloverways.

"Is Araminta your sister?" Sunny Boy asked him as they jogged along.

"No, she's the tenant farmer's daughter--the man who does the farming for
your Grandpa, you know. I work Spring and Summer for him and in Winter I
go to the agricultural school. That's where they teach you to be a
farmer."

After they left the milk at the creamery they drove down to the station
and got the trunk. Sunny Boy told Jimmie about the alarm clock, and he
laughed. Then, after stopping at a yellow store with high white steps,
where Jimmie bought some groceries for Grandma, they turned Peter's head
toward home.

"What are you going to do first?" asked Jimmie, smiling down at his small
companion.

"I don't know--what are you?"

"Oh, I have work to do--have to weed the garden this morning. But you
have the whole farm to get acquainted with. I'll tell you--if I were you,
I'd go down to the brook and play."

"I guess I will," decided Sunny Boy.

Mrs. Horton wanted to unpack the trunk, and when Grandma assured her that
the brook was not deep and Sunny Boy promised not to go wading until she
should be there, she kissed him and told him to run along and have a good
time.

On his way to the brook, Sunny Boy passed Grandpa and Jimmie in wide
straw hats working in the garden. Grandpa pointed out the brook to him.
It ran through a meadow that came right up to the garden.

"I'll be down and play with you myself as soon as we get this lettuce
transplanted," said Grandpa.

Sunny had never had a brook to play in before, and he thought it fine. It
was not a very wide brook, but it was very clear, and Sunny Boy could see
the pebbles on the bottom. Little darting fish went in and out, hiding
under the long grasses that leaned over the edge. Bruce came panting down
as Sunny Boy looked at the water, and took a long drink. Then he lay down
in the grass, his brown doggie eyes fixed watchfully on his new friend.

"Wonder what that is?" said Sunny Boy to himself.

"That" was a wooden wheel that turned in the water with slow, even jerks,
sending out a little spray of rainbow drops that fell back into the
water. Sunny Boy got down on his knees to watch it. Quite suddenly,
without warning, the wheel stopped turning.

Sunny Boy waited, but it did not turn again. He blew on it gently, and
still it did not move. Then he ran over to the big tree nearest him and
picked up a stick.

"I'll fix it," he said aloud. "Grandpa'll be surprised if I get it mended
'fore he comes."

Well, as it turned out, Grandpa was surprised, but not as much as Sunny
Boy. He leaned over, and jabbed the obstinate wheel with his stick; the
dry end of the stake snapped, and Sunny Boy, stick and all, tumbled
head-first into the water. In after him leaped a flash of brown and
white--good old Bruce!

The water was very cold, and when Sunny had swallowed some of it and
shaken some from his eyes, he scrambled to his feet crying bitterly. He
thought he was freezing to death. Bruce pulled at his coat and tried to
drag him back, and it was his frantic barking that attracted Jimmie's
notice. He came tearing across the meadow, followed by Grandpa.

"There--there--you're all right," said Jimmie, as he pulled the little
boy out in a jiffy. "Don't cry so, Brother, you're only frightened. How'd
it happen?"

"The wheel stopped!" sobbed Sunny Boy. "An' I tried to fix it. I was
going to s'prise Grandpa."

"So you did," admitted Jimmie, while Bruce circled around them, barking
madly. "Now we'll have to look out that you don't surprise us more by
catching cold from this ducking."



CHAPTER VII

ADVENTURES BEGIN


Grandpa hurried up to them, his kind face filled with anxiety.

"I brought my coat," he gasped, for he was out of breath from running.
"Wrap him in that, Jimmie. Then hustle for the house."

Jimmie carrying Sunny Boy and Grandpa and Bruce following made quite a
little procession. Mrs. Horton, who was down at the gate with Grandma
inspecting the garden, was startled.

"Sunny Boy!" she cried, and came running toward them. "What happened? Are
you hurt?"

"He's all right," Grandpa assured her cheerfully. "Just fell into the
brook and got a little damp, that's all. Mercy, Olive, don't look like
that--brooks were made for boys to fall into. Why I'd dragged Harry out a
dozen times before he was Arthur's age."

Of course Mother and Grandma were relieved and thankful to find it was
nothing more serious than a ducking. But they decided that it was safer
to rub Sunny Boy briskly with towels and put him to bed to rest.

"You might take cold and be sick a long time, precious," explained Mrs.
Horton, as she popped him between the sheets. "You would miss all the
Summer fun then. Now close your eyes and Mother will read to you."

And while listening to the adventures of a little Italian boy, Sunny's
blue eyes grew heavier and heavier, till he went to sleep.

When he awoke, Mrs. Horton had gone, and the room was empty and quiet.
Sunny Boy lay for a time, studying the walls and furniture, for he had
been asleep when put to bed the night before and had dressed for
breakfast in such a hurry that he had not noticed much of anything. It
was a very different room from his blue and white bedroom at home, but a
very pleasant, pretty room, too. The wall-paper had gay little pink roses
scattered thickly over it, and the furniture was all very large and dark
and brightly polished. Sunny Boy did not know it, but the four-posted bed
in which he was lying had belonged to his great-grandmother, and would be
his own some day.

Presently Sunny Boy tired of lying still and began to be conscious of a
funny sensation somewhere down in his ribs. At least he thought it must
be his ribs. He remembered that he had had no lunch. Did his grandma
expect him to starve at her house?

Sunny Boy got up and found his slippers. The ''fernal 'chine' of an alarm
clock was ticking steadily away on the bureau where Mrs. Horton had
placed it after unpacking, and with a great deal of trouble and much
tracing with a wet forefinger, he made out that it was three o'clock--or
was it five o'clock? Three o'clock in the afternoon and no lunch! Sunny
Boy felt so sorry for himself that he sat down on the floor and wept a
little. He was not quite awake yet, you see, and our troubles often look
rather large when we first wake up. In just a minute Sunny Boy stopped
crying--he had thought what to do.

Naturally his grandmother would not wish him to go without eating all
day, so why not go down and try to find a little chocolate cake, or some
of those cookies left from last night's supper? Sunny Boy had not the
slightest idea where the pantry was, but he was sure there must be
one--every house had a pantry with a cake box in it. So, in his slippers
and pink pajamas, he crept out into the hall intent on locating the
pantry in Grandma Horton's house.

He met no one on his way downstairs, and the first floor of the house
seemed deserted, too. He couldn't know that his mother and Grandma had
peeped in at him several times and found him fast asleep, or that now
they were on the side porch entertaining a caller. Jimmie and Grandpa
were working in the garden again, and Araminta had gone home until it
should be time to start supper. This was why Sunny Boy found no one on
his path to the pantry. He found it without great trouble, because he
kept going until he came to the kitchen, and a kitchen and the pantry are
never very far apart.

Grandma's pantry was a beautiful place, shelves and walls and floor a
snowy white, and boxes and jars in apple-pie order. There was a large
window with a table under it, and there Grandma rolled her cookies and
made her pies, but Sunny Boy did not know that yet. He spied a round box
that, to his experienced eyes, looked as though it might hold cake.

"I'll get a chair," he said aloud, talking to himself, as he often did.
"An' I won't take only a little piece. I wish I was bigger."

He meant taller.

He carried in a kitchen chair and scrambled up on it. His eyes were on a
level with the shelf, and there sat two beautiful brown pies beside the
cake box. Sunny poked a small, fat finger into the nearest one to taste
it. It was very good, though he did not "remember" the taste. My, how
soury it was! Grandma had baked two rhubarb pies. But no pie could hold
Sunny's attention very long--his heart was set on cake. Standing on his
tiptoes, he managed to lift the tin lid of the box when a voice at the
door startled him.

"My land of Goshen!" ejaculated Araminta.

Sunny Boy's hand slipped, the lid came down sharply on his fingers, and
his other hand swept across the shelf to knock over a brown bowl from
which some sticky yellow stuff began to stream.

"Now you've done it!" Araminta told him. "That's the custard pudding for
to-morrow's dinner. What in the world are you trying to do, anyway?"

Araminta was not accustomed to finding small boys in pale pink pajamas
standing on chairs in her pantry, so no wonder she was surprised. But she
was kind, was Araminta, and she helped Sunny Boy down, and did not scold.
She got a basin of clean water and a clean cloth and wiped up the pudding
and washed Sunny's hands for him.

"I came back an hour earlier than I had to," she told him, "'cause I
thought maybe you'd be up and might like to see the chicken yard. No
wonder you're hungry if you didn't have any lunch. Your Grandma has some
saved for you on a big plate. I guess they don't know you're up. You go
and get dressed, and I'll warm it up for you. And don't say anything
about knocking over the custard--let 'em think it was the cat."

Sunny Boy was washed and dressed by the time Mother came up again to see
if he was awake. She helped him a bit with his hair and straightened his
collar and kissed him three or four times and then went down with him to
see him eat. Grandma did not call it lunch--they had dinner and supper on
the farm.

Sunny Boy had a queer little feeling all the while he was eating and he
was so quiet that his mother thought perhaps he was still tired from his
tumble into the brook. He went out with Araminta afterward to see the
chicken yard, and he almost, but not quite, forgot the queer feeling in
watching the hundreds of white chickens and white ducks busily scratching
in the yard and drinking water "upside down," as he told Grandpa that
night. A chicken, you know, doesn't drink water as you do, but
differently. Araminta gave Sunny Boy a handful of cracked corn to throw
to the biddies, and they came flocking about his feet, pushing and
scrambling so that he was glad when Araminta shooed them away from him.
She showed him the nests, too, and in many of them were pretty white
eggs. He could gather them some morning, all himself, Araminta told him.

Coming out of the chicken yard they met Jimmie, whistling merrily. He was
glad to find Sunny Boy all right after his wetting, and asked him if he
did not want to come out to the stable to see Peter and Paul and "the
prettiest little fellows you ever saw." Sunny Boy went gladly, but the
queer little feeling went, too.

Peter and Paul, it seemed, lived in a house that was called a barn, and
were very comfortable. They had each a little room, "box stalls" Jimmie
called them, and all the hay they could eat. For breakfast and dinner and
supper they usually had corn and now and then some oats. The barn was a
delightful place, and Jimmie pointed out the hay mow when Sunny Boy
mentioned that Harriet had said that was the place to play on rainy
days.

"Not much hay in it now," announced Jimmie, leading the way into another
little room. "We start cutting this year's crop next week. Ever seen any
one hay?"

Sunny Boy had not, but he forgot to say so, because he found himself
looking down on a gentle-eyed collie dog mother with three of the dearest
little blind baby puppies you could wish to see. Jimmie explained that
Lassie was Mrs. Bruce, and that the puppies would have their eyes open in
a day or two.

"And one of them's to be yours--your Grandpa said so," Jimmie went on.

And in spite of that--and what child would not be pleased to have a puppy
for his very own?--the queer little feeling still stayed with Sunny Boy.
It was like a small lump of lead right down at the end of his throat.

"I'm going up to the house now for the milk pails," announced Jimmie,
when they had finished looking at the puppies. "You can come out and
watch me milk if you want to."

In the kitchen they found Mother and Grandma.

"Don't let Topaz in," said Grandma, as Jimmie opened the door. "That
wretched cat has eaten half my egg custard, and I won't have him in the
house again to-night."

Araminta was setting the table in the dining room and did not hear. Sunny
Boy gulped a little, but spoke up bravely.

"'Twasn't Topaz, Grandma. I knocked the custard over, looking for cake. I
didn't mean to, but my hand slipped."

Then how he did cry!

But when the whole story had come out, and Grandma had hugged him, and
had said not to mind, that she could make another pudding in a minute;
after Mother had whispered to him that while it was naughty to help
oneself to cake without asking, it was much worse to let the kitty-cat be
blamed, and had kissed him and assured him she was sure he would not do
it again; after Araminta had given him a pink peppermint--after all this,
and Sunny Boy was on his way to the barn with Jimmie to watch the
milking, do you know, that queer little feeling had entirely
disappeared!



CHAPTER VIII

A LETTER FROM DADDY


"My land of Goshen!"

Sunny Boy sat on the fence post waiting for the postman. He was great
friends now with the postman who came to the farm, almost as great
friends as with the cheerful, gray-uniformed letter-carrier in the city,
the one who brought letters to the house with the shining numbers that
Harriet faithfully polished.

This postman in the country did not wear a uniform, and he came in a
little red automobile that one could hear chug-chugging half a mile away.
He did not whistle either, as the city postman did, but he put the
letters and parcels into a tin box nailed to a post; then he turned up a
little tin flag to say that he had been there, and the farm folk came
down to the end of the lane and got the mail. The country postman came
only once a day, instead of the three times Sunny Boy was used to seeing
the city postman, but that really made it more exciting.

"My land of Goshen!" said Sunny Boy again. He was rather proud of that
expression, and used it as often as he could.

"I don't think you ought to say that," Araminta had reproved him the
first time she heard him.

"But you say it," argued Sunny Boy.

"Well, that's no reason why you should," retorted Araminta, who, like
many grown-ups, did not always practice what she preached. "Anyway, I'm
going to stop saying it when I'm fifteen."

"Maybe I will, too," promised Sunny Boy blithely. And that was the best
Araminta could hope from him.

"My land--" began Sunny for the third time, but the red automobile of the
postman came to a sliding stop beside the box, and fortunately
interrupted him.

"Hello Blue Jeans!" called the postman, who found a new name for Sunny
Boy every day. "How do you like farming now? Am I to give the mail to
you, or put it in the box?"

This was an every day question. The postman pretended to be very much
surprised when Sunny Boy said he would take the mail, and he always
handed it out a piece at a time, so that Sunny never knew how much was
coming.

"There's two for your grandfather," counted the postman, handing them to
his small friend standing on the running board. "And that's for your
grandmother. Here's the Cloverways' weekly paper for the whole family.
My, my, one--two--three--five seven letters, all for your mother. And a
box, too. Is that all? Yep, guess that's all to-day."

Sunny Boy got down from the running board and the postman started his car
slowly.

"Oh, Mr. Corntassel!" the postman called suddenly. "Here's another. I
declare, I must be getting old, or need glasses, or something. If there
isn't a letter addressed to you and I came within one of taking it back
to the post-office with me!"

He gave Sunny Boy another letter, and this time drove off without
stopping.

"My land of Goshen!" said Sunny Boy, who was using Araminta's pet
expression far more often than she did. "Such a heap of letters. Maybe
mine's from Daddy."

He found Mrs. Horton in the porch swing, sewing. She had to kiss the
seven new freckles on his nose before she could read her mail, and then
Sunny Boy had to trudge about and find Grandpa and Grandma and deliver
their letters to them. He felt quite like a postman himself, though it is
doubtful if real postmen have sugar cookies and peppermints paid to them
for each letter they bring. So by the time Sunny Boy got around to having
his own letter read to him, Mother had finished hers and had opened her
box.

"See what Daddy sent us," she said, holding up the package for him to
see. In the box were two balls of pink wool and four of dark blue.

"Now I can make you a sweater," explained Mrs. Horton. "The pink is for a
scarf I am finishing for Aunt Bessie. By the way, I had a letter from
her, dear, and she sends her love, and so does Harriet."

"All right," agreed Sunny Boy briefly. "Could you read this now,
Mother?"

"Why, it's from Daddy!" cried Mother, taking the crumpled envelope Sunny
Boy drew from his pocket. "Did you wait till you gave every one else his
mail, precious? Well, listen--"

  "Dear Sunny Boy," said Daddy's letter. "So you fell into the brook!
  Don't tell Jimmie, but I did the same when I was just about as tall
  as you are. Grandma fished me out--only she wasn't Grandma then.

  "Don't go fishing till I come up, for you might catch them all and
  leave none for me. One week from the day you're reading this I'll
  be at Brookside. Hope you and Jimmie and Peter and Paul will come
  to meet me. Mother, too, if she likes, and Grandpa and Grandma and
  Araminta and Bruce, if they're going to be real glad to see me. You
  seem to have a lot of friends. Brookside always was a mighty fine
  place for small boys--like you and me.

  "Can't write more now because a man wants to talk to me--at least
  he is ringing my telephone bell and won't stop. Love to you and
  Mother from--DADDY."

Whenever Sunny Boy was pleased he made a little song to sing. He did so
now, skipping out to the garden where Grandpa was generally to be found.

"Daddy's coming! Daddy's coming! Next week! Pretty soon," sang Sunny Boy
to a tune of his own. "Jimmie, where's Grandpa? Daddy's coming next week,
pretty soon!"

"Well don't walk all over the cabbage plants if he is," said Jimmie, who
was busy and did not like to be interrupted. "I think your grandfather is
down with Mr. Sites looking at the mowing machine. They're down in the
south meadow."

Sunny Boy knew his way about the farm as well as Jimmie by this time. He
knew the pretty brown cow, Mrs. Butterball and her long legged calf,
Butterette; and he was fast friends with Peter and Paul and the dogs.
Sunny had named his puppy Brownie. He knew most of the chickens and ducks
by names of his own, and he had held a little squirmy lamb in his arms
for a minute, with Jimmie helping. He was going fishing, when Daddy came;
and he was going up into the woods the first time some one had a moment
to take him. Then he would have been all over the farm.

Still singing to himself, he trotted down to the south meadow and found
Grandpa and a strange man talking earnestly together.

"Look out! Stay where you are!" called the strange man suddenly. "Back,
Bruce, back!"

Sunny Boy stopped instantly. So did Bruce, who had followed him. Neither
the little boy nor the dog could see why they should be shouted at, but
they obeyed without question. And in a minute they saw a very good reason
why. The stranger talking to Grandpa bent down and lifted a handle on a
queer looking machine, and right out of the grass--where no one could
have seen it--rose a long ugly thing that looked like a big saw.

"All right, Sunny Boy!" called Grandpa.

"What is it?" asked Sunny, eyeing the long saw curiously.

"It's the mowing machine. We're going to cut hay with it presently,"
answered Grandpa. "Sites, this is Harry's son."

Mr. Sites shook hands with Sunny Boy, smiling down at him cheerfully.

"You don't say!" he drawled. "Well, youngster, your father and I went to
school together. When's he coming up? I'd like to see him again."

"Daddy's coming next week, pretty soon," sang Sunny Boy, capering about
the mowing machine joyously. "He wrote me a letter. May I sit on it,
Grandpa?"

Sunny meant the seat of the mowing machine, and Grandpa lifted him in and
held him while Mr. Sites harnessed up a pair of fat white horses and Mr.
Hatch appeared from somewhere. Sunny Boy was acquainted with Mr. Hatch.
He was Araminta's father and did most of the farming for Grandpa. The
Hatches lived in a yellow house down the road, and Araminta had six
little brothers and sisters with whom Sunny sometimes played. So you see
he was not lonely.

"Now we'll go over to the fence," said Grandpa, lifting him down, "and
watch how the grass is cut. That saw-thing is the knife, and you must
never go near a mowing machine unless you can see the knife sticking up.
Little boys and dogs, and even men, can be very easily hurt if they are
careless and don't watch the knife."

So Grandpa and Mr. Sites and Sunny Boy sat on the fence and Bruce lay
down at their feet, while Mr. Hatch rode on the mowing machine round and
round the field. The fat white horses did not hurry in the least, but a
wide light green path marked where the grass was being cut. Grandpa
explained that when the sun had dried this grass it was called hay, and
that Peter and Paul liked it to eat and to make their beds of in the
winter. He promised Sunny Boy that he should help rake the hay the next
afternoon.

Whr-rr! purred the mowing machine as Mr. Hatch turned and the fat white
horses came toward them.

"Whoa!" the horses stopped suddenly.

Up came the long saw-knife, and Mr. Hatch jumped down from his seat and
bent over, looking at something on the ground.

"He's found something," said Mr. Sites to Grandpa. "Wonder if it is--"

"Hey, Sunny! Sunny Boy! Oh, Sunny Boy!" Mr. Hatch waved his big straw hat
wildly. "Come and see what I've got. Make Bruce stay there."

"I'll hold Bruce," said Mr. Sites. "You two go on over. I'll bet a cookie
I know what he's found."

Sunny Boy raced over the meadow, dragging Grandpa by the hand. Mr. Hatch
had looked very near, but it was a very wide meadow if you tried to run
across it.

"Hurry," sputtered Sunny Boy, red in the face with the excitement and
heat.

"Am hurrying," grunted Grandpa. "You seem to forget about the bone in my
leg!"

But Sunny Boy was too eager to see what Mr. Hatch had found to be sorry
even for a grandfather with a bone in his leg.



CHAPTER IX

SUNNY BOY FORGETS


When they reached the horses and the machine, the Something was around on
the other side.

"Here, Sunny Boy, here's a sight for you," said Mr. Hatch mysteriously.
"What do you think of this?"

Sunny Boy bent down to look. There, in a hole in the ground, half-hidden
by the tall grass all about it, were four little furry baby rabbits!

"Bunnies!" and Sunny plunged his two hands down into the middle of that
furry bunch.

They snuggled closer, and their soft eyes looked frightened, but they did
not try to run away.

[Illustration: He lifted one of the baby rabbits and placed it in
Sunny's hands.]

"Where's their mamma?" demanded Sunny Boy.

"The mower scared her off," said Mr. Hatch. "Pick one up--you won't hurt
it--see, like this."

He lifted one of the baby rabbits and placed it in Sunny's hands. It
wriggled uneasily, and he let it fall back into the nest. Mr. Hatch and
Grandpa laughed.

"We'll leave them right here," declared Mr. Hatch kindly. "I'll mow
around the nest, but not very near, and I guess the mother rabbit will
come back to-night. Funny creatures, aren't they? Every year they have a
nest in a grass field, and every year I come within an ace of cutting off
their noses."

Sunny Boy and Bruce wandered back to the house alone. Grandpa was busy
overhauling more machinery with Mr. Sites, and Jimmie was still busy with
cabbages. Sunny was used to so much attention that he felt rather put out
when Araminta, sweeping the front porch, told him that Mother and Grandma
had taken Peter and the buggy and had driven to Cloverways.

"They said I could go next time," grumbled Sunny Boy, not a bit sunnily.
"Mother said so. 'Tain't fair."

"Don't say 'tain't," corrected Araminta, who was very careful of Sunny's
grammar. "Say it isn't fair. Only it is--how could you go when you were
down in the field with your grandpa?"

Sunny Boy felt that if Araminta had deserted him, there was no friend
left. He went on into the house and wept a little, curled up in the big
leather chair in the sitting room. He felt very sorry for himself.

But even a little boy whose mother and grandmother have gone away and
left him can not feel sorry very long when a June breeze is ruffling the
white curtains at the window and there is a whole farm ready and waiting
for him to come out and play. After a few big raindrop tears and a sniff
or two, Sunny Boy wiped his eyes on his "hanky," and decided that he
would be brave and cheerful and then perhaps his family would be sorry to
think how they had treated him.

He decided to make a kite and go out and fly it, the wind at the window
making him think of kite-flying and the sight of a mass of papers on
Grandpa's desk in one corner of the room suggesting what to make the kite
of. He went over to the desk and climbed upon the chair standing before
it.

Ordinarily Sunny Boy had a good memory. He could remember things for
Mother and he seldom forgot where he had left his toys, but this morning
a strange thing happened--his memory did not work at all. He forgot
completely that Mother had told him not to touch other people's things
without permission and that books and papers were not to be opened or
even unfolded unless one first asked.

Sunny Boy thrust a hand down among the papers on Grandpa's desk and
pulled out two nice smooth brown pieces of paper that seemed strong and
just exactly right for a kite. For good measure he took a letter or two,
and then scurried out to the kitchen for string.

He had never made a kite, but he had often watched the boys in the park
at home flying them, and he had a very good idea of how they were made.
He had his own bottle of paste Mother had brought for him and he found
the kind of sticks he wanted out in the yard. In half an hour he had the
papers pasted smoothly over the sticks, a wiggly tail of crumpled papers
from the waste-basket tied on, and yards and yards of string wound on a
piece of wood. Sunny Boy was ready to sail his kite.

Araminta gave him a cookie and advised him to go down by the brook.

"There's more breeze there," she said. "But for mercy's sake don't fall
in again. And come in when you hear me ring the bell."

Sunny Boy trudged down to the brook and started running with his kite as
he had seen the boys do, to give it a good start. Up, up, it went,
sailing high over his head, the crumpled paper tail wiggling in the
wind.

"Jus' as good," said Sunny Boy to himself, "jus' as good."

He meant to say "Just as good as Archie Johnson's," Archie being one of
the older boys who played in the park and who sailed elaborate kites. But
Sunny had not tied the knots in his string tightly enough, and a strong
puff of wind coming by, the cord parted and away sailed the kite, over
the brook and into the woods!

"Ding-ling! Ding-ling! Ding-a-ling!" rang Araminta's bell.

It is often a good thing to be too busy to cry. Sunny Boy might have felt
bad over the loss of his kite--indeed he watched it out of sight--but if
he meant to cry the sound of the bell changed his mind. Instead, he ran
up to the house as fast as he could go, and found Mother and Grandma
waiting for him.

"Did you miss us?" asked his mother. "We knew you were having a good
time, dear. Grandma has brought you a lolly-pop. What have you been doing
to get so sun-burned?"

"Flying kites," stated Sunny Boy. "Thank you, Grandma. We found bunnies
down in the field."

Grandpa came on the porch then, his glasses pushed up on his forehead.

"Mary, Olive, have either of you seen anything of those two five hundred
dollar bonds I had on my desk?" he said anxiously. "They were there this
morning, and when I came in from the mowing I couldn't find them. Have
either of you used my desk?"

"No, Father," said Mrs. Horton.

"No, Arthur," said Grandma. "I'm sure Araminta hasn't been near the desk,
either. Sunny, you weren't in the sitting room this morning, were you?"

"Yes, I was," chirped Sunny Boy.

"But you didn't see anything of Grandpa's bonds--his nice beautiful,
Liberty Bonds, did you, dear?" asked Mrs. Horton.

"No, Mother."

"Well," Grandpa sighed, and turned to go in, "I'll look more thoroughly,
of course. But they're gone--I'm sure of it. I had no business to be so
careless. They should have been in the bank a week ago. They might have
blown out of the window--I'll see that a screen goes in that window
to-night."

Sunny Boy put down his lolly-pop and followed Grandpa into the house. He
found him seated at the desk, the papers in great confusion all about
him.

"Well, Sunny, did you come to help me hunt?" asked Grandpa. "Don't bother
your yellow head about it. When you grow up, try to be more careful than
your grandfather."

Sunny Boy slipped a warm little hand into Grandpa's.

"I made a kite--with papers," he confessed bravely. "Not Lib'ty Bonds,
Grandpa, just papers on top of your desk. I was 'musing myself, and I had
to have a kite."

"I see," said Grandpa slowly, and not a bit crossly. "What color paper,
dear? White?"

"No, brown," replied Sunny Boy eagerly, sure now that he had not taken
the missing bonds. "Just brown, Grandpa, and two old letters."

"Yes, I've copies of those--they don't matter," said Grandpa. "But we'd
better get that kite, Namesake, because you've pasted my bonds on it, and
a thousand dollars is a bit too expensive a kite even for my one and only
grandson."

"But it flew off!" Sunny Boy began to cry. "The string broke, an' it went
over the brook into the woods."

Mrs. Horton, coming into the sitting room to remind Sunny Boy to wash his
face and hands before dinner, found her little boy crying as though his
heart would break in Grandpa's arms.

"What in the world--" she began.

"There--there--it's all right," soothed Grandpa. "We're in a peck of
trouble, Olive, because we took some papers from Grandpa's desk to make a
kite with and now they turn out to be two Liberty Bonds. And the
kite--like the pesky contrivance it is--got away and is hiding somewhere
in the woods. But we're going out right after dinner and hunt for it,
aren't we, Sunny Boy?"

Sunny Boy felt Mother's kind hand smoothing his hair.

"Oh, my dear little boy!" said Mother's voice. "My dear little son! How
could you? Didn't you know how wrong it was to touch a single thing on
Grandpa's desk?"

"I forgot," said Sunny Boy in a very little voice.

"Why I wouldn't have believed that my Sunny Boy could forget," grieved
Mother. "And now Grandpa's money is lost! And Daddy coming next week!
What will he say?"

"We're going to find it long before Daddy comes," said Grandpa stoutly.
"Right after dinner we're going over to the woods. Sunny can remember
about where he thinks the kite fell. Cheer up, Olive--we're sorry we
didn't remember about 'hands off' when other people's property is about,
but every one forgets once in a while. And I was careless--I'm as great a
sinner as Sunny. And now forgive us both before we're quite drowned in
our tears."

Mother and Sunny Boy had another little cry all to themselves upstairs
and he told her that never, _never_ would he touch anything that did not
belong to him again without first asking. Then they both bathed their
faces in clear cold water and felt better. No one mentioned bonds at
dinner, and there was strawberry short-cake which Sunny Boy declared was
as good as his favorite chocolate ice cream. And right after dinner he
and Grandpa went out to hunt for the lost kite.



CHAPTER X

GOING FISHING


But though Grandpa and Sunny Boy hunted and hunted and hunted, till it
seemed as though they must have covered every inch of the big woods;
though they searched the tangled thickets where the briery blackberry
bushes grew along the edge of the brook; though they looked up at the
trees till their necks ached, hoping perhaps to find the kite caught in
the branches; still they had to come home without the precious Liberty
Bonds.

"Never mind," said Grandpa, as they made their way toward home over a
little pathway of stones tumbled together in the brook to make a bridge,
"Never mind, Sunny. If we can't find them, we can't, and there is no use
in feeling bad about it any longer. You didn't mean to lose the bonds, we
all know that, so we'll just stop crying over spilled milk and cheer up
and be happy again."

But it was a very unhappy little boy who went to bed early that
night--for the long tramp had tired him--and for several days after the
loss of the kite Sunny Boy kept rather closely to the house.

He liked to be in the kitchen with Araminta or on the side porch with
Grandma and Mother. Jimmie and Bruce tried to coax him to go with them,
but he said politely that he didn't feel like it.

However, as the time drew near for his father's visit Sunny Boy cheered
up, and by the morning that Daddy was expected he felt quite like his
usually sunny self.

"Are you going to meet Daddy?" he asked Mother that morning, as he
brushed his hair after she had parted it for him.

"I don't believe I'll go down," answered Mrs. Horton. "If you and Grandpa
go, that will be enough and I'll be at the gate waiting for you."

"Daddy's coming!" Sunny Boy pounded his spoon against his bread and milk
bowl.

"Sunny!" said Mother warningly.

"He's most here now!" and Sunny's feet hammered against the table so that
the coffee pot danced a jig.

"Sunny Boy!" implored Grandma.

"I'm going to meet him!" This time Sunny Boy upset his glass of water
with a wild sweep of his arm.

Grandpa pushed back his chair.

"I think we'd better start," he observed, "before a certain young man
goes out of the window. If you're as glad as all this to think that
Daddy's coming, what are you going to do when you really see him?"

But Sunny Boy was already out of the room and down at the gate where
Jimmie stood holding Peter and Paul already harnessed to the carryall.

"Let me feed 'em sugar," teased Sunny Boy. "Hold me up, Jimmie, I'm not
'fraid of their teeth now."

"You pile in," said Jimmie good-naturedly. "If you're going to meet that
train, you want to start in a few minutes. Say, Sunny, what ails you this
morning?" for Sunny Boy had gone around to the back of the carriage,
scrambled up over the top of the second seat, and was now tumbling head
first into the cushions of the front seat.

Grandpa came out in a more leisurely fashion and took the reins.

"All right, Jimmie, we're off. In case anything happens to the team,
Sunny has enough push in him this morning to pull the carriage there and
back."

Peter and Paul trotted briskly, and Sunny's tongue kept pace with their
heels. His shrill little voice was the first thing Mr. Horton heard, for
the train had beaten them to the station after all, and as the carriage
turned the corner of the street a familiar figure stood on the platform
waving to them. Grandpa had to keep one hand on his grandson to prevent
him from falling out over the wheels.

"Well, well, Son, isn't this fine!" Daddy had him in his arms almost
before the horses stopped. "How brown you are! and yes, you've grown,
too. I'll put the suitcase in--don't try to lift it."

Daddy put Sunny Boy down and turned and kissed Grandpa.

"You're his little boy!" Sunny thought out loud. It was the first time he
had thought about it at all.

"I'm his daddy," said Grandpa proudly. "Pretty fine boy, all things
considered, isn't he?"

Sunny Boy laughed because this was probably a joke. Anyway, Grandpa
laughed and so did Daddy. Then they all got into the carriage and Daddy
drove Peter and Paul. How Mrs. Horton laughed when she saw them drive up
to the gate, all three of them crowded together on the front seat.

"You three big boys!" she teased them. "I suppose you had so much to talk
about that you had to be together."

Daddy put one arm around Mother and the other about Grandma.

"Make the most of me," he said gayly. "I can stay only three days."

Then there was a great to-do. Mother and Grandma had counted on having
him for three weeks. Three days, as Mother said, was "no vacation at
all."

"But better than nothing," Mr. Horton pointed out. "We can do a great
deal in three days. And if I can't get up again, at least I'll come up to
get you and Sunny when you're ready to go home."

Well, being sensible people and not given to "crying over spilled milk"
(which was Grandpa's favorite proverb) they soon decided to enjoy every
minute of Daddy's stay and to begin right away.

"Sunny and I are going fishing," announced Daddy firmly. "We'll go
to-day--if Araminta can give us a lunch--and Mother is coming with us, if
she wants to. Then to-morrow she and I are going for a long drive, and
the last day I'm going to be a farmer and help Father with the work. Come
on, Sunny, upstairs with you and get on high shoes. We don't go fishing
in sandals and socks."

Araminta made them sandwiches and packed a box of lunch, putting in a
whole apple pie. Daddy had brought his fishing rod with him, and he
promised to make Sunny one as soon as they found a place to fish. Mother
thought she would not go, for she was already tired from a long walk the
day before. So Sunny Boy and Daddy set off alone for the brook in the
woods where the speckled trout lived.

"Shall I catch one?" asked Sunny Boy, scuffling along. He did like to
scuffle his feet and Daddy did not seem to care how much noise he made.
"Shall I fish?"

"Sure you'll fish," Daddy assured him. "Likely, you'll catch one, though
you never can tell. A good sportsman doesn't growl even if he spends a
whole day and doesn't catch one fish. We'll be good sports, shan't we?"

"Yes," agreed Sunny Boy. "But I would rather catch a fish."

Daddy laughed and began to whistle.

"Do you know Jimmie?" said Sunny Boy, running to keep up with him. "Do
you know Jimmie and Mr. Sites and Araminta and David and Raymond and
Juddy and Fred and Sarah and Dorabelle? Do you, Daddy?"

"I went to school with a boy named Jaspar Sites," Daddy stopped whistling
to answer. "Guess he's the same. Araminta helps Grandma--I know her, and
Jimmie I've met before. But I must say the others haven't the pleasure of
my acquaintance--who is Dorabelle, may I ask?"

"They're Araminta's brothers and sisters," explained Sunny Boy. "They
live down the road. Let's fish now, Daddy."

"We will," agreed Mr. Horton. "You've picked out a good place. Now first
I'll start you in, and then I'll try my luck."

He found a nice long branch for Sunny, and tied a fish-line to it. At the
end of the line he fastened a bent pin with a bit of cracker on the
point.

"There you are," he told him. "Now you sit out here on the dead roots of
this tree that hangs over the bank, and you dangle the cracker in the
water and keep very, very still. And perhaps a little fish on his way to
the grocery store for his mother will see the cracker and want a bite of
lunch. Then you'll catch him."

Sunny Boy sat very still while Daddy baited a sharp thin hook with real
bait and threw his line into the water, too. He sat down beside Sunny and
together they waited.

"Daddy!" said Sunny Boy after a long while.

Mr. Horton raised a warning finger.

"But Daddy?" this after Sunny Boy had waited a longer time.

"You'll scare the fish," Mr. Horton whispered. "What is it?"

"My foot prickles!"

Mr. Horton took his line and whispered to him to get up and run about.

Sunny Boy's foot felt too funny for words, and at first he was sure it
had dropped off while he had been sitting on it. He could not feel it at
all. After stamping up and down a few minutes the funny feeling went
away, and he came back to his father and took his line.

"Your foot was asleep," said Mr. Horton in a low tone. "Don't sit on it
again. Feel a nibble?"

Sunny Boy drew his line up and looked at it. There was nothing at all on
the pin.

"Percy Perch must have taken that cracker when you weren't looking," said
Mr. Horton, putting another cracker on. "Now watch out that Tommy Trout
doesn't run off with this."

Sunny Boy waited and waited. A yellow butterfly came and sat down on a
blade of grass near him. Sunny looked at it more closely--it was a funny
butterfly--a funny butter--

Splash went his rod and line, but he never heard it. Sunny Boy was fast
asleep, and Tommy Trout must have run away with the pin and the cracker
because they were never heard of again. When Sunny Boy opened his eyes
again, his father was folding up his fishing tackle.

"Hello! You're a great fisherman!" Daddy greeted him. "See what we're
going to take home to Mother to surprise her."

Sunny Boy rubbed his sleepy eyes. There on the grass lay four pretty
little fish.

"Did you catch them?" he asked Daddy, who nodded.

"My land of Goshen!" said Sunny Boy.

"Where'd you pick that up?" demanded Daddy. "Do you think apple pie might
help you to feel spryer?"

Sunny Boy was interested in pie, and he helped Daddy to spread the little
white cloth on the ground. He had not known a picnic was part of the fun
of fishing!



CHAPTER XI

THE HAY SLIDE


"Daddy," said Sunny Boy, as he munched a sandwich, lying on his stomach
and looking down into the brook from the safe height of the bank, "how
much is five hundred dollars?"

"A large sum of money," answered Mr. Horton, surprised. "Why, Son? What
do you know about such things? Little boys shouldn't be bothering about
money for years and years to come."

So Sunny told him about Grandpa's bonds and how he had lost them by
pasting them on his kite. Mr. Horton was very sorry, but he said little.

"Only remember this, Sunny Boy," he insisted gravely. "I would rather you
told me yourself than to have heard it from any one else--even from
Mother. When you've done anything good or bad that you think I should
know, you tell me yourself, always. And now how about going wading?"

That was great fun. Sunny Boy rolled his trousers up as far as they would
go and took off his shoes and stockings. The water was not deep, but, my!
wasn't it cold? Little baby fish darted in and out, and ever so many
times Sunny thought he had a handful of them. But when he unclosed his
hands there was never anything in them but water, and not much of that.

"If I did catch a fish, could I keep him, Daddy?" Sunny asked. "I could
carry home some brook for him to live in."

Sunny meant some of the brook water. Daddy explained that the baby fish,
minnows they are called, would not be happy living in a bowl as the
goldfish Sunny once had were.

"And you wouldn't want a fish to be unhappy, would you?" questioned
Daddy. "Of course you wouldn't. But I'll tell you something better to do
than trying to catch fish that only want to be left alone."

"Something to do with my shoes and stockings off?" stipulated Sunny
anxiously. "I haven't been wading hardly a minute yet, Daddy."

Daddy laughed a little. He was lying flat on his stomach as Sunny had
done, peering over the bank down at the water. He seemed to be having a
very good time, did Daddy.

"This is something you can do without your shoes and stockings," he
assured the small figure standing in the middle of the brook. "Indeed, I
thought of it because you are all fixed for doing it. You know Mother was
talking about her Christmas presents last night?"

Sunny nodded.

"She's sewing a bag for Aunt Bessie," he confided, "and Grandma is
getting ready, too. But I think Christmas is about a year off, Daddy."

"Not a year--about five months," corrected Daddy. "That seems like a long
time to you. But Mother likes to start early and make many of her
presents. And a very good way it is, too. Well, Sunny Boy, I once heard
Mother say that she would like to try making an indoor garden for some of
her friends who live in apartments and have no gardens of their own.
Only, Mother said, she must experiment first and find out what would grow
best."

"What's an indoor garden?"

"Oh, there are different kinds," answered Daddy. "But I think the kind
Mother is anxious to try is very simple. Just damp moss and a vine or two
put into a glass bowl. They will grow and keep green all Winter and be
pretty to look at."

"I could get her some moss," said Sunny quickly. "See, those stones are
all covered, Daddy."

"That's just what I want you to do," agreed Daddy. "We'll take plenty
home to Mother and she can experiment with indoor gardens to her heart's
content. See, Son, here's my knife. You must cut the moss very carefully
in square pieces, and try not to break it. I'll be digging up some of
these healthy little ground vines."

Sunny Boy was proud to be allowed to handle Daddy's big jack knife, and
he was glad Daddy hadn't told him not to cut himself. Daddy, somehow,
always trusted Sunny not to be heedless.

"Mother'll like it, won't she?" he called to Daddy, who was digging up a
pretty, creeping green vine that grew in the grass near him. "Won't she
be s'prised, Daddy?"

They worked busily, and soon Sunny had a neat little pile of green moss
ready to take home to Mother. After that he waded about in the brook,
splashing the water with his bare feet.

"There--you've been in long enough," called Mr. Horton presently. "The
water is too cold to play in it long. Come, Son, and put on your shoes
and stockings."

Sunny Boy dabbled his feet in a little hole made by a stone he had pushed
away.

"Sunny Boy!" called Mr. Horton once again.

Still Sunny Boy continued to play in the water. To tell the truth every
one had been so anxious to make him happy at Brookside that he was the
least little bit in the world spoiled. The more you have your own way,
you know, the harder it is to do other people's way, and if you can do as
you please day after day, by and by you want to do as you please all the
time. Sunny Boy felt like that now.

"Sunny!" said Daddy a third time, very quietly.

Sunny Boy looked at him--and came marching out of the water. He was not
very pleasant while Daddy helped him dry his feet and get into the
despised shoes and stockings, but, when they were ready to start for home
and Daddy tilted up his chin to look at him squarely, Sunny Boy's own
smile came out.

"All right!" announced Daddy cheerfully. "Let's go home a different way
and perhaps we'll find wild strawberries."

They did, too, a patch of them down at one end of the apple orchard, and
Mr. Horton showed Sunny Boy how he used to string them on grass stems to
take home to his mother when he was a little boy.

He certainly was a dear Daddy, and when he went back to the city Mother
and Sunny had to be nicer to each other than ever because they missed him
so very much.

"It's raining!" Sunny Boy stood at the window after breakfast, the
morning after Mr. Horton had gone back to the city. "Does it rain in the
summer?"

Grandma laughed, and told him that indeed it did rain in the summer.

"We haven't had a drop of rain since you've been here, and you must have
brought fair weather with you," she said. "Now that the hay is all in the
barn, we're glad to see it rain, for the garden needs it badly. Think how
thirsty the flowers and vegetables must be."

"Harriet said to play in the barn on rainy days," said Sunny Boy sadly,
"but I think I'm lonesome."

"Well, you go out to the barn and you won't be lonesome," Araminta, who
was clearing the breakfast table, laughed at his long face. "I'll bet all
the children are there, even the baby. He can go, can't he, Mrs.
Horton?"

Grandma said yes, of course he could, and Mother brought his rubbers and
raincoat downstairs when she came, for he met her on the stairs and there
she had them all ready.

"Run along and have a good time," she told him, kissing him. "I was going
to suggest that you play in the barn this morning. Help Jimmie if he's
working, won't you, and don't hinder him?"

Paddling out to the barn in the pouring rain was fun. But the barn was
the most fun of all. Grandpa and Jimmie were on the first floor mending
harness, and the doors were open so that they could see right out into
the orchard and yet not get a bit wet. Just as Araminta had said, all the
Hatch children were there, even the baby, who lay asleep on the hay in a
nice, quiet corner.

"Hurrah!" cried Juddy Hatch. "We're going to play robbers, and you can be
in my cave."

"Be in my cave," urged David, his brother. "Our side has the best
slide."

"I'll come up there and settle you youngsters if you're going to
quarrel," threatened Jimmie, switching a buggy whip and looking very
fierce. "You'd better start playing and stop arguing."

The children knew Jimmie had small patience with little bickerings,
though he had never been known to do anything more severe than scold. So
they took him at his word and began to play.

"You be on Juddy's side, then," agreed David. "See, we each have a cave
here in the hay--that's mine in this corner. The way we do is to all go
into our caves and take turns creeping up. When you hear us on the roof
of your cave, you have to get out and run over to ours, climb up to the
top and slide down the other side. If you're caught you have to b'long to
our robber tribe."

The hay was very smooth and slippery, and the children had many a tumble
as the two robber tribes chased each other across the haymow. Such
shrieks of laughter, such howls as the robbers in their excitement
sometimes forgot and pulled a braid of Sarah's or Dorabelle's! The baby
continued to sleep placidly through all the noise, and Jimmie told
Grandpa that he thought perhaps "the poor little kid was deaf!" Jimmie
was only fooling, of course, for the Hatch baby was not deaf at all.

It was Sunny Boy's turn to be chased, and as he heard David's robber
tribe beginning to climb up on the roof of his cave he dashed out and ran
for the other cave at the end of the haymow. Up the side he went, and
down. Dorabelle was captured in that raid and had to go over to David's
side.

"Now I've got four in my tribe," crowed the robber chief. "Get your men
together, Jud, and we'll do it again."

"Where's Sunny Boy?" demanded Juddy, counting his tribe. "He was here--I
saw him climb up the top of the cave. Sunny Boy! Sun-ny!"

No Sunny Boy answered.

"Jimmie, is Sunny Boy down there with you?" Juddy peered over the edge of
the haymow where Jimmie sat mending the harness. Grandpa had gone to the
house, declaring that there was a little too much noise in the barn for
his rheumatism.

"Haven't seen him," answered Jimmie. "Isn't he up there with you?"

Juddy's lip began to quiver. He was only eight years old.

"Then he's lost," he said. "He isn't here at all, Jimmie."

Jimmie dropped his harness and ran up the little ladder that led to the
haymow.

"Nonsense!" he declared sharply. "A boy can't get lost with a roof over
him. Likely enough he's hiding for fun. Sunny! Sunny Boy, where are
you?"

But no Sunny Boy answered. And though Jimmie and the Hatch children
turned over the hay and looked in every corner of the haymow, they could
not find him.

"Shall I go and tell Mr. Horton?" suggested David, who was the oldest of
the Hatch boys.

"Not till we have something to tell," was Jimmie's answer. "Where was he
when you saw him last?"

"Right over in that corner," said Juddy, pointing. "I saw him going over
the top of the cave, an' then I ducked under, and when David got
Dorabelle he just wasn't here."

"He must be here--somewhere," retorted Jimmie impatiently. "I'm going to
look once more--and if he's just hiding, won't I shake him!"

Jimmie climbed over the top of the "robber's cave," as Sunny Boy had
done, and down on the other side. The children heard him scuffling about,
kicking the hay with his feet, and then suddenly he gave a shout.

"You stay where you are till I come back," he called. "You David, and
Juddy, keep the others where they are. I'll bet I've found him."

The Hatch children were fairly dancing to follow Jimmie, but they knew he
meant what he said. They sat down in the hay to wait.

One--two--three--four--five minutes passed. Then Jimmie stepped out on
the barn floor and grinned cheerfully up at the anxious group perched on
the edge of the haymow.

"It's all right," he said. "I've found him. He's out in the old dairy.
Now don't all come down at once--Jud, let the girls come first. Easy
there!"

The Hatch children came tumbling down, eager to see Sunny Boy. Sarah
stopped to pick up the baby, who had slept through all the excitement and
now merely opened two dark eyes, smiled, and went to sleep again. The
Hatch baby was used to being taken about and had the steady habits of an
old traveler.

They found Sunny absorbed in watching a mother duck and her ten little
ducklings who were swimming daintily about in a trough in the dairy.

"Well, where were you?" Juddy pounced on Sunny Boy. "You gave us an awful
scare."

"I've been right here all the time." Sunny was a bit aggrieved to find
such a fuss made over him. First Jimmie and now Juddy. "I haven't been
anywhere," he insisted.

"We thought you were lost!" David frowned at him severely.

"Well, I wasn't," retorted Sunny Boy briefly. "I was watching ducks.
Jimmie, do they sleep in water?"

"What, ducks?" said Jimmie. "Oh, no, they sleep under their mother just
like chickens at night, some place where it is warm and dry. Your
grandmother will be glad you found this duck--she's missed her for two
days. Guess she never thought of looking in the dairy."

This part of the barn had been used for the cows, you see, years before,
when Sunny's father was a little boy and a big herd of fine cows were
kept at Brookside. Now Mrs. Butterball and Butterette were the only cows,
and they lived in a box stall near Peter and Paul.



CHAPTER XII

APPLE PIES


Sunny Boy continued to look at the ducks till David could stand it no
longer.

"What happened to you?" he asked, jogging Sunny's elbow to make him look
at him. "How'd you get down here?"

"Fell down," said Sunny calmly. "Could I have a duck to play with,
Jimmie?"

"How'd you fall down?" persisted David, who usually got what he started
after.

Sunny Boy was exceedingly bored by these numerous questions, and he
wanted to be allowed to watch the ducks in peace. So he decided the
easiest way to get rid of David and the others would be to tell them what
they wanted to know.

"I'll show you," he said. "Come on."

He led them out of the dairy into a little cobwebby room, and pointed up
to a square opening.

"I slid through that--see?" he demanded.

"Did it hurt?"

"Course not--I fell on the hay."

The floor was thickly covered with old, dusty hay.

"It's the room where we used to throw down hay to feed the cows,"
explained Jimmie. "They covered it over with loose boards when they put
in the hay three or four years ago. But I suppose you youngsters when
romping around kicked the boards to one side and the hay with it. Sunny,
coasting down the side of the cave, just coasted right on through the
hole and landed down here. Lucky there was hay enough on the floor to
save him a bump."

"But why didn't you come and tell us?" asked David. "Here we've been
looking all over for you. Why didn't you sing out?"

"I was going to," admitted Sunny Boy apologetically. "But when I was
hunting for the way into the barn, I found the ducks. Let's go and tell
Grandma we saw 'em."

It was noon by this time, so the Hatch children went home and Sunny Boy
and Jimmie walked together to the house. It had stopped raining, and the
sun felt warm and delightful.

"Of course you may have a duck," said Grandma, when Sunny Boy told her of
his find. "That foolish old mother duck marched off with her children one
morning and I couldn't for the life of me discover where she had gone.
And Grandpa must board over that hole if you are going to play in the
haymow. Another time you might hurt yourself, falling like that."

"Where's Mother?" asked Sunny Boy, eager to tell her about the morning's
fun.

"I believe she is up in the attic," returned Grandma. "She's been up
there for an hour or so. I wish, lambie, you'd run and find her and say
dinner will be on the table in half an hour."

Sunny climbed the crooked, steep stairs that led to Grandma's attic, and
found Mother bending over an old trunk dragged out to the middle of the
floor.

"Mother," he began as soon as he saw her, "we've been sliding on the hay,
and I found a duck mother, an' Grandma gave me a duck for my own. What
are you doing, Mother?"

Mrs. Horton was sitting on the floor, her lap filled with a bundle of old
letters.

"I've been having a delightful morning, too," she said. "Grandma started
to go over these old trunks with me, and then some one called her on the
telephone and she had to go down. See, precious, here is a picture of
Daddy when he was a little boy."

Sunny looked over her shoulder and saw a photograph of a stiff little boy
in stiff velvet skirt and jacket, standing by a table, one small hand
resting solemnly on a book.

"He doesn't look comfy," objected Sunny. "Is it really Daddy? And did
little boys wear petticoats then, Mother?"

"That isn't a petticoat, it is a kilt," explained Mother. "You know what
kilts are, dear--you've seen the Scotch soldiers wear them. Well, when
Daddy was a little boy they wore kilts, and trousers underneath. And
Grandma was telling me this morning that as soon as Daddy was out of her
sight he would take off his kilt and go about in his blouse and trousers.
So probably he considered the kilt a petticoat just as you do."

Sunny wandered over to another trunk that stood open and poked an
inquiring hand down into its depths.

"What's this, Mother?" he asked, holding up a queer, square little cap.

"Be careful, precious, that is Grandpa's Civil War trunk," warned Mother,
coming over to him. "Grandmother meant to put the things out to air
to-day and then it rained. See, dear, this is the cap he wore, and the
old blue coat, and this is his knapsack. Some day you must ask Grandpa to
come up here with you and tell you war stories."

"Where's his sword?" asked Sunny, fingering the cap with interest. "Where
was Daddy then? Was Grandpa shot?"

"Grandpa didn't have a sword, because he wasn't an officer," explained
Mother. "He was only a boy when he enlisted, and it was long before there
was any Daddy, dear. And Grandpa was wounded--I'm sure I've told you that
before--don't you remember? That's how he met Grandma. She was a little
girl and met him in the hospital where her father, who was a physician,
was attending Grandpa."

"Olive! Sunny! Dinner's ready!" It was Grandma standing at the foot of
the stairs and calling them.

"I forgot to tell you," said Sunny hastily. "Dinner will be on the table
in half an hour, Grandma said."

Mrs. Horton smiled.

"I think the half hour has gone by," she declared, closing the lid of
Grandpa's trunk. "Come, dear, we must go right down and not keep them
waiting."

"Are you going to eat your duck?" asked Grandpa, when they were seated at
the dinner table.

"My, no!" answered Sunny Boy, shocked.

He never believed that the chickens and ducks they had for Sunday dinners
were the same pretty feathered creatures he saw walking about the farm.
Chickens and ducks one ate, thought Sunny Boy, were always the kind he
remembered hanging up in the markets at home--without any feathers or
heads. He was sure they grew that way, somewhere.

"He doesn't have to eat his duck," comforted Grandma. "I'm going to make
something he likes this afternoon. If you and Olive are going to drive
over to town, Sunny and I will be busy in the kitchen."

"Saucer pies!" cried Sunny Boy. "I can help, can't I, Grandma?"

If there was one thing Sunny Boy loved to do, it was to be allowed to
watch his grandma bake pies. He could ask a hundred questions and always
be sure of an answer, he could taste the contents of every one of the row
of little brown spice boxes, and, best of all, there was a special little
pie baked for him in a saucer that he could eat the minute it was baked
and cool. No wonder Sunny Boy kissed Mother contentedly and watched her
drive away with Grandpa for a little shopping in town. He, Sunny Boy, was
going to help Grandma bake apple pies.

"Here's your chair, and here's a pound Sweeting for you," Araminta
greeted him as he trotted into the kitchen.

Sunny Boy scrambled into his place opposite Grandma at the white table.

"Now this won't be a very good pie," said Grandma, as she began to mix
the pie crust.

Dear Grandma always said that about her pies, even the one that won the
prize at the big fair.

"These apples are too sweet. But your grandfather can never wait. He has
to have an apple pie the minute the first apple ripens."

"So do I," announced Sunny Boy. "What's in this little can, Grandma?"

"Cinnamon, lambie," answered Grandma. "Don't sniff it like that--you'll
sneeze."

Sunny Boy munched his apple and watched her as she rolled out the crust.

"How many, Grandma?" he asked.

Araminta, peeling apples over by the window, laughed.

"He's just like his grandfather," she said. "Mr. Horton always says, 'How
many pies are you going to make, Mother?' doesn't he?"

"Why does Grandpa call you Mother?" inquired Sunny Boy of Grandma.
"You're not his mamma."

"No. But you see I suppose when your daddy was a little chap around the
house, and calling me and calling me 'Mother' sixty times a day, as you
do your mamma, Grandpa got in the habit of saying 'Mother,' too. And
habits, you know, Sunny Boy, are the funny little things that stay with
us."

"Yes, I know--we had 'em in Sunday school," agreed Sunny absently. "Is
that my pie?"

"That's your pie, lambie," declared Grandma, smiling. "One, two, three
large ones, and a saucer pie for my own laddie. How much sugar shall I
put in for you, Sunny Boy?"

"A bushel," replied Sunny Boy confidently. "Let me shake the brown
powder, Grandma."

So Sunny Boy sprinkled in the cinnamon, and Grandma added dots of butter
and put on the crust. Then she cut little slits in it "so the apples can
breathe" and then that pie was ready for the oven.

"Now I'm going up to change my dress while they're baking," said Grandma,
taking off her apron. "If you want to stay here with Araminta, all right,
Sunny. I'll be back in time to take the pies out."

Araminta bustled about, washing the table top and putting away the salt
and sugar and spice box and all the things Grandma had used for her
baking. Sunny Boy ate his apple quietly and waited for Grandma to come
back.

"My land of Goshen!" Araminta stopped to peer out of the window over the
sink. "Here's company driving in. If it isn't Mrs. Lawyer Allen, and she
always stays till supper time! And your Grandma's pies not out of the
oven!"

Grandma, too, had seen the gray horse and buggy, and she hurried down in
her pretty black and white dress.

"Hook my collar, please, Araminta," she whispered. "And I am sure the
pies are done. You can take them out very carefully and set them where
they'll cool. You'll be good, won't you, lambie? There goes the
door-bell."

Grandma rustled away to meet her company, and Araminta opened the oven
door importantly. She was seldom trusted to take the pies from the oven
alone, and she felt very grown-up indeed to have Sunny Boy see her do it.
She got the three pies out nicely, and the little saucer pie, too, and
carried them into the pantry to cool. She set them on a shelf over the
flour barrel.

"Grandma puts them on the table," suggested Sunny Boy.

"Well, I put them on the shelf," said Araminta shortly. "I don't believe
in leaving pies around where any one can get 'em."

Now Araminta was in a hurry to go home, for it was three o'clock, and
every afternoon from three to five she was allowed to spend as she
pleased. So, though she made the kitchen nice and neat before she left,
in her hurry she forgot to put the lid on the flour barrel, something
Grandma always did.

"I'm going," said Araminta, putting on her hat with a jerk. "Mind you
don't get into any mischief, and don't go bothering your grandma. Mrs.
Lawyer Allen is nervous, and she doesn't like children."

Araminta, you see, had so many brothers and sisters younger than herself
that she gave advice to every child she met.

Sunny Boy was perfectly willing to be good, but he was equally determined
to have his saucer pie. It was his own pie, made and intended for him,
and Araminta had no business to put it on a shelf out of his reach. As
soon as the kitchen door closed he got a chair and dragged it into the
pantry.

"It's mine," he told himself, as he stood on the chair.

He pushed a white bowl out of the way, for he remembered the yellow
custard he had knocked over on his first adventure in Grandma's pantry.
He put his hand on his pie and had it safe when Bruce began to bark
suddenly outside the window. Sunny Boy leaned over to see out the window,
the chair tipped, and with a crash a frightened little boy fell into the
flour barrel which the careless Araminta had left uncovered directly
under the shelf.

The noise of the falling chair brought Grandma and her visitor to the
pantry.

"What in the world!" cried Mrs. Allen, as a small white-faced figure
stared at her over the edge of the barrel. "What is it?"

"It's me," said Sunny Boy forlornly. "There's flour all in me, Grandma!"

Grandma had to laugh.

"All over you," she corrected. "My dear child, are you hurt? And what
were you doing to get in the barrel?"

Grandma lifted Sunny Boy out and carried him to the back porch and told
him to shake himself as Bruce did after swimming in the brook. Only,
instead of water, clouds of flour came out of Sunny Boy's clothes as he
tried to shake like a dog.

"I was getting my saucer pie, Grandma," he explained when she came back
with a whisk-broom and began to brush him vigorously. "If I had some
cinnamon I'd be a pie, wouldn't I?"

[Illustration: With a crash a frightened little boy fell into the
flour barrel.]



CHAPTER XIII

MORE MISCHIEF


When Grandma finally had Sunny Boy all dusted free from flour, she asked
him if he thought he could keep out of mischief till supper time.

He was sure he could, and ran off to find Jimmie while Grandma and Mrs.
Allen went back to finish their interrupted visit.

"Hello, Sunny," Jimmie greeted him. Jimmie was mending a piece of the
orchard fence. "What are you eating--pie?"

For Grandma had seen to it that Sunny had his saucer pie--grandmas are
like that, you know.

"Want a bite?" asked Sunny.

But Jimmie, it seemed, had been eating apples all the afternoon and he
did not care for apple pie.

"Let me help," urged Sunny. "I can hold the fence up, Jimmie."

"You can stay around and talk, if you want to," conceded Jimmie. "It's
kind of lonesome working all alone. But, Sunny, honestly I can't mend
this fence if you are going to sit on it and wiggle."

Sunny slid down hastily.

"I didn't know I was wiggling," he apologized. "Do you learn to mend
fence at agri--agri--"

"Agricultural college?" supplied Jimmie. "No, I guess that comes natural.
Will you hand me one of those long nails, please?"

Sunny handed the nail absently. He was thinking of other things.

"Are you a farmer like Grandpa, Jimmie?" he asked.

Jimmie finished pounding in his nail before he answered.

"Seems like I tinker up this section of fence every other week," he
confided. "Am I a farmer like your grandpa? Well, no, not yet, but I aim
to be. You thinking of farming, too?"

Sunny considered this gravely.

"I might be a farmer," he admitted. "Only I think I would rather be a
postman. Could I, Jimmie?"

"Of course," encouraged Jimmie. "Nothing to stop you. And if, when you
grow up, you find you would rather be something else, why, there's no
harm done. I've heard that your father wanted to drive a hansom cab for a
life job when he was your age. And now, instead, he drives his own
automobile."

"I think," announced Sunny thoughtfully, "it's a good plan to think about
what you want to be when you grow up and then you won't be s'prised when
you find out what you are."

Jimmie's mouth was too full of nails for him to answer, but he nodded.

"You'll swallow a nail," worried Sunny. "Our dressmaker did, once. Only
it was a pin. What is this for, Jimmie?"

"Wire clippers," explained Jimmie briefly. "Cut wires with 'em, you know.
Leave them right there, Sunny."

Jimmie was wrestling with a bit of wire that was hard to stretch into
place. Sunny picked up the wire clippers and studied them carefully.

"I wonder how they work?" he said to himself. "Like Mother's scissors? If
I only had a piece of wire I could see."

Now the only wires, as Sunny very well knew, were those stretched between
the posts. He did so wonder if the wire clippers really could cut that
thick wire! Jimmie's back was toward him. Sunny rested the clippers on
the top wire. He wouldn't really press them, just pretend to.

Snip! the heavy strand of wire parted as though it had been a string.

"Give me those clippers!" Jimmie bore down upon him crossly. "I told you
to leave 'em alone. Now see what you've done! Look here, Sunny, can't you
keep out of trouble long enough for me to finish this fence?"

Sunny yielded the clippers reluctantly. He had not known they were so
sharp. Jimmie need not have been so cross, he thought.

"I want to do something different," Sunny complained.

Jimmie wisely decided to give him something to do.

"Couldn't you drive that mother duck and her ducklings up to the chicken
yard?" he asked, pointing to the same ducks Sunny had discovered in the
dairy. "I know your grandmother wants to shut them up to-night and that
mother duck is just working her way down to the brook. I want to finish
this fence before I call it a day, so if you want to be useful, here's
your chance."

Of course Sunny Boy wanted to be useful, and he started after Mother Duck
and her family. If you have ever tried to argue with a duck you will know
that it does no good to tell her where she should go--ducks are like some
people, they like to have their own way. This mother duck had made up her
mind that she was going to take her family down to the brook, and Sunny
Boy had to race up and down the orchard and "shoo" her from behind trees
and be patient a long time before he could get her started in the
direction of the chicken yard. Then, once out of the orchard, she caught
a glimpse of Araminta, who had come back--for it was five o'clock--and
was scattering cracked corn for the chickens. The duck mother was hungry,
and she started to run toward the chicken yard. Sunny Boy could scarcely
keep up with her, and the poor little baby ducks were left away behind.

"Let 'em be--they'll follow her!" cried Araminta, and she scattered a
little corn in an empty coop.

The duck mother waddled right inside, and Araminta put up a bar that
fastened her in.

"I think she has too many duck babies," said Sunny Boy, watching as the
ducklings came up to the coop and began to hunt for corn.

"Yes, she has," agreed Araminta. "But she can keep them all warm, I
guess."

"I know what I can do," suggested Sunny Boy, but Araminta was hurrying to
the house after bread and milk to feed the duck babies and she did not
ask him what he could do.

Mrs. Allen stayed to supper, and very soon after Mrs. Horton said that
Sunny Boy looked sleepy and must go to bed. He seldom took a nap any
more, and as he woke up early in the mornings, his mother said it was
certain that he must go to bed earlier to make up for it.

All the time Mother was helping him undress, Sunny Boy was very quiet,
and after she had kissed him and tucked him in bed he did not ask her for
a story as he usually did.

"You've been playing too hard, I think," said Mrs. Horton. "Good night
and pleasant dreams, dearest."

Sunny Boy waited till she had closed the door. Then he hopped out of bed
and pattered over to another door that led into Grandma's room. When he
came back he had two baby ducks in his hands.

"There now, you can sleep in my bed," he told them, putting them down
under the sheet.

But the baby ducks did not like the soft, clean bed. They made funny
little peeping noises, and as soon as Sunny Boy climbed into bed, one of
them fell out and ran across the floor. Sunny Boy chased it under the
bureau, and then he heard Mother calling.

"Sunny!"

He opened the door a crack.

"Yes, Mother?"

"I hear you running around up there. You don't want Mother to have to
come up and punish you, do you? Go back to bed and go to sleep like a
good boy."

"Yes'm," said Sunny.

He might have explained that he was good, but the ducks were certainly as
bad as they could be. It was still light enough in the room for him to
see the furniture, but try as he might he could not get that foolish,
obstinate frightened little duck to come out from behind the bureau.
Finally he gave it up and went to bed to take care of the other one, and
that fell or jumped out on the other side of the bed and poor Sunny had
to get up again and try to find it. The foolish thing let him chase it
under the bed, and he was half way under and half way out when Grandpa
opened the bedroom door.

"Look here, Sunny, what are you up to now?" began Grandpa. "Your mother
is tired and she sent me up to settle you. My soul, boy! what are you
doing under the bed?"

Sunny Boy wriggled out and turned a flushed face to Grandpa.

"Nothing," he said, beginning to climb into bed.

Grandpa was helping him smooth the tangled covers when one of the ducks
began to peep.

"What's that?" said he sharply. "Sunny, what have you got in here? What's
that noise?"

"It's a duck," confessed Sunny Boy reluctantly.

Grandpa sat down on the bed.

"A duck? Up here?" he gasped. "Why, how on earth did a duck get in the
house?"

"I did it," admitted Sunny. "The duck mother had too many children, and I
was going to take care of some of 'em for her. But they wouldn't stay in
bed. I could sail 'em in the bath-tub in the mornings."

Grandpa began to laugh, and then he could not stop. He laughed till the
tears came, and Mrs. Horton heard him and came up to scold them both.
Grandma followed, and there they all sat on the bed, Grandpa and Mother
and Grandma, all laughing as hard as they could.

Sunny Boy did not think it was funny a bit, and when he found that
Grandpa was going to take his ducks back to their own mother that night
he began to cry.

"By and by they would like it here," he sobbed. "I haven't my woolly dog,
and I need a duck. Can't I have one, Grandpa?"

Sunny Boy was far from being a cry-baby, but he was sleepy and that made
him feel unhappy, though he thought it was the ducks. That's a trick of
the sandman's--making you cry easily when you're sleepy. However this
time Grandpa was firm, and he managed to get the duck under the bed and
the one back of the bureau and carry them down to their mother. And very
glad they were to get there, we may believe. Sunny Boy went to sleep in
five minutes, and long before morning had forgotten he ever wanted baby
ducks to spend the night with him.

One morning, a week or more later, he was playing on the shady side porch
when he heard Grandpa saying something to Mother about bonds. Ever since
Sunny Boy had lost his kite and Grandpa's bonds with it, he always
noticed when any one used that word. No one ever spoke to him about the
lost money, and he often forgot about it, with so many wonderful things
to do every day. And then, a word or two would make him remember again.

"I lie awake at night worrying over those bonds, Father," Mrs. Horton was
saying. "Harry may be able to make it up to you some day, but he's having
a hard time this summer. I've been out and looked and looked--some one
must have picked them up."

"Yes, I suppose they have," said Grandpa. "I advertised, and the Bonds
were numbered. Still, as you say, some one must have found them. Don't
let it spoil your Summer, Olive, I've only myself to blame. At my age
carelessness is nothing short of a crime."

"But at your age a thousand dollars is a great deal to lose," protested
Mrs. Horton. "And I know you meant to take a trip South this Winter, and
Harry tells me you've given that up."

Sunny Boy could hear tears in Mother's soft voice, and he was sure she
had tears in her lovely brown eyes. He made up his mind what to do.

He trotted through the wide hall, into the sitting-room. There sat
Grandpa figuring at his desk and close beside him was Mother with her
knitting. There were bright drops on the dark blue wool. She had been
crying, though she smiled at Sunny as he stood in the doorway.

"Grandpa, listen!" Sunny Boy cried. "You can have all the money in my
bank at home. I've been saving it for, oh, ever so long. There's a
thousand dollars, I guess. An' you can have it all--every bit. Daddy will
send it to you if I ask him. An' then you won't care 'bout the Lib'ty
Bonds!"

Sunny Boy was surprised at the way his offer was received. He had thought
Grandpa would be pleased and his mother, too. And here sat Grandpa
blowing his nose, and as for his mother--Sunny Boy looked at her and her
eyes were quite brimming over.

"Don't you like me to?" he cried. "I was going to buy another drum, but
Grandpa can have the money. It's a pink pig, Grandpa, and you shake it
an' the pennies drop out. Harriet gave it to me." Sunny Boy's lip began
to quiver.

"My dear little son!" Mother held out her arms and Sunny Boy ran to her.
"My generous little man!" she whispered. "Your pennies wouldn't be
enough, precious. But I'm proud to have you offer them to Grandpa to try
to make up his loss. That's like your father."

Sunny Boy sat up and stopped crying. To be like his father was the
highest praise his mother could give him.

"Thank you very much, Sunny," said Grandpa gravely. "I couldn't take your
bank. For one reason, we're not sure yet the bonds are really lost. But I
tell you what I will do--if I ever get out of cash, entirely out, mind
you, and have to borrow from my friends, I'll come to you. There are very
few I'd bring myself to borrow from, but perhaps it's different with a
grandson. You save your pennies, and maybe some day I'll ask you to lend
me some. Shall we shake hands on it?"

And Sunny Boy and Grandpa shook hands solemnly, like two business men.



CHAPTER XIV

ANOTHER HUNT


"And now," declared Grandpa, putting on his wide-brimmed hat and reaching
for his cane, "it's high time I was out looking after Mr. Hatch. Where
are you going, Sunny Boy?"

Sunny Boy was darting off as though a new idea had seized him.

"Out," he answered vaguely. His mind was intent on his plan.

"Well, Grandma and I have the picnic to plan," cried Mrs. Horton gayly.
"If we are going to have that long-promised picnic before we go home, I
for one think it is high time we set a day."

Sunny Boy, lingering in the doorway, heard Grandpa grumble a little as he
always did if anything was said about their going home.

"No reason why you shouldn't stay here all Summer," he scolded. "Or if
you want to be nearer Harry, Olive, leave the boy with us. You know we'd
take good care of him."

"I know you would; but I couldn't leave my baby," Mrs. Horton said
quickly. "Bessie, my sister, you know, has a plan--"

But Araminta called Sunny just then and he ran off without hearing about
Aunt Bessie's plan.

Sunny Boy had a plan of his own, and he was determined to carry it
through. This was nothing less than to go and hunt for Grandpa's lost
Liberty Bonds.

"For I know that kite fell down right by the old walnut tree," said Sunny
Boy to himself for the twentieth time. "I saw it go down--swish! I'll bet
Grandpa didn't look under the right tree."

Without much trouble he coaxed a big piece of gingerbread from
Araminta--who was very curious to learn where he was going--which he
crowded into his pocket. Expecting to be gone a long time, he took an
apple from the basket on the dining-room table and two bananas. Bruce,
lying on the back door mat, decided to go with him, but Bruce was
beginning to get the least little bit fat and old, and when he had
followed Sunny as far as the brook pasture and saw that he had no
intention of stopping to rest under the trees, that wise collie dog
turned and went back to the house.

"Hey, there! Where are you going this hot day?" Jimmie, setting out
tomato plants in a side field, shouted to him.

Sunny Boy waved his hand and plodded on. He was a silent child when he
had his mind fixed on a certain thing, and he was intent on finding those
bonds this morning.

The sun was hot, and when he reached the pretty brook the water looked so
clear and cool that Sunny was tempted to go wading. Only he had promised
his mother not to go in the water unless some one was with him, and then,
too, wading would delay the hunt for the bonds. He walked along the bank
until he came to the uneven line of stones piled together to make a
crossing.

"I spect it wabbles," said Sunny Boy aloud, putting one foot on a stone,
which certainly did "teeter."

He started to cross slowly, and in the middle of the stream his right
foot slipped--splash!--into the icy cold water.

"My land sakes!" gasped poor Sunny Boy, who was certainly acquiring a
number of new words, much to his mother's worry. "I guess that water's as
cold as--as our icebox at home."

With one wet foot and one dry foot he finished his journey and landed
safely on the other side of the brook. He was hungry by then, and so sat
down to eat the gingerbread under a large tree whose roots had grown far
out over the water.

"Tick-tack! Tick-tack! Tick--t-a-c-k!" scolded some one directly over his
head.

"Don't be cross, Mr. Squirrel!" said Sunny Boy politely. "Grandpa says
when you make a noise like that you're either frightened or want folks to
go away and not bother you. I'm going in a minute."

Throwing the crumbs of the gingerbread into the brook for the little fish
to enjoy, Sunny Boy marched straight for the woods. He had never been
there alone, and somehow they seemed darker and deeper than he remembered
them when Grandpa or Daddy had been with him.

"I'll begin to look now," said Sunny, talking to himself for company. And
how small his voice sounded, and thin, under those tall, silent trees!

"Maybe I'll see a Brownie," Sunny continued. "I think Bruce might have
come all the way. What was that?"

A twig snapped under his foot with a sharp noise. Noises are always
creepy when one is alone in a strange place. Sunny sat down to rest a
minute, on a half-buried tree-stump.

A black beetle came out, ran along a weed-stalk, climbed up to the top
and sat there, regarding Sunny steadily.

"Do you like living here?" asked Sunny politely. "I wish you could talk,
Mr. Beetle. Maybe you've seen the Lib'ty Bonds somewhere an' you'd tell
me just where to look."

The beetle winked his beady eyes rapidly, but of course he didn't say a
word.

Presently a striped chipmunk appeared on a stump opposite the one where
Sunny sat, and he, too, stared at Sunny intently.

"I'm going! I'm going right away!" Sunny assured the chipmunk hastily.
"Daddy says you wood folks like to be alone. I wouldn't hurt you, but I
s'pose you don't know that."

He trotted along, eating the bananas as he went. There were so many
things to look at and think about that sometimes he almost forgot the
Liberty Bonds. Almost, but not quite.

"'Cause I just have to find 'em," he told a blue jay that sat up in a
tree and listened sympathetically. "I'm mose sure Grandpa didn't look in
the right place. An' won't he like it when I come home with them in my
pocket!"

Sunny was so pleased with this idea that he gave a little shout and threw
his cap up into the air, which so alarmed the blue jay that it quickly
flew away.

Sunny Boy was marching steadily, hands in his pockets, when he saw
something near a stone that made him stop to look. It was a turtle.

"Why didn't you run?" Sunny demanded, picking up the turtle carefully, as
he had seen Jimmie do. "Maybe you're the one Grandpa carved his initials
and the date on when he came here to live. Are you?"

The turtle kept his head obstinately in. Very likely he objected to being
picked up and looked at so closely. Sunny brushed him off neatly with his
clean handkerchief, and, sure enough, on the shell he found a date
carved.

"I can't read it," mourned Sunny aloud. "But I guess you're not Grandpa's
turtle, 'cause you haven't any initials on you. I wish you'd put your
head out, just once."

But, though he put the turtle gently on the ground again and kept very
still for at least five minutes, the queer, narrow little head stayed
safely in its shell house. The turtle did not run away.

"Guess he thinks I'll catch him if he runs," thought Sunny. "I'd like to
keep him if he was little. Jimmie says little turtles are nice to keep in
the garden. Maybe I can find one on the way back, and build him a little
house under Grandma's rose bushes."

Sunny went on, and soon he was sure that he was coming to the place where
he had seen his kite fall. To be sure, the inside of the woods looked
very different from the outside, and Sunny began to understand why he and
Grandfather had not found the bonds as easily as they had hoped to.
Still, he felt he was "getting warm" as they say in the games of seeking,
and he began to look about him closely.

"It was right here--" His apple fell out of his blouse and he stooped to
pick it up. He sprang up with a shriek and ran screaming toward an
opening in the woods.

"It was a snake--a great, big, nasty, bitey snake!" he sobbed. "I put my
hand right on it--all slippy and cold!"

He looked back--was it a snake after all? What was that curved black
thing that lay there so quietly at the foot of a tree?

Then Sunny Boy did a very brave thing indeed. He was all alone, remember,
and there was no one to laugh at him had he gone on home believing that
he had touched a snake. But he liked to be very sure in his own mind, and
he went back, cautiously and ready to run if a twig snapped, but back,
nevertheless, to the place where he thought he had seen the snake. Any
one, you know, may be frightened, but to face the fear and see if it is
an afraid thought, or something really scary--that takes a truly brave
person. And always afterward Sunny Boy was to be glad that he had had the
courage to go back and see.

For his snake was only an old twisted tree root, after all!

"But I guess it's dinner time, an' I can come again an' look for the
bonds," he told a chipmunk. "Maybe Jimmie will come to-morrow and help
hunt."

This time Sunny Boy crossed the stone crossing without getting either
foot wet and he was half way up to the house when he saw Peter and Paul
standing hitched to the fence. They had been hauling the tomato plants
for Jimmie and Grandpa, who was always kind to the farm animals, had
ordered them to be unharnessed and tied in the shade while the plants
were being set out.

"No horse likes to be anchored to a wagon when 'tisn't necessary," said
kind Grandpa.

"Jimmie's always saying he will let me ride Peter," grumbled Sunny Boy,
looking very little as he stood by the fence, fumbling with the strap
that tied Peter fast. "Pretty soon we'll be going home, Mother says, and
I won't ever learn to ride."

Sunny's busy, mischievous fingers had untied the strap as he talked, and
now Peter could have walked away to the barn and his dinner, had he only
known it. He didn't though, and so he was very much surprised to feel
little feet digging into him as Sunny Boy scrambled desperately to get on
his back. Peter and Paul were fat and slow or they never would have stood
the antics of Sunny as that small person, clinging to Peter's mane, and
using Paul as a kind of step-ladder, pushed and pulled and climbed till
he found himself where he wished to be--on Peter's broad back.

"Gee, you're a tall horse!" he observed, gathering the halter strap in
one hand as he had seen Jimmie take the reins. "Oh, there's what you
ought to have on--I didn't see it."

The bridles and reins lay on the ground where Jimmie had dropped them
when he had unharnessed the horses from the wagon. But Sunny Boy was not
minded to get down after such a trifle--he had had too much trouble to
secure his present seat.

"Gid-ap!" he said loudly, and jerked the halter strap.

Over in the field, Jimmie straightened an aching young back and gazed in
amazement.

"Say--hey, Sunny--Sunny Horton! Get off that horse--do you hear me?" he
shouted.

Sunny Boy heard. He turned and grinned impishly. He delighted to plague
Jimmie, and he was having fun guiding Peter.

Then Jimmie rather lost his head. Had he kept still, Peter would probably
have ambled gently about the meadow, perhaps turned into the road that
led to the house and barn, and Sunny's adventure might have been a very
mild one. But Jimmie was frightened, and in his fear he did the one thing
that could have brought about what he feared. He leaped the fence and
came running toward the horse.

"Gid-ap, Peter! Go 'long! Hurry!" Sunny slapped the strap smartly across
old Peter's neck.

That easy-going horse was not used to such treatment, and he broke into a
trot. Jimmie began to shout and wave his arms. Then Peter broke into a
gallop, taking great, long easy strides that seemed to cover miles of
ground to Sunny's excited eyes.

"You kind of bump!" he gasped, as the horse galloped on. "I
wonder--will--I--fall off!"

Peter snorted. He had forgotten how it felt to be running free, and
perhaps he was pretending he was a young colt again. He paid no more
attention to the small boy on his back than if Sunny Boy had been a fly.

Around and around the field they tore. Jimmie's shouts had brought
Grandpa, and together the two watched in terrible anxiety.

"I'd get on Paul and chase 'em, but Peter can outrun him any day!" Jimmie
almost sobbed. "Say! I know what will do it. You wait, sir."

He ran up to the barn and came back with a peck measure of corn. Paul saw
the long yellow ears and whinnied with pleasure.

"You don't get any," Jimmie informed him. "Lucky they hadn't had their
dinner," he said to Grandpa. He stood out from the fence and rattled the
measure invitingly, and whistled.

Now Peter was not a colt, however much he might enjoy pretending, and he
was getting tired of his gallop. Also he was hungry, and he had heard
Paul whinny. So when Jimmie whistled, the old, familiar whistle he always
gave when he came in the barn at feeding time, Peter turned and stared.
Yes, there he stood, down at the other end of the field, and yes, he had
corn with him.

Peter slowed down to a gentle run, then to a half trot, and finally came
walking at his usual gentle gait straight up to Jimmie and Grandpa.

"Sunny, Sunny, what will you do next?" groaned Grandpa, lifting him down.
"I hope your mother didn't see this--she would be frightened to death."

"It didn't hurt me," urged Sunny Boy, beginning to wonder if he had done
wrong. "I is bumped a little, but I wasn't afraid, Grandpa. Was Jimmie?"

"You young imp!" Jimmie swooped down upon him and hugged him so hard
Sunny squirmed uneasily. "You bet I was scared! I thought every minute
you'd tumble off. And now do you want to ride up to the barn with me, or
have you had enough?"

"I'll ride with you," said Sunny firmly.



CHAPTER XV

SUNNY'S GOOD LUCK


"There!" Grandma, a pretty picture in her white dress that matched her
white hair, closed the side door. "Now we're really started."

She and Grandpa and Mother and Sunny Boy were going for their
long-talked-of picnic in the woods. Araminta had the day for a holiday
and had gone merrily off to town to buy herself a new frock. Sunny had
wanted Jimmie to come to the picnic, but Jimmie, too, was away. He had
gone down to the city to sell hay for Grandpa. So it happened that just
the four were to spend the day in the woods.

"What we'll do without you, Sunny," said Grandpa, as they walked ahead,
"I'm sure I don't know."

"But I'll send you some of the sand," urged Sunny cheerfully. "And a
seashell, Grandpa."

For this was Aunt Bessie's plan. She had written Mrs. Horton that she and
a friend, a teacher, had taken a cottage at the seashore for the month of
August, and they wanted Sunny Boy and his mother to come and spend that
month with them. The cottage was near enough to the city for Mr. Horton
to go down every night and stay with them.

"And two weeks from to-day," Mrs. Horton had told Sunny Boy as he brushed
his hair that morning, "you will be going down to the beach with a tin
pail and shovel, I expect, to play in the sand."

Grandpa, carrying two boxes of lunch and a little camp chair that folded
up--because Grandma had aches in her joints if she tried to sit on the
ground--smiled down at his grandson.

"Oh, well, we shall just have to have as much fun as we can while you're
here," he said firmly. "Let's have a perfectly fine picnic with all the
sandwiches we can eat to-day."

"Yes," agreed Sunny enthusiastically. "Let's."

"Sunny, what have you found there?" asked Grandpa after a while.

"It's a bird," said Sunny pitifully. "A poor, little dead bird, Grandpa.
See?"

He brought back the little feathered body he had found at the foot of a
tall oak tree, and showed them.

"It's a baby robin," said Grandma, touching the little thing gently. "It
must have fallen out of the nest. Don't grieve, lambie, nothing can hurt
the little bird now."

"I want to bury it," insisted Sunny, tears running down his face. "I
don't want to leave it on the ground, Grandma."

"All right, you shall bury it," said Grandpa soothingly. "I'll help you.
Mother, you and Olive walk along slowly and we'll catch up to you."

So Grandma and Sunny's mother walked ahead, and Grandpa began to help
Sunny bury the baby robin.

First, they found a wide, smooth green leaf that grew in the woods and
wrapped this about the dead bird and fastened it with the sharp little
thorns that grew on another plant and which were every bit as good as
pins.

"Now you gather the prettiest fern leaves you can find," directed
Grandpa. "And I'll dig him a little grave."

When Sunny Boy came back with his hands full of soft fern leaves, Grandpa
had a little square hollowed out in the earth, under a Jack in the Pulpit
plant.

"We'll line it with ferns, so," he said, arranging the leaves Sunny Boy
brought him, "and then we'll put the bird in so, and cover him up
carefully. There! Now we'll leave him in his nice, green bed, dear, and
not be sorry for him any more.

"I see Bruce just ahead. Grandma and Mother must be near."

They came up to them in a minute, and Sunny Boy suddenly discovered that
he was hungry.

"But it isn't time for lunch yet, precious. Take this apple and try to
wait a little longer, do," said his mother.

"Feels like a thunderstorm," declared Grandma, sitting down on her
camp-stool to get her breath after the walk. "Well, Bruce will tell us in
time, won't you, old fellow?"

"How?" asked Sunny curiously.

"He's afraid of thunder," explained Grandma. "Years ago when he was a
young dog he was out hunting rabbits or squirrels one summer night and a
big thunderstorm came up. We always think he must have seen a tree
struck, or been stunned by a flash, for he came home dripping and
shivering. And ever since--though that was a long time ago--he begins to
shake and wants to hide whenever he hears thunder."

The woods did not seem dark and still, now that Sunny had company with
him, and he took Grandpa over to the place where he and Daddy had gone
fishing. They decided not to try to catch any fish that day, but Sunny
took off his shoes and stockings and went wading.

When he came out, and had his shoes and stockings on again, Mrs. Horton
spread a white cloth on a flat rock and she and Grandma began to get the
lunch ready.

"Sunny, which would you rather have," Grandpa asked him, "white cake or
black cake?"

"White, I guess," said Sunny. "Or no--chocolate, I think."

"Well, well, if that isn't lucky!" cried Grandpa, pretending to be much
relieved. "Grandma has put in both kinds!"

Indeed there were all kinds of goodies in those boxes--chicken and ham
sandwiches, eggs, potato salad, white cake and black, a vacuum bottle of
cold milk for Sunny and one of hot coffee for the others.

"There's a spider!" shouted Sunny Boy as they sat down to eat. "Look,
Grandpa, he going right into the cake."

"Oh, spiders and ants and little creatures like that like to come to a
picnic," answered Grandpa, scooping up the spider on a bit of cardboard
and putting him down carefully on a bush near by. "Mr. Spider'll go home
to-night and tell the folks all about the little boy he saw in the woods
to-day with his mother and his grandmother and his grandfather having a
picnic. And little Sallie Spider will say, 'What were they eating, Daddy?
Did you bring me any?'"

"I'll sprinkle crumbs for him to get afterward," planned Sunny. "The
fishes had them last time, and now it is Mr. Spider's turn."

Presently, when no one could eat another bite, Mother and Grandmother
folded up the cloth and put the sandwiches left over in one box. All the
odds and ends were put down on a paper plate for Bruce to eat, and then
Grandpa dug a hole in the ground and he and Sunny Boy buried the papers
out of sight.

"For I won't let any one build a fire in my woods in July when we're
needing rain so badly and every stick is like tinder," said Grandpa
sturdily. "And we won't leave a messy picnic ground, even if it is our
own, shall we?"

Mrs. Horton had her knitting, and she and Grandma sat and worked and
talked quietly while Grandpa and Sunny Boy went off together to try to
find a sassafras bush. Just as they had found one and Grandpa had taken
out his knife to cut a twig for Sunny to taste, Bruce ran into him and
nearly knocked him down.

"Grandpa! Grandpa! Something's the matter with Bruce! Is he sick?" Sunny
Boy was a little frightened at the strange way the dog acted. "Look at
him! He's trying to walk on me."

"He hears thunder," said Grandpa quietly. "He's trying to get you to hide
him. Funny, I haven't heard a rumble. But you can trust Bruce. He never
fails to tell us. We must hurry and get Mother and Grandma back to the
house before it rains."

They walked back as fast as they could to where they had left the others,
and found Mrs. Horton folding up her knitting.

"We thought we heard thunder," she said, as they came up to her. "I think
it is clouding up, too. Why how funny Bruce acts! Is he sick?"

"He's trying to tell us a storm is coming," replied Grandpa. "There,
there, Bruce, don't be so silly. We're going home, and you can hide under
the barn floor and never even see the lightning."

The sun, which had been shining down through the trees, had gone under a
cloud, and the branches about them began to rustle as the wind swayed
them.

"I'm afraid we'll have a heavy storm," said Grandma anxiously. "We have
had such a long dry spell and it's been so hot. I'd hate to be caught
among these trees in a heavy wind."

"Don't worry, Mother," replied Grandpa. "We'll be home before the first
drops come. Shall I carry you, Sunny?"

Sunny, who was running to keep up with them, shook his head. He did not
want to be carried like a baby. Soon it grew darker and darker and the
wind began to blow in earnest. He pressed closer to Grandpa.

"Don't be afraid," said Grandpa kindly. "We'll be out of the woods in
another minute and then we'll scoot across the brook and be home."

He put out a hand to help Grandmother, when with a tremendous blast a
gust of wind made them all stop to catch their breath. They saw it bend a
tree at the edge of the clearing and heard the tree snap loudly as it
broke and fell across the path. Bruce howled--he was nervous, poor
animal.

"Mercy!" gasped Grandma. "I said we'd have a bad storm. There! I felt a
raindrop. My father always said the worst was over when the rain began."

They hurried on, anxious not to get wet, and Sunny Boy was the first to
reach the fallen tree.

"We have to go over it," he shouted back, and began to scramble up,
holding on to the branches.

"Grandpa," they heard him scream a moment later. "Hurry! Come quick!
Here's my kite! The Lib'ty Bonds kite!"

Sure enough, there it was, just as it had caught in the tree--the missing
kite. And still pasted to the strips of wood were Grandpa's two
five-hundred-dollar Liberty Bonds!

"No wonder we couldn't find 'em!" cried Sunny Boy, dancing with
excitement. "I knew I saw it fall in a tree! Won't Daddy be glad!"

"We're all glad," declared Mother, kissing him warmly. "Isn't it just
wonderful to think that the same little boy who lost the bonds should
also find them?"

"It's been a lucky picnic, surely," said Grandpa. "After a hard rain
those bonds wouldn't have been worth much to any one."

"Well, they won't be worth much now if we all stand here and get soaked,"
announced Grandma practically.

At that they all took hold of hands and ran across the meadow, over the
bridge of stones, and up to the porch. And the moment they were safely
under shelter, how the rain did pour down! Just as if, Sunny said, it had
been waiting for them to get home before it showed what it really could
do.

"Mother," asked Sunny Boy that night, as he sat on the foot-board of the
bed in his blue pajamas and watched her brush her hair. They were all
tired after the excitement of the picnic and the finding of the bonds,
and every one was going to bed at Sunny's bed time, even Grandpa.
"Mother, will I take my sand-box to the seashore?"

"Oh, no, precious," she assured him. "Why, you'll have a whole beach of
sand to play in. And the bathing suit I bought for you to wear here and
which you haven't had on because the brook water is so cold! Perhaps
Daddy will teach you to swim."

"Yes," agreed Sunny Boy absently. And he tumbled back on the pillows,
thinking about the seashore and the ocean which he had never seen.

It was not very long after the picnic that Mother and Sunny Boy left
Brookside and went to visit Aunt Bessie in her white cottage that faced
the ocean. And if you want to hear about the good times Sunny Boy had
there and what he thought the waves were saying to him when he got up in
the night to listen, you'll have to read "Sunny Boy at the Seashore."

THE END

----------------------------------------------------------------------

THE SUNNY BOY SERIES
By Ramy Allison White

Children, meet Sunny Boy, a little fellow with big eyes and an inquiring
disposition, who finds the world a large and wonderful thing indeed. And
somehow there is lots going on, when Sunny Boy is around. Perhaps he
helps push! In the first book of this new series he has the finest time
ever, with his Grandpa out in the country. He learns a lot and he helps a
lot, in his small way. Then he has a glorious visit to the seashore, but
this is in the next story. And there are still more adventures in the
other books. You will like Sunny Boy.

1. SUNNY BOY IN THE COUNTRY
2. SUNNY BOY AT THE SEASHORE
3. SUNNY BOY IN THE BIG CITY
4. SUNNY BOY IN SCHOOL AND OUT
5. SUNNY BOY AND HIS PLAYMATES
6. SUNNY BOY AND HIS GAMES
7. SUNNY BOY IN THE FAR WEST
8. SUNNY BOY ON THE OCEAN
9. SUNNY BOY WITH THE CIRCUS
10. SUNNY BOY AND HIS BIG DOG

BARSE & HOPKINS
Publishers
New York, N. Y.--Newark, N. J.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

THE BOY SCOUT LIFE SERIES
Published with the approval of
The Boy Scouts of America

In the boys' world of story books, none better than those about boy
scouts arrest and grip attention. In a most alluring way, the stories in
the BOY SCOUT LIFE SERIES tell of the glorious good times and wonderful
adventures of boy scouts.

All the books were written by authors possessed of an intimate knowledge
of this greatest of all movements organized for the welfare of boys, and
are published with the approval of the National Headquarters of the Boy
Scouts of America.

The Chief Scout Librarian, Mr. F. K. Mathiews, writes concerning them:
"It is a bully bunch of books. I hope you will sell 100,000 copies of
each one, for these stories are the sort that will help instead of hurt
our movement."

THE BOY SCOUT FIRE FIGHTERS--CRUMP
THE BOY SCOUTS OF THE LIGHTHOUSE TROOP--McCLANE
THE BOY SCOUT TRAIL BLAZERS--CHELEY
THE BOY SCOUT TREASURE HUNTERS--LERRIGO
BOY SCOUTS AFLOAT--WALDEN
BOY SCOUTS COURAGEOUS--MATHIEWS
BOY SCOUTS TO THE RESCUE--LERRIGO
BOY SCOUTS ON THE TRAIL--GARTH
THE BOY SCOUTS IN AFRICA--CORCORAN

BARSE & HOPKINS
Publishers
New York, N. Y.--Newark, N. J.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

THE CAMP FIRE BOYS SERIES
By OLIVER LEE CLIFTON
For Boys from 8 to 14

A group of resourceful boys living in a small town form a camping and
hiking club, which brings them all sorts of outdoor adventures. In the
first story, "At Log Cabin Bend," they solve a series of mysteries but
not until after some lively thrills which will cause other boys to sit on
the edge of their chairs. The next story telling of their search for a
lost army aviator in "Muskrat Swamp" is just as lively. The boys are all
likable and manly--just the sort of fellows that every other wide-awake
boy would be glad to go hiking with.

THE CAMP FIRE BOYS AT LOG CABIN BEND
THE CAMP FIRE BOYS IN MUSKRAT SWAMP
THE CAMP FIRE BOYS AT SILVER FOX FARM
THE CAMP FIRE BOYS' CANOE CRUISE
THE CAMP FIRE BOYS' TRACKING SQUAD

BARSE & HOPKINS
Publishers
New York, N. Y.--Newark, N. J.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

THE TWO LITTLE FELLOWS SERIES
By JOSEPHINE LAWRENCE
For Boys and Girls from 5 to 9
Cloth Large   12 Mo.   Illustrated

The neighbors say "the two little Fellows" when they speak of Martin and
Jean. That is because this small brother and sister are always together.
You just have to think of them as a pair.

The Fellows family live in Garnet, a busy city, but the two little
Fellows have a yard all their own in which to play, and a wonderful dog,
who is very wise indeed, for a playmate. Pleasantly exciting things
happen to Martin and Jean: sometimes little troubles ruffle them, but in
the main, this growing up day by day is very interesting and busy work.
The two little Fellows think so and as you read about them in these
books, you'll find you have made two new friends.

1. THE TWO LITTLE FELLOWS.
2. THE TWO LITTLE FELLOWS START SCHOOL.
3. THE TWO LITTLE FELLOWS GO VISITING.

BARSE & HOPKINS
Publishers
New York, N. Y.--Newark, N. J.





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