Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue on Grandpa's Farm/10
AT GRANDPA'S FARM
Bunny Brown walked right up to the horse. Around the animal's neck was a long rope, that dangled to the ground. Bunny took hold of this rope, and called:
"Gid-dap! Come on!"
That was what he had heard the grocery boy call to his horse, and it was what Bunny said to his dog Splash, when he wanted Splash to run with the express wagon, to which he was sometimes harnessed. Splash, who had run on ahead of Bunny and Sue, now came trotting back. He did not seem surprised to see Bunny with a horse. To Splash, everything Bunny did was all right.
The dog barked at the horse once ot twice, but that was only his way of speaking, I suppose, and the horse lowered his head, and put his nose close to the dog.
"Oh, now they're friends!" cried Sue, clapping her hands. "But don't let him bite you. Bunny."
"Let who bite me?"
"Horses don't bite," said Bunny. "They just eat hay and grass and oats. Anyhow his head's too high up. He can't reach me to bite me."
Bunny now started back down the road towards the automobile, leading the horse by the rope. Sue followed, but she did not like to go so near the horse as her brother went Sue was just a little bit afraid.
"Isn't it good we found one of grandpa's horses," Sue cried. "I wish I could find the other one, Bunny."
"Maybe you will, to-morrow. We'll take this one to the auto, and then we can look for the second one."
"How'd you s'pose he came to be on the road?"
"I don't know," Bunny answered. "Maybe he got away from the Gypsies."
"Oh, I hope grandpa's other horse gets away," Sue cried. "And I hope I find it. But I'll let you lead it for me, Bunny. 'Cause it might step on me."
"I'll lead it. I'm not afraid," said the little boy.
This horse did not seem to mind in the least being led along by Bunny. It walked slowly, and Splash followed behind. Perhaps the dog thought he, too, was helping drive the horse along, and, for all I know, he may have been. Dogs drive sheep, and I should think they could drive horses too; shouldn't you?"
Pretty soon Bunny and Sue, with the horse they had found, came within sight of the big automobile, around a turn of the road. They saw their mother and father looking down the highway.
"We thought you had run away again," called Mrs. Brown.
"Oh, no!" answered Bunny, as if he and Sue never did such a thing as that. And really, they never, at any time, exactly intended to run away. It was always an accident!
"Well, come along to supper!" Mr. Brown said. "We're glad you're home."
Then Mrs. Brown happened to notice the horse that Bunny was leading.
"Oh my goodness me!" she cried. "That horse! Is it chasing you, Bunny—Sue!"
"No'm!" answered Bunny, quite proudly. "I'm leading it. We found it. It's a lost horse. It's one of grandpa's! We'll take it home to him!"
For a moment Mr. Brown did not speak. Mrs. Brown did not know what to say, either. She just stood there, looking at Bunny and Sue. Then Mr. Brown began to laugh.
"Well, what will you youngsters do next?" he cried. "Why, you're as bad as the Gypsies, taking horses that don't belong to you!"
"But we found this one. Daddy!" said Bunny. "He was all alone on the road, and when I told him to whoa he whoaed."
"Just like grandpa's horses," explained Sue.
"So I took him," went on Bunny. "He's one of grandpa's horses, and to-morrow Sue and I are going to find the other one."
Mr. Brown laughed harder than ever.
"Oh, do take that horse away from Bunny!" begged Mrs. Brown. "He may run away, or bite the childrea, or do something! Take him away!"
"Why, he's an awful nice horse," Bunny said, "He didn't step on us, or run away, or do anything. And Splash likes him, and so do I and Sue. We're going to take him to grandpa."
"Bunny is lucky," said Sue. "He found Aunt Lu's diamond ring, and now he has found one of grandpa's horses; haven't you, Bunny?"
"Yep. But I guess the horse is hungry, Daddy. Shall I tie him to the automobile where he can get some grass?"
"No indeed!" cried Mr. Brown. "If we tie the horse to our auto he may run off with it. I'll just tie him to the fence, as I did the cow, and when the man who owns him comes along he can take him away."
"Take him away!" cried Bunny. "Why, it's grandpa's horse!"
"Oh, no, son!" said Mr. Brown kindly. "I don't like to make you feel bad, but this isn't grandpa's horse. It belongs to some one around here, and it probably strayed away, just as the cow did last night. Some one will be along after it soon, so I'll tie it to the fence."
"Oh, dear!" sighed Sue, as her father fastened the horse. "I thought it was grand-pa's, and he'd be so glad; didn't you. Bunny?"
"Yes, but never mind. Maybe we can find another horse, to-morrow, that will be grand-pa's. Anyhow I'm hungry now."
It did not take much to make Bunny think of something new.
"I'm hungry, too," said Sue. "We'll look for another horse to-morrow."
The one they had found straying down the road was now eating grass near the fence. He did not seem to mind where he was. Splash lay down near him, as though to watch, so he would not stray off again.
"Shall we cat outside?" asked Mr. Brown of his wife, "or do you think it will rain?"
"I think not. We'll have an early supper. And unless it rains too hard we won't go to the village hotel. We'll stay here."
"And let Bunker put his cot in the dining room," added Mr. Brown, "if it's too wet under the auto."
"Oh, I don't mind the rain," said Bunker, who was washing the potatoes for supper.
The little table was set out under a tree, and there supper was eaten. It was almost over when a man came along the road.
"Good evening!" he called, and he looked surprised to see the big automobile, and the little supper party. "Good evening. Have you folks seen a stray horse? One of mine ran away—"
Then he saw the one Bunny had found, which Mr. Brown had tied to the fence.
"Why, there's my horse now!" the man cried. "How'd it get here?"
"I found it," said Bunny. "I thought it was my grandpa's, but it isn't, daddy says. Is it yours?"
"Why, yes, little man, it is. And I'm glad you found him. He might have gone off a good way if you hadn't stopped him."
Then Bunny told how he had led the horse along the road, and Mr. Brown explained why it was he and his family were traveling in the big automobile to grandpa's farm.
"If you'll send over to my place," promised the farmer, as he led his horse away, "I'll give you some peaches and pears."
"Thank you," answered Mr. Brown. "We'll be glad to get them."
And, after supper, Bunker Blue went over, coming back with a nice basket of fruit.
"So it's a good thing, Bunny, that you found the horse after all," said his mother, "even if it wasn't grandpa's."
Bunny thought so too, as he looked at the nice peaches and pears which the farmer had sent over.
It did rain that night, but not very hard, and Bunker, instead of coming into the automobile to sleep, hung some canvas curtains around his cot under the car, and slept there. He said he liked to be out in the rain, and he had often been on one of Mr. Brown's boats, all night, out on the bay in a storm.
It was bright and clear in the morning, and, after a good breakfast, they started off again. Bunny and Sue, looking from the windows of the automobile, hoped to see some other horses, which might really be grandpa's missing ones, but they were disappointed.
Nothing much happened for the rest of the trip, which lasted another day. If Mr. Brown had wished to hurry he could have gone to grandpa's in two days, but he took his time.
On the afternoon of the third day Bunker Blue steered the big machine down a little hill. At the foot was a big white house, with a red barn back of it.
"There's grandpa's!" called Mr. Brown.
"Yes, and there is grandpa himself standing at the gate to meet us!" Mrs. Brown said. "Wave your hands to him, Bunny and Sue!"
The children did, from the windows of the automobile. Then Bunker steered it up the driveway. Bunny and Sue jumped out.
"Hello, Grandpa!" cried Bunny.
"Hello, Grandma!" laughed Sue.
And, a second later, they were being hugged by the dear old couple, while Mr. and Mrs. Brown got out of the automobile more slowly.
"Oh, Grandpa, did you find your horses the Gypsies took?" Bunny asked.
"No," answered Grandpa Brown. "I guess I'll never see 'em again! And it was my best team, too!" and he shook his head sadly.