Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue on Grandpa's Farm/12
Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, at first, did not know what the hired man meant. They did not see why they could not stay and play with the queer little boxes, which, as Sue said, were just like doll houses. She was even going back to the farmhouse and get one of her dolls, for she had brought three or four with her in the big automobile.
But now the hired man was running toward Bunny and Sue. He had stopped weeding the onions.
"Run away! Run away!" he cried again, waving his arms at the children. "Run away! Hurry!"
"What for?" asked Bunny.
Bunny was always good at asking questions.
"Why should we run?" Bunny asked.
Before the man could answer Sue cried out:
"Oh, Bunny! Look at the flies! They're buzzing all around me. I don't like them. Come on!"
At the same time a number of the "flies," as Sue called them, began buzzing around Bunny's head. He waved his hands to drive them off.
"Don't do that! Keep your arms still and come away!" cried the hired man. "If you don't run away you'll be badly stung!"
By this time he was close to Bunny and Sue. He caught the little boy up in one arm, and Sue in the other, and ran with them away from the little "play houses." Then, when they were some distance from the buzzing insects the man put the children down.
"Never go there again," he said.
"Why?" asked Bunny. "Why mustn t we go near the flies?"
"Because those are not flies, they are bees. They may sting you, and hurt you very much. You must keep away from them!"
"But don't bees give you honey?" asked Sue.
"Yes, little lady, they do, but if you go near their hives they think you are going to take their honey. They don't like that, so they sting folks to drive them away."
"We didn't know they was bee hives," said Sue, looking up to see if any of the bees were still buzzing around her.
"We thought they were play-houses," said Bunny, "and I was going to take the top off one, and look inside."
"It's a good thing you didn't," said the man. "Now remember—keep away from the bees."
"But how does grandpa get the honey out without being stung?" Bunny wanted to know.
"He blows smoke on them, from a smoking-machine," said the hired man. "The smoke quiets the bees, and then they don't sting. Of course your grandpa leaves the bees some honey for themselves. They have to have some to eat when it is winter, and when there are no flowers."
"Do flowers make honey?" asked Sue.
"The bees suck honey from the flowers," the hired man told the children. "Now run away, and don't ever again play in that part of the garden where the bees are."
"We won't," promised Bunny and Sue.
"Oh my goodness!" exclaimed Grandpa Brown when Bunny and Sue told him what had happened. "I forgot to speak about the bees. You see I didn't have any when you were here before, and now I should have told you to keep away from them. I'm glad the hired man saw you in time, or you might have been badly stung."
"Does it hurt to be stung?" Bunny wanted to know.
"Indeed it does!" his father told him. "It's worse than fifty mosquito bites made into one. So keep away from the bees."
Bunny and Sue were sure they would. They told about having fed the horse, and how the old ram pulled Bunny by the coat.
The next day Bunny and Sue started in to have all sorts of good times on Grandpa Brown's farm. Early in the morning they got up and bad breakfast Then, wearing their old clothes, so they could romp and roll as they liked, they began the day.
First they went with Grandma Brown to feed the chickens. Mother Brown also went with them. And how the hens and roosters flocked about grandma when she scattered the feed!
"And now we'll gather the eggs," she said, as she tossed down the last grains of corn.
"Oh, I know how to hunt eggs!" cried Sue. "I hunted some once for Mrs. Gordon, who lives next door to us."
"She sat in the nest!" laughed Bunny.
"Well, I hope you don't do that here," said Sue's mother, smiling.
Sue had no such bad luck. Indeed it was easy to hunt the eggs on grandpa's farm, for the hens were all kept in houses and yards, with wire fences about them so they could not fly away and hide their nests. The eggs were all in cute little boxes, and all grandma had to do was to lift up the cover, and take the eggs out.
Bunny and Sue helped put the eggs in baskets, but they did not carry them for fear they would spill and break them—break the eggs, not the baskets, I mean. For if you break a basket you can fix it, but if you break an egg, no one can mend it—you have to eat it.
After the eggs were gathered they all went to pick strawberries. That is grandma and Mother Brown and Bunny and Sue did. Papa Brown, with grandpa and Bunker Blue, went over to look at some colts, or little horses, in a field, or pasture, far from the house.
"Oh, I wish I could see the ponies," said Sue. Bunny wished so too.
"The next time you may," his father said.
"We'll have fun getting strawberries," said Grandma Brown, and the children did.
They picked the big, red, sweet berries, putting them in baskets. They would have some of them for dinner, with cream and sugar.
"And for supper I'll make a strawberry short-cake," promised Grandma Brown.
Bunny and Sue thought it was great fun to pick the berries. Of course they ate almost as many as they put in the baskets, but that was all right, and just what grandma expected.
"Strawberries were made for children to eat," she said with a smile. "Now see, I'll show you how to string them on a piece of grass, to keep them from crushing."
a little pointed stick Grandma Brown would make a tiny hole through a strawberry. Then through the hole she would put a long thin grass. In this way she strung the berries on the grass stem just as you string glass beads on a string. Then when Bunny and Sue had a string of strawberries, they could sit in the shade, and pull them off, eating them one by one.
"Oh, what fun this is!" said Sue, when she could eat no more. Her hands and face were red with the juice of the strawberries.
"Yes," said Bunny, "grandpa's farm is the nicest place in the whole world, I think."
And how good the strawberries tasted at the table, when sugar was sprinkled over them, and covered with rich, yellow cream, from one of grandpa's cows. And with some of grandma's bread, covered with the golden-yellow butter—
Oh dear! I'll just have to stop writing about it, I'll want to go to Grandpa Brown's farm myself, and have some strawberries. And if I do that I'll never get this book finished, I know.
Anyhow, I'll just say that Bunny and Sue thought they had never tasted anything so good as those strawberries. And then the short-cake at supper that night! There I go again!
Well, anyhow, it was the nicest cake you can imagine.
"Aren't you glad we came here, Sue?" asked Bunny, when he had been given a second, and very small, piece of the strawberry short-cake.
"Oh, aren't I just, though!" sighed Sue.
The sun was shining brightly when Bunny Brown and his sister Sue awakened the next morning, and went down to breakfast.
"What can we do to-day. Bunny?" asked Sue. She always waited to see what Bunny was going to do before she began her play.
"Oh, I think we'll go over by the brook," he said.
"No, Sue. Not fishing. Mother won't let me have a regular fish hook. She's afraid I'll get it stuck in my hands. And you can't catch any fish on a bent-pin hook. So we won't go fishing."
"I'm glad!" Sue exclaimed, "'cause worms, for bait, is so squiggily in your hands."
Over to the brook went the two children. Their mother had said they might play near it, if they did not get wet, and they had on their old clothes.
At first, after reaching the bank of the little brook, which rippled over green, mossy stones, Bunny and Sue had fun just tossing in bits of wood and bark, making believe they were boats. Then Bunny thought of something.
"Oh, Sue!" he cried. "I'm going to make a waterfall!"
"What's that?" asked his sister.
"Well, you put some mud and sticks and stones in the brook, all the way across. That makes a deep place, for the water can't run away. And, after a while, the water runs over the pile of mud and stones, and makes a waterfall. Will you help me build one?"
"Yes," said Sue.
"Then take off your shoes and stockings, 'cause we got to wade in the mud and water. And roll up your sleeves. We'll build a big waterfall."