Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue on Grandpa's Farm/23

CHAPTER XXIII


THE GYPSIES


Along the dusty road, on the way to town, walked Bunny Brown and his sister Sue. Hand in hand they toddled on, thinking of the fun they were going to have. They did not stop to think that they were running away to go to the circus, but that is just what they were doing. They had not asked their mother if they might go. They were pretty sure she would say they could not.

Bunny and Sue did not mean to do wrong—they just did not think. They only wanted to have a good time.

"Do you s'pose we'll really see elephants, Bunny?" asked Sue.

"'Course we will!"

"Like in the picture?"

"Sure!"

"With two tails, and his big teeth sticking out like lollypop handles, that Wango put in his mouth? Elephants like that?"

"Yes, Sue. Only an elephant hasn't two tails. One end is his tail, and the other is his trunk—his long nose that he breathes through, and squirts water in. I told you about it."

"Yes, I know. Bunny. But I forgot. And are you going to give the elephant water to squirt in his trunk?"

"Maybe. But I hope he doesn't squirt it on me."

"Or on me," added Sue. "I'm going to water the ponies. They haven't any trunks; have they Bunny?"

"No. Oh, we'll have a good time, Sue."

"And will I get a red balloon?"

"I don't know about that," Bunny Brown shook his head. The more he thought about the circus the harder it seemed to be to get inside the tent. Suppose they wouldn't let him water the elephant? How was he going to get a ticket to the show, or one for Sue? Bunny was beginning to feel worried—that is he didn't know just what he was going to do. But he would not give up yet.

There were many persons going into town that day. Many of them were going to the circus, it seemed. Some wagons and carriages had many children in with the grown folks.

At first Bunny and Sue thought it fun to walk along by themselves. But, after a bit, Sue began to get tired. It was hot and dusty, and the town was farther away than even Bunny had thought.

"Oh, Bunny!" Sue cried at last. "I want to ride!"

"But how can you?" asked the little boy.

"If you had brought Splash, and the express wagon, we could have a nice ride."

"That's so," said Bunny slowly. He had not thought of that He stood in the road and looked back toward grandpa's house. Just then there were no wagons or carriages in the road. But Bunny saw a small cloud of dust coming toward him. Faster and faster it came. Then he heard a bark.

"Oh, Bunny!" cried Sue. "Is that Splash?"

"I—I don't know," began Bunny Brown, but in another second he saw that it was their big, shaggy dog.

"Oh, it is Splash!" cried Sue. "I'm so glad he came. Now, if an elephant tries to bite us when you're watering it, Bunny, Splash will bite him."

"Elephants aren't afraid of dogs," said Bunny. "But I'm glad you came, Splash."

"I wish he'd brought the express wagon, and I could ride," said Sue, with a sigh.

But that was too much to wish for. The two children had slipped away that morning without calling for Splash to go with them. Bunny thought if the dog came Mother Brown might see, and ask Bunny and Sue where they were going. And of course they would have to tell.

But Splash had come anyhow, and he could not be sent back. He barked happily, and was very glad to be with the children once more. He would never have stayed at home if he could have had his way about it.

"Well, come on," said Bunny, after a bit. "We don't want to be late for the circus, Sue."

"No. I want to see everything. Will they let Splash in too. Bunny?"

"I guess so. They have trained dogs in circuses."

"But Splash isn't trained."

"He can draw us in the express wagon," Bunny reminded her.

"Yes," said Sue. "And I wish we had it now. I'm awful tired."

"But you can sit down when we get in the circus, after I water the elephant."

That seemed to make it all right, and once more the children went on, hand in hand. Splash now running on ahead, and sometimes trotting back.

Pretty soon a wagon, drawn by a white horse, and driven by a fat, good-natured-looking man came up from behind the children. The man looked down at Bunny and Sue, and cried out: "Whoa!"

He was talking to his horse, of course, and the horse stopped. So did Bunny and Sue.

"Want a ride?" asked the fat man, with a jolly laugh.

Bunny and Sue wanted a ride very much, and they both said so.

"Get in," said the fat man. "Or, wait a minute, and I'll lift you in. You're too small to get up by yourselves. Is this your dog?"

"Yes," answered Bunny. "And, please, could he ride, too? He gets tired running along."

"Yes, he can get in too. I've got plenty of room. Up you go, doggie!"

"His name is Splash," said Sue, as the fat man lifted first her and then Bunny up into the wagon.

"Oh, Splash; eh? That's a good name. Well, up with you. Splash!"

Splash, seeing that Bunny and Sue were in the wagon, leaped in himself. Then off they went again. Sue was happy now.

"Where are you tots going?" the fat man wanted to know.

"To the circus," said Bunny. "I'm going to water the elephant."

"And I'm going to water the pony," added Sue.

The fat man laughed. He seemed to be doing that most of the time.

"Well, you're pretty small to be going to a circus alone," went on the fat man. "But I s'pose your folks will meet you there. Don't get lost, that's all."

"Are you going to the circus?" asked Bunny.

"No indeed," laughed the fat man. "I haven't time. But I'm going close to the circus grounds, where the tents are. I'll let you off there."

"Thank you," said Bunny.

He was glad he and Sue and Splash would not have to walk, as he was also beginning to feel tired.

"Here you are, youngsters!" finally called the man, as the wagon went around a turn in the road. "There are the circus grounds. You can get out here and walk straight ahead. But don't get lost. Where is your father, or mother, going to meet you?"

Bunny did not answer that question. For of course mother or father did not know that the two children had gone to the circus at all. Bunny began to be a little worried.

But the fat man did not ask any more questions. For, just then, a band began to play music, and the horse wanted to hurry away. So the fat man helped Bunny and Sue out of the wagon, and drove off with a wave of his big hand. Splash jumped out himself.

"Now we'll go over and see the circus," said Bunny.

And oh! what a lot there was for him and Sue to look at. There were big white tents, and from the poles were flags of all colors, fluttering in the wind. In another tent, the sides of which were raised up to let in the air, were many horses and ponies.

In another tent there was a long table, on which were many dishes, and seated on benches, were men and women eating at the table.

"Oh look, Bunny!" suddenly cried Sue. "There's your elephant!"

Bunny looked, and saw a big elephant, pushing a large red wagon, by putting his head against it, while some men steered it.

"Are you going to water that elephant?" asked Sue.

"I—I don't know," replied Bunny. Now that he saw how very big an elephant was he began to think that, after all, perhaps he had better water just a pony, as Sue was going to do.

"When can we go in the circus, Bunny?" asked Sue, as she heard the band playing again. It was not time for the show to begin. In fact, the parade had not yet started, but Bunny and Sue did not know this. The circus was just getting ready to have the parade. "I want to go in and see the animals," went on Sue.

"Have to get a ticket first," said Bunny. "I'll ask a man to let me water a pony. I guess an elephant is too big."

"And I'll water a pony, too, Bunny."

The elephant, pushing the big wagon, came close to where Bunny and Sue were standing. Splash barked at the elephant, and ran back. So did Bunny and Sue. The elephant looked bigger than ever.

A man carrying a long whip, came hurrying up to the tent where the horses and ponies were eating their hay.

"Please mister!" cried Bunny. "I want to go to the circus ! So does my sister. We'll water the ponies if you give us a ticket."

The man looked at the two children. At first he looked cross, and then he smiled, just as the fat man had done. No one could look cross for very long at Bunny Brown and his sister Sue.

"You're too little to water ponies, or to go to circuses," said the man with the whip. "You had better go back home. I guess you're lost I'll send a man to take you home."

Then he hurried off, cracking his whip.

"Oh, Bunny!" cried Sue. "Did you hear what he said? He said he was going to send us home! And we won't see the circus. Oh dear!"

"Yes, we will see the circus!" cried Bunny. "I'll ask another man! Come on. Sue. We'll stand in another place, and then he can't find us when he comes back."

Bunny went around to the other side of the horse-tent, followed by his sister and Splash. It would be dreadful to be sent home now, just when the circus was ready to start.

"We'll ask some one else to let us water the ponies, and then they'll give us tickets to get in," said Bunny. "Take hold of my hand, Sue, and then you won't get lost."

As the two children stood there they hardly knew what to do. All about them men were
Bunnybrown-grandpafarm-pic03.jpg

“THAT’S THE PARADE!” SAID BUNNY.–Page 233.

hurrying here and there, some leading horses or camels. Bunny and Sue could hear music in the big tent.

And as they stood there, they saw two men coming along who did not look like those who belonged with the circus. The two men had gold rings in their ears, and the faces of the men were very dark. They had on coats with silver buttons, and wore red sashes around their waists. Each man was leading a horse, but the horses were not like circus horses.

"Oh, Bunny!" cried Sue. "Look—those are Gypsies—like the ones we saw in the woods."

"Yes!" cried Bunny. "And they have two horses. Maybe those are grandpa's horses. Oh, Sue! S'pose they should be! Maybe we've found 'em! Maybe we've found the Gypsies who took grandpa's horses, and didn't bring 'em back."