Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue on Grandpa's Farm/7

CHAPTER VII


THE WOODLAND CAMP


The two children walked slowly down the road, at the side of which, under some big willow trees, the automobile was drawn up for the night, which would soon come. Mrs. Brown was busy making up the beds. One for Bunker Blue was to be made on the ground, right under the automobile itself. An extra cot had been brought along for him, but it was folded up in the automobile.

Mr. Brown was busy looking over the machinery of the engine, or motor, that made the automobile go. He wanted to be sure it had not broken, so they would be able to go on again in the morning, and finally get to grand-pa's farm.

"Where are you going. Bunker?" called Bunny, as he and Sue saw the big, red-haired boy start down the road with a pail on his arm.

"I'm going for water," Bunker replied.

"Why, we have some in the ice box," cried Sue, for she had had a glass a little while before. "You can drink that water, Bunker."

"Oh, I don't want a drink. Sue. It's the automobile that wants one," Bunker answered.

"How funny!" laughed Sue. "Automobiles can't drink."

"Oh, yes, they can," replied Bunker. "I have to pour water in ours so the engine won't get too hot. It doesn't exactly drink it, but it needs it to cool itself off. That's why I'm going for water now."

"I'll come with you," offered Bunny. And of course where Bunny went, Sue went too. So the brother and sister were soon walking with Bunker down to the spring.

There he filled the pail with water, and, coming back with it, he poured it into what is called the radiator of the automobile—the place where the water itself is kept cool so it will cool the hot engine.

"There!" exclaimed Bunker, when he had finished. "Now the auto has had a good drink it can go to sleep when it wants to."

"Oh, do autos go to sleep?" Sue wanted to know.

"Well, they stay nice and quiet all night," her father told her. "At least I hope ours will, and that is almost the same as going to sleep. Now, Mother, have we everything ready for the night?"

"I think so," said Mrs. Brown. "Bunker, if you'll get out your cot, I'll make it for you, and then you can slide it under the automobile."

"Oh, thank you, Mrs. Brown," replied the big boy, "but I can make my own bunk. I'm used to it"

Mrs. Brown looked through the ice box, and in the cupboard. She wanted to see if she had everything she needed for breakfast. And, as soon as she opened the ice box she exclaimed:

"There! The milkl We won't have any for the children. There's only a little bit left. Where can we get any?"

Mr. Brown came back from having looked at the engine, which he found was all right.

"Milk?" he said. "Why, there's a farm-house a little way over on that road," and he pointed to it "I guess we could get milk over there."

"Then we'll have to do it Bunker—no—you're making up your bed; aren't you? You can't go. You and I will go for the milk," she said to her husband.

"And take Bunny and Sue with us?"

"No, I think not They seem to be having a good time and they'll be all right here with Bunker until we come back. There might be cross dogs at the farmhouse, and it may be too far for them to walk. You stay here, Bunny and Sue," she went on, "while daddy and I go for some fresh milk. Don't go far away now."

"No'm," promised Bunny again.

He and Sue saw many things to look at near the place where the automobile had stopped for the night. There were some flowers and ferns growing in the grass and Sue made a nice bouquet. Then Bunny found a place where he could break off long, willow branches from a tree, and he had fun playing he was the ring-master in a circus, cracking the willow whip, and making the make-believe horses jump over "pretend" elephants.

Sue looked up from her flower gathering, and said to her brother:

"Oh, Bunny! Look what a lot of smoke!"

She pointed to where the smoke had been seen before, curling up through the trees of the woods.

"It is a lot of smoke," said Bunny. "Maybe the trees are on fire! Let's go and look!"

Bunny did not stop to think that if the woods were on fire it was not a very good place for him and his sister to go. But the trouble was with Bunny Brown, that he did what he wanted to do first, and thought about it afterward.

"If I had my fire engine here I could put out the fire," said Bunny. But his fire engine was only a toy, and though it did squirt water when he turned the handle, it only sprayed out a little—about a tin cup full. So I guess it could not have put out a very big fire.

"We'll go to see what it is," decided Sue. She was always willing to go where Bunny led her.

Bunny looked back toward the automobile, Bunker Blue was not to be seen. He was under the big van fixing up his cot for the night, that would soon be turning everything dark. Down a side road Bunny could see his father and mother, going to the farmhouse for the milk.

"We'll just walk a little way and look at the fire," said Bunny. "Mother or father won't care about that. And maybe we'll have to tell 'em there is a fire, so they can telephone for the engines."

"There aren't any telephones here in the woods," said Sue.

"Well, then they can holler for the engines," Bunny remarked. He did not care much about that part—he wanted to see the fire. "Come on!" he called to his sister.

And so the two tots started toward the place where they could see the smoke curling up over the trees. If Bunker Blue had seen the children, he would have called to them to come back. So would their father and mother.

But Mr. and Mrs. Brown were hurrying toward the farmhouse, and Bunker was under the automobile. And just then he had struck his head on a piece of wood, and his head hurt so that Bunker had to rub it. And tears came into his eyes, though he did not exactly cry; but the tears did not let him see very good. That is why he did not see the children set out toward the fire.

So Bunny and Sue walked on toward the woods. The woods were darker than the road, and reaching the edge of the trees. Sue hung back.

"I don't want to go in," she whispered. "I'se afraid."

"Oh, don't be afraid," answered Bunny. "I won't let anything hurt you. Where's Splash? He won't let any one hurt you, either."

But the big dog was, just then, racing over the fields after a bird he thought he could catch. So no one saw Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, as they went into the woods. They could see the smoke of the fire much more plainly now.

And then, all of a sudden, they came to a place in the woods where there was a camp. There were white tents, and a number of wagons, with looking glass on the sides, were standing near some horses which were eating grass. And, in and about the tents and wagons, in the woodland camp, were a number of dark-colored men, women and children. They looked like Indians, but Sue knew who they were as soon as she saw the gay wagons.

"Oh, Bunny!" Sue whispered. "They're Gypsies! Maybe they have grandpa's horses. This is a Gypsy camp, Bunny!"