Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue on Grandpa's Farm/8



Perhaps if Sue had not spoken of grandpa's lost horses Bunny might not have wanted to keep on toward the Gjrpsy camp. But when his sister spoke the little boy seemed to become brave, all at once.

"That's so, Sue!" he whispered to her, as he took hold of her hand, so she would not be frightened. "Maybe grandpa's horses are here. These folks are Gypsies, sure enough."

"Just like the pictures in the books," added Sue, also whispering.

She and Bunny could see where several Gypsy women and children were standing about the fire, over which were pots, from which steam came. The Gypsies were cooking their supper.

The men Gypsies stood near the horses and wagons, talking. Some of the men were smoking, and they all seemed to be having an easy time.

"Shall we go up and ask 'em if they have grandpa's horses?" Bunny inquired of Sue.

"Yes," she said. "But you won't let the Gypsies take me, will you?"

"Nope," said Bunny.

He and Sue had often heard their little playmates talk about Gypsies taking children away, but I do not believe this ever happens. The Gypsies have children of their own—children who like to live and travel in the queer wagons—and why should the Gypsies take other children who might be a trouble to them, and cry to come home?

Still Bunny and Sue thought the Gypsies might take them away in one of the wagons, with the shining looking glasses on the sides, or that they might be kept in one of the tents. But the two children wanted to find out about grandpa's horses, so they kept on.

By this time some of the Gypsy women had seen the two tots. One woman, who wore a bright handkerchief on her head, came up to Bunny and Sue and asked:

"Where are you going? Where do you live? Aren't you lost?"

"No'm," said Bunny, while Sue sort of slid around behind him. "We're not lost. Our automobile is over there," and Bunny pointed to the road. "We just came to see if you had our grandpa's horses."

The Gypsy woman seemed surprised, and called to one of the men, who came up, smoking a pipe.

"We are Gypsies, too," said Sue bravely. Perhaps she thought if she said that she would not be taken away. Or maybe she thought that would be the best way of finding the lost horses.

"You are Gypsies!" exclaimed the woman, smiling. Bunny thought it was queer she could speak just as he did. But most Gypsies, in this country, can talk our talk.

"We're going to grandpa's in a big automobile," said Bunny, to explain what Sue meant, "and it's got beds in, and a table and a stove, just like your wagons," and be waved his hand toward the queer carts in which the Gypsies traveled from camp to camp.

"You are funny little Gypsies," laughed the woman. "But what is this about grandpa's horses?"

"Maybe their grandfather has horses to sell—or trade," suggested the Gypsy man. "Where does he live, little chap?"

"Oh, a good way off," answered Bunny, hardly at all afraid now. "But he hasn't any horses, 'cause he let some Gypsies take his horses to pull their wagons, and they didn't bring 'em back. So my grandpa has no horses, but I thought maybe you had 'em."

Some other Gypsies, who had gathered around to hear what was being said, laughed at this. Then the man spoke.

"We have some horses," he said, "but they are not your grandfather's, little chap. But I think you had better run home, or run back to where ever your automobile is, Your mother may be looking for you."

Bunny and Sue had not thought of that.

"I—I guess we had better go home," said Sue.

"Yes," agreed Bunny. "If grandpa's horses aren't here we had better go back."

"Do you know the way?" asked the Gypsy woman. "If you are afraid I will go with you, if you tell me where your automobile is."

"I—I guess we can find it—thank you," said Bunny. He was not sure that he could for it was almost dark now, and the Gypsy fire looked bright and cheerful. But Bunny did not want to walk along through the woods with the Gypsy woman. She might, after all, take him and his sister.

"Come on. Sue," said Bunny to the little girl, and they turned back on the path by which they had come.

"Good-bye!" called the Gypsy woman after them. "Come again and see us, and I will tell your fortunes."

"All right," answered Bunny, waving his hand.

"What's a fortune?" asked Sue, when they had walked on a little way.

"It means what's going to happen to you."

"Well, lots happened to us, Bunny. I slid down the clay-bank hill and so did you; and once I sat in a hen's nest and broke the eggs."

"That isn't a fortune," said Bunny. "That's just bad luck! But let's run, Sue. It's getting awful dark, and maybe we can't find the automobile. Let's run!"

Bunny set off, fairly dragging Sue after him. But she called out:

"Oh, Bunny! I can't run! My legs is too tired! Let's go back, and get the Gypsy woman to take us."

"No," said Bunny. "I can find our auto all right."

He kept on. He went more slowly, though, so Sue would not get tired. At first Bunny managed to keep to the path through the woods—the path that led from the main road, on which their automobile was standing. But, in a little while, Bunny found himself walking into a patch of bushes.

"Oh! oh!" cried Sue, as the bushes scratched her face. "Where are you going, Bunny?"

Bunny did not answer, for he did not know himself. He was off the path.

"Oh, dear!" cried Sue. "Let's go back to the Gypsy camp, Bunny!"

"No, I'll find the way," he said, "I'll find our automobile."

Just then there was a rustling in the bushes, and in the dried leaves under them, and Sue, somewhat frightened, exclaimed:

"Oh, Bunny I What was that?"

Once again Bunny did not answer for a moment for he did not know what the noise was. But he did not have to speak, for, a second later, there came a loud bark.

"Oh, it's a dog!" cried Sue. "Maybe it's one of the Gypsy dogs come after us!"

A dog did rush up to Bunny and Sue, but it was a good, friendly dog, and seemed very glad to see them. It jumped about Bunny, and, no sooner had the little boy put his hands on the shaggy back of the frisking animal, than Bunny cried out:

"Why it's Splash! It's our dog Splash!"

"Oh, how glad I am!" laughed Sue. "Now we're all right. Oh, you dear old Splash!"

She put her arms about the neck of Splash, and he seemed as glad to meet Bunny and Sue as they were to see him. Then a voice called from the darkness:

"Bunny! Sue! Where are you?"

"Oh, it's daddy!" Bunny cried.

"Oh you children!" another voice said.

"It's mother!" shouted Bunny, "Here we are!" he added. "We went to the Gypsy camp to look for grandpa's horses, but we're coming back now. We didn't find the horses, but Splash found us."

The next minute Mr. and Mrs. Brown were beside Bunny and Sue, while Splash frisked about and barked, as though he had done it all.

"Oh, Bunny and Sue!" said Mrs. Brown. "You shouldn't have gone away. You should have stayed with Bunker. He was quite frightened about you, and so were we."

"But you're not scared now; are you Mother?" asked Bunny. "'Cause we're not lost any more.'"

"But I'm tired and sleepy," said Sue. "I want to go to bed."

"Yes, I guess bed is the best place for all of us," said Mr. Brown. "Now, Bunny—Sue—you must not go away like this again. You might have been lost in the woods all night."

"The Gypsies would have brought us home." observed Bunny. "One Gypsy lady wanted to, but I thought I could get home myself. And I almost did," he added.

"Tell me about the Gypsies," said Mrs. Brown, as she looked off dirough the woods, where a faint glow of the camp fire could be seen.

Bunny and Sue told of their little adventure. They were sorry they did not find grandpa's horses for him.

"I guess the Gypsies who have them are far away from here," remarked Mr. Brown. A light was seen flickering through the trees, along the path, and a voice called:

"Where are you?"

"It's Bunker Blue," said Mother Brown. "I told him to come after us with a lantern."

Soon Bunker came up.

"Did you find 'em?" he asked eagerly.

"Yes," Mr. Brown answered. "They're all right."

And, a little later, they were all safely at the big automobile. Bunny and Sue had some bread, with the milk their father and mother had bought at the farmhouse. Then they were undressed and tucked in the little bunks. Bunker went to sleep in his cot, under the van, and Splash curled up on the grass near him. And, after seeing that everything was snug for the night, Mr. and Mrs. Brown went to bed also. Their first day's travel was over.

Every one had been sleeping soundly for some time, and Bunny was dreaming that he had found grandpa's horses, and was riding down a slippery hill on one of them, when, all of a sudden, in the middle of the night there came a loud yell:

"Let me alone! Get away from here!"

"That's Bunker Blue!" Bunny heard his father say. Bunny sat up, hardly awake. Sue also sat up in her bunk.

Then Splash began barking under the automobile, where Bunker was sleeping. Only Bunker was not sleeping now, for he was wide awake, and he called out again:

"Quit, I say! Oh, Mr. Brown! Mr. Brown! Somebody's trying to upset the auto!"

"Oh Mamma!" wailed Sue.

Bunny did not know what to do.

"Wait a minute! I'm coming!" called Mr. Brown as he jumped out of bed.