"Does your kite pull much?" he asked.
"Does it?" replied Jimmie. "Well, I should say it did!"
"Let me hold it a minute, will you?" asked Bully, and Jimmie very kindly let him. Then along came Billie and Johnnie Bushytail, and Sammie Littletail, and they all took turns holding the kite.
Well now, in a few minutes, something dreadful is going to happen to Jimmie. I tell you in advance so you won't be frightened, and, really, there is no need to be, for I'll see to it that, after the thing happens, Jimmie will be all right again. Now if you watch, and listen closely, you can tell the moment the thing happens. It's almost time.
The wind kept growing stronger and stronger, and it blew the dust up in a cloud, and it blew bits of paper and sticks along with the dust, and raised a dreadful commotion.
Then long came Alice and Lulu Wibblewobble. They had been to the store for their mamma, and had just come back. They felt the strong wind blowing on their feathers, and Alice said to her brother:
"You had better take down your kite, Jimmie. The wind may blow it away, and you with it."
"Oh, I guess I can hold it," answered the little boy duck, as he let out some more cord. The kite was now almost out of sight, and it was pulling harder than ever.
Then, all at once, if Jackie and Peetie Bow Wow, the two puppy dogs, didn't come along. Jackie had his white spot on his nose, and Peetie had his black spot on his nose, so that you could tell them apart. And those two doggies felt so full of fun that they ran right up and made believe bite Jimmie's yellow heels.
Now you know it feels queer to have two puppy dogs biting your heels, even if it is only in fun, and as soon as Jimmie felt Jackie and Peetie nipping him, he turned around quickly and cried out:
"Oh, don't do that!"
But the minute he looked around, if the kite string didn't get tangled in his legs, and then if the wind didn't blow a regular strong blast, the kind that howls down the chimney on a cold night; and oh, dear me, suz-dud! if Jimmie wasn't carried right up in the air by his kite! There, I told you something would happen, and it did! Maybe you'll believe me next time.
Well, up and up and up went Jimmie, pulled by the kite, until he was quite high in the air, hanging dingling, dangling down—O! by his yellow heels. Oh, it was a perfectly dreadful position to be in! really it was, and I'm not fooling a bit, honestly.
"Oh, oh! Save him!" cried Lulu.
"Yes, somebody get him down; please do!" added Alice, flapping her wings.
Billie Bushytail tried to jump up in the air, and grab hold of poor Jimmie, but he couldn't reach him, and then Sammie Littletail, he tried, but he couldn't reach him, and all the while poor Jimmie was being carried higher and higher by the kite.
"Save me! Oh, save me!" he cried, but there didn't seem to be any way of getting him down, and it began to look as if he would go right up to the sky.
On the ground Lulu and Alice were running here and there, flapping their wings and quacking, and Billie and Johnnie Bushytail were chattering, and as for Sammie Littletail, he made a noise just like a rabbit. Oh, there was great excitement, I can tell you!
Mr. Cock A. Doodle, the rooster, he came running out, and he crowed as loud as ever he could crow, as if that could do any good. Then he flapped his wings as hard as he could, and that didn't do any good, either. Jimmie kept going farther and farther away.
"Oh, will no one save him?" asked Lulu, crying big tears.
"Wait a minute, I'll try it!" said Bully, the frog. "I am a good jumper, and I'll jump up. Maybe I can pull the kite down." So he jumped up as high as ever he could, but it wasn't nearly high enough, and Bully came back on the ground, ker-thump, ker-bump! and Jimmie Wibblewobble kept on going up. Poor Bully hurt his ankle, too, and he was lame for some days.
"Run and tell Grandfather Goosey-Gander," cried Lulu. "Maybe he can think up a way of getting Jimmie down."
So they all ran and told the old gentleman duck, for Mr. and Mrs. Wibblewobble were away that afternoon. Grandfather Goosey-Gander hurried out, and he squinted up at Jimmie, who looked only about as big as a baby chicken now, he was so far away, and then the Grandfather flapped his wings.
"Nothing can save him!" said Grandfather Goosey-Gander, very solemnly, "Jimmie has gone to the sky!"
Then, oh, how badly Lulu and Alice felt for their little brother! and all the others felt badly, too, for they liked Jimmie. But don't get excited now. All will be well in a very few minutes. Do not fear.
Bully, the frog, made one more jump, hoping to reach the kite, and pull it down, but he might as well have tried to jump over the moon, which only a hey-diddle-diddle-cat-and-the-fiddle-cow can do. Well, it looked as if Jimmie was gone for ever, when, all at once, there was a rushing of wings, and who should appear, but a kind fish hawk, that once gave Johnnie and Billie Bushytail a ride on his back.
"I will save Jimmie!" cried the fish hawk.
So he flew up in the air, right to the kite, and, with his strong beak, he tore a hole in the paper to let the air through. Then the kite came gently down, just like a red balloon, or maybe a blue one, that you get at the circus, and some one sticks a pin in it. Yes, the kite came gently down, and Jimmie came with it, and that's how he was saved!
And, maybe he wasn't glad! Well, I just guess, and some cornstarch pudding besides! Of course Peetie and Jackie were very sorry for biting Jimmie's heels and never did it again. Now, if I don't get stung by a bee, I'll tell you to-morrow night about Alice in a bag.
ALICE WIBBLEWOBBLE IN A BAG
You remember I told you last night about Jimmie Wibblewobble being carried up by a kite. Well, when his papa and mamma came home that evening, they heard all about it, and how much excitement there was, and they told Jimmie he must be more particular after this. He promised that he would be very careful.
"I'll fly smaller kites," he said, and he went out the next time with one about the size of a postage stamp, and that couldn't take any one up in the air, you know, except, maybe, a mosquito, and they don't count.
Well, it was about two days after this that something happened to Alice. You see she had been sent to the store for a yeast cake and some prunes, for her mamma was going to make prune bread—that is, bread with prunes in it, and it's very nice, I assure you, for I've eaten it.
As Alice was coming home, through a lonely part of the woods, where the trees were so thick that it was almost dark, she began to feel a little bit frightened. So, to stop herself from feeling scared she began to sing. If she had been a boy, she would have shouted, or if she had been Lulu she would have whistled, for Lulu could whistle as good as could Jimmie.
But instead Alice sang, and this is the song she made up so she wouldn't be frightened. You are allowed to sing it if you are not more than seven-and-three-quarters years old. If you are any older than that you will have to have a special excuse; or some one else will have to sing it for you. Well, this is the song:
"I'm not afraid to wander In woodlands dark and drear, For who is there to harm me When not a soul is near? The birds, the trees and flowers Are kind as kind can be, I'm sure that not a single one Would do a thing to me.
"The bugs and pretty butterflies Will form a fairy band And guard me safely while I walk Throughout this dark woodland. But just the same, I'll hurry, And not stay here too long; Because, you see, I only know Two verses of this song."
Well, as soon as Alice finished singing, land sakes! goodness, gracious me! if a big fox didn't pop out from behind a tree, and before Alice could say "How do you do?" or even "Good afternoon," or anything like that, if he didn't grab her by the legs and put her into a bag he carried over his shoulder, and then he tied the bag tight and started to run away.
"Oh! Oh!" cried Alice. "Let me out! Please let me out of this bag, Mr. Fox, and I'll give you all the money I've got saved up in my bank! Honest, I will; every cent in my bank!"
"No," answered the fox savagely. "I don't want your money. What good would money be to me? I can't eat money! Ha! ha! ha!" and he laughed that way three times, just like a mooley cow.
"Are you going to eat me?" asked Alice, from inside the bag, where she was trembling so that she squashed the yeast cake all out, as flat as a pancake on a cold winter morning, when you have brown sausage gravy and maple syrup to pour on it.
"Eat you? Of course, I'm going to eat you!" cried the fox. "That is why I caught you. But I can't decide whether to have you boiled or roasted. It's quite trying not to know. I must make up my mind soon, however."
Then he ran on some more, over the hills, bumpity-bump, with poor Alice jouncing around in that bag, and the little duck girl wished the fox would be a long time making up his mind which way to cook her, for she thought that maybe Jimmie might come and save her in the meanwhile.
"It didn't do much good to sing that song," thought Alice, and I suppose it didn't, but you know you can't always have what you want in this world. Oh, my, no, and a bottle of cough medicine besides.
Well, the old fox hurried on, with Alice in the bag and he ran fast to get to his den, and pretty soon the little duck girl felt him coming to a stop. Then she heard some one saying:
"Ah, good day, Mr. Fox; what have you in that bag?"
"I have apples in this bag," said the fox. Oh, but wasn't he the bold, bad story-telling fox, though?
"Apples, eh?" asked the voice again, and then Alice knew right away who it was. Can you guess? No? Well, I'll tell you. It was Nurse Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy, the kind old muskrat lady. It was she who had asked the question.
"Oh, so you have apples in there?" Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy repeated to the fox. "Well, now, do you know," she went on, "I am very fond of apples. I wish you would give me one."
"No," answered the bad fox, "I can't. These are very special apples, very sour, in fact, and I'm sure you wouldn't like them."
"Oh, I just love sour apples," said the muskrat, moving nearer to the fox, and showing her sharp teeth, like the carpenter's chisel when he shaves the door down to make it smaller. "I just love sour apples," said the nurse.
"Oh, I made a mistake, these are sweet apples," said the fox, quickly, waggling his big tail like a dusting brush.
"I made a mistake, too," went on Miss Fuzzy-Wuzzy. "I guess I love sweet apples instead of sour ones."
"You will have to excuse me," again spoke the fox quickly. "I made two mistakes. These apples are half sweet and half sour, and not good at all."
"If there is anything I am fonder of than anything else it's a half sweet and a half sour apple," declared the muskrat, and she showed her teeth some more, as if she were smiling, only she wasn't. She was getting ready to bite the bad fox, I guess.
Just then Alice moved around in the bag, hoping Miss Fuzzy-Wuzzy would see her, and what's more, the kind muskrat nurse did. "Ah!" she exclaimed, "you have moving apples, I see. I just love moving apples."
Then the fox knew it was of no use to tell any more stories, so he started to hurry off with Alice in the bag. But Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy jumped right at him, and she bit him on the nose, and on his front legs and on his hind legs, until he was glad enough to drop the bag containing poor Alice, and run away, over the hills, as fast as he could go.
Then the muskrat gnawed open the bag, and Alice came out, her feathers all ruffled up, but she was not much hurt; only the yeast cake was all squashed out of shape, like a piece of putty. Then Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy took Alice home safely, and nothing more happened right away.
Well, now, to-morrow night, let's see. Ha! Hum! Oh, how careless of me! Of course there isn't going to be any story to-morrow night, because we're at the end of this book. You can see for yourself, if you look carefully, that there are no more stories in it; not a single one.
But, listen, as the telephone girl says; I think, in case that you liked the stories about the ducks, that I will write something about the adventures of Jackie and Peetie Bow Wow; you know, those two puppy dogs who once took Alice home after she had been on a visit to Sister Sallie, and was afraid to go out in the dark.
I have quite a number of stories about those two puppy dogs; Peetie, you know, who was all white with a black spot on his nose, and Jackie, who was all black with a white spot on his nose. So if you want to read about them you may do so in the next book of the Bed Time series, which will be called "Jackie and Peetie Bow Wow," and the book will have in it some pictures of the doggies; and tell how they had a show, and built a swing, and got lost, and ran away to join a circus, and did ever so many things that it was really astonishing; honestly it was!
Well, I think I'll say good night now, for I must get right to work on that other book. So go to sleep, and be good children, and maybe you'll dream about Peetie and Jackie—who knows?
* * * * *
Books for Boys by Howard R. Garis
* * * * *
Those Smith Boys Series 12mo, finely illustrated. Price 75c each, postpaid
Those Smith Boys OR THE MYSTERY OF THE THUMBLESS MAN
Those Smith Boys on the Diamond OR NIP AND TUCK FOR VICTORY
OTHER VOLUMES IN PREPARATION
* * * * *
The Island Boys Series
12mo, finely illustrated. Price 75c each, postpaid
The Island Boys OR FUN AND ADVENTURES ON LAKE MODOK
The Island Boys in Camp OR THE SECRET OF THE FALLING WATER
OTHER VOLUMES IN PREPARATION
* * * * *
Books for Little Folk
* * * * *
The Bedtime Stories Series Illustrated in color, with fine cover design A story for every night in the month. Price 75c each, postpaid
Sammie and Susie Littletail 31 RABBIT STORIES
Johnnie and Billie Bushytail 31 SQUIRREL STORIES
Lulu, Alice and Jimmie Wibblewobble 31 DUCK STORIES
Jackie and Peetie Bow Wow 31 DOG STORIES
Uncle Wiggily's Adventures 31 RABBIT STORIES