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- The Curlytops at Uncle Frank's Ranch - 1/32 -


THE CURLYTOPS AT

UNCLE FRANK'S RANCH

OR

_Little Folks on Ponyback_

BY

HOWARD R. GARIS

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I TROUBLE'S TUMBLE

II NICKNACK AND TROUBLE

III OFF FOR THE WEST

IV THE COLLISION

V AT RING ROSY RANCH

VI COWBOY FUN

VII BAD NEWS

VIII A QUEER NOISE

IX THE SICK PONY

X A SURPRISED DOCTOR

XI TROUBLE MAKES A LASSO

XII THE BUCKING BRONCO

XIII MISSING CATTLE

XIV LOOKING FOR INDIANS

XV TROUBLE "HELPS"

XVI ON THE TRAIL

XVII THE CURLYTOPS ALONE

XVIII LOST

XIX THE HIDDEN VALLEY

XX BACK TO RING ROSY

THE CURLYTOPS

AT UNCLE FRANK'S RANCH

CHAPTER I

TROUBLE'S TUMBLE

"Say, Jan, this isn't any fun!"

"What do you want to play then, Ted?"

Janet Martin looked at her brother, who was dressed in one of his father's coats and hats while across his nose was a pair of spectacles much too large for him. Janet, wearing one of her mother's skirts, was sitting in a chair holding a doll.

"Well, I'm tired of playing doctor, Jan, and giving your make-believe sick doll bread pills. I want to do something else," and Teddy began taking off the coat, which was so long for him that it dragged on the ground.

"Oh, I know what we can do that'll be lots of fun!" cried Janet, getting up from the chair so quickly that she forgot about her doll, which fell to the floor with a crash that might have broken her head.

"Oh, my _dear!_" cried Janet, as she had often heard her mother call when Baby William tumbled and hurt himself. "Oh, are you hurt?" and Janet clasped the doll in her arms, and hugged it as though it were a real child.

"Is she busted?" Ted demanded, but he did not ask as a real doctor might inquire. In fact, he had stopped playing doctor.

"No, she isn't hurt, I guess," Jan answered, feeling of her doll's head. "I forgot all about her being in my lap. Oh, aren't you going to play any more, Ted?" she asked as she saw her brother toss the big coat on a chair and take off the spectacles.

"No. I want to do something else. This is no fun!"

"Well, let's make-believe you're sick and I can be a Red Cross nurse, like some of those we saw in the drugstore window down the street, making bandages for the soldiers. You could be a soldier, Ted, and I could be the nurse, and I'd make some sugar pills for you, if you don't like the rolled-up bread ones you gave my doll."

Teddy Martin thought this over for a few seconds. He seemed to like it. And then he shook his head.

"No," he answered his sister, "I couldn't be a soldier."

"Why not?"

"'Cause I haven't got a gun and there isn't any tent."

"We could make a tent with a sheet off the bed like we do lots of times. Put it over a chair, you know."

"But I haven't a gun," Teddy went on. He knew that he and Janet could make a tent, for they had often done it before.

"Couldn't you take a broom for a gun?" Janet asked. "I'll get it from the kitchen."

"Pooh! What good is a broom for a gun? I want one that shoots! Anyhow I haven't a uniform, and a soldier can't go to war without a uniform or a sword or a gun. I'm not going to play that!"

Janet did not know what to say for a few seconds. Truly a soldier would not be much of one without a gun or a uniform, even if he was in a tent. But the little girl had not given up yet.

The day was a rainy one. There was no school, for it was Saturday, and staying in the house was no great fun. Janet wanted her brother to stay and play with her and she knew she must do something to make him. For a while he had been content to play that he was Dr. Thompson, come to give medicine to Jan's sick doll. But Teddy had become tired of this after paying half a dozen visits and leaving pills made by rolling bread crumbs together.

Teddy laid aside his father's old hat and scratched his head. That is he tried to, but his head was so covered with tightly twisted curls that the little boy's fingers were fairly entangled in them.

"Say!" he exclaimed, "I wish my hair didn't curl so much! It's too long. I'm going to ask mother if I can't have it cut."

"I wish I could have mine cut," sighed Janet. "Mine's worse to comb than yours is, Ted."

"Yes, I know. And it always curls more on a rainy day."

Both children had the same curly hair. It was really beautiful, but they did not quite appreciate it, even though many of their friends, and some persons who saw them for the first time, called them "Curlytops." Indeed the tops of their heads were very curly.

"Oh, I know how we can do it!" suddenly cried Janet, just happening to think of something.

"Do what?" asked her brother.

"Play the soldier game. You can pretend you were caught by the enemy and your gun and uniform were taken away. Then you can be hurt and I'll be the Red Cross nurse and take care of you in the tent. I'll get some real sugar for pills, too! Nora'll give me some. She's in the kitchen now making a cake."

"Maybe she'd give you a piece of cake, too," suggested Teddy.

"Maybe," agreed Janet. "I'll go and ask her."

"Ask her for some chocolate," added Ted. "I guess, if I've got to be sick, I'd like chocolate pills 'stead of sugar."

"All right," said Janet, as she hurried downstairs from the playroom to the kitchen. In a little while she came back with a plate on which were two slices of chocolate cake, while on one edge of it were some crumbs of chocolate icing.

"I'll make pills of that after we eat the cake," Janet said. "You can pretend the cake made you sick if you want to, Ted."

"Pooh! who ever heard of a soldier getting sick on cake? Anyhow they don't have cake in the army--lessen they capture it from the enemy."

"Well, you can pretend you did that," said Janet. "Now I'll put my doll away," she went on, as she finished her piece of cake, "and well play the soldier game. I'll get some red cloth to make the cross."


The Curlytops at Uncle Frank's Ranch - 1/32

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