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- The Curlytops on Star Island - 10/32 -


"And did you ever see the blue light?" asked Ted, thinking of what he and his sister had seen the night they were coming home from the little visit to Hal Chester.

"No, I never did; though I'd like to, so I might know what it was."

"Children, how is grandpa ever going to tell you a story if you keep asking him so many questions?" laughed Mrs. Martin.

"All right--now we'll listen," promised Teddy, and Grandpa Martin told a tale of when he was a little boy, and lived further to the north and on the edge of a big wood where there were bears and other wild animals. His father was a good hunter, Grandpa Martin said, and often used to kill bears and wolves, for the country was wild, with never so much as one automobile in it.

Grandpa finished his story of the olden days by telling of once when he was a small boy, coming home through the woods toward dark one evening and being chased by a bear. But he crawled into a hollow log where the bear could not get him, and later his father and some other hunters came, shot the bear and got the little boy safely out.

"Whew!" whistled Teddy, when this was finished. "I'd like to have been there!"

"In the log, hiding away from the bear?" asked his mother.

"No, I--I guess not that," Ted answered. "I'd just like to have seen it up in a tree, where the bear couldn't get me."

"Bears can climb trees," remarked Janet.

"Well, I'd go up in a little tree too small for a bear," her brother answered.

"I guess you'd all better go to your little beds!" laughed Mother Martin. "It's long past your sleepy time."

And the Curlytops and Trouble were soon sound asleep.

It must have been about the middle of the night---anyhow it was quite late--when Teddy, who was sleeping in his cot next to one of the side walls of the tent, was suddenly awakened by a noise outside, and something seemed to be trying to get through.

"Oh! Oh!" cried Teddy, quickly sitting up in bed, and wide awake all at once. "Oh, Mother! Something's after me! It's a bear! It's a bear!"

"Hush!" quickly exclaimed Mrs. Martin. "You'll waken William, and frighten him!"

"But Mother! I'm sure it's a bear! He growled!"

"What is it?" asked Jan, from her cot on the other side of the tent.

"It's a bear!" cried Ted again.

There did seem to be something going on outside the tent near Ted's side. There was a crackling in the bushes, and once something came pushing hard against the side of the white canvas house with force enough to make a bulge in it. Teddy jumped up from his cot and ran over to his mother, who was sitting up on her bed.

"Oh, Mother! It's coming in!" cried Teddy.

"Nonsense!" and Mrs. Martin laughed as she put her arms around her small son.

"What is it?" asked Grandpa Martin from the curtained-off part of the tent where he slept.

"It's a bear!" cried Janet.

Just then, from outside came a loud:

"Baa-a-a-a-a!"

Teddy looked very much surprised. Then he smiled. Then he laughed and cried:

"Why, it's our goat Nicknack!"

"I guess that's what it is," added Grandpa Martin. "But he seems to be in trouble. I'll go outside and look."

Taking a lantern with him, while Mrs. Martin and the children waited a bit anxiously, Grandpa Martin went to see what had happened. The Curlytops heard him laughing as they saw the flicker of his light through the white tent. Then they heard Nicknack bleating again. The goat seemed, to those inside, to be kicking about with his little black hoofs.

"Whoa there, Nicknack!" called Grandpa Martin. "I'll soon get you loose!"

There was more noise, more tramping in the bushes and then, after a while, Grandpa Martin came back.

"What was it?" asked Ted and Jan in whispers, for their mother had begged them not to awaken Trouble, who was still sleeping peacefully.

"It was your goat," was the answer. "He had got loose, and his horns were caught between two trees where he had tried to jump. He was held fast by his horns and he was kicking his heels up in the air, trying to get loose."

"Did you get him out?" asked Jan.

"Yes, I pried the trees apart and got his head loose. Then he was all right. I tied him good and tight in his stable, and I guess he won't bother us again to-night."

"Then it wasn't a bear after all," remarked Jan, laughing at her brother.

"No, indeed! There aren't any bears on this island," said her grandfather. "Go to sleep."

Nothing else happened the rest of the night, and they all slept rather late the next morning, for they were tired from the work of the day before. The sun was shining over Clover Lake when Nora rang the breakfast bell, and Ted and Jan hurried with their dressing, for they were eager to be at their play.

"What'll we do to-day?" asked Janet, as she tried to get a comb through her thick, curly hair.

"We'll go for a ride with Nicknack," decided Ted, who was also having a hard time with his locks. "Oh, I wish I was a barber!" he cried, as the comb stuck in a bunch of curls.

"Why?" asked his mother, who was giving Trouble his breakfast.

"'Cause then I'd cut my own hair short, and I'd never have to comb it."

"Oh, I wouldn't want to see you without your curls," Mother Martin said. "Here, I'll help you as soon as I feed Trouble."

Trouble could feed himself when his plate had been set in front of him, and while he was eating Mrs. Martin made her two Curlytops look better by the use of their combs.

After breakfast the children ran to hitch Nicknack to the wagon. Grandpa Martin was going back in the rowboat to the mainland to get a few things that had been forgotten, and also another bag of salt.

"And I'll hide it away from Trouble," said Nora with a laugh. "We don't want any more salty oceans around here."

"Let's drive away before Trouble sees us," proposed Jan to her brother. "He'll want to come for a ride and we can't go very far if he comes along."

"All right. Stoop down and walk behind the bushes. Then he can't see us."

Jan and Ted managed to get away unseen, and were soon hitching their goat to the wagon. Trouble finished his breakfast and called to them, wanting to go with them wherever they went. But his mother knew the two Curlytops did not want Trouble with them every time, so Baby William had to play by himself about camp, while the two older children drove off on a path that led the long way of the island.

"Maybe we'll have an adventure," suggested Jan, as she sat in the cart driving the goat, for she and her brother took turns at this fun.

"Maybe we'll see some of the tramps," he added.

"I don't want to," said Jan.

"Well, maybe we'll see a bear."

"I don't want that, either. I wish you wouldn't say such things, Teddy."

"Well, what do you want to see?"

"Oh, something nice--flowers or birds or maybe a fairy."

"Huh! I guess there's no fairies on this island, either. Let's see if we can find an apple tree. I'd like an apple."

"So would I. But we mustn't eat green ones."

"Not if they're too green," agreed Teddy. "But a little green won't hurt." They drove on, Nicknack trotting along the path through the woods, now and then stopping to nibble at the leaves. At last the children came to a beautiful shady spot, where many ferns grew beneath the trees, and it was so cool that they stopped their goat, tied him to an old stump and sat down to eat some cookies their mother had given them. The Curlytops nearly always became hungry when they were out on their little trips.

"Wouldn't it be funny," remarked Ted, after a bit, "if we should see a bear?"

"The-o-dore Martin!" gasped Janet. "I wish you'd keep quiet! It makes me scared to hear you say that."


The Curlytops on Star Island - 10/32

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