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- The Curlytops on Star Island - 20/32 -
you the knife to cut the rope?"
"No. Trouble got knife offen table."
"Oh, you must _never_ do that!" cried Jan. "You might fall on the sharp knife and cut yourself. Trouble was bad!"
The little fellow had really taken a knife from the table, and had sawed away with it on Nicknack's rope until he had cut it through. Then Nicknack had wandered over to the green bower to get something to eat, and Trouble, dropping the knife, had followed.
Mrs. Martin, to punish Baby William so he would remember not to take knives again, would not let him have a goat ride, and he cried very hard when Ted and Jan went off without him. But even little boys must learn not to do what is wrong, and Trouble was no different from any others.
One afternoon, when the Curlytops had been wandering around the woods of the island, looking to see if any berries were yet ripe, they came back to camp rather tired and warm.
"I know what would be nice for you," said Nora, who came to the flap doorway of the kitchen tent. "Yes, I know _two_ things that would be nice for you."
"What?" asked Jan, fanning herself with her sunbonnet.
"I hope it's something good to eat," sighed Teddy, as he sat down in the shade.
"Part of it," answered Nora. "How would you like some cool lemonade-- that is, when you are not so warm," she added quickly, for Teddy had jumped up on hearing this, and was about to make a rush for the kind cook. "You must always rest a bit, when you are so warm from running, walking or playing, before you take a cold drink of anything."
"But have you any lemonade?" asked Janet, for she, too, was tired and thirsty.
"I'll make some, and you may have it when you are not so heated," went on the cook. "And I'll get some sweet crackers for you."
"That's nice," said Janet. "Are they the two things you were going to tell us to do, Nora?" "No, I'll count the lemonade and crackers as one," went on the cook with a smile. "The other thing I was going to tell you to do is to take Nicknack and have a ride. That will cool you off if you go in the shade."
"Oh, so it will!" cried Ted. "We'll do it! And can we take the lemonade in a bottle, and the crackers in a bag, and put them in the goat-wagon?"
"Do you mean to give the crackers and lemonade a ride, too?" asked Mother Martin, who came out of her tent just then.
"No, but we can take them with us, and have a little picnic in the woods," explained Teddy. "We didn't find any berries, and so we didn't have any picnic."
"All right, Nora, give them the lemonade and crackers to take with them," said Mrs. Martin, smiling at the Curlytops.
"I'll go and make the cool drink now," said the cook.
"And I'll get the crackers," said the children's mother.
"And we'll go and get Nicknack and harness him to the cart," added Ted.
He and Janet were soon on their way to the little leafy bower where the goat was kept, for it was so warm on Star Island that the goat did not stay more than half the time in the stable Grandpa Martin had made for him.
"Here, Nicknack! where are you?" called Teddy, as he neared the bower.
"Here, Nicknack!" called Janet.
But the goat did not answer. Nearly always, when he was called to in that way, he did, giving a loud "Baa-a-a-a-a!" that could be heard a long way.
"Oh, Nicknack isn't here!" cried Jan, when she saw the empty place. "Maybe he's run away, Ted."
"He must be on the island somewhere," said the little boy. "He can't row a boat and get off, and he doesn't like to swim, I guess, though he did fall into the water once."
"But where is he?" asked Janet.
"We'll look," Teddy said.
So the children peered about in the bushes, but not a sign of Nicknack could they see. They called and called, but the goat did not bleat back to them.
"Oh, where can he be?" asked Janet, and her eyes filled with tears, for she loved the pet animal very much.
"We'll look," said Teddy. "And if we can't find him we'll ask grandpa to help us look."
They wandered about, but not going too far from the leafy bower, and, all at once, Ted cried:
"Hark! I hear him!"
"So do I!" added Janet. "Oh, where is he?"
"Listen!" returned her brother.
They both listened, hardly breathing, so as to make as little noise as possible. Once more they heard the cry of the goat:
"Baa-a-a-a-a-a!" went Nicknack. "Baa-a-a-a!"
"He's over this way!" cried Teddy, and he started to run to the left.
"No, I think he's here," and Janet pointed to the right.
"What's the matter, Curlytops?" asked Mrs. Martin, who came out just then to see what was keeping the children.
"We can hear Nicknack, but we can't see him," answered Ted.
Mrs. Martin listened to the goat's call.
"I think he's down this path," she said, and she took one midway between those Ted and Janet would have taken. "Come along!" she called back to the two children. "We'll soon find Nicknack."
"Here, Nicknack! Here, Nicknack!" called Ted.
"Come on, we want you to give us a ride!" added Janet.
But though the goat answered, as he nearly always did, his voice sounded afar off, and he did not come running to see his little friends.
"Oh, I wonder if anything is the matter with him?" asked Ted.
"We'll soon see," said Mrs. Martin.
Just then the barking of a dog was heard.
"Oh, I wonder if that's Skyrocket?" asked Janet.
"No, we left our dog home," said Mrs. Martin. "That sounds like a strange dog, and he seems to be barking at Nicknack. Come on, children. We'll see what the matter is!"
They hurried on, and, in a little while, they saw what had happened. Nicknack was caught in a thick bush by the rope around his horns. He had pulled the rope loose from his leafy bower, and it had dragged along after him as he wandered away. Then the end of the rope had become tangled in a thick bush and the goat could not pull it loose. He was held as tightly as if tied.
In front of him, but far enough away so the goat could not butt him with his horns, which Nicknack tried to do, was a big, and not very nice-looking, dog. This dog was barking fiercely at Nicknack, and the goat could not make him go away.
"Oh, Mother! don't let the dog hurt our goat!" begged Janet.
"I'll drive him away," cried Ted, catching up a stone. "No, you had better let me do it," said Mrs. Martin. She picked up a stick and walked toward the dog, but he did not wait for her to get very close. With a last howl and a bark at Nicknack, the dog ran away, jumped into the lake and swam off toward shore. Then the rope was loosed and Nicknack, who was badly frightened, was led back by Ted and Jan and hitched to the wagon. He then gave them a fine ride. The dog was a stray one, which had swum over from the mainland, Grandpa Martin said.
Ted and Janet took the lemonade and crackers with them in the goat- wagon and had a nice little picnic in the woods.
"What can we do to-day?" asked Janet, as she and Teddy finished breakfast in the tent one morning, and, after playing about on the beach of the lake, wanted some other fun.
"Let's go swimming!" cried Teddy.
"And take Trouble with us," added Ms sister.
In their bathing suits and with Nora on the bank to watch them, the children were soon splashing in the cool water. Ted could swim a little bit, and Jan was just learning.
"Come on out where it's a little deeper," Ted urged his sister. "It isn't up to your knees here, and you can't swim in such shallow water."
"I'm afraid to go out," she said.
"Afraid of what?"
"Big fish or a crab."
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