The Adventures of Buster Bear Part 2

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The Adventures of Buster Bear is a Webnovel created by Thornton W. Burgess.
This lightnovel is currently completed.

Little Joe darted over to the log and looked on the other side. There was the fat trout, and there also was Little Joe’s smallest cousin, Shadow the Weasel, who is a great thief and altogether bad. Little Joe sprang at him angrily, but Shadow was too quick and darted away. Little Joe put the fish back on the log and waited. This time he didn’t take his eyes off it. At last, when he was almost ready to give up, he saw Buster Bear shuffling along towards the Laughing Brook. Suddenly Buster stopped and sniffed. One of the Merry Little Breezes had carried the scent of that fat trout over to him. Then he came straight over to where the fish lay, his nose wrinkling, and his eyes twinkling with pleasure.

“Now I wonder who was so thoughtful as to leave this fine breakfast ready for me,” said he out loud.

“Me,” said Little Joe in a rather faint voice. “I caught it especially for you.”

“Thank you,” replied Buster, and his eyes twinkled more than ever. “I think we are going to be friends.”

“I–I hope so,” replied Little Joe.

VII

FARMER BROWN’S BOY HAS NO LUCK AT ALL

Farmer Brown’s boy tramped through the Green Forest, whistling merrily.

He always whistles when he feels light-hearted, and he always feels light-hearted when he goes fishing. You see, he is just as fond of fishing as is Little Joe Otter or Billy Mink or Buster Bear. And now he was making his way through the Green Forest to the Laughing Brook, sure that by the time he had followed it down to the Smiling Pool he would have a fine lot of trout to take home. He knew every pool in the Laughing Brook where the trout love to hide, did Farmer Brown’s boy, and it was just the kind of a morning when the trout should be hungry.

So he whistled as he tramped along, and his whistle was good to hear.

When he reached the first little pool he baited his hook very carefully and then, taking the greatest care to keep out of sight of any trout that might be in the little pool, he began to fish. Now Farmer Brown’s boy learned a long time ago that to be a successful fisherman one must have a great deal of patience, so though he didn’t get a bite right away as he had expected to, he wasn’t the least bit discouraged. He kept very quiet and fished and fished, patiently waiting for a foolish trout to take his hook. But he didn’t get so much as a nibble. “Either the trout have lost their appet.i.te or they have grown very wise,” muttered Farmer Brown’s boy, as after a long time he moved on to the next little pool.

There the same thing happened. He was very patient, very, very patient, but his patience brought no reward, not so much as the faintest kind of a nibble. Farmer Brown’s boy trudged on to the next pool, and there was a puzzled frown on his freckled face. Such a thing never had happened before. He didn’t know what to make of it. All the night before he had dreamed about the delicious dinner of fried trout he would have the next day, and now–well, if he didn’t catch some trout pretty soon, that splendid dinner would never be anything but a dream.

“If I didn’t know that n.o.body else comes fishing here, I should think that somebody had been here this very morning and caught all the fish or else frightened them so that they are all in hiding,” said he, as he trudged on to the next little pool. “I never had such bad luck in all my life before. h.e.l.lo! What’s this?”

There, on the bank beside the little pool, were the heads of three trout. Farmer Brown’s boy scowled down at them more puzzled than ever.

“Somebody _has_ been fishing here, and they have had better luck than I have,” thought he. He looked up the Laughing Brook and down the Laughing Brook and this way and that way, but no one was to be seen. Then he picked up one of the little heads and looked at it sharply. “It wasn’t cut off with a knife; it was bitten off!” he exclaimed. “I wonder now if Billy Mink is the scamp who has spoiled my fun.”

Thereafter he kept a sharp lookout for signs of Billy Mink, but though he found two or three more trout heads, he saw no other signs and he caught no fish. This puzzled him more than ever. It didn’t seem possible that such a little fellow as Billy Mink could have caught or frightened all the fish or have eaten so many. Besides, he didn’t remember ever having known Billy to leave heads around that way. Billy sometimes catches more fish than he can eat, but then he usually hides them. The farther he went down the Laughing Brook, the more puzzled Farmer Brown’s boy grew. It made him feel very queer. He would have felt still more queer if he had known that all the time two other fishermen who had been before him were watching him and chuckling to themselves. They were Little Joe Otter and Buster Bear.

VIII

FARMER BROWN’S BOY FEELS HIS HAIR RISE

‘Twas just a sudden odd surprise Made Farmer Brown’s boy’s hair to rise.

That’s a funny thing for hair to do–rise up all of a sudden–isn’t it?

But that is just what the hair on Farmer Brown’s boy’s head did the day he went fishing in the Laughing Brook and had no luck at all. There are just two things that make hair rise–anger and fear. Anger sometimes makes the hair on the back and neck of Bowser the Hound and of some other little people bristle and stand up, and you know the hair on the tail of Black p.u.s.s.y stands on end until her tail looks twice as big as it really is. Both anger and fear make it do that. But there is only one thing that can make the hair on the head of Farmer Brown’s boy rise, and as it isn’t anger, of course it must be fear.

It never had happened before. You see, there isn’t much of anything that Farmer Brown’s boy is really afraid of. Perhaps he wouldn’t have been afraid this time if it hadn’t been for the surprise of what he found.

You see when he had found the heads of those trout on the bank he knew right away that some one else had been fishing, and that was why he couldn’t catch any; but it didn’t seem possible that little Billy Mink could have eaten all those trout, and Farmer Brown’s boy didn’t once think of Little Joe Otter, and so he was very, very much puzzled.

He was turning it all over in his mind and studying what it could mean, when he came to a little muddy place on the bank of the Laughing Brook, and there he saw something that made his eyes look as if they would pop right out of his head, and it was right then that he felt his hair rise.

Anyway, that is what he said when he told about it afterward. What was it he saw? What do you think? Why, it was a footprint in the soft mud.

Yes, Sir, that’s what it was, and all it was. But it was the biggest footprint Farmer Brown’s boy ever had seen, and it looked as if it had been made only a few minutes before. It was the footprint of Buster Bear.

Now Farmer Brown’s boy didn’t know that Buster Bear had come down to the Green Forest to live. He never had heard of a Bear being in the Green Forest. And so he was so surprised that he had hard work to believe his own eyes, and he had a queer feeling all over,–a little chilly feeling, although it was a warm day. Somehow, he didn’t feel like meeting Buster Bear. If he had had his terrible gun with him, it might have been different. But he didn’t, and so he suddenly made up his mind that he didn’t want to fish any more that day. He had a funny feeling, too, that he was being watched, although he couldn’t see any one. He _was_ being watched. Little Joe Otter and Buster Bear were watching him and taking the greatest care to keep out of his sight.

All the way home through the Green Forest, Farmer Brown’s boy kept looking behind him, and he didn’t draw a long breath until he reached the edge of the Green Forest. He hadn’t run, but he had wanted to.

“Huh!” said Buster Bear to Little Joe Otter, “I believe he was afraid!”

And Buster Bear was just exactly right.

IX

LITTLE JOE OTTER HAS GREAT NEWS TO TELL

Little Joe Otter was fairly bursting with excitement. He could hardly contain himself. He felt that he had the greatest news to tell since Peter Rabbit had first found the tracks of Buster Bear in the Green Forest. He couldn’t keep it to himself a minute longer than he had to.

So he hurried to the Smiling Pool, where he was sure he would find Billy Mink and Jerry Muskrat and Grandfather Frog and Spotty the Turtle, and he hoped that perhaps some of the little people who live in the Green Forest might be there too. Sure enough, Peter Rabbit was there on one side of the Smiling Pool, making faces at Reddy Fox, who was on the other side, which, of course, was not at all nice of Peter. Mr. and Mrs.

Redwing were there, and Blacky the Crow was sitting in the Big Hickory-tree.

Little Joe Otter swam straight to the Big Rock and climbed up to the very highest part. He looked so excited, and his eyes sparkled so, that every one knew right away that something had happened.

“Hi!” cried Billy Mink. “Look at Little Joe Otter! It must be that for once he has been smarter than Buster Bear.”

Little Joe made a good-natured face at Billy Mink and shook his head.

“No, Billy,” said he, “you are wrong, altogether wrong. I don’t believe anybody can be smarter than Buster Bear.”

[Ill.u.s.tration: Reddy glared across the Smiling Pool at Peter.

_Page 45._]

Reddy Fox rolled his lips back in an unpleasant grin. “Don’t be too sure of that!” he snapped. “I’m not through with him yet.”

“Boaster! Boaster!” cried Peter Rabbit.

Reddy glared across the Smiling Pool at Peter. “I’m not through with you either, Peter Rabbit!” he snarled. “You’ll find it out one of these fine days!”

“Reddy, Reddy, smart and sly, Couldn’t catch a buzzing fly!”

taunted Peter.

“Chug-a-rum!” said Grandfather Frog in his deepest, gruffest voice. “We know all about that. What we want to know is what Little Joe Otter has got on his mind.”

“It’s news–great news!” cried Little Joe.

“We can tell better how great it is when we hear what it is,” replied Grandfather Frog testily. “What is it?”

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