The Adventures of Buster Bear Part 3

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

Little Joe Otter looked around at all the eager faces watching him, and then in the slowest, most provoking way, he drawled: “Farmer Brown’s boy is afraid of Buster Bear.”

For a minute no one said a word. Then Blacky the Crow leaned down from his perch in the Big Hickory-tree and looked very hard at Little Joe as he said:

“I don’t believe it. I don’t believe a word of it. Farmer Brown’s boy isn’t afraid of any one who lives in the Green Forest or on the Green Meadows or in the Smiling Pool, and you know it. We are all afraid of him.”

Little Joe glared back at Blacky. “I don’t care whether you believe it or not; it’s true,” he retorted. Then he told how early that very morning he and Buster Bear had been fishing together in the Laughing Brook, and how Farmer Brown’s boy had been fishing there too, and hadn’t caught a single trout because they had all been caught or frightened before he got there. Then he told how Farmer Brown’s boy had found a footprint of Buster Bear in the soft mud, and how he had stopped fishing right away and started for home, looking behind him with fear in his eyes all the way.

“Now tell me that he isn’t afraid!” concluded Little Joe. “For once he knows just how we feel when he comes prowling around where we are. Isn’t that great news? Now we’ll get even with _him_!”

“I’ll believe it when I see it for myself!” snapped Blacky the Crow.

X

BUSTER BEAR BECOMES A HERO

The news that Little Joe Otter told at the Smiling Pool,–how Farmer Brown’s boy had run away from Buster Bear without even seeing him,–soon spread all over the Green Meadows and through the Green Forest, until every one who lives there knew about it. Of course, Peter Rabbit helped spread it. Trust Peter for that! But everybody else helped too. You see, they had all been afraid of Farmer Brown’s boy for so long that they were tickled almost to pieces at the very thought of having some one in the Green Forest who could make Farmer Brown’s boy feel fear as they had felt it. And so it was that Buster Bear became a hero right away to most of them.

A few doubted Little Joe’s story. One of them was Blacky the Crow.

Another was Reddy Fox. Blacky doubted because he knew Farmer Brown’s boy so well that he couldn’t imagine him afraid. Reddy doubted because he didn’t want to believe. You see, he was jealous of Buster Bear, and at the same time he was afraid of him. So Reddy pretended not to believe a word of what Little Joe Otter had said, and he agreed with Blacky that only by seeing Farmer Brown’s boy afraid could he ever be made to believe it. But nearly everybody else believed it, and there was great rejoicing. Most of them were afraid of Buster, very much afraid of him, because he was so big and strong. But they were still more afraid of Farmer Brown’s boy, because they didn’t know him or understand him, and because in the past he had tried to catch some of them in traps and had hunted some of them with his terrible gun.

So now they were very proud to think that one of their own number actually had frightened him, and they began to look on Buster Bear as a real hero. They tried in ever so many ways to show him how friendly they felt and went quite out of their way to do him favors. Whenever they met one another, all they could talk about was the smartness and the greatness of Buster Bear.

“Now I guess Farmer Brown’s boy will keep away from the Green Forest, and we won’t have to be all the time watching out for him,” said Bobby c.o.o.n, as he washed his dinner in the Laughing Brook, for you know he is very neat and particular.

“And he won’t dare set any more traps for me,” gloated Billy Mink.

“Ah wish Brer Bear would go up to Farmer Brown’s henhouse and scare Farmer Brown’s boy so that he would keep away from there. It would be a favor to me which Ah cert’nly would appreciate,” said Unc’ Billy Possum when he heard the news.

“Let’s all go together and tell Buster Bear how much obliged we are for what he has done,” proposed Jerry Muskrat.

“That’s a splendid idea!” cried Little Joe Otter. “We’ll do it right away.”

“Caw, caw caw!” broke in Blacky the Crow. “I say, let’s wait and see for ourselves if it is all true.”

“Of course it’s true!” snapped Little Joe Otter. “Don’t you believe I’m telling the truth?”

“Certainly, certainly. Of course no one doubts your word,” replied Blacky, with the utmost politeness. “But you say yourself that Farmer Brown’s boy didn’t see Buster Bear, but only his footprint. Perhaps he didn’t know whose it was, and if he had he wouldn’t have been afraid.

Now I’ve got a plan by which we can see for ourselves if he really is afraid of Buster Bear.”

“What is it?” asked Sammy Jay eagerly.

Blacky the Crow shook his head and winked. “That’s telling,” said he. “I want to think it over. If you meet me at the Big Hickory-tree at sun-up to-morrow morning, and get everybody else to come that you can, perhaps I will tell you.”

XI

BLACKY THE CROW TELLS HIS PLAN

Blacky is a dreamer!

Blacky is a schemer!

His voice is strong; When things go wrong Blacky is a screamer!

It’s a fact. Blacky the Crow is forever dreaming and scheming and almost always it is of mischief. He is one of the smartest and cleverest of all the little people of the Green Meadows and the Green Forest, and all the others know it. Blacky likes excitement. He wants something going on.

The more exciting it is, the better he likes it. Then he has a chance to use that harsh voice of his, and how he does use it!

So now, as he sat in the top of the Big Hickory-tree beside the Smiling Pool and looked down on all the little people gathered there, he was very happy. In the first place he felt very important, and you know Blacky dearly loves to feel important. They had all come at his invitation to listen to a plan for seeing for themselves if it were really true that Farmer Brown’s boy was afraid of Buster Bear.

On the Big Rock in the Smiling Pool sat Little Joe Otter, Billy Mink, and Jerry Muskrat. On his big, green lily-pad sat Grandfather Frog. On another lily-pad sat Spotty the Turtle. On the bank on one side of the Smiling Pool were Peter Rabbit, Jumper the Hare, Danny Meadow Mouse, Johnny Chuck, Jimmy Skunk, Unc’ Billy Possum, Striped Chipmunk and Old Mr. Toad. On the other side of the Smiling Pool were Reddy Fox, Digger the Badger, and Bobby c.o.o.n. In the Big Hickory-tree were Chatterer the Red Squirrel, Happy Jack the Gray Squirrel, and Sammy Jay.

Blacky waited until he was sure that no one else was coming. Then he cleared his throat very loudly and began to speak. “Friends,” said he.

Everybody grinned, for Blacky has played so many sharp tricks that no one is really his friend unless it is that other mischief-maker, Sammy Jay, who, you know, is Blacky’s cousin. But no one said anything, and Blacky went on.

“Little Joe Otter has told us how he saw Farmer Brown’s boy hurry home when he found the footprint of Buster Bear on the edge of the Laughing Brook, and how all the way he kept looking behind him, as if he were afraid. Perhaps he was, and then again perhaps he wasn’t. Perhaps he had something else on his mind. You have made a hero of Buster Bear, because you believe Little Joe’s story. Now I don’t say that I don’t believe it, but I do say that I will be a lot more sure that Farmer Brown’s boy is afraid of Buster when I see him run away myself. Now here is my plan:

“To-morrow morning, very early, Sammy Jay and I will make a great fuss near the edge of the Green Forest. Farmer Brown’s boy has a lot of curiosity, and he will be sure to come over to see what it is all about.

Then we will lead him to where Buster Bear is. If he runs away, I will be the first to admit that Buster Bear is as great a hero as some of you seem to think he is. It is a very simple plan, and if you will all hide where you can watch, you will be able to see for yourselves if Little Joe Otter is right. Now what do you say?”

Right away everybody began to talk at the same time. It was such a simple plan that everybody agreed to it. And it promised to be so exciting that everybody promised to be there, that is, everybody but Grandfather Frog and Spotty the Turtle, who didn’t care to go so far away from the Smiling Pool. So it was agreed that Blacky should try his plan the very next morning.

XII

FARMER BROWN’S BOY AND BUSTER BEAR GROW CURIOUS

Ever since it was light enough to see at all, Blacky the Crow had been sitting in the top of the tallest tree on the edge of the Green Forest nearest to Farmer Brown’s house, and never for an instant had he taken his eyes from Farmer Brown’s back door. What was he watching for? Why, for Farmer Brown’s boy to come out on his way to milk the cows.

Meanwhile, Sammy Jay was slipping silently through the Green Forest, looking for Buster Bear, so that when the time came he could let his cousin, Blacky the Crow, know just where Buster was.

By and by the back door of Farmer Brown’s house opened, and out stepped Farmer Brown’s boy. In each hand he carried a milk pail. Right away Blacky began to scream at the top of his lungs. “Caw, caw, caw!” shouted Blacky. “Caw, caw, caw!” And all the time he flew about among the trees near the edge of the Green Forest as if so excited that he couldn’t keep still. Farmer Brown’s boy looked over there as if he wondered what all that fuss was about, as indeed he did, but he didn’t start to go over and see. No, Sir, he started straight for the barn.

Blacky didn’t know what to make of it. You see, smart as he is and shrewd as he is, Blacky doesn’t know anything about the meaning of duty, for he never has to work excepting to get enough to eat. So, when Farmer Brown’s boy started for the barn instead of for the Green Forest, Blacky didn’t know what to make of it. He screamed harder and louder than ever, until his voice grew so hoa.r.s.e he couldn’t scream any more, but Farmer Brown’s boy kept right on to the barn.

“I’d like to know what you’re making such a fuss about, Mr. Crow, but I’ve got to feed the cows and milk them first,” said he.

Now all this time the other little people of the Green Forest and the Green Meadows had been hiding where they could see all that went on.

When Farmer Brown’s boy disappeared in the barn, Chatterer the Red Squirrel snickered right out loud. “Ha, ha, ha! This is a great plan of yours, Blacky! Ha, ha, ha!” he shouted. Blacky couldn’t find a word to say. He just hung his head, which is something Blacky seldom does.

“Perhaps if we wait until he comes out again, he will come over here,”

said Sammy Jay, who had joined Blacky. So it was decided to wait. It seemed as if Farmer Brown’s boy never would come out, but at last he did. Blacky and Sammy Jay at once began to scream and make all the fuss they could. Farmer Brown’s boy took the two pails of milk into the house, then out he came and started straight for the Green Forest. He was so curious to know what it all meant that he couldn’t wait another minute.

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