The Adventures of Buster Bear Part 4

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

Now there was some one else with a great deal of curiosity also. He had heard the screaming of Blacky the Crow and Sammy Jay, and he had listened until he couldn’t stand it another minute. He just _had_ to know what it was all about. So at the same time Farmer Brown’s boy started for the Green Forest, this other listener started towards the place where Blacky and Sammy were making such a racket. He walked very softly so as not to make a sound. It was Buster Bear.



If you should meet with Buster Bear While walking through the wood, What would you do? Now tell me true, _I’d_ run the best I could.

That is what Farmer Brown’s boy did when he met Buster Bear, and a lot of the little people of the Green Forest and some from the Green Meadows saw him. When Farmer Brown’s boy came hurrying home from the Laughing Brook without any fish one day and told about the great footprint he had seen in a muddy place on the bank deep in the Green Forest, and had said his was sure that it was the footprint of a Bear, he had been laughed at. Farmer Brown had laughed and laughed.

“Why,” said he, “there hasn’t been a Bear in the Green Forest for years and years and years, not since my own grandfather was a little boy, and that, you know, was a long, long, long time ago. If you want to find Mr.

Bear, you will have to go to the Great Woods. I don’t know who made that footprint, but it certainly couldn’t have been a Bear. I think you must have imagined it.”

Then he had laughed some more, all of which goes to show how easy it is to be mistaken, and how foolish it is to laugh at things you really don’t know about. Buster Bear _had_ come to live in the Green Forest, and Farmer Brown’s boy _had_ seen his footprint. But Farmer Brown laughed so much and made fun of him so much, that at last his boy began to think that he must have been mistaken after all. So when he heard Blacky the Crow and Sammy Jay making a great fuss near the edge of the Green Forest, he never once thought of Buster Bear, as he started over to see what was going on.

When Blacky and Sammy saw him coming, they moved a little farther in to the Green Forest, still screaming in the most excited way. They felt sure that Farmer Brown’s boy would follow them, and they meant to lead him to where Sammy had seen Buster Bear that morning. Then they would find out for sure if what Little Joe Otter had said was true,–that Farmer Brown’s boy really was afraid of Buster Bear.

Now all around, behind trees and stumps, and under thick branches, and even in tree tops, were other little people watching with round, wide-open eyes to see what would happen. It was very exciting, the most exciting thing they could remember. You see, they had come to believe that Farmer Brown’s boy wasn’t afraid of anybody or anything, and as most of them were very much afraid of him, they had hard work to believe that he would really be afraid of even such a great, big, strong fellow as Buster Bear. Every one was so busy watching Farmer Brown’s boy that no one saw Buster coming from the other direction.

You see, Buster walked very softly. Big as he is, he can walk without making the teeniest, weeniest sound. And that is how it happened that no one saw him or heard him until just as Farmer Brown’s boy stepped out from behind one side of a thick little hemlock-tree, Buster Bear stepped out from behind the other side of that same little tree, and there they were face to face! Then everybody held their breath, even Blacky the Crow and Sammy Jay. For just a little minute it was so still there in the Green Forest that not the least little sound could be heard. What was going to happen?



Blacky the Crow and Sammy Jay, looking down from the top of a tall tree, held their breath. Happy Jack the Gray Squirrel and his cousin, Chatterer the Red Squirrel, looking down from another tree, held _their_ breath. Unc’ Billy Possum, sticking his head out from a hollow tree, held _his_ breath. Bobby c.o.o.n, looking through a hole in a hollow stump in which he was hiding, held _his_ breath. Reddy Fox, lying flat down behind a heap of brush, held _his_ breath. Peter Rabbit, sitting bolt upright under a thick hemlock branch, with eyes and ears wide open, held _his_ breath. And all the other little people who happened to be where they could see did the same thing.

You see, it was the most exciting moment ever was in the Green Forest.

Farmer Brown’s boy had just stepped out from behind one side of a little hemlock-tree and Buster Bear had just stepped out from behind the opposite side of the little hemlock-tree and neither had known that the other was anywhere near. For a whole minute they stood there face to face, gazing into each other’s eyes, while everybody watched and waited, and it seemed as if the whole Green Forest was holding its breath.

Then something happened. Yes, Sir, something happened. Farmer Brown’s boy opened his mouth and yelled! It was such a sudden yell and such a loud yell that it startled Chatterer so that he nearly fell from his place in the tree, and it made Reddy Fox jump to his feet ready to run.

And that yell was a yell of fright. There was no doubt about it, for with the yell Farmer Brown’s boy turned and ran for home, as no one ever had seen him run before. He ran just as Peter Rabbit runs when he has got to reach the dear Old Briar-patch before Reddy Fox can catch him, which, you know, is as fast as he can run. Once he stumbled and fell, but he scrambled to his feet in a twinkling, and away he went without once turning his head to see if Buster Bear was after him. There wasn’t any doubt that he was afraid, very much afraid.

Everybody leaned forward to watch him. “What did I tell you? Didn’t I say that he was afraid of Buster Bear?” cried Little Joe Otter, dancing about with excitement.

“You were right, Little Joe! I’m sorry that I doubted it. See him go!

Caw, caw, caw!” shrieked Blacky the Crow.

For a minute or two everybody forgot about Buster Bear. Then there was a great crash which made everybody turn to look the other way. What do you think they saw? Why, Buster Bear was running away too, and he was running twice as fast as Farmer Brown’s boy! He b.u.mped into trees and crashed through bushes and jumped over logs, and in almost no time at all he was out of sight. Altogether it was the most surprising thing that the little people of the Green Forest ever had seen.

[Ill.u.s.tration: Buster Bear was running away, too. Page _71_.]

Sammy Jay looked at Blacky the Crow, and Blacky looked at Chatterer, and Chatterer looked at Happy Jack, and Happy Jack looked at Peter Rabbit, and Peter looked at Unc’ Billy Possum, and Unc’ Billy looked at Bobby c.o.o.n, and Bobby looked at Johnny Chuck, and Johnny looked at Reddy Fox, and Reddy looked at Jimmy Skunk, and Jimmy looked at Billy Mink, and Billy looked at Little Joe Otter, and for a minute n.o.body could say a word. Then Little Joe gave a funny little gasp.

“Why, why-e-e!” said he, “I believe Buster Bear is afraid too!” Unc’

Billy Possum chuckled. “Ah believe yo’ are right again, Brer Otter,”

said he. “It cert’nly does look so. If Brer Bear isn’t scared, he must have remembered something impo’tant and has gone to attend to it in a powerful hurry.”

Then everybody began to laugh.



A fallen hero is some one to whom every one has looked up as very brave and then proves to be less brave than he was supposed to be. That was the way with Buster Bear. When Little Joe Otter had told how Farmer Brown’s boy had been afraid at the mere sight of one of Buster Bear’s big footprints, they had at once made a hero of Buster. At least some of them had. As this was the first time, the very first time, that they had ever known any one who lives in the Green Forest to make Farmer Brown’s boy run away, they looked on Buster Bear with a great deal of respect and were very proud of him.

But now they had seen Buster Bear and Farmer Brown’s boy meet face to face; and while it was true that Farmer Brown’s boy had run away as fast as ever he could, it was also true that Buster Bear had done the same thing. He had run even faster than Farmer Brown’s boy, and had hidden in the most lonely place he could find in the very deepest part of the Green Forest. It was hard to believe, but it was true. And right away everybody lost a great deal of the respect for Buster which they had felt. It is always that way. They began to say unkind things about him.

They said them among themselves, and some of them even said them to Buster when they met him, or said them so that he would hear them.

Of course Blacky the Crow and Sammy Jay, who, because they can fly, have nothing to fear from Buster, and who always delight in making other people uncomfortable, never let a chance go by to tell Buster and everybody else within hearing what they thought of him. They delighted in flying about through the Green Forest until they had found Buster Bear and then from the safety of the tree tops screaming at him.

“Buster Bear is big and strong; His teeth are big; his claws are long; In spite of these he runs away And hides himself the livelong day!”

A dozen times a day Buster would hear them screaming this. He would grind his teeth and glare up at them, but that was all he could do. He couldn’t get at them. He just had to stand it and do nothing. But when impudent little Chatterer the Red Squirrel shouted the same thing from a place just out of reach in a big pine-tree, Buster could stand it no longer. He gave a deep, angry growl that made little shivers run over Chatterer, and then suddenly he started up that tree after Chatterer.

With a frightened little shriek Chatterer scampered to the top of the tree. He hadn’t known that Buster could climb. But Buster is a splendid climber, especially when the tree is big and stout as this one was, and now he went up after Chatterer, growling angrily.

How Chatterer did wish that he had kept his tongue still! He ran to the very top of the tree, so frightened that his teeth chattered, and when he looked down and saw Buster’s great mouth coming nearer and nearer, he nearly tumbled down with terror. The worst of it was there wasn’t another tree near enough for him to jump to. He was in trouble this time, was Chatterer, sure enough! And there was no one to help him.



It isn’t very often that Chatterer the Red Squirrel knows fear. That is one reason that he is so often impudent and saucy. But once in a while a great fear takes possession of him, as when he knows that Shadow the Weasel is looking for him. You see, he knows that Shadow can go wherever he can go. There are very few of the little people of the Green Forest and the Green Meadows who do not know fear at some time or other, but it comes to Chatterer as seldom as to any one, because he is very sure of himself and his ability to hide or run away from danger.

But now as he clung to a little branch near the top of a tall pine-tree in the Green Forest and looked down at the big sharp teeth of Buster Bear drawing nearer and nearer, and listened to the deep, angry growls that made his hair stand on end, Chatterer was too frightened to think.

If only he had kept his tongue still instead of saying hateful things to Buster Bear! If only he had known that Buster could climb a tree! If only he had chosen a tree near enough to other trees for him to jump across! But he _had_ said hateful things, he _had_ chosen to sit in a tree which stood quite by itself, and Buster Bear _could_ climb!

Chatterer was in the worst kind of trouble, and there was no one to blame but himself. That is usually the case with those who get into trouble.

Nearer and nearer came Buster Bear, and deeper and angrier sounded his voice. Chatterer gave a little frightened gasp and looked this way and looked that way. What should he do? What _could_ he do! The ground seemed a terrible distance below. If only he had wings like Sammy Jay!

But he hadn’t.

“Gr-r-r-r!” growled Buster Bear. “I’ll teach you manners! I’ll teach you to treat your betters with respect! I’ll swallow you whole, that’s what I’ll do. Gr-r-r-r!”

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