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    Chapter 7

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    Chapter 7
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    CAUGHT!



    There was a good deal of giggling and loud whispering at the back door of the barn. It ceased instantly when Farmer Green cried "Stop that!" in a loud voice.

    Johnnie Green and his friends looked startled--and sheepish, too. They had been throwing currants through the doorway, to make Twinkleheels kick.

    The boys fell back a few steps as Farmer Green joined them.

    "Was Twinkleheels doing all that kicking?" Farmer Green asked Johnnie. "It was so loud that I thought the barn would fall down any minute."

    "We threw a few currants at old Ebenezer," Johnnie Green explained somewhat faintly.

    His father gave him a sharp look.

    "Huh!" Farmer Green grunted. "He didn't kick--did he?"

    "N-no! N-no, sir!"

    "Did you throw at the bays?" Johnnie's father demanded.

    "Only once or twice!" Johnnie confessed.

    "Once or twice is too much," his father said sternly. "Don't meddle with the bays. And don't tease the pony, either. You've chosen the surest way to make a kicker of him.

    "How long," Farmer Green demanded, "has this business been going on?"

    "Only a short time!" Johnnie assured him. "I never threw any currants until they began to ripen."

    "I suppose," said his father, "you never threw any until there were some to throw."

    Johnnie Green appeared much more cheerful when he heard that remark of his father's. Although Farmer Green's face wore a frown, and his voice sounded most severe, Johnnie could tell that he was laughing, inside.

    "Come on!" Johnnie cried to his friends. "Let's get to work. If we hustle we can get the currants all picked by noon."

    So long as Farmer Green stood there they all picked as busily as squirrels. But after he left them the boys found so much to talk about that they made little progress. It was a temptation, too, to flick a currant into the face of another picker and see him jump.

    Finally the neighbors' boys announced that they were going swimming. "Come along over to the swimming hole!" they urged Johnnie. "You can finish picking these currants later."

    But Johnnie Green said that he couldn't leave his work. Though his helpers left him, he stayed behind the barn and picked currants. Somehow he felt that he ought to be on his best behavior--at least for a day or two.

    "It was a pity that Johnnie Green's father caught him," old dog Spot remarked to Twinkleheels after Farmer Green put an end to the boys' fun. "I enjoyed the sport," said Spot.

    "If you're so fond of kicking, just step up behind me!" Twinkleheels urged him.

    "No, thank you!" said Spot. "I don't want one of my ribs cracked."

    "Ho!" cried Twinkleheels. "Who said anything about one rib? I'll crack all of them for you if you'll come where I can reach you."

    Spot moved further away.

    "Do you mean that?" he asked in a somewhat frightened voice.

    "Certainly not!" said Twinkleheels.

    "You kicked at Farmer Green yesterday," Spot reminded him.

    "Yes! But I never touched him," Twinkleheels answered. "I only wanted to see him jump."
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