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    Chapter 24

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    Chapter 24
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    BOYS WILL BE BOYS



    Up to the moment that Johnnie Green reached out a hand for the long fish pole Twinkleheels had behaved like a little gentleman. He saw that something unusual was afoot. And feeling quite sure that it was some kind of fun, he was glad that he was going to have a part in it.

    "I hope Johnnie has some oats for me in that basket," he thought.

    Just then Johnnie caught up the pole.

    "Oats and corn!" Twinkleheels exclaimed. "What's he going to do with that enormous whip?" He was so startled that he jumped sideways, and Johnnie Green all but lost his seat on Twinkleheels' back. As he lurched in the saddle he brought the fish pole smartly against Twinkleheels' head.

    "I won't stand this," Twinkleheels decided. "I don't see what Johnnie is thinking of, to beat me over the head. I've certainly done nothing to deserve such treatment." Thereupon he dashed madly across the farmyard and made for the orchard.

    "Whoa!" cried Johnnie Green.

    "Whoa!" cried his father. "Stop him! Hang to him! Don't let him run!"

    "He'll have to drop that great whip if he expects me to mind," Twinkleheels said with a snort.

    Johnnie's hands were so full of a number of things that he could do little more than stick to the saddle.

    "Drop that junk that you're carrying!" Farmer Green shouted.

    "Why doesn't he tell Johnnie to drop that long whip?" Twinkleheels muttered to himself.

    What Farmer Green said was of no account, anyhow, for Johnnie was so busy that he didn't hear a word of his father's advice.

    Twinkleheels had reached the orchard and already was tearing in and out among the trees. The tin pail containing Johnnie's bait slipped from his grasp and clattered upon the ground, causing Twinkleheels to run all the faster. The fish pole struck the tree trunks right and left. One end of it lodged for an instant in a branch, while the other end nearly swept Johnnie off Twinkleheels' back. Still Johnnie Green clung to it and to his lunch basket as well.

    "Wh-wh-whoa! Wh-wh-whoa!" Jolted as he was, he couldn't get a whole word out of his mouth at a time. He could only jerk a word out piecemeal.

    If the fish pole hadn't at last snapped off short, leaving only the butt of it in Johnnie's hand, there's no telling when Twinkleheels would have stopped.

    Finding himself with only a bit of the pole left in his hand, Johnnie gave it a fling, slipped an arm through the handle of his lunch basket, and set to pulling mightily on the bridle reins.

    "There!" said Twinkleheels. "There goes that whip. I'm glad I broke it. Now I'll let Johnnie pull me down to a walk--but not too quickly."

    With Johnnie Green tugging steadily, Twinkleheels changed from a run to a canter, from a canter to a trot, from a trot to a walk; and finally stood still.

    Then Johnnie turned him around and rode slowly back to the barn. He jumped down, unbuckled the girth, and drew off Twinkleheels' saddle.

    "What's the matter?" his father asked him. "You haven't given up going fishing--have you?"

    "No!" Johnnie answered. "I'm going to harness Twinkleheels to the buggy. And I'll cut a pole at the creek."

    His father said nothing more. But he smiled a little to himself when Johnnie wasn't looking his way.

    "Boys will be boys," Farmer Green remarked after Johnnie had gone.

    "Yes!" the hired man agreed. "And ponies will be ponies."

    They may have been talking in riddles.

    Anyhow, they seemed to understand each other.

    THE END.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *
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