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    Chapter 13

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    Chapter 13
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    Bunny Brown did not at once answer his Sister Sue. He sat in the pony cart, looking around. It was a pretty spot. Behind them were the woods, and, on either side, green fields. Before them ran the brook. But there were no houses in sight.

    "Are we lost, Bunny?" asked Sue again.

    That seemed to wake Bunny up from his daydream.

    "Lost! No, of course not!" he exclaimed. "How could anybody be lost in the day time?"

    "Well, Sadie West was lost once in the day time," said Sue. "She was in a big city, and she couldn't find her mamma nor her house nor anything!"

    "Well, this isn't a city," said Bunny. "This is the country and I know how to get home."

    "Oh, do you?" asked Sue, much relieved. "How, Bunny?"

    "Why--why, all I've got to do is turn around and go back," he said. "We came the wrong way after we drove out of the woods, that's all. Now I'll turn around and go back. Come on, Toby!" he called to the Shetland pony. "Back up and we'll go home."

    But Toby did not seem to want to back up. He pulled the cart and the children in it, on toward the brook. At one side of the bridge was a little slope, leading down to the water. There were marks to show that horses and wagons had crossed there, driving through the stream.

    "Whoa, Toby!" cried Bunny. "Where are you going?"

    The little pony was headed straight for the brook.

    "Oh, I guess he wants a drink of water," said Sue.

    "Maybe he does," agreed Bunny, as he saw that the pony was not going to stop. "He pulls terrible hard on the reins," he went on. "I guess he does want a drink, Sue. We'll let him have it, and then we'll turn around and drive back."

    Toby walked along until his front feet were in the water. Then, as he did not have on a cruel check-rein, which hurts horses and ponies, Toby could lean his nose right down into the water and take a drink. When horses have a check-rein on they can't lower their heads to drink or eat until the strap is loosened. So if ever you have a horse or pony, don't put a check-rein on him. Toby's neck was free to bend any way he wanted it to, which is as it should be.

    "Oh, Bunny, I know what let's do!" cried Sue, as Toby raised his head, having drunk enough water.

    "What'll we do?" asked Bunny.

    "Let's drive right on through the water! It won't come up over our cart, and it will wash the wheels nice and clean."

    "All right. We'll do it," agreed Bunny.

    He remembered that once, when he and Sue were at Grandpa's farm, the old gentleman had driven his horses and the wagon, with the children in it, through a shallow brook, after letting the horses drink. This was at a place called a "ford," and Bunny and Sue were at a ford in this brook.

    "Gidap, Toby!" called Bunny, and the pony waded on into the water, pulling the cart after him. He seemed to like it, as the day was warm and there had been a lot of dust in the road.

    The water washed and cooled the pony's legs, and also cleaned the wheels of the basket cart. The brook was not deep, not coming up to the hubs of the wheels, and the bottom was a smooth, gravel one, so Toby did not slip.

    "Oh, that was fun!" cried Sue, as Bunny drove out on the other side of the ford. "And now we can cross back over on the bridge and go home, can't we, Bunny?"

    "Yep. That's what we'll do," said her brother.

    There was plenty of room to turn around on the other side of the stream, and soon Toby was clattering over the bridge, under which the stream ran. Down the road he went, and along a patch of woods, Bunny and Sue talking over what a good time they had had.

    But, pretty soon, the little girl said:

    "Bunny, I don't see any houses."

    Bunny looked around. He didn't see any either.

    "Maybe we'll come to some pretty soon," he told his sister.

    But, as they drove on, the trees on either side of the road became thicker. They grew more closely together, and were larger, their leafy tops meeting in an arch overhead, making the road quite dusky. The road, too, instead of being hard and smooth as it had been, was now soft sand, in which Toby could not pull the cart along very fast.

    "Bunny," said Sue, and her voice sounded as though she were a little frightened, "are we lost yet?"

    Bunny did not answer for a moment or two. He looked all around while the Shetland pony plodded slowly on. Then he called:


    "What are you stopping for?" asked Sue.

    "I guess this is the wrong road again," Bunny answered. "We didn't go right, even after we came back from the brook."

    "Oh, Bunny! are we really lost?" cried Sue.

    "I guess so," her brother answered. "But we're not lost very much. We can easy find our way back again."

    "How?" Sue demanded.

    "We can turn around."

    "But we turned around once before, Bunny, and we didn't get where we wanted to! I want to go home!"

    "Well, I don't guess this way is home," said the little boy. "We never came through so much sand before. Toby can hardly pull us. We've got to go back, out of this."

    "But where shall we go after this?" Sue wanted to know. "Oh, dear! I wish we'd let Splash come along!"

    "Why?" asked Bunny.

    "'Cause then he could show us the way home. Dogs don't ever get lost, Bunny Brown!" and Sue seemed ready to cry.

    "Maybe ponies don't, either," said Bunny, feeling he must do something to make his sister feel better. "I guess Toby can find his way home as easy as Splash could."

    "Oh, do you really think so?" asked Sue, smiling again, and seeming much happier. "Can Toby find the way home, Bunny?"

    "I guess so. Anyhow, I'm going to let him try. But first I'll turn around so we can get out of this sand."

    Toby seemed glad enough of this, for it was hard pulling with the soft ground clinging to the wheels. In a little while the cart was back on the hard soil again, though still the trees met overhead in an arch and made the place dark.

    "Do you know where we are, Bunny?" asked Sue.

    Her brother shook his head.

    "Do you know where our home is?" Sue went on.

    Once more Bunny shook his head.

    "Oh, dear!" sighed Sue.

    "But I guess Toby knows," said the little boy. "I'm going to let him take us home. Go on home, Toby!" he called, and let the reins lie loosely on the pony's back.

    The Shetland looked around at the children in the cart, which he could easily do, having no "blinders" on the sides of his head. Blinders are almost as bad as check-reins for horses and ponies. Never have them on your pets, for a pony needs to see on the sides of him as well as in front.

    Toby looked back at the cart and then he gave a little whinny.

    "Oh, Bunny!" cried Sue, "what do you s'pose he looked at us that way for?"

    "I guess he wanted to see if we had fallen out," said Bunny. "But we haven't. We're here, Toby!" he called to the pony. "Now take us home, please!"

    Whether Toby understood or not, I cannot say. Probably the little pony was hungry, and he wanted to go on to his stable where the oats and hay were. Crackers and sugar might be all right, he may have thought, but he needed hay and oats for a real meal.

    And perhaps he really did know the way home. Lots of horses do, they say, even on a dark night, so why shouldn't a pony in the day time? That's what Bunny and Sue thought.

    Bunny never touched the reins. He let them rest loosely on Toby's back, and on the pony went. When he came to a hard, level road Toby began to trot. And pretty soon Sue cried:

    "Oh, Bunny! Toby has found the way out! We're not lost any more!"

    "How do you know?" asked Bunny.

    "'Cause I can see Miss Hollyhock's house, and we both know the road home from there! See it!" and Sue pointed down the road.
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