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"Give me another push like that one!" Johnnie Green shouted from the swing.
Little did he dream that Snowball was rushing towards him from behind, rushing with head lowered in his best butting style.
Of course when the boy Red slipped out of the way there was only one thing that could happen. A moment after Johnnie shouted, Snowball struck the swing seat.
Crash! Bang! Split! A terrible cry from Johnnie Green! And a second or two later a dull thud!
The crash, bang and split came when Snowball's head met the swing seat. The thud followed when Johnnie hit the ground.
Then all was quiet, except for a low moaning from the spot where Johnnie Green lay.
Red had climbed spryly into a wagon which stood near-by. But he soon saw that he needn't have gone to that trouble. For Snowball plainly had no more butts left in him for the time being. He stood still in a dazed fashion and stared dully about him. The heavy oaken swing seat had been no soft mark to hit, sailing swiftly through the air with eighty pounds of boy upon it.
Red had given one great shout. But now he too was very quiet. He jumped out of the wagon and ran to Johnnie Green, and lifted Johnnie's head.
"Are you hurt, Johnnie?" he asked.
But it was almost a minute before Johnnie Green could speak. It was almost as long as that before he could even breathe. He lay there gasping, with his hands clutched across his stomach. His eyes rolled about in the queerest way. If Red hadn't been frightened he would have laughed in Johnnie's face.
At last Johnnie Green spoke.
"Wh-wh-what happened?" he asked in a halting whisper. "Did the ropes break?"
"No!" Red answered. "The ropes held—though it's a wonder."
"Can't you tell me what happened?" Johnnie begged him. "If it wasn't the ropes, what was it?"
"It was Snowball," said Red. "He butted you."
"I don't believe it," cried Johnnie. "He never butted me in his whole life."
Johnnie Green was sitting up now. And since he didn't seem to be much hurt the boy Red couldn't help grinning.
"Look at that swing seat!" he exclaimed, pointing to the splintered bit of oak board near Johnnie. "You don't think—do you?—that I split that thing with my head?"
And then Johnnie Green just had to believe him. And Johnnie began to get angry, too.
"You must have seen Snowball coming," he growled. "Why didn't you warn me?"
Red swallowed a few times as he tried to think of a good answer.
"Well," he replied finally, "I didn't know he was going to butt you, did I? Didn't you just say yourself that he never had butted you?"
To all this Johnnie Green made no answer.
"If you ask me," Red went on more easily, "I should say you were lucky. You were lucky to have that swing seat under you."
Johnnie Green rose slowly to his feet.
"There's something queer about this," he declared.
"That's so," Red agreed. "There is. You'd just asked for another hard push. . . . And you got one—a harder one than I could have given you. . . . So I don't see what you're complaining about."
And then he pretended that he didn't understand why Johnnie Green tried to hit him.
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