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FREDDIE AND THE PUMPKIN
The cornfield where the Bobbsey twins and Harry had gone to work and play was a long distance from the farmhouse. Nan knew this, and that is why she was frightened when Freddie said that Flossie had "gone home."
"Maybe she could find her way," said Bert.
"She's a smart little girl," added Harry. "I wish I had a sister like her."
"How long ago did she leave you, Freddie?" asked Nan.
"Oh, 'bout maybe three four hours," answered the little boy.
"We haven't been here an hour!" exclaimed Bert.
"Well, maybe it was minutes, then," admitted Freddie. He did not have a very good idea of time, you see.
"If it was only a little while ago she can't have gone very far," said Nan. "Flossie! Flossie!" she called. "Where are you?"
But there was no answer. Bert and Harry then took up the call, as they had louder voices than had Nan, and even Freddie added his shout, but it was of no use. Flossie did not answer.
"I guess she's too far away," Harry stated.
"We'd better hurry after her!" said Bert.
"Oh, come on!" cried Nan, half sobbing. "Mother told me to keep good watch over her, and I didn't! I shouldn't have played hide and go seek!"
"It wasn't your fault!" her brother consoled her. "It was as much mine as yours. But we'll find Flossie all right. I guess she's home by this time."
But when they had hurried to the farmhouse there was no sign of the little girl. Mrs. Bobbsey became much frightened when told what had happened.
"Is there any water she could fall into?" she asked Aunt Sarah.
"No, not even a duck pond near the cornfield. She's all right, I'm sure," said the other Mrs. Bobbsey. "We'll go back to the cornfield and find her hiding, I feel certain."
"But she wasn't playing hide and go seek," declared Nan. "She wouldn't hide from us."
"You can't tell," said Aunt Sarah, so cheerfully that the others took heart. Back they hurried to the field where the big shocks of dried cornstalks stood. The two Mr. Bobbseys also went along to help in the search.
"Now show us where you and Flossie were playing at shell the corn," said the mother of the twins.
"Right here," Freddie stated, and he pointed to some of the yellow kernels on the ground.
The father of the Bobbsey twins stooped down and looked at the soft earth. He soon found what he was looking for--the tiny footprints of his little girl.
"She went over this way," he said. "Come on, we'll pretend we are hunters on the trail. We'll soon find Flossie."
"Oh, this is fun!" laughed Freddie. But it was not exactly fun for the others. Even Nan and Bert were worried.
The footprints of Flossie wandered off among the shocks of corn, and in a few moments they stopped at a place where two or three shocks had been piled together, making a large heap.
And then, before any one could say a word, from behind this pile of cornstalks a sleepy voice called, asking:
"Where are you, Freddie?"
"There she is! That's Flossie!" cried Bert.
He and his mother made a dash around the big shock and there, lying with her little cloak wrapped around her, was Flossie, nestled amid the corn husks, curled up and just awakening from a nap.
"Oh, Flossie! why did you run away?" asked her mother, clasping her little daughter in her arms.
"I didn't runned away, I walked!" declared Flossie, rubbing her eyes. "What you all lookin' at me for?" she wanted to know. "Was I a bad girl, Mother?"
"Not exactly bad, but you frightened us," her father said. "However, we're glad we have found you."
Flossie had just wandered away by herself, unnoticed by Bert, Nan, or Harry, and, growing tired and sleepy, had nestled in the corn to take a nap. Freddie had been so busy shelling corn that he did not notice which way his little sister went.
But everything was all right now, and the happy families went back to the farmhouse, the smaller twins being allowed to feed some of their corn to the chickens.
True to his promise, Mr. Richard Bobbsey took his children to the Bolton County Fair the next day, his wife going with him this time. Of course Harry also went along, for it would not have been polite to leave him at home. As for Uncle Daniel and Aunt Sarah, they said they would go to the fair another day.
"Will you ask Mr. Blipper about your coat and the missing robe?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey, on the way to the fair grounds.
"Yes. And I'll ask him about Bob Guess, also," her husband answered. "There is something strange about that boy."
The Bobbsey twins and Harry were talking among themselves, while Nan also looked after Flossie and Freddie.
"They're going to put the big balloon up to-day," said Harry.
"They are if the wind doesn't blow too much," Bert agreed. "And I'm afraid it's blowing too hard. Do you think the wind is blowing too much for them to send the big balloon up?" he anxiously asked his father.
Mr. Bobbsey looked at the sky.
"To my mind," he said, "I think there is going to be a storm. I'm afraid the wind will keep on blowing harder all day. Of course I don't know how strong a wind it takes to keep a balloon man from going up, but I should say there would be danger in going up to-day."
"Oh, dear!" exclaimed Bert. "I wanted to see the man go up in the balloon!"
"So did I!" added Harry. "But maybe the wind will die out."
However, it did not, and it was still blowing rather hard when the fair grounds were reached.
"Never mind," said Mrs. Bobbsey, when she saw how disappointed Harry and Bert seemed to feel. "If the balloon doesn't go up to-day it will to-morrow, and we can come again. There are plenty of other things to look at besides balloons."
"I'd like to go to see some of the big vegetables and the fruits, and look at the patchwork quilts and the lace," said Nan.
"Very well," agreed her father. "We'll go there first, and maybe by that time the wind will have died down. But I hardly think so."
Truth to tell Bert and Harry did not care much for the big pumpkins, squashes, and other vegetables. And they hardly looked at the fancy work in which Nan and her mother took an interest.
"Oh, wouldn't this make a dandy jack-o'-lantern!" cried Freddie, as he crawled under a railing around a platform, on which were many large vegetables. "Look what a big pumpkin!"
"Freddie, you mustn't go in there," called his mother. "Come out. Don't touch that big pumpkin."
But it was too late! Freddie was already on the wooden platform, and he was rolling the pumpkin. It was almost perfectly round, and the little fellow could easily move it.
"Come away!" called Mr. Bobbsey, adding his voice to that of his wife.
"I want to see if I can lift this pumpkin!" exclaimed Freddie.
And then, suddenly, the big pumpkin rolled off the platform, toward the back of the tent.
"Get it, Freddie! Get it!" cried Bert, for he knew the pumpkin was on exhibition in order to take a prize, if possible. It would be too bad if anything happened to it.
Freddie made a dive for the big, yellow vegetable, but, as it happened, the tent stood on the top of a hill. And as the pumpkin rolled off the platform it slipped under the tent and began going down the grassy hill outside.
"Whoa! Whoa!" called Freddie, as he had called to the race horse that had walked out on the track with him. "Whoa, pumpkin!"
But the pumpkin kept on rolling! The little chap made a dive for it, missed it by a few inches, and then, falling over, he, too, rolled out under the tent and down the hill.
Freddie was not quite so round as a pumpkin, but he managed to get a good start, and rolled over and over. And as his father, mother, and the others hurried out of the tent they saw Freddie and the big yellow vegetable tumbling down the hill together.
"Oh, look! Look!" cried a little girl. "A boy and a pumpkin are having a race! Oh, look! How funny! A boy and a pumpkin are having a race!"
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