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IN THE WOODS
Mr. Brown was quite surprised when he heard his little boy Bunny say he knew how to earn money for the Red Cross.
"How are you going to do it, Bunny?" he asked.
"With Toby," Bunny answered. "And Sue can help me."
"What do you mean, Bunny?" asked the little girl. "I've some money in my bank for the Red Cross, but that's all I have."
"No, you mustn't take that money," her father said. "Let us hear what Bunny has to say. How can you and Sue earn money with your Shetland pony?" he asked.
"We can give rides," answered Bunny. "Don't you 'member once, in a park, we saw a boy giving children rides in his goat wagon, and he charged five cents a ride."
"Yes, I 'member that," Sue said.
"Well, that's how we can make money for the Red Cross," went on Bunny. "Lots of times the boys and girls around here ask us for rides, and once Georgie Watson said he'd give me a penny for a ride."
"Did you give it to him?" asked Mrs. Brown.
"Yes, I did," answered Bunny.
"Did you take the penny?" Mr. Brown inquired, smiling at his little boy.
"No," Bunny said. "I had a penny then, and I didn't need another, 'cause I want only one lollypop at a time. So I gave Georgie a ride for nothing. But if we want to make money for the Red Cross I wouldn't give anybody a ride for nothing. Me and Sue could drive Toby up and down, and let boys and girls get in the cart and make 'em give us five cents apiece!"
"And maybe ten cents!" added Sue.
"Yes, and maybe ten cents if we gave 'em a longer ride," Bunny agreed. "Couldn't we do that, Daddy, and make money for the Red Cross?"
Mr. Brown thought for a moment. Then he said:
"Well, yes, I think maybe you could. I have seen goat wagons in parks, and the children paid five and ten cents to ride in them. There are plenty of children in Bellemere, and I don't see why they wouldn't pay money, too, for pony rides. Are you really going to do it, Bunny?"
"Yep!" answered the little boy. "Me and Sue--we'll give pony rides to the children and save the money for the Red Cross!"
"I think that's just splendid, Daddy!" said Mother Brown. "It's good of Bunny to think of it, isn't it? But don't you think you had better say 'Sue and I,' Bunny?" and she smiled at the excited little boy.
"Indeed, it is a good idea," said Mr. Brown. "I'll tell the lady who asked me what my children were going to do to raise money, that they're going to give pony rides, and all the boys and girls in Bellemere will hear about it and you'll have lots of patrons."
"When does it start?" asked Mrs. Brown. "I mean--when do the children have to begin earning money for the Red Cross?"
"Oh, they can start to-morrow, if they like," answered Mr. Brown.
"Then we will!" cried Bunny.
"And can I drive part of the time?" asked Sue.
"We'll take turns," promised Bunny, who was hardly ever selfish with his sister.
The next day, when they had had their breakfast, Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue started out with Toby, their Shetland pony, to give rides to boys and girls to earn money for the Red Cross.
They had not ridden far down the street, sitting in the cart, the upper part of which was woven like a basket, when they met Georgie Watson. He was on his way to the store, and he called, as he often did:
"Give us a ride, Bunny?"
"Whoa!" said Bunny to the pony, and Toby stopped.
Georgie was just going to get in the pony cart when Bunny asked:
"Have you got five cents, Georgie?"
"Five cents? No, I've got two cents. That's all a yeast cake is--two cents--and I'm going to the store to get my mother a yeast cake."
"Well, you must pay five cents for a ride in our pony cart to-day," said Bunny. "It's five cents a ride."
"Five cents a ride!" cried Georgie in surprise. "Five cents!"
"Yes," said Bunny. "It's for the Red Cross you know. Sue and I are earning money that way."
"Oh, yes! For the Red Cross!" cried Georgie.
"I see. I'm going to earn some money for that, too. But I'm going to sell peanuts."
"That's a good way," said Bunny.
"We'll ask our mother to buy some peanuts of you," added Sue.
"Will you?" cried Georgie. "Then I'll ask my mother to give me five cents for a ride in your pony cart."
"That's dandy!" cried Bunny. "Say," he went on, "you get in our cart now, Georgie, and we'll take you down to the store to get the yeast cake."
"But I haven't five cents to pay you for the ride," Georgie replied. "I've only two cents for the yeast cake."
"That's all right," said Bunny, as he had heard his father say at the dock, when some man, wanting fish, did not have the money just ready to pay for it. "Get in, Georgie. It's all right. We'll drive you down to the store, and then we'll take you home. And you can ask your mother for five cents to pay for a Red Cross ride."
"I'll do it!" Georgie exclaimed.
Into the pony cart he scrambled, and sat down beside Bunny. They drove toward the store to get a yeast cake, and on the way they met Charlie Star.
"Hi!" cried Charlie. "Give us a ride, will you, Bunny?"
"Whoa!" said Bunny, and Toby came to a stop, switching his long tail.
"You want a ride?" Bunny asked of Charlie.
"Sure I do," answered Charlie.
"Got five cents?" Bunny went on.
"Five cents? No. What for?"
"To pay for the ride. It's for the Red Cross," went on Bunny.
Charlie shook his head.
"I've only a penny," he said, "and I was going to buy some gum with that."
"Well, give me the penny," said Bunny, "and then you can go up to your house and get four pennies more from your mother. Me and Sue--Sue and I--we're earning Red Cross money with our pony."
"Did Georgie pay you?" Charlie wanted to know.
"He's going to," said Bunny. "But he's only got two cents now for a yeast cake."
"A yeast cake!" cried Charlie. "You can't eat a yeast cake!"
"It's for my mother," explained Georgie. "I'm going home and get five cents for a Red Cross ride."
"All right. I won't get any gum," decided Charlie. "I'll ride up home and get four cents for a ride myself."
"Get in," said Bunny, and now, as the pony cart had four children in it, and was comfortably filled (though it would hold six) Bunny made Toby trot, and along they went to the store to get a yeast cake, not stopping again, though several other children begged for rides.
"You can ride after us!" said Charlie. "This is for the Red Cross, and it costs five cents."
Some of the other boys and girls said they'd try to get the money later and have a ride in the pony cart.
Toby stopped in front of the store, and Georgie got out and went in after his yeast cake. Then he came back and Bunny and Sue drove Toby, their Shetland pony, on again until they came to the house where Georgie lived.
"Oh, Ma!" he cried, running into the kitchen. "Here's your yeast cake, and I want five cents for a Red Cross ride!"
"A Red Cross ride?" exclaimed Mrs. Watson. "Is that anything like a hot cross bun?"
"Oh, no'm! It's a ride in a pony cart--Bunny Brown's pony Toby. And Charlie Star has a penny and he's got to get four cents more, and please hurry up and give me five cents--it's for the Red Cross!"
Mrs. Watson looked out of the window and saw the pony cart in front, with Bunny and his Sister Sue and Charlie Star in it. Then she began to understand, for she, too, was helping raise money for Red Cross work.
"Here's your five cents," she said to her little boy. "And wait a minute!" she cried, as Georgie was about to rush away.
"Wait? What for?" he asked.
"You can take your sister Mary with you. She's little and won't crowd you any, and that will be five cents more for Bunny's Red Cross. Come on, Mary, have a pony ride!" called Mrs. Watson, and down came a little girl, somewhat younger than Sue.
The time had been when Bunny and George were not such good friends, for George used to play tricks on Bunny and Sue. But he had gotten over that and was now very good, and the children played together and had good times.
Georgie and Mary, each with five cents, ran out to the pony cart. "Is there room for five in it?" asked Mrs. Watson.
"Oh, yes, lots of room," said Bunny.
"I'm glad you came, Mary," said Sue to the other little girl.
"Say, we'll make a lot of money!" went on Bunny, as he took the five cent pieces Georgie and Mary handed him. "When I get your five, cents, Charlie, I'll have fifteen."
"Here's my one cent now," said Charlie. "I'll get four more when I go home."
Then they drove to Mr. Star's house, and Mrs. Star gave her little boy a five-cent piece, so he got his penny back from Bunny, and could buy the gum after all.
"Now, I'll give you a long ride," said Bunny to his passengers, and he did, up and down the village streets. Several other boys and girls saw what was going on, and said they'd get five-cent pieces and have rides, too. And they did, later that day and the next day.
"We'll earn a lot of money for the Red Cross!" cried Bunny.
"It's lots of fun," said Sue.
The two Brown children with their Shetland pony took in almost a dollar during the week, and they gave it to their father to keep for the Red Cross. The boys and girls had two weeks in which to make money to help the soldiers, and they must really earn the money--not beg it from their fathers, mothers, uncles or aunts.
Some sold cakes of chocolate, and others peanuts, while some of the larger boys ran errands or did other work to earn dimes and nickles.
One day Bunny and Sue got in the pony cart and started off.
"Where are you going?" asked their mother.
"To get more Red Cross money," Bunny answered.
"That will be nice," said Mrs. Brown.
Instead of going along the main street, as he had done before when he gave the children rides for money, Bunny soon turned Toby down a side street, that led to the woods.
"Where are we going?" asked Sue.
"I'll show you," Bunny answered.
"But this is the woods," went on Sue, when, in a little while, she saw trees all about them. "We're in the woods, Bunny."
"Yes, I know we are," he said. "And we're going to get some money here for the Red Cross."
Sue thought for a moment. Then she exclaimed:
"Oh, Bunny! You're not going to sell Toby to the gypsies, are you, and give that money to the Red Cross?"
"Course not!" exclaimed Bunny. "You just wait and see!"
I wonder what Bunny Brown was going to do?
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