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LOOKING FOR A PONY
Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue hardly knew what to make of the black-bearded man who seemed so angry about something. He jumped from his wagon and went up close to the Shetland pony. The little animal was again harnessed to the basket cart.
"Give him to me!" exclaimed the black-whiskered man.
"No, I will not!" answered Mr. Tallman. "He is not your pony, and you have no right to him."
"Well, if he isn't mine he soon will be!" said the dark man. "You owe me a lot of money, and if you don't pay pretty soon I'll take that pony away from you and sell him. Then I'll get the money in that way."
"Perhaps you will," said the pony's owner. "But before you do that I may be able to pay you what I owe you, and then I can keep my little Toby."
"Why don't you pay me now?" asked the black-whiskered man, whose name was Mr. Tang.
"Because I haven't the money," answered Mr. Tallman.
"Then give me the pony! Come, now!" went on Mr. Tang, for such was his name. "If you will let me have your trick pony I'll not bother you about the money you owe me. I'll let you have a long while in which to pay me the last part of it. Give me that pony!" and he seemed about to take Toby away.
"No, I'll not give him up!" said Mr. Tallman. "I'll try to get your money in some other way. I never can part with Toby; especially to you."
"Why won't you let me have him?" asked Tang.
"Because I'm afraid you wouldn't be kind to him."
"I'd sell him, that's what I'd do!" said the dark man. "I'd sell him, after you gave him to me, and in that way I'd get back a part of the money you owe me. I'd sell Toby, that's what I'd do!"
"That's what I'd be afraid of," went on Mr. Tallman. "I'd be afraid you'd sell him back to the cruel men in the circus. No, sir! I'll not let you have my pony. I'll get your money in some other way, and pay you back."
"Well, see that you do!" growled Mr. Tang. "If you don't pay me soon, I'll come and take Toby away from you! That's what I'll do!"
With that he got back in his wagon, and, with a last look at Toby, the Shetland pony, the unpleasant man drove away.
"Oh," said Bunny in a low voice, "I'm glad that man didn't buy the pony."
"So am I," said Sue.
"And I'm glad I didn't give him up," added Mr. Tallman. "I'd never feel happy if I knew he had my pet pony."
"He does not look like a kind man," said Mr. Brown, "and I saw him strike his horse with the whip. Still he might not hurt the pony."
"Well, if he didn't hurt him he might send him back to the circus, where Toby would be beaten," remarked Mr. Tallman. "Of course, I know that in most circuses the ponies and other animals are kindly treated. But Toby was not treated well in the circus where he was, and he'd never like to go back there. That's why I want to keep him."
"If you sold him to me, for my children, we would treat him kindly," said Mr. Brown.
"Yes, I know that," said Mr. Tallman. "But I don't want to sell Toby--least of all to Mr. Tang."
"Do you owe him money?" asked Mr. Brown.
"Yes. More, I fear, than I can ever pay. And if I don't pay him he may come and take Toby away from me."
"That would be too bad," said Mr. Brown, and Bunny and his sister thought the same thing.
"Yes, it would," agreed Mr. Tallman. "I was on my way, just now, to see a friend, to get him to lend me some money to pay Mr. Tang," went on the pony's owner. "I'll go there now."
"And if he can't help you, perhaps I can," called Mr. Brown to Mr. Tallman, as the latter drove away in the basket cart. "Whatever happens, if you decide to sell Toby, come to me first."
"I will," Mr. Tallman promised, and then he drove along on another road, where the little horse would not see the big auto and be frightened again.
"Oh, dear!" sighed Sue, as she and Bunny walked back to the ark. "I did love that pony so!"
"I did, too," added Bunny. "Don't you s'pose we can ever get him, Daddy?"
"Well, I don't know," answered Mr. Brown. "If we can't buy that Toby pony, though, perhaps we can find another."
"Really?" cried Sue.
"Will you truly buy us another?" asked Bunny.
"If we can find one as nice as Toby," promised Mr. Brown.
Bunny and Sue sighed again.
"What's the matter?" asked their father.
"There won't ever be another pony as nice as Toby," said the little girl.
"Never!" added Bunny.
"But he ran away," said Mr. Brown, not wishing the two children to fall too deeply in love with a pet they could not have. "I might find another pony that wouldn't do such a thing."
"He didn't run away very much," stated Bunny. "And that was only 'cause he thought our auto was a circus wagon. We could keep the auto in the barn, and then Toby wouldn't be skeered."
"Yes, we might do that," said Mr. Brown, smiling. "But I'm afraid Toby isn't for sale. We'll have to look for another pony."
"And will you?" asked Sue.
"Yes; I'll ask about one when we get to East Milford," her father promised. "There aren't any Shetland ponies for sale in Bellemere; that I know. Maybe we can find one in East Milford."
Bunny, his sister, his father and Bunker Blue walked back to the ark. Getting in, once more they set off, and then, without anything much happening, they rode to East Milford. The big auto was left at a garage to be fixed, and then Mr. Brown said:
"Well, now we will go and get something to eat, for it is dinner time, and too far to wait until we get back home."
"And after that shall we go and look for a pony?" asked Bunny.
"Yes, after that I'll see if I can find a Shetland pony for you," his father promised.
They ate their lunch in a restaurant, and before coming out Sue said:
"Ask the man if he knows where we can get a pony, Daddy!"
"What man, Sue?"
"The man in the restaurant. The man that brought us such nice things to eat."
"Oh, you mean the waiter! Well, I will," said Mr. Brown with a smile.
And, as he paid the bill, the fish dealer did ask the waiter if he knew whether any one in the town of East Milford had ponies for sale.
"Well, there's a livery stable over in the next street," was the answer. "They might have some ponies."
"Oh, let's go and see!" begged Bunny.
"Let's!" said Sue, in a sort of chorus.
As Bunker Blue was needed back on the fish dock, he did not go with Bunny, Sue and their father to the stable. Instead he took a train back to Bellemere, promising to telephone to Mrs. Brown so that she would know Bunny and his sister were with their father, and were all right.
"A Shetland pony, is it?" repeated the livery stable keeper, when Mr. Brown had told what he wanted--a pet for his children. "No, I'm sorry, but I haven't any. In fact, I don't believe you'll find one in town."
"Do you know where I could find one?" asked Mr. Brown.
The livery stable keeper thought for a few seconds, and then he said:
"Well, there's a farmer, living in the country about ten miles from here, who used to own one or two Shetland ponies which his children drove. They are getting too big for ponies now. Maybe that farmer would have some Shetlands for sale."
"Oh, Daddy! let's go and see!" begged Bunny.
"Very well, we'll try," replied Mr. Brown.
They hired an automobile in the village, and drove out to Cardiff, where the livery man said the farmer, who might have some ponies for sale, lived.
But alas for the hopes of Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue! When they reached the farm the man said:
"Well, now, I'm sorry! but I sold both my ponies last week! If I'd known you wanted them for your children, Mr. Brown, I might have kept them. But they're gone."
"Oh, dear!" sighed Bunny. "I don't believe we'll ever get a Shetland pony!"
But you just wait and see what happens.
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