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"Well, well! What's all this?" cried Bunker Blue, as he saw Bunny and Sue sitting in the pony cart, being driven along the dock by Mr. Tallman. "What's all this?"
"We got a pony!" said Sue.
"And he's all ours! To keep for ever! Daddy bought him from Mr. Tallman," added Bunny.
"And daddy says you're going to show us how to drive him and hitch him up and all like that," went on Sue.
"Oh, I'll like that!" exclaimed Bunker Blue. He had been painting a small boat, but he wiped the paint off his hands and came over to pat Toby.
"Isn't he nice?" asked Bunny.
"Very nice, indeed," answered Bunker Blue. "Well, I think taking you children for a ride on such a fine day as this will be more fun than painting boats. Am I to start off with the children at once?" he asked Mr. Tallman.
"No, I believe Mr. Brown wants you to wait for him," answered the man who had sold the pony. "I'll get out now, as I need to hurry back home. I'll leave the pony with you."
"I'll take good care of him, and Bunny and Sue also," promised Bunker Blue.
"Good-bye!" called Mr. Tallman for the second time, and now he really started away by himself. Once more Toby seemed to bow his head up and down.
"Good-bye!" answered Bunny.
"I hope you find your red-and-yellow box," added Sue.
"And all your money in it," went on her brother.
"Oh, it wasn't exactly money in the box that was taken from me," said Mr. Tallman. "The papers could be sold for money if I had them. But they're gone!"
"If we find them, when we're riding around with Toby, we'll save 'em for you," promised Bunny.
"All right," answered Mr. Tallman with a laugh. "I hope you do find them, but I'm afraid you won't."
While Bunker went to wash himself, in readiness for taking Bunny and Sue for a ride, having first tied the pony's strap to a post on the dock, Bunny and Sue sat in the basket cart, looking at their new pet.
"Oh, look! There's a fly on him!" suddenly exclaimed Sue. "Shall I shoo it off with my handkerchief, Bunny?"
"Maybe Toby can knock it off himself," replied Bunny.
And, surely enough, while the children watched, Toby gave his tail a flicker and a twist, and the fly, which had been biting him, flew away.
"Isn't he cute?" cried Sue.
"Yes," said Bunny. "And his tail is so long that he can switch flies 'most anywhere on him."
"His tail won't reach up to his front legs," said Sue, leaning over the edge of the cart to look and make sure. "How does he get the flies off his front legs, Bunny, when he can't reach 'em with his tail?"
"I don't know," answered the little boy.
"Let's get out and watch," suggested Sue. "Daddy isn't here yet, and Bunker can't take us for a ride till daddy comes. Let's get out and see how Toby makes the flies get off his front legs."
"Oh, yes, let's!" agreed Bunny.
Out of the basket cart climbed the two children. They walked around where they could stand in front of Toby, and stooped down so they could see his legs better.
"There's a fly!" suddenly exclaimed Bunny.
"Where?" asked Sue eagerly.
"Right on his--his elbow," Bunny answered, pointing to the middle part of Toby's leg, where it bent. "There's a fly right on his elbow."
"'Tisn't his elbow," said Sue. "That isn't!"
"What is it then?"
"It's his--his knee!"
"Well, it would be his elbow if his front legs were arms," insisted Bunny. "And, anyhow, there's a fly!"
Surely enough, there was a fly on Toby's leg, and it was out of reach of his tail, long as that was.
"How'll he get the fly off?" asked Sue.
"Let's watch and see," suggested Bunny.
They did not have long to wait. Pretty soon the fly began to bite, as flies always do when they get on horses or ponies. But the fly did not bite very long, for Toby stretched his leg out a little way in front of him, where he could reach it more easily, and then he leaned down his head and with his nose drove the fly away.
"Oh, look!" cried Bunny. "He's scratching the itchy place with his nose!"
And that is just what Toby was doing. When he found that his tail would not reach the biting fly he drove the insect off another way.
Then, while Bunny and Sue still watched, a third fly, or perhaps it was the same one, lighted on Toby's front leg in a place where he could neither reach it with his tail nor with his nose.
"What'll he do now?" asked Sue.
"Let's watch and see," said her brother.
Again they did not have long to wait. When Toby found that the fly was biting him, he gave a queer wiggle to his skin, and the fly flew off.
"Oh, he shivered him away!" cried Sue. "He just shivered him away!"
And really it did seem as if Toby had done that very thing. Bunny and Sue were laughing at the queer way their pony had got rid of the fly when they saw their father coming along the dock.
"Well, youngsters!" called Mr. Brown, "you haven't sold Toby yet, I see!"
"And we're not going to!" cried Bunny. "We're never going to sell Toby!"
"All right," said Mr. Brown, laughing. "But where is Bunker?"
"He's washing so he can take us for a ride," answered Sue. "And, Daddy! you ought to see Toby chase flies!"
"Does he run after them?" asked her father, smiling.
"Oh, Daddy! Of course not!" cried Sue. "But when a fly gets on the back part of our pony he switches his tail and knocks him off."
"And when a fly gets on his front leg he scratches it off with his nose."
"What?" cried Mr. Brown. "Does Toby scratch his leg off?"
"No! The fly!" said Bunny, laughing at the funny way his father spoke. "He brushes the fly off, and then he scratches the itchy place with his nose."
"My! he's quite a pony!"
"And when a fly gets on the back part of his front leg, how do you s'pose he gets the fly off then, Daddy?" asked Sue.
"Does he ask you to drive the fly off for him?" Mr. Brown wanted to know.
"Oh, Daddy! Course not! Toby can't talk!" Sue said. "But he just shivers his leg and the fly goes right away! What do you think of that?"
"Well, I think your pony is smarter than we knew," said Mr. Brown. "Think of shivering off flies!"
"And sometimes he stamps his feet and shakes them off," added Bunny. "That's another way. How many does that make, Sue? How many ways can Toby drive off the flies?"
Bunny and Sue counted up on their fingers, Bunny saying:
"He can switch 'em off with his tail, he can scratch 'em off with his nose, he can stamp 'em off and he can shiver 'em off!"
"Four ways," said Sue, who was keeping track on her chubby fingers.
"My! Toby is a regular trick pony!" said Mr. Brown. "Well, here comes Bunker, and I guess he's ready to take you for a ride."
The boat and fish boy had cleaned off some of the paint that had splattered on him, and now, with freshly washed hands and face, and with his hair nicely combed, he was ready to take charge of Bunny and Sue.
"Please, could we drive a little?" asked Bunny.
"I want to hold the reins," added Sue.
"I guess it will be all right," said Mr. Brown. "When you get on a quiet road, Bunker, show the children how to drive, and let them take the reins."
"Oh, won't that be fun!" cried Sue.
"Lots of fun!" echoed Bunny.
Bunker had to go to the end of the dock to tell another boy something about a boat that had been taken out by a fishing party, and Bunny and Sue waited for their friend to come back before getting into the pony cart.
"'Member how we used to go out in the boats, Bunny?" asked Sue.
"Course I 'member. But I don't want to go out now. I'd rather go for a ride with our Shetland pony."
"Oh, so'd I," went on Sue. "I was just 'memberin'. Maybe some day we could take Toby for a ride on a boat."
"Maybe," agreed Bunny. "He wouldn't have to jiggle any flies off his skin then, if we had him in a boat."
"But maybe he wouldn't like a boat," went on Sue. "He might kick and fall overboard. Then we wouldn't have any pony."
"That's so," Bunny agreed. "Lessen we fished him out."
"We couldn't!" said Sue. "I don't guess we'd better take him out in a boat."
"Maybe not," agreed Bunny. "Course, maybe daddy or Bunker Blue could fish him out, but I guess we won't take him. I wish Bunker would hurry up and come back so we could go for a ride. Let's go and see where he is."
The two children, leaving Toby hitched to the cart and tied by a strap to a post, walked a little way down to look for Bunker. They saw him coming, and the fish and boat boy waved his hand to the children.
"I'll be with you in a minute," he said. "Tommy lost an oar off the dock and I had to get it for him."
As Bunny and Sue turned to walk back toward Toby they saw a funny sight. The little Shetland pony started to come toward them, and in his mouth was a white rag.
"Oh, look what Toby has!" cried Bunny. "It's a piece of paper!"
"No, it's my handkerchief!" exclaimed Sue, "I dropped it out of my pocket," and, on looking, surely enough, her handkerchief was gone.
"And Toby picked it up and he's bringing it to you!" said Bunny. "Oh, Sue! he's just like Splash, isn't he? He brings things back to you!"
The little pony walked as far toward the children as the strap would let him, and there he stood, holding Sue's handkerchief in his teeth.
"It's just like he was handing it to me!" cried Sue.
"I wonder if he did it on purpose," said Bunny.
"We can find out," Sue said. "I could drop it again, and we could see if he picked it up. Shall we do it, Bunny?"
"Oh, yes, let's!" said the little boy.
"What is it you're going to do?" Bunker Blue asked, as he came along just then. "I thought you were going for a ride with me."
"So we are," answered Bunny. "But look! Toby picked up Sue's handkerchief that she dropped, and he started to bring it over to her, but he couldn't go any farther on account of the strap. Do you s'pose he did it on purpose, Bunker?"
The fish boy scratched his head.
"I shouldn't wonder but what he did," he answered. "Didn't Mr. Tallman say Toby was once in a circus?"
"Yes," answered Bunny and Sue together.
"That settles it then!" cried Bunker. "Toby is a trick pony, and picking up handkerchiefs is one of his tricks."
"Honest?" asked Bunny.
"I think so," replied Bunker. "But it's easy to tell for sure."
"How?" asked Sue.
"We'll just loosen the strap, and you can drop your handkerchief again, Sue, and see if he picks it up. Here, Toby," went on Bunker, "I'll just take that handkerchief now, thank you, and we'll see if you can do the trick again--if it is a trick. I'll loosen your strap."
And as he was doing this Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue were wondering what Toby would do. Would he pick up the handkerchief again?
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