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Chapter 19


LEAVE me alone! I've never done you any harm, so leave me alone!" whimpered Bobby Coon, as he climbed the tall tree with Buster Bear scrambling up after him and growling all the way. For a minute or two Bobby wished he had stayed on the ground. You see, he had forgotten that Buster Bear could climb quite as well as he could. Now he was in the tree, and Buster was below him, and it looked very much as if Bobby had trapped himself.

Suddenly he remembered that Buster couldn't go out on little branches as he could, because Buster was too big and heavy. Bobby looked about him, and fear made his eyes quick to see. One branch reached over almost to the top of a slender young tree growing near. If he could get over into that tree, perhaps he could get back to the ground and run for his life. Anyway, it was worth trying. Out along the branch went Bobby as far as he could, and then, with his heart in his mouth, he jumped for the slender young tree. It was a good jump, and he caught hold of a branch of the young tree. Then he turned to see what Buster Bear was about.

Now there is nothing slow about Buster Bear's wits. The moment he saw Bobby run out on that branch, he knew just what was in Bobby's mind.

"Huh!" grunted Buster to himself. "If he thinks he can catch me napping with such an old trick as that, he will have to think again."

He waited only long enough to make sure that Bobby would jump for the other tree, and then Buster went down faster than he had come up. You see, he just dropped for the last half of the distance. So by the time Bobby Coon was half-way down the slender tree, Buster Bear was at the foot of it, waiting for him. Poor Bobby! At first he thought he was no better off than before. There was no other tree he could reach from this one. Now all Buster would have to do would be to climb up and get him. Bobby was about ready to give up in despair.

But Buster didn't climb up. He didn't even try. He just stood there at the foot of the tree and growled. Every growl made at shiver of fright run all over Bobby. Why didn't Buster hurry up and get him? All in a flash it came to Bobby why Buster didn't. He didn't because he couldn't! That was the reason. He couldn't climb that tree because it was too small for him to climb. He is such a big fellow that he has to have a good-sized tree to get his arms around. Once more Bobby began to hope.

But Buster Bear isn't one to give up easily. No, Sir, Buster doesn't give up until he has tried all the things he can think of. Now he stood up and took hold of that tree almost as if he were going to try to climb it. At first Bobby thought he was, but in a minute he found out his mistake. Buster began to shake that tree. My, my, my, how he did shake it! He was trying to shake Bobby Coon down.

The very first shake caught Bobby by surprise, and he very nearly lost his hold. Then he saw what Buster was up to, and he held on for dear life. He held on with arms and legs and teeth. Back and forth swung that tree and Bobby with it. It was worse, very much worse, than the hardest wind Bobby ever had been out in. But he grimly held on with claws and teeth, and over and over he said to himself: "I won't let go. I won't let go. I won't let go." And he didn't.

Thornton W. Burgess

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