Chapter XIV. A Little Party
 

"Sue! Sue! I'm coming! Don't be afraid!"

Bunny cried this as he hurried up to the fence, through the pickets of which he could see the goat walking toward his sister. Sue was screaming now.

But, after he had said this, Bunny did not know exactly what to do. He did not know much about goats, and this was a big one, with long, sharp horns. The goat belonged to an Italian family in town, and the Italian man used to ask those who owned vacant lots to let his goat go into them and eat the grass. That was how the goat happened to be in this lot. If Sue had known the animal was there, she would not have taken the short cut, but would have gone, with her brother, along the street.

"Bunny! Bunny!" Sue cried. "He's coming closer!"

Bunny began to crawl through the hole in the fence as his sister had done. As he did so, he saw, lying on the ground, several stones. He picked up two, one in each fist.

"I won't let him hurt you, Sue!" he called, but, even as he said that, Bunny did not know what he was going to do. "I wish I had a red rag," he thought, "I could wave it at the goat and maybe scare him."

Bunny had heard his mother read from a book how bulls and turkey gobblers do not like red rags waved at them, and Bunny thought a goat was something like a bull. They both had horns, at any rate.

"And if I could wave a red rag at him, maybe it would make him so mad that he'd run away and leave Sue alone," thought Bunny as he found himself in the vacant lot with his sister.

Bunny was not quite right about the red rag, so perhaps it is just as well he did not have one. For bulls run toward a red rag, instead of away from it, and perhaps goats might do the same; though I am not sure about this.

But, at any rate, Bunny had no red rag; and the goat, instead of running away, was coming toward Sue, who was too frightened to move. She just stood there, crying:

"Bunny! Oh, Bunny! Make him go away."

"I will," said her brother. "Go on away, you old goat you!" he cried. "Go away or I'll throw a stone at you. I don't want to hurt you, but I'm not going to let you hook my sister with your horns. Go on away!"

But the goat only bleated, like a sheep, and came on. Seeing Bunny coming toward her made Sue a little braver. At least she found that she could run, so she did, hiding behind her brother.

"I'll take care of you," he said bravely.

On came the goat. Bunny's heart was beating fast. He raised one hand in which he held a stone.

"Look out! I'm going to throw it, you old goat!" cried the little blue- eyed boy.

"Whizz!" went the stone toward the goat. It struck him on the horn, and of course it did not hurt, for a goat's horns have no feeling on the outside, any more than have your finger-nails.

"Bounce!" went the stone off the goat's horn. The animal shook his head, as if he did not like that.

"Go on away!" called Bunny. "I got another stone for you if you don't go!"

But the goat still came on. Bunny threw the second stone, but it did not hit the goat. The little boy was looking around for another stone, when he and Sue heard a loud barking behind them, and up rushed Splash, their big dog.

"Oh, good! Now he'll drive the goat away!" cried Sue. "Oh, Bunny; aren't you glad!"

"That's what I am!" Bunny answered. "Drive him away, Splash!"

Splash rushed, barking, at the goat, and the horned animal at once turned about and ran to the other end of the lot, kicking up his heels. Splash kept on after him, barking, but not trying to bite, for the dog was gentle.

"Splash! Splash!" called Bunny. "Come back! Come back!"

Splash minded very well and back he came, quite proud, no doubt, at having driven off the goat.

"Hurry and get out of here!" begged Sue, as she ran toward the hole in the fence. Bunny turned to follow her. He looked back to see if the goat was coming, feeling not half afraid, now that Splash was with them.

In another minute Bunny, Sue and their dog were safely out in the street. The goat, at the far end of the lot, looked toward them and made his queer, bleating noise.

Afterward Bunny Brown and his sister Sue learned that the goat was a very kind one, and used to playing with children. It would not have hurt Sue at all, and the reason it walked up to her was because it thought she was going to feed it, as the little Italian children often did. So Bunny and Sue had their fright for nothing, though of course, at the time, Bunny thought the goat might hurt his sister.

"And I'm sorry I hit him with a stone," said Bunny, when, afterward, he was told how gentle the goat was.

"Oh, well, you didn't hurt him," said Aunt Lu.

Bunny, Sue and Splash were late for their dinner that day.

"My! What kept you?" asked Mrs. Brown, as they entered the house. "I did not want you to stay so long away."

"It was the goat that made me," Sue said, and then she and Bunny told of their adventure.

"Well, of course you couldn't help that," Mrs. Brown said with a smile. "Something new always seems to be happening to you children. Now wash and come to your meal."

There were jam tarts for dessert that day, and as Bunny ate his, the raspberry jam coming up through the three small holes in the top crust, the little fellow said:

"These are so good! Who made them?"

"Aunt Lu did," answered his mother. '"Aren't they nice?"

"Lovely!" murmured Sue. "May I have another, Mother?"

"I think so, as they are small."

"And I want one!" Bunny exclaimed. "They taste just like--just like a play-party!" he finished.

"So they do!" cried Sue. "I was trying to think what it was they tasted like--but it's a party!"

"What a queer way for jam tarts to taste!" laughed Aunt Lu. "But I am glad you like them. I'll make some more some day."

"Oh, fine!" exclaimed Bunny. "And oh, Mother! Maybe we could have one!" His eyes were shining brightly.

"Have one what?" asked Mrs. Brown.

"Why, one party," Bunny replied. "Could Sue and I have a little party, and would Aunt Lu bake some jam tarts for us?"

"I'll bake the tarts, if your mother wants you to have the party," Aunt Lu answered.

Mrs. Brown thought for a moment.

"Well," she said slowly, "I suppose you could have a little party. Not a very big one, as I am so busy. Just a few of your friends to eat on the lawn under the trees."

"Oh, that would be lovely!" Sue cried.

"And we'll have some boys, and not all girls!" Bunny declared.

"Half girls and half boys," Aunt Lu suggested. "And I'll make half jam tarts and half jelly ones, so they may take their choice."

"And I'll bake a cake for Splash!" exclaimed Sue. "He likes cake. We might give the party for him," she went on. "That would be fun!"

"And they could all bring our dog presents--bones and things like that," laughed Bunny.

And so it was decided. The party would be for Splash, though of course he would not be allowed to eat all the good things. Bunny Brown and his sister Sue wanted those for themselves and their playmates.

The next day Bunny and Sue went around to the different houses, where their little friends lived, and each one was asked to come to the party. "Oh, I'm so glad you asked me!" cried Sadie West, when Sue told about the fun they would have.

"I want you more than anyone," was Sue's reply.

"And how funny to have the party for Splash!" Sadie went on.

"Well, dogs like nice things."

"Of course they do. I think it's just fine!" and Sadie clapped her hands. "I'll tie a little pink ribbon on the bone I bring your dog."

Helen Newton said she would bring Splash a dog-biscuit.

"You buy them in a store," she said. "Papa buys them for our dog, and you can get puppy cakes, too. Only of course Splash is too big for a puppy cake."

"You could bring him a lot of little puppy cakes, and they would be the same as one big dog-biscuit, maybe," said Sue.

"No, I'll bring him a regular cake, and I'll put a blue ribbon on it," decided Helen, and then the little girls laughed to think what fun they would have at the party.