Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue by Laura Lee Hope
Chapter VIII. Sue Falls In
The boat, in which Bunny Brown and his sister Sue had gone adrift, had really "bunked into an island," as Bunny told about it afterward. He said "bunked," and he meant bumped, for that is what the boat had done.
There were a number of islands in the river, some small and some larger, and it was at one of the larger ones that Bunny and Sue now found themselves. Their boat swung around in the shallow water, and did not move any more. It was fast aground on the edge of the island.
"Let's get out," suggested Bunny, and he did so, followed by Sue. As Bunny pulled his fish line from the water, his sister saw the dangling bent-pin hook, and cried out:
"Oh, Bunny, you didn't get a fish after all!"
"No," the little fellow answered. "I guess I can fish better from the island, anyhow. We'll fish here now, and if we catch anything we can build a fire and cook it. That is, we could if we had any matches."
"Mother told us we musn't play with fire," remarked Sue.
"That's so," her brother agreed. "Well, we can wait till we get home to cook the fish. But we've got to fasten the boat, or it may go away and leave us."
Bunny's father was in the boat business and the little fellow had often heard how needful it was to tie boats fast so they would not drift away or be taken out by the tide. So it was one of the first things he thought of when he and Sue landed on the island.
There was a rope in the front part, or bow of the rowboat, and Bunny tied one end of this rope to a tree that grew near the edge of the island.
"Now I can fish," he said.
"What can I do?" asked Sue. "I wish I had one of my dolls with me--even the old sawdust one, with the sawdust coming out. I could play house with her. What can I do, Bunny?"
"Well, you can watch me fish, and then I'll let you have a turn. If you had another pin I could make you a hook."
"Nope, I haven't anymore," and Sue looked carefully over her dress, thinking she might find another pin. But there was none.
Bunny was about to cast in the line from the shore of the island, near the boat, where he and Sue were standing, when he suddenly thought of something.
"Oh, I forgot! I haven't any bait on my hook!" he said. "No wonder I didn't get a bite. I'll have to get a worm, or something the fish like to eat. Come on, Sue, you can help at that--hunting for worms."
"I--I don't want to," and Sue gave a little shiver.
"You don't like to hunt worms?" asked Bunny, as if very much surprised. "I like it--it's fun!"
"Oh, but worms--worms are so--so squiggily!" stammered Sue. "They make me feel so ticklish in my toes."
"You don't pick up worms in your toes!" cried Bunny. "You pick 'em up in your hands!"
"I know," and Sue smiled at her brother, "but they are so squiggily that they make me feel ticklish away down to my toes, anyhow."
"All right," Bunny agreed. "I'll pick up the worms, but you can have a turn fishing just the same."
"Thank you," answered Sue.
Mrs. Brown had taught the children to be kind and polite to each other, just as well as to strangers and to "company." Though of course Bunny Brown and his sister Sue had little troubles and "spats" and differences, now and then, just like other children.
Bunny began looking for worms, and he dug in the soft dirt of the island, near the edge of the water, with a stick. But either there were no worms there, or Bunny did not dig deep enough for them, for he found none.
"Guess I'll have to fish without any bait," he said, after a while. But, as I suppose you all know, fish hardly ever bite on an empty hook, especially when it is made from a bent pin; so, after he had dangled the line in the water for quite a while, Bunny said:
"Here, Sue. It's your turn now. Maybe you'll have better luck than I had."
"Maybe there aren't any fish in this river."
"Oh, yes there are. Bunker Blue caught a lot one day. But he had worms for bait."
However Sue did not mind fishing without any worms on the pin-hook, and she sat down on a log, near the water and let the line dangle in it, while Bunny walked about the island. He had never been on this one before, though there was a larger one, farther down the river, where he and his sister Sue had often gone on little picnics with their mother and father.
Walking back a little way from the edge of the water, Bunny saw a place where a tangle of vines, growing over an old stump, had made a place like a little tent, or bower. All at once Bunny remembered a story his mother had read to him. Back he ran to where Sue was fishing.
"Oh, Sue! Sue!" he exclaimed. "I know what we can do!"
"We can play Robinson Crusoe!" cried Bunny.
"Is that like tag, or hide-and-go-to-seek?" the little girl wanted to know.
"Neither one," answered her brother. "Robinson Crusoe was a man who was shipwrecked on an island, and he lived there a long time with his man Friday. We can play that."
"But we aren't shipwrecked," Sue said. Living near the sea the children had often heard of shipwrecks, and had once seen one, when a big sail boat had beep blown up on the beach and broken to pieces by the heavy waves. The sailors were taken off by the life-savers. "We're not shipwrecked," said Sue. "There's our boat all right," and she pointed to the one in which they had gone adrift.
"Oh, well, we can pretend we've been shipwrecked," Bunny said.
"Oh, yes!" and Sue understood now. "What is the rest of the game?" she asked.
"Well, mother read the story to me out of a book," explained Bunny. "Robinson Crusoe was wrecked, and he had to live on this island, and he had a man named Friday."
"What a funny name! Who named him that?" asked Sue.
"Robinson Crusoe did. You see, Friday was a colored man, very nice, too, and he helped Robinson a lot. Robinson called him that name because he found him on Friday."
"But this isn't Friday," objected Sue. "It's Thursday."
"Well, it's only pretend," went on Bunny.
"Oh, yes. I forgot. So Robinson had a colored man named Friday to help him,"
"Yes," Bunny said, "and we'll play that game. I'll be Robinson."
"But who is going to be Friday?" Sue wanted to know.
"You can be."
"But I'm not a man, and I'm not colored, Bunny."
"We'll have to pretend that, too. You'll be my man Friday, and we'll go to live in the little tent over there," and Bunny pointed toward the leafy bower he had found. "And you can be colored, too, if you want, Sue," he said. "You could rub some mud on your face and hands."
"Oh, let's! That's what I'll do!" and Sue laid aside the stick to which Bunny had tied the fishline and the bent pin. "That will be fun!" Sue said. "It will be better than the Punch and Judy show with the lobster claw on your nose."
"But you mustn't get your dress muddy," Bunny cautioned his sister. "Mother wouldn't like that."
"I won't," promised Sue. "And when we get through playing I can wash the mud off my face and hands."
"Yes," said Bunny. "Now I'll go over to my cave--we'll call the place where the vines grow over the stump a cave," he went on, "and I'll be there just like Robinson Crusoe Was in the cave on his island. Then I'll come out and find you, all blacked up with mud, and I'll call you Friday."
Sue clapped her hands in delight, and, when Bunny went off to the cave, which, he remembered, was the sort of place where the real Robinson Crusoe lived, in the story book, Sue found a place where there was some soft, black mud.
Very carefully, so as not to soil her dress, the little girl blackened her hands and face, rubbing on the dirt as well as she could.
"Bunny! Bunny!" she called after a bit.
"Well, what is it?" asked her brother, as he was sitting in his make- believe cave.
"Come and look at me," said Sue, "and see if I'm black enough to be Friday."
Bunny came and looked.
"You need a little more mud around behind your ears," he said. "I'll put it on for you," and he did so.
Then the two children played the Robinson Crusoe game; that is, as much of it as Bunny could remember, which was not a great deal. But they had good fun, walking about the island, and going into the green vine-bower now and then to get out of the sun, which was very hot.
But even as much fun as it was playing at being shipwrecked on an island, like Robinson, in the story book, the children soon tired of it.
"I guess we'd better go home," said Sue after awhile. "I'm terribly hungry, Bunny."
"And if we can't catch any fish, and can't find any place to get things to eat from, we'd better go home."
"Yes, I guess we had. I wonder if I can row the boat?"
Bunny had often seen his father, or Bunker Blue, or sometimes his mother, row a boat, so he knew how it was done. But he knew the oars in the boat in which he and Sue had gone adrift were heavy, and he was not very strong, though a sturdy little chap for his years.
"I'll help you," Sue said. "But first I'll have to un-Friday myself. I must wash off this mud."
"I'll help you--around behind your ears where you can't see," offered Bunny.
Sue went to a place near the water, where there was a flat rock, and leaned over to dip her handkerchief in. She was going to use it as a washcloth.
But, whether she slipped, or leaned over too far, Sue never knew. At any rate, soon after she had washed off the first bit of mud from her hands and wrists, she suddenly toppled, head first, right into the river!
"Oh! Oh! Bunny!" Sue cried, as she found herself in the water.