Copyright
George E. Walsh.

Buster online

. (page 1 of 6)
Online LibraryGeorge E. WalshBuster → online text (page 1 of 6)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


BUSTER ***




Produced by David E. Brown and The Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)









TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES:


Italicized text is surrounded by underscores: _italics_.

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

Inconsistencies in hyphenation have been standardized.




[Illustration: “NO YOU WON’T, MR. LOUP, FOR MY MOTHER WILL KILL YOU
FIRST”]




_Twilight Animal Series_

BUSTER
THE BIG BROWN
BEAR

By
GEORGE ETHELBERT WALSH

_Author of “Bumper the White Rabbit,” “Bumper the White Rabbit in the
Woods,” “Bumper the White Rabbit and His Foes,” “Bumper the
White Rabbit and His Friends,” “Bobby Gray Squirrel,”
“Bobby Gray Squirrel’s Adventures,” Etc._

_Colored Illustrations by
EDWIN JOHN PRITTIE_

[Illustration]

THE JOHN C. WINSTON COMPANY
CHICAGO PHILADELPHIA TORONTO




TWILIGHT ANIMAL SERIES FOR BOYS AND GIRLS

FROM 4 TO 10 YEARS OF AGE

By GEORGE ETHELBERT WALSH


LIST OF TITLES

1 BUMPER THE WHITE RABBIT
2 BUMPER THE WHITE RABBIT IN THE WOODS
3 BUMPER THE WHITE RABBIT AND HIS FOES
4 BUMPER THE WHITE RABBIT AND HIS FRIENDS
5 BOBBY GRAY SQUIRREL
6 BOBBY GRAY SQUIRREL’S ADVENTURES
7 BUSTER THE BIG BROWN BEAR
8 BUSTER THE BIG BROWN BEAR’S ADVENTURES
9 WHITE TAIL THE DEER
10 WHITE TAIL THE DEER’S ADVENTURES
11 WASHER, THE RACCOON


(Other titles in preparation)

Issued in uniform style with this volume
PRICE 65 CENTS EACH, Postpaid


EACH VOLUME CONTAINS COLORED ILLUSTRATIONS

Copyright 1922 by
THE JOHN C. WINSTON COMPANY

Copyright MCMXVII by George E. Walsh




INTRODUCTION TO THE TWILIGHT ANIMAL STORIES

BY THE AUTHOR


All little boys and girls who love animals should become acquainted
with Bumper the white rabbit, with Bobby Gray Squirrel, with Buster the
bear, and with White Tail the deer, for they are all a jolly lot, brave
and fearless in danger, and so lovable that you won’t lay down any one
of the books without saying wistfully, “I almost wish I had them really
and truly as friends and not just story-book acquaintances.” That, of
course, is a splendid wish; but none of us could afford to have a big
menagerie of wild animals, and that’s just what you would have to do
if you went outside of the books. Bumper had many friends, such as Mr.
Blind Rabbit, Fuzzy Wuzz and Goggle Eyes, his country cousins; and
Bobby Gray Squirrel had his near cousins, Stripe the chipmunk and Webb
the flying squirrel; while Buster and White Tail were favored with an
endless number of friends and relatives. If we turned them all loose
from the books, and put them in a ten-acre lot - but no, ten acres
wouldn’t be big enough to accommodate them, perhaps not a hundred acres.

So we will leave them just where they are - in the books - and read about
them, and let our imaginations take us to them where we can see them
playing, skipping, singing, and sometimes fighting, and if we read very
carefully, and _think_ as we go along, we may come to know them even
better than if we went out hunting for them.

Another thing we should remember. By leaving them in the books,
hundreds and thousands of other boys and girls can enjoy them, too,
sharing with us the pleasures of the imagination, which after all is
one of the greatest things in the world. In gathering them together in
a real menagerie, we would be selfish both to Bumper, Bobby, Buster,
White Tail and their friends as well as to thousands of other little
readers who could not share them with us. So these books of Twilight
Animal Stories are dedicated to all little boys and girls who love
wild animals. All others are forbidden to read them! They wouldn’t
understand them if they did.

So come out into the woods with me, and let us listen and watch, and I
promise you it will be worth while.




CONTENTS


STORY PAGE

I When Buster Was a Cub 9

II Buster and Loup 15

III How Buster Got Out of the River 23

IV Buster is Carried Away by the Men 31

V How Buster Was Stolen 39

VI Buster’s Cruel Masters 47

VII Buster Makes His Escape 55

VIII Buster’s First Public Appearance 63

IX Buster Saves Chiquita 71

X Buster Becomes a Trick Bear 79

XI Buster In a Railroad Wreck 87

XII Buster Meets the Little Girl Again 95

XIII Buster and the Little Girl 103

XIV Buster Tries to Escape and is Discovered 111

XV Buster is to be Sent to the Zoo 119

XVI Buster Returns to the North Woods 125




BUSTER THE BIG BROWN BEAR




STORY I

WHEN BUSTER WAS A CUB


In the North Woods where Buster was born, a wide river tinkles merrily
over stones that are so white you’d mistake them for snowballs, if you
were not careful, and begin pelting each other with them. The birches
hanging over the water look like white sticks of peppermint candy,
except in the spring of the year when they blossom out in green leaves,
and then they make you think of fairyland where everything is painted
the colors of the rainbow.

The rocks that slope up from the bank of the river are dented and
broken as if some giant in the past had smashed them with his hammer,
cracking some and punching deep holes in others. It was in one of these
holes, or caves, that Buster was born.

He didn’t mind the hard rocky floor of his bed a bit, nor did he mind
the darkness, nor the cold winds that swept through the open doorway.
He was so well protected by his thick, furry coat that he didn’t need
a soft bed on which to take his nap. A big stone made a nice pillow for
his head, and he rather liked the hard floor for a bed when he curled
up to go to sleep.

Buster was an only child. He didn’t know what a brother or sister was
like, and so he didn’t miss either. He had his mother, who was good
enough for him, and when he was old enough to crawl out on the rocks in
front of his home he would spend hours and hours there playing with her
in the bright sunshine.

Sometimes Mother Bear had to leave him while she went off in the woods
to get something to eat. At such times she made Buster stay in the cave.

“You mustn’t show yourself on the rock, Buster,” she cautioned, “until
you hear me call you. I won’t be gone long.”

Buster was a dutiful little cub, and he accepted his mother’s commands
without asking why or wherefore. Perhaps that was because he was too
young to understand, or because his mother was very strict with her
only child. When he was very young, so young that he could hardly see
at all, his mother used to tell him what to do and then gently but
firmly make him do it, using her big hairy paws to enforce obedience.

These early lessons were never forgotten, and Buster got in the habit
of minding his mother just as naturally as a tree grows straight when
trained upright to a stake. But Buster grew curious as he got older,
and one day when his mother was going away he asked: “Why can’t I play
in front until you come back?”

“Because,” replied Mother Bear, “Loup the Lynx might come along and eat
you up.”

“Who is Loup the Lynx?” asked Buster, turning very pale, for he had a
wholesome dread of being eaten up.

“Never mind, dear. You stay inside until I come back.”

That was a mighty argument of Mother Bear’s to make her child obey. He
was so afraid of Loup the Lynx that he never dared to poke his nose out
of the cave when his mother was away. And sometimes the temptation to
do it was very strong, for as he grew bigger and stronger the sunshine
had a great fascination for him. Nothing in the world seemed pleasanter
than to roll around on the rocks outside, blinking at the warm sun,
and smelling the odors of the sweet flowers. It was springtime then,
and the woods were full of the song of birds and the drone of busy
insects. It made one wish to be outdoors all the time.

“You must be careful today, Buster,” his mother said to him one
morning, “and stay inside the cave. I heard Loup the Lynx hunting
around here last night. I don’t like him. He’s a rough, brutal fellow,
and nearly always up to some mischief. I hate to leave you a minute
today. But I must.”

Buster kept his promise, and remained inside all the morning, playing
with his tail and the few leaves the wind blew in the cave. Toward
noon, however, he got tired of this, and also very hungry. When a bear
is hungry, he becomes very bold and will do things that would never
occur to him at other times.

Buster sniffed in all the corners of the cave for a bite of something
good to eat, but there was nothing more digestible than rocks and
stones. Then he crept nearer the entrance, venturing a little closer
every moment.

A streak of sunlight played on the rocks in front of him, and it so
fascinated him that he began trying to catch it with his little paws.
He had it, then lost it, and then sprang for it again. But the sunlight
danced around, and never stayed caught.

In the midst of this game of tag with the sunlight, Buster heard a
noise outside. It sounded like some animal scuffing heavily over the
rocks, and the little fellow was so sure it was his mother that he ran
out to greet her.

But what a surprise met him! Instead of Mother Bear there stood Loup
the Lynx, crouching and sniffing, with his long tail swishing back and
forth making a noise like a nutmeg grater.

Buster had never seen Loup the Lynx before, but nobody had to tell him
now. He recognized him instantly. His first thought was to run back in
the dark cave. Loup had a great dread of being caught in the cave by
Mother Bear. If he had to fight with a full grown bear he preferred to
be out in the open where he could spring in a tree if knocked over by a
big paw. So he resorted to cunning to induce Buster to come out further.

“Don’t be afraid, Buster,” he said pleasantly. “I’m not going to hurt
you. Your mother was delayed in the woods, and she sent me here to
watch the mouth of the cave so no harm would come to you.”

Buster was surprised at this information, and he stopped to look at
Loup. He didn’t like his face, but if his mother sent him it must be
all right.

“I was watching you playing with that sun-beam,” Loup continued, lying
down with his two paws in front of him. “I used to do that when I was
young, but I’m too old now. I can’t jump around as I used to. Now let
me see if you can catch the sun-beam.”

Buster was less afraid than ever, and he wanted to show Loup how spry
he was. “I can catch it if I want to,” he said boastfully.

“I don’t believe you can. Now let’s see you do it. If you do I’ll tell
your mother when she returns what a spry youngster you are.”

Buster, swelling with pride and ambition, made a dart for the
flickering sun-beam. At the same time Loup leaped into the air, and
landed right at the mouth of the cave, with Buster on the outside.
He was cut off from retreat, and Loup leered so cruelly at him that
a spasm of fear ran down his spine. He wished now that he hadn’t
disobeyed his mother, but it was too late, and he set up a little cry
of terror.

What Loup the Lynx did to him, and how Buster escaped to plunge into
more adventures, will be told in the next story.




STORY II

BUSTER AND LOUP


It was a dreadful position for a little rolly polly bear to be in, with
Loup the Lynx facing him, and his mother away in the woods where she
couldn’t hear his cries. Loup was so sure of his prize that he let him
squeal and cry for some time. It rather amused him.

“What a little howling brat you are!” Loup said finally. “Stop that
squealing or I’ll make you.”

Buster was as much frightened by the tone of the voice as by the words,
and almost instantly stopped calling for his mother. He was a very
young bear - a mere cub - and you could not blame him for crying for
help. Besides he had never been outside of the cave alone before, and
right down in his heart he knew that his disobedience of his mother’s
commands had got him into trouble.

“I’ll stop,” he said, “if you’ll please move away from that doorway and
let me go inside. Mother told me not to come out of the cave when she
was away.”

“Oh, she did!” sneered Loup. “Then you’ve been a bad, wicked cub, and
you deserve to be punished. I think I’ll teach you a lesson.”

“Please don’t, Mr. Loup,” pleaded Buster, who much preferred to be
punished by his mother than this wicked looking animal. “One punishment
will be enough, and I know mother will attend to that.”

Loup laughed and swished his short tail as if he wished it were longer
so he might use it as a whip to punish Buster with.

“No, I’ll punish you too,” he added. “You deserve it. Do you know how I
punish cubs that disobey their mothers?”

Buster didn’t know, and wasn’t particularly anxious to find out. His
one desire was to get back of Loup and escape in the cave where he
might be able to hide until his mother returned. If he could only get
Loup away from the front of the cave, he might run in it.

“Well, I’ll tell you,” Loup added. “I take them by the scruff of the
neck, and shake them until they haven’t breath enough to squeal.”

He grabbed a stone in his jaws and shook it back and forth just to show
how he would do it. The sight made Buster feel faint.

“And then,” went on Loup, “I give them a pat on the back with my paw
like this.”

Loup raised a paw and brought it down on the rock so hard that it made
Buster jump a foot in the air. The blow was so powerful that it seemed
for a moment as if it would crack the rocks. Loup laughed joyfully at
Buster’s fright.

“Now that I’ve shown you what I intend to do with you,” Loup continued,
“you’ll be prepared. Well, I’m coming now to punish you.”

Buster backed away to the edge of the rock.

“And when I’ve cuffed your ears, and shaken out your teeth,” Loup
threatened, “I’m going to eat you. Oh, yes, a young cub makes delicious
eating. I’ll fill my stomach with you.”

For the first time Buster showed a little spirit of defiance. Standing
up on his two hind legs, he said, wagging his head: “No you won’t, Mr.
Loup, for my mother will kill you first. She’s bigger than you, and she
can strike harder than you. My, when she brings her big paw down it
makes the rocks shake! If you touch me she’ll strike you on the head,
and knock you in the river.”

“Huh!” snorted Loup angrily. The fact was he was afraid of Mother Bear,
but he didn’t want Buster to know it, and he tried to make him think so
by boasting. “If your mother should come near me, I’d knock her over.
I could do it easily.”

Perhaps Buster wasn’t convinced by this boastful talk, or may be he
heard something in the bushes that sounded like his mother’s familiar
footsteps. At any rate, he turned suddenly, and clapped his paws.

“Now let me see you do it, Mr. Loup!” he cried. “Here comes mother! She
won’t let you hurt me!”

The way Loup jumped and growled showed that his courage wasn’t so very
great after all. He had no desire to meet Mother Bear, and the thought
he had lost a delicious dinner by talking so long to Buster made him
hungry. For a moment he hesitated. If he jumped on Buster and ran away
with him, Mother Bear would be on his tracks immediately, and if he
stayed he would be cornered in the cave. He decided to take the safest
course.

“Well, if your mother’s coming, Buster,” he said in a changed voice,
“it won’t be necessary for me to stay here with you any longer. You
might tell her I kept guard over the cave while she was away.”

Buster was so surprised by these words that he turned to look at the
Lynx. Loup smiled at him, and added: “Of course, you know this was all
a joke. I didn’t intend to hurt you. I love little bear cubs. That’s
why I came here to protect you. We’ll always be great friends, and when
you grow up I’ll show you the ways of the woods.”

Buster in his innocence believed these soft words, and his feelings
toward Loup took a sudden change. He wasn’t wise enough to follow up
his advantage and let Loup go. Instead he said:

“Don’t go yet, Mr. Loup. I’m not sure mother is coming after all. The
noise in the bushes was just a bird scratching for worms.”

Loup raised his ugly head and glanced around him. His ears were cocked
up so that he could catch the faintest sound in the distance. Then a
smile of satisfaction spread over his face. Turning to Buster he let
out a roar that sounded like distant thunder rumbling in the sky. It
made Buster jump nearly two feet in the air.

“So you were trying to deceive me!” he growled. “You lied to me! You
said your mother was coming when she wasn’t. Then for that I’ll kill
you and eat you up!”

Buster started to protest. “No, no, Mr. Loup, I didn’t lie to you,” he
stammered.

But he couldn’t get any further. Loup had crouched for a spring.
Buster saw his big, dark body coming through the air at him, and very
naturally he ran away crying with fright. Loup seeing that he had
missed him in his spring struck viciously with one paw, and just grazed
Buster’s head. It was only a graze, but it drew blood, and made Buster
whimper with pain.

There was one thing Buster wanted, and that was to get safely inside
the cave, and the moment Loup sprang in the air he started for it. But
Loup was a quick, powerful dodger, and before the cub could reach the
entrance the Lynx had taken another long jump and landed directly in
front of him.

Buster, to escape him, wheeled so suddenly that he rolled all over in a
heap. The rock sloped down toward the water, and the cub rolled down it
so fast that Loup was unable to catch him. It was the only thing that
saved Buster’s life.

He had never been in the river, and he didn’t know whether he could
swim or not, but he much preferred the water to Loup’s dripping jaws.
So instead of trying to check his rolling he kicked out to make himself
go faster.

Loup reached him just as he got at the edge of the rocks, and with one
paw tried to crush his head and body; but again he missed him, and
merely cut a deep gash in Buster’s shoulder. The next moment the cub
splashed into the river, and went down, down, down until it seemed to
him there was no bottom.

In the next story you will hear of how Buster was rescued from the
river.




STORY III

HOW BUSTER GOT OUT OF THE RIVER


Buster had never been in water over his head before, and you can
imagine his feelings when it got in his eyes, mouth, ears and nose. He
coughed and kicked, and made a great splutter, but after all it was
more fright than real danger. He was such a fat little cub that he
couldn’t sink to the bottom, and stay there.

Just when he thought his end had surely come, he bobbed up on the
surface, and his head came out of the water. What a wonderful thing
it was to inhale pure fresh air again! Buster had never realized how
good it was until then! Of course he had always breathed all the air he
wanted, and so having enough he didn’t know what it meant to be without
it for even a few seconds. That’s the way with a lot of things we have
in this world.

Buster inhaled the air in great gulps, filling his lungs until they
swelled up like balloons, and then to his horror he felt himself
sinking. The mere thought of going down in the water again terrified
him. He let out a squeal of fear, and began splashing with all four
paws.

That was the best thing he could do, for a bear can swim without any
lessons if he must do it to save his life. But it was a laughable sight
to Loup the Lynx watching from the shore. Buster’s swimming was clumsy
and awkward.

“Ha! Ha!” laughed Loup gleefully. “Wag your tail, Buster, and maybe
that will help you! Don’t sneeze now, or you’ll swallow all the water
in the river. That’s right, keep going around in a circle.”

It was cruel of Loup to poke fun at him, and Buster thought so too,
but he was so occupied in trying to keep his head above the surface he
didn’t have time to answer.

“Come toward the shore, Buster, and I’ll help you,” Loup called
finally, running down to the edge, and wading knee-deep in the river.

This was the first kindly offer of the Lynx, and once more Buster began
to think Loup was not so wicked after all, but when he had made his way
a few feet toward the shore he stopped. Why was Loup so anxious to save
him? Of course, there was only one explanation to it. He wanted to eat
him up.

Buster turned suddenly and splashed away from the bank. Much as he
dreaded death by drowning, he preferred it to being eaten up by Loup.

“This way, Buster! This way!” called Loup, thinking that the cub had
got turned around and didn’t know which way he was swimming.

Buster made no reply. He saw the opposite shore ahead. It was a long
distance away, but he was going to swim for it. He began splashing
harder than ever.

“I tell you to swim this way!” added Loup, growing suspicious and angry.

Buster continued to head in the opposite direction.

“If you don’t come this way,” angrily cried Loup, “I’ll come after you,
and hold your head under the water until you’re dead.”

Buster more frightened than ever paddled desperately, and he was really
making pretty good time. He was beginning to learn how to swim. The
opposite bank was growing nearer every moment. To his surprise he found
that his strength was not leaving him, and he could keep his head up
better than before. There was a chance of escaping the Lynx.

“You little brat!” shrieked Loup, dancing around in the shallow water.
“I’ll teach you to trick me!”

Loup was an excellent swimmer, but he didn’t like the water. He hated
to get his soft fur wet, for it took a long time to dry it in the sun.
He never took a swim unless forced to it either to catch his victim or
to save his life.

But this was one of those occasions when he had to swim or lose his
prey. Buster was surely escaping him. In a few more minutes he would
be on the opposite shore where he could hide in the bushes until his
mother returned.

“All right!” added Loup finally, making up his mind. “I’m coming for
you!”

These words didn’t frighten Buster nearly so much as the terrible
splash he heard a moment later behind him. It seemed as if the river
rose a foot, and that big waves were dashing against the bank. Loup had
run up a tree leaning over the edge of the river, and launched himself
from it. When his body struck the water it made a loud noise.

Buster made a frantic effort to increase his speed, but once when he
glanced over his shoulder he nearly lost heart. Loup was swimming with
great powerful strokes which brought him closer every second. He didn’t
splash and flounder around in the water as the cub did, but, with all
except his ugly head and long tail under the surface, he moved forward
with the least amount of friction. Loup swam as steadily and easily as
a boat propelled by a screw.

Buster grew frantic with dread. He expected any moment to feel Loup’s
powerful paw crushing down on his head, for right behind him he could
hear the deep breathing of the Lynx. There was no hope - no escape!

“Thought you’d get away from me, Buster, didn’t you?” laughed Loup when
within a few yards of the cub. “Ha! Ha! This is delicious sport! Now
I’m going to duck you and half drown you, and then duck you again.”

“Oh, please, please - ” gasped Buster, who was pretty well winded now.
“Please let me go!”

For reply Loup laughed louder than ever. Then Buster thought of a
trick. This time he made it up, for he had heard nothing in the bushes
to make him think his mother was returning. But under the circumstances
you can’t blame him for stretching the truth.

“Oh, Loup, there’s mother coming!” he cried. “I must go to her at once!”

Loup was not deceived this time. He took a cautious peep around him,


1 3 4 5 6

Online LibraryGeorge E. WalshBuster → online text (page 1 of 6)