Well—this was what happened. Mrs. Eagle did intend to take Cuffy home with her and serve him up for dinner that very night At first, after she had seized Cuffy, she mounted higher and higher into the air, so that she could at last swoop down on the top of the mountain, right beside her nest. But Cuffy was a very fat little bear. And soon Mrs. Eagle found that she had a heavy load. And it was only a few minutes before she discovered that she couldn’t fly up any higher with Cuffy. In fact, she began to sink, little by little. Yes, Cuffy was so heavy that as Mrs. Eagle grew tired his weight dragged her down toward the earth again.
Mrs. Eagle saw what was happening. But she didn’t want to let Cuffy go. So she flew far out from the side of the mountain, hoping that she would soon feel stronger. But all the time she kept growing weaker and weaker. And all the time she kept falling faster and faster, until all at once Mrs. Eagle was afraid that she would lose her balance and go tumbling down onto the ground herself.
She was still very angry. And she hated to lose the fine dinner she had been counting on. But she saw nothing else to do but let go of Cuffy Bear. So she gave one last scream of rage; and the next instant Cuffy felt himself dropping through the air like a stone.
Now, Cuffy had shut his eyes tight, just as he did when he was drifting down the river on the cake of ice; so he did not see what was happening. But as luck had it, when Mrs. Eagle let him go she was flying right over the top of a big fir-tree. And as Cuffy fell, he dropped plump! into the branches, and down he went, crashing through the soft, springing boughs.
Cuffy clutched wildly at the branches. And though he tumbled through them one after another, at last he managed to hold tight to a big limb. And then, after he had caught his breath again, he crept carefully down to the ground.
He wondered where he was. The place had a strangely familiar look. It seemed to Cuffy that he must have been there before. And then, as he peered cautiously around, what should he see but the door of his father’s house, right in front of him! Yes! Mrs. Eagle had dropped Cuffy right in his father’s door-yard! And Cuffy wasn’t even late for dinner.
As he grew older Cuffy often went to the top of Blue Mountain. But never, so long as he lived, did he get home again so quickly.
CUFFY BEAR GOES TO MARKET
“Mother! When is my birthday?” Cuffy asked, a few days after his father had brought home the little pig.
“Why, your birthday comes on the day the wild geese begin to fly south,” Mrs. Bear said.
“Is that soon?” Cuffy asked.
“Bless you, no! Not for months and months!” his mother said.
“And when is Silkie’s?” he continued.
“The day of the first snow,” she told him.