“What’s yer name?” the strange bear asked.
Cuffy told him. And he learned that the strange bear’s name was Peter, and that he lived around on the other side of Blue Mountain, as many as ten miles away.
“Aw—call me Pete,” the new bear said, as Cuffy began to talk to him. “They all calls me Pete.” He stuffed his front paws into the pockets of his ragged trousers. “Say, Cuff—what was yer doin’ up on that rock?”
“Playing!” Cuffy told him.
Pete gave a grunt. “That’s no way ter play,” he said. “I’ll show yer how ter have fun. Watch me!” He led the way to the bank. And sitting down, he slid and rolled all the way down the steep slope and landed plump! in the deep pool.
Now, Cuffy was not going to have Pete think that he couldn’t do that, too. Although he was wearing his best trousers that day (for his mother was mending his every-day pair), Cuffy sat down on the top of the bank. And in another moment he had slid and slipped down the bank and landed ker-splash! in the water.
LEARNING TO BOX
For some time Cuffy Bear and his new friend Pete, as he preferred to be called, continued to slide down the bank of the brook into the water. They became plastered with mud from head to foot. And Cuffy’s best trousers had two big holes in them. But Cuffy was having a splendid time.
“Let’s box, Cuff!” Pete exclaimed, after a while.
“What’s that?” Cuffy asked. He liked to be called “Cuff.” Nobody had ever called him by that name before. He felt quite grown up.
“I’ll show yer,” Pete said. “Stand up in front of me.”
Cuffy stood up on his hind legs.
“Now, hold up yer paws—so.”
And Cuffy did as he was told.
“Now hit me!” Pete ordered.
And Cuffy struck out at his new friend. But to his surprise he didn’t succeed in touching Pete at all. Instead, he received a stinging slap right on the end of his nose.
Cuffy didn’t like that. In fact, it made him somewhat angry. And he struck out at Pete once more. But Pete dodged; and he gave Cuffy a good, hard blow in the eye. And while Cuffy was holding onto his poor eye, Pete hit his other eye. And then Cuffy couldn’t see a thing, except bright spots that made him think of stars. He tried not to cry. But a few tears would go rolling down his cheeks. And he did not like it at all when Pete began to laugh.
“Huh! Don’t be a cry-baby!” Pete said. “Yer want ter learn ter box, don’t yer?”
“Y-es!” Cuffy answered.
“Well—quit yer cryin’ and stand up here, then,” Pete commanded.
So once more Cuffy straightened up and held his paws in front of him. And when he thought Pete wasn’t watching, Cuffy tried again to hit him. Again Cuffy missed. His paw didn’t reach Pete at all. But Pete gave him a terrible poke right in the stomach, and Cuffy sat down quickly on the ground and began to groan.