Pete sat down on the ground too and he looked at Cuffy and grinned.
“Want any more?” he asked.
Cuffy shook his head.
“I’ll have to go home now,” he said. “Of course, I’d like to box some more; but I haven’t time to-day.”
“First lesson’s over, then,” Pete announced. “Come back termorrer and I’ll give yer another.”
“How long will it be before I learn to box well?” Cuffy inquired.
“You might learn next time,” Pete said, “Better try it, anyhow,” he advised.
“All right!” Cuffy said. He hoped that another time he would be able to show Pete how it felt to be pounded. “All right—I’ll be here at the same time to-morrow.”
So Pete trotted off spryly in one direction; and Cuffy trotted off in another, but not quite so spryly, for his head ached and one of his eyes was closed tight.
“Mercy sakes!” Mrs. Bear said, when Cuffy came into the house. “Look at those trousers!”
Cuffy looked at them as well as he could with his one good eye.
“And you’re covered with mud!” his mother added severely. “What’s the matter with your eye?” she demanded.
“I’ve been having fun—” Cuffy began. “I’ve been boxing—”
“Fun! Boxing! You’ve ruined your best trousers,” she said. “You’re a naughty little bear and you’re going straight to bed. Who has been playing with you?” she asked.
Mrs. Bear was very much displeased when she learned about Cuffy’s new friend. “I know who he is,” she said. “His people are very rough. They’re not nice bears at all. And I forbid you aver to play with that Peter again.”
So Cuffy had to go to bed. And the next day when Pete arrived at the pool he found no Cuffy there. For some time he waited. But still there was no Cuffy.
“Huh!” Pete grunted, as he went away at last. “He’s afraid, he is. And it’s a good thing for him he didn’t come back. If he had, I’d ‘a’ fixed him. Yes, sir! I’d—” Whatever it was that Peter would have done to Cuffy, I am sure it wouldn’t have been at all pleasant, because the rough little bear Peter scowled frightfully as he trotted off.
THE FOREST FIRE
It was quite late in the fall. And Blue Mountain looked very different from the way it had looked all summer. The leaves had turned to brown and yellow and scarlet, except where there were clumps of fir-trees, as there were around Mr. Bear’s house. Indeed, Blue Mountain looked almost as if it were all aflame, so bright were the autumn colors. Mr. Bear remarked as much to Mrs. Bear one day.
“For goodness’ sake, don’t say that!” she exclaimed. “Don’t mention fire to me. The very thought of it makes me nervous. Everything’s so dry! I shall be glad when it rains again.”
“It is dry,” Mr. Bear agreed. “But don’t worry. It’s like this every fall.” And he went slowly down the mountain.