“What’s that?” Silkie asked. As for Cuffy, he had not stopped to ask any questions. He was already smelling of the small white animal his father had, and he poked it gently with his paw. He had not forgotten about the porcupine. But this strange animal seemed quite harmless. It was covered with things that looked a little bit like quills, only they were ever so much shorter and smaller. And Cuffy found that they were much softer, too, for they did not prick him at all.
“What is it?” This time it was Cuffy who asked.
“You’ll see,” Mr. Bear said again.
“Is it a new kind of rabbit?” Silkie inquired.
“Huh! A rabbit!” Cuffy laughed. “Of course it isn’t a rabbit,” he said.
“Well—it’s white, and its tail is short—” Silkie began, “and—”
“Its ears are too small,” Cuffy told her, “and its tail is all curled up.”
“You’ll see, children,” Mr. Bear said again. “It’s a surprise.”
“A surprise!” Cuffy and Silkie both shouted. They thought that was the name of the—oh! I almost told what the little animal really was.
Well! As Mr. Bear walked on toward his house, Cuffy and Silkie ran ahead and burst in upon their mother, both of them shouting at the top of their voices, “A surprise! A surprise! Father’s bringing home a surprise!”
“Why, Ephraim Bear!” Mrs. Bear exclaimed, as soon as she saw her husband. “Wherever did you get that lovely little pig?”
There—now you know what it was that Mr. Bear had.
“It came from Farmer Green’s, my dear,” Mr. Bear said. “I remembered that this was your birthday, and so I thought I would bring home something ’specially nice, so that we could have a real feast.”
Cuffy and Silkie had never eaten any pig before. And when there was nothing left of the surprise except a few bones, Cuffy couldn’t help wishing that every day could be a birthday.
CUFFY CLIMBS BLUE MOUNTAIN
Cuffy Bear had never been very far up Blue Mountain beyond the place where his father’s house nestled among the evergreens. You know, the summer before he had been a very small little bear indeed, and the higher one goes up Blue Mountain the harder the climbing becomes. But now Cuffy was growing very fast; and he was able to scramble up places he could never have even crept a year ago. Each day now Cuffy climbed a little nearer the top of Blue Mountain. And at last the day came when he reached the very top. It was so high that the trees did not grow there. He found nothing but rocks everywhere, with just a little earth to fill the cracks.
Cuffy thought it great fun to clamber about all by himself and look down at the hills and valleys that stretched away in all directions. Indeed, he hated to leave that delightful spot. But he noticed that the sun was getting low in the west and he knew that he must hurry home. So Cuffy started down the mountainside.