“Well, hurry and come over here, if you’re first,” called Toad, “and I’ll turn your slip around so you can’t see.”
“Here’s the stem,” said Chuck, placing it in Hopie’s outstretched hand.
Father Brown now took Hopie by the shoulders and slowly turned him around again and again.
“I believe you’ve had enough turns to wonder where you are,” he said, adding, “now see if you can place the stem on the pumpkin.”
Hopie started off, both hands held out before him.
“You musn’t feel anything with your hands,” called Herbie, “it isn’t fair.”
“All right,” was the answer as he walked straight for the corner where Fat was sitting, watching the fun.
“Keep perfectly still,” whispered Chuck in Fat’s ear, as Hopie drew near, then as he paused before Fat and placed the stem upon his head the boys broke into shouts of laughter.
“Oh, you pumpkin head,” gasped Reddy.
Hopie pulled off his pillow slip and stared in wonder about him, then he too laughed.
“I was so sure I had it on the pumpkin!” he exclaimed.
“Better be careful, Fat,” warned Toad, “If mother takes you for a pumpkin she’ll put you in a pie.”
Numbers two, three and four hadn’t much better luck for Herbie stuck the stem on the center table, Chuck on a book stand and Reddy tried very hard to put it into the pot but Mother Brown held out her hand just in time to save it from falling in.
Linn’s turn came next.
“Watch me,” he said. “I’m going to do it.”
“Bet you don’t,” challenged Reddy.
Then Father Brown gave him a few quick turns and away he started. After taking two or three steps forward he paused, then, stretching out his hands he walked slowly toward the fireplace. When he had reached it he turned about and faced the room.
“Now, I know where I am,” he thought, “I’ll walk right over to the corner by the door.”
“Look,” whispered Chuck to Herbie, “he knows where he’s going, all right.”
Each boy held his breath as Linn drew closer and closer to the chair which held the pumpkin. Then as his knees struck against the edge of it he stopped and placed the stem on the top of the pumpkin.
“Good for you, Linn,” cried Toad. “I didn’t think you could do it.”
“Oh, it was easy,” boasted Linn. “The heat of the fire told me where the fireplace was, then when I turned and faced the other way I knew I only had to walk to the left to reach this corner.”
“Here’s the prize,” announced Chuck, stepping up to Linn and handing him a box.
“Hurry up and open it,” cried Hopie, “we want to see what’s in it.” And as the lid came off the box, Linn exclaimed:
“A baseball, just what I’ve been wanting,” and he tossed it up into the air.
“That’s as lively as a cricket,” commented Herbie, as he caught the ball and bounced it on the floor.