Read CHAPTER XII of Bobby of Cloverfield Farm , free online book, by Helen Fuller Orton, on

The day after the big rain, Bobby and Rover were down at the Duck Pond.

Bobby would throw a stick out into the middle of the pond and shout,
“Get it, Rover.”

Rover would jump into the water, swim out to the stick and bring it back in his mouth. Nine times Bobby threw the stick into the pond. Nine times Rover brought it back.

When they had done that long enough, Rover shook himself to get the water out of his coat, and lay down on the bank to dry.

Bobby spied an old raft, lying at one edge of the pond, under the willow tree. “I’ll play on the raft,” he thought.

It was only a few days since Mother had said, “Never go on the raft, Bobby, unless Father or John is at the pond with you.”

“Oh, pshaw!” thought Bobby. “There is no danger; I’ll have a little fun.”

For some time he was content to keep near the shore, just pushing the raft around a little with a long pole. Then, growing bolder, he thought, “I’ll go clear across the pond. Mother will never find it out.”

So across the pond he started. Near the middle the water was deeper, so he had to go to the edge of the raft and lean over to make his pole touch bottom.

A little farther, and a little farther, he leaned. The raft began to tip and the first thing Bobby knew, he went head first into the water.

Down he went, to the bottom of the pond.

When he came up, he was lucky enough to be near the raft, and he grabbed the edge of it.

“Help! help!” he shouted. He tried to climb up on the raft but could not do it.

No one heard him shout, except the ducks that were swimming not far off. They said, “Quack, quack, quack!” but they could not help him.

Rover, over on the bank, was dozing in the sun. The first time Bobby called, Rover wiggled his ears but went on dozing.

Bobby shouted again, “Help! help!”

Rover heard this time and stood up and looked out over the water.

He saw Bobby clinging to the raft. Into the water he jumped and swam as fast as he could.

When he came near, Bobby said, “Oh, Rover, can’t you help me out?” He took hold of Rover’s collar with his right hand but still clung to the raft with his left hand.

Rover tried to swim toward the shore but the raft was so heavy he could not go very fast. So Bobby let go of the raft and then Rover could pull him along.

Bobby clung to Rover’s collar until they reached shallow water.

“I’m glad you were near, Rover,” he said, when they were on dry ground.

Bobby did not want to go to the house and tell Mother what had happened, but there was no other way.

So Bobby, all wet and drippy, and Rover, all wet and drippy, went to the house together.

“Why Bobby Hill, what have you been doing?” asked Mother, when she saw his wet, muddy clothes.

When he told her about getting on the raft she looked surprised. When he told her what Rover did, she turned and patted Rover’s neck and said, “Good dog, good dog!”

“Of course, you will have to go to bed while your clothes get dry,” she said to Bobby.

“Can’t I put on one of my clean suits?” he asked.

“No,” said Mother. “When boys get on rafts and fall into the water, they always go to bed while their clothes dry.”

So to bed Bobby went in the middle of the day.

Mother washed his clothes and hung them to dry in the shade of the apple tree.

Sue tied a blue ribbon on Rover’s collar, and Mother gave him a plate of cold roast beef with potatoes and gravy.