Read CHAPTER IX - THE MERRY GOAT of Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue at Christmas Tree Cove , free online book, by Laura Lee Hope, on ReadCentral.com.

Bunny Brown, who had been sitting near his sister Sue on the deck of the Fairy, had jumped to his feet and run to the rail, or side of the boat, as the little girl cried out that their craft had run over the canoe.  That was really what had happened.  The two young men and the young women in the canoe had got in the way of the motor boat, and had been struck.

“Man overboard!” yelled Bunny.  He had often enough heard that cry on his father’s boat and on the pier, for more than once boys or men had fallen off into the water.  Sometimes on warm summer days the boys pushed each other off, just for fun.

And often, at such times, the cry would be raised: 

“Man overboard!”

Bunny knew what that meant.  It meant that somebody ought to jump to the rescue or throw into the water something the person who had fallen in could grab.  There were, on his father’s dock, a number of life buoys ­round rings of cork covered with canvas and having a long rope attached to them.  And there were some of these same things on the deck of the Fairy.

“Man overboard!” cried Bunny again, and, running to the nearest life ring, he took it off the hook and sent it spinning into the water.  Bunny knew that the end of the rope was fast to the rail, so the buoy would not be lost.

Bunker Blue also acted quickly.  Near the wheel by which the Fairy was steered was a wire, which, when pulled, shut off the motor down in the hold of the craft.  Bunker Blue pulled this wire, and the boat began to slow up.  Then Bunker leaped to the side of the Fairy near Bunny, and Bunker caught up another life ring and tossed it over the rail.

As Bunny and Sue leaned over to catch sight of the four people in the water, Captain Ross and Daddy Brown came hurrying up on deck from the little cabin, where they had been talking with Mrs. Brown.

“What’s the matter?” cried Captain Ross.  “Did we hit anything, Bunker?”

“Yes, a canoe with four people in it.  We ran ’em down.  They crossed right in front of our bows!  I’ll get ’em!”

The next minute Bunker peeled off his coat, slipped from his feet the loose, rubber-soled shoes he wore, and leaped over the rail.

“Oh!  Oh!” gasped Sue.

“He’s going to save ’em!” cried Bunny.  “I wish I could jump in and ­”

“Don’t dare try that, Bunny Brown!” cried his mother, who heard what he started to say, and she put a hand on his shoulder to hold him.

“They’re all right,” reported Mr. Brown, looking over the side of the boat.  “All four of them can swim, and the young men have given the young ladies the life rings.  They don’t seem to be much frightened.  Bunker is swimming for the canoe.  I guess they’ll be all right.”

“Yes, it looks so,” said Captain Ross, also taking a look over the side.  “Though the canoe may be stove in so it’ll leak.  Mighty foolish of ’em to try to cross in front of our bows!  I expect we’ll have to take ’em all on board here.”

“Oh, yes, we must!” cried Mrs. Brown.  “But what shall we do about dry clothes for them?  Possibly I can let the young ladies have some of my extra dresses, but the young men ­”

“Oh, I guess we can fit ’em out,” broke in Captain Ross.  “It’s warm, and they won’t want much.  First thing to do is to get ’em on board I reckon.  How about you?” he called down to the struggling people in the water.  “Need any more help?”

“We’re all right,” answered one of the young men.  “But will you take us aboard?  The canoe’s smashed!”

“Sure, we’ll take you on board,” answered the captain.

And then, as Bunny and Sue watched, they saw their father and Captain Ross help pull up to the deck of the Fairy first the two young women, dripping wet.  They looked very much bedraggled, but they were laughing and did not seem to mind what had happened.

Next the two young men scrambled up, pulling themselves by means of the ropes from the life buoys.  And last of all came Bunker Blue.  He had the rope of the smashed and overturned canoe in one hand and was towing it along as he swam slowly.  It was not easy work to drag the canoe through the water, submerged as it was, but Bunker did it, fastening the canoe rope to the rail of the Fairy.

Then he scrambled up on deck, shook the water from his face and hair, and said: 

“I’ll get a boat hook and fish up the paddles.  They’re floating around down there.”

“Oh, don’t bother,” urged one of the young ladies.  “It was all my fault.  I steered the canoe right in your way.  We ran into you ­you didn’t run into us.”

“Well, I’m glad you feel that way about it,” said Captain Ross, while Bunny and Sue watched the little puddles and streams of water dripping from the recent occupants of the canoe and from Bunker Blue.

“Is the canoe worth saving?” asked Mr. Brown, as he looked down to where it now floated at the side of the Fairy, held fast by the line Bunker had brought on board.

“I don’t think so,” said one of the young men.  “It was an old one, and now the side is stove in.  Let it go.  It will drift ashore anyhow, and we can get it later if we want to.  You might save the paddles if you can.  I’ll help,” he offered.

“I’ll help,” offered the other young man, and while these two, with Bunker, sought to save the paddles with boat hooks, the broken canoe was cast loose from the Fairy and allowed to drift off.

“If you’ll come down to the cabin with me,” said Mrs. Brown to the young ladies, “I’ll see if I can lend you some other clothes while yours are drying.”

“Oh, don’t bother!” said one of the young ladies.  “It was all just fun.  We had on old clothes, for we half expected to be upset before we got back.”

But Mrs. Brown insisted on making them change, and so she led them down into the cabin.  Uncle Tad helped in the work of recovering the paddles, and then he suggested that the two young men might also like to take off their wet things.

“Oh, not at all,” said one.  “We’re used to being wet.  And we’ll soon dry, anyhow.  It was very decent of you to jump in after us,” he said to Bunker.  “As it happens, we can all swim pretty well, and it isn’t the first time we’ve been upset.  But I was afraid one of the girls might have been hurt.  As it is, we’re all right.”

“And mighty lucky you are to be that way,” commented Captain Ross.  “I’m glad it was no worse.  Now where do you want to be set ashore?”

“We’re staying at that hotel,” said Mr. Watson, for such was the name of one of the young men.  He pointed to a large seaside resort on the shore not far away.

“Well, we’ll head for the dock,” decided the captain, and soon the Fairy was moving along again, the floating paddles having been recovered.

The young ladies soon came on deck, wearing some garments belonging to Mrs. Brown.  They were laughing and joking at the upset.  The young men refused to change, saying it was not worth while.

“It’s too bad you lost your canoe,” said Bunny, as he and his sister listened to the talk of the rescued party.

“Oh, it was only an old one I owned,” said Mr. Watson.  “It isn’t a great loss.  I’m afraid you girls had some things sunk, though,” he added.  “There wasn’t much time to save anything.”

“I lost my pocketbook,” said one of the young women, who was called Mildred by her companions.  “There was only about a dollar in it, though,” she added.

“My mother lost her pocketbook, and it had five dollars and her diamond ring in it,” put in Sue.

“Did you?  Do you mean to-day?” asked the other young lady, who had been addressed as Grace.

“Oh, no.  It was some time ago,” explained Mrs. Brown.

“A dog took it,” volunteered Bunny.  “And he ran into a carpenter shop, and we ran after him ­Sue and I did ­and we got locked in and I busted a window and ­”

“He’s going into all the details!” laughed Mr. Brown.

But the young men and the young women were so interested in what the children said that they had to hear the whole story.

“I’m sure I hope you get your engagement ring back,” said Mildred to Mrs. Brown, and the young lady looked at her own hand, on which sparkled a diamond.  Perhaps it was her engagement ring.

“It is too much to hope for,” replied Mrs. Brown.  “I am trying not to think of it.”

“Did you see me throw the life buoy to you?” asked Bunny, changing the subject.

“I’m afraid I didn’t,” answered Grace with a laugh.

“And my eyes were too full of water,” added Mildred.

“Well, anyhow, I threw one in to you,” went on Bunny.

“And I yelled when I saw you get run over,” added Sue, just as if that, too, had helped.

“I’m sure you did all you could,” declared Mr. Watson.  “And it was all our own fault that we got in your way.  But no one is hurt, and we’re little the worse for our adventure.”

The Fairy slowly headed toward the dock near the big summer hotel, which was one of a number at a well-known resort on the bay.  Some other boats had come up after having seen the canoe run down, but when it was found no help was needed, they sheered off again.

“How can we return your things to you?” asked the young ladies of Mrs. Brown, as they prepared to go ashore when the boat tied up at the dock.

“There is no special hurry,” was the answer.  “We are going to Christmas Tree Cove for the summer.  You can send them there.”

“I have a better plan,” said Mr. Brown.  “Why should we not stay here over night?  We can tie up at this dock and go ashore for an evening of enjoyment.  That will give the young ladies a chance to get into other dry clothes and give you back yours,” he said to his wife.

“Oh, yes!  Let’s stay!” cried Bunny.  “We can have a lot of fun on shore!”

“And there’s a merry-go-round!” added Sue.  “I can see it!”

She pointed to one of the popular summer attractions set up near the hotel on the beach.

“Very well, we’ll stay,” said Mother Brown; and so it was arranged.

The four young people went ashore, the young ladies in borrowed clothes, and the men, in their own damp garments, carrying the paddles.  They attracted some little attention from the crowd on the dock.  It was very evident what had happened.  But as canoe upsets are very common at shore resorts in the summer, no one took it very seriously, especially as no one was drowned or hurt.

“We’ll send back your things in the morning,” called Mildred and Grace to Mrs. Brown, as they went up to the hotel.

“You’ll find us right here,” said Captain Ross.  “I’m mighty glad it was no worse,” he said to his friends on the Fairy.  “I should hate to have your summer outing spoiled by an accident, even if it was the fault of those in the canoe.  But it reminds me of a riddle.  See if you can guess it, Bunny and Sue.  What goes under the water and over the water and never touches the water?”

“A fish!” guessed Bunny.

“A fish is always in the water,” cried Sue, laughing.

“Oh, so it is,” said her brother.

“Say it again,” begged Sue.

The jolly captain did so, and when Bunny and Sue gave up, after several wrong guesses, the seaman said: 

“A man walking over a bridge with a pail of water on his head.  He goes over the water, and he’s under the water in the pail, and yet he doesn’t touch the water.”

“Oh, that’s a good riddle!” laughed Bunny.  “I’m going to fool Bunker on that.”

“If the water pail upset and spilled on him then the water would touch him,” said Sue, after a moment of thought.  “And if he fell in the water he’d be wet.”

“Yes, but you aren’t supposed to do that in riddles,” returned Captain Ross.

After supper on the Fairy, Uncle Tad took the two children on shore, Bunny and Sue having secured their mother’s permission to ride on the merry-go-round.  It was a big affair, playing jolly tunes, and the animals were large and gaily painted.

Bunny and Sue had a number of rides, always begging for “just one more,” until Uncle Tad finally said: 

“No, that’s enough!  You’ll be ill if you whirl around any more.  Come, we’ll walk around and look at things, and then we’ll go back to the boat.”

He led them around to see the other attractions at the little park near the big hotel.  Somehow or other, Bunny wandered away from Uncle Tad and Sue while Sue and the old soldier were looking at a man blowing colored glass into birds, feathers, balloons and other fantastic shapes.

But finally Uncle Tad said: 

“Come, Sue, we must be going now.  Where’s Bunny?”

“He was here a minute ago,” answered Bunny’s sister.

She looked around.  They were on a plaza, or open space, at one end of which stood the musical merry-go-round.  At the other end was a drive where little ponies and carts could be hired for short rides.

As Sue and Uncle Tad looked, there suddenly dashed from this place a large, white goat.  And on the back of the goat was Bunny Brown, clinging fast!

“Oh, look!  Look!” cried Sue.  “It’s a merry-go-round goat!  It’s a merry goat, and Bunny’s having a ride on his back!”

As she spoke the animal dashed straight for the whirling carousel, and Bunny’s face, showing some fright, was turned toward his uncle and his sister.