Chapter XVIII SOMEBODY ELSE GOES BERRYING
Isn’t it funny how two people will often think of the same thing at the same time, and neither one know that the other is thinking of it? That is just what happened the day that Buster Bear first thought of going berrying. While he was walking around in the Green Forest, talking to himself about how hungry he was for some berries and how sure he was that there must be some up in the Old Pasture, some one else was thinking about berries and about the Old Pasture too.
“Will you make me a berry pie if I will get the berries tomorrow?” asked Farmer Brown’s boy of his mother.
Of course Mrs. Brown promised that she would, and so that night Farmer Brown’s boy went to bed very early that he might get up early in the morning, and all night long he dreamed of berries and berry pies. He was awake even before jolly, round, red Mr. Sun thought it was time to get up, and he was all ready to start for the Old Pasture when the first Jolly Little Sunbeams came dancing across the Green Meadows. He carried a big tin pail, and in the bottom of it, wrapped up in a piece of paper, was a lunch, for he meant to stay until he filled that pail, if it took all day.
Now the Old Pasture is very large. It lies at the foot of the Big Mountain, and even extends a little way up on the Big Mountain. There is room in it for many people to pick berries all day without even seeing each other, unless they roam about a great deal. You see, the bushes grow very thick there, and you cannot see very far in any direction. Jolly, round, red Mr. Sun had climbed a little way up in the sky by the time Farmer Brown’s boy reached the Old Pasture, and was smiling down on all the Great World, and all the Great World seemed to be smiling back. Farmer Brown’s boy started to whistle, and then he stopped.
“If I whistle,” thought he, “everybody will know just where I am, and will keep out of sight, and I never can get acquainted with folks if they keep out of sight.”
You see, Farmer Brown’s boy was just beginning to understand something that Peter Rabbit and the other little people of the Green Meadows and the Green Forest learned almost as soon as they learned to walk,–that if you don’t want to be seen, you mustn’t be heard. So he didn’t whistle as he felt like doing, and he tried not to make a bit of noise as he followed an old cow-path towards a place where he knew the berries grew thick and oh, so big, and all the time he kept his eyes wide open, and he kept his ears open too.
That is how he happened to hear a little cry, a very faint little cry. If he had been whistling, he wouldn’t have heard it at all. He stopped to listen. He never had heard a cry just like it before. At first he couldn’t make out just what it was or where it came from. But one thing he was sure of, and that was that it was a cry of fright. He stood perfectly still and listened with all his might. There it was again–“Help! Help! Help”–and it was very faint and sounded terribly frightened. He waited a minute or two, but heard nothing more. Then he put down his pail and began a hurried look here, there, and everywhere. He was sure that it had come from somewhere on the ground, so he peered behind bushes and peeped behind logs and stones, and then just as he had about given up hope of finding where it came from, he went around a little turn in the old cow-path, and there right in front of him was little Mr. Gartersnake, and what do you think he was doing? Well, I don’t like to tell you, but he was trying to swallow one of the children of Stickytoes the Tree Toad. Of course Farmer Brown’s Boy didn’t let him. He made little Mr. Gartersnake set Master Stickytoes free and held Mr. Gartersnake until Master Stickytoes was safely out of reach.
Go to Chapter 19 here.