T HE pricks of the porcupine's quills made Cuffy Bear's paws so sore that it was several days before he could run about again. And during all that time Cuffy was a very good little bear. He did not cuff his sister Silkie once. You see, he knew it would hurt his sore paws if he did.
The days were still fine. Cuffy loved to feel the bright sunshine upon his black coat. It warmed him through and through and he did not care at all if his feet did get wet in the melting snow.
At last one afternoon when his paws were quite well again Cuffy strayed some distance down the side of Blue Mountain. He was alone, because Silkie was asleep. You know, she was younger than Cuffy and still had to take naps. Cuffy had slid and tumbled down the mountainside until he was further from home than he knew. It did seem good to be able to put his paws upon the ground again without whimpering with pain. And coming to a short, steep place, Cuffy felt so glad that he actually turned a somersault and landed in a heap at the foot of the bank. He sat there for a moment, brushing the soft snow out of his face, when a flash of light dazzled his eyes. It came from a tree right in front of him. And Cuffy at once jumped up and ran to see what it was. He found that some one had fastened a shiny, new tin bucket to the trunk of the tree.
Cuffy felt that he must have that bucket to play with. He knew that he could have heaps of fun rolling it about on the ground. And he was just going to knock it off the hook that held it when he noticed that a small spout had been driven into the tree just above the bucket. And as Cuffy stood there on his hind legs, reaching up as high as he could, he saw a tiny drop fall from the spout and go splash! into the bucket. Then, as he watched, another drop fell; and another and another and another. Cuffy wondered where they came from. It must be—he thought—that there was a spring inside that tree. Yes! he was sure of it, for the bucket was half full of water. He felt thirsty, for he had not had a drink since lunch-time. And so Cuffy stuck his head into the pail and took a good, big swallow.
The next instant he squealed with joy. It was the nicest water he had ever tasted in all his life, for it was quite sweet—just as if somebody had left a heap of honey in the bottom of the bucket. But when Cuffy licked the end of the spout with his little red tongue he found that that tasted sweet too. Yes! it certainly was a wonderful spring. Cuffy was very glad that he had found it. And he decided that he would drink all he could of the delicious, sweet water and leave the pail hanging there. Then he could come back the next day and there would be more of that wonderful water all ready and waiting for him to drink up.