Gateway to the Classics: The Tale of Cuffy Bear by Arthur Scott Bailey
The Tale of Cuffy Bear by  Arthur Scott Bailey

Cuffy Likes Baked Beans

C UFFY BEAR found many good things in Farmer Green's lunch basket. He bolted all the bread-and-butter, and the doughnuts; and he found the custard pie to be about as enjoyable as any dainty he had ever tasted. And then, with his little black face all smeared with streaks of yellow custard, Cuffy began to poke a small iron pot which stood in one corner of the big basket. Presently the pot tipped over, its cover fell off, and soon Cuffy was devouring the daintiest dish of all! Baked beans! Of course, he didn't know the name of those delicious, brown, mealy kernels. But that made no difference at all to Cuffy. So long as he liked what he was eating the name of it never troubled him. The only thing that annoyed Cuffy now was that the pot was not bigger. There were still a few beans which clung to the bottom; and try as he would, Cuffy could not reach them, even with his tongue.

He was sitting on the ground, with the pot between his legs, and his nose stuck into it as far as Cuffy could get it. But still he could not reach those beans in the bottom. And pretty soon Cuffy began to lose his temper. He stood up and gave a good, hard push against the ground. And so he managed to squeeze his nose a little further into the bean-pot. And now, to his huge delight, he could just reach the bottom of the pot with his long under-lip. In a twinkling Cuffy had all the beans in his mouth. And he would have grinned—he felt so happy—if his nose hadn't been wedged so tightly into the pot that he couldn't even smile.

Since there were no more beans to be had out of that  pot, Cuffy lifted his head. And to his great astonishment the bean-pot came right up off the ground too, almost as if it were alive. It startled Cuffy, until he saw that it was he who lifted the pot, on his own nose.

He seized the bean-pot and pulled. But his paws were so greasy with butter that he couldn't get a good grip on it. The pot still stuck on his nose as fast as ever.

Cuffy grunted. He couldn't really have said anything, with his mouth deep in the iron pot. So he just grunted in a pouting sort of way; and then he gave the pot a sharp rap against a rock. That hurt his nose. And this time he growled—as well as he could. But all his grunting and growling didn't frighten the bean-pot the slightest bit. There it stayed, perched on his nose just as if it would never come off.


The pot still stuck on Cuffy's nose.

All this time the mowing-machine kept up a click-clack-click-clack! And Cuffy thought that he had better get out of sight. So he plunged into the forest and started toward home. He felt very uncomfortable, for he began to wonder whether he would ever get rid of that troublesome pot. What puzzled him most was this thought: How would he ever be able to eat again, with that horrid thing over his nose? Cuffy was very fond of riddles; but here was one that he did not like at all.

When he reached home his father and mother and Silkie all laughed so hard at the sight of him that Cuffy began to whimper. And a big tear rolled from each eye, ran down the bean-pot, and dropped off the bottom of it.

And then, with just one tug Mr. Bear pulled the bean-pot off his son's nose; and Cuffy was himself again.

He escaped a punishing, too, that time. And Mrs. Bear was very glad to get such a nice iron pot. She had wanted one for a long time.

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