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

Cuffy Climbs Blue Mountain

C UFFY BEAR had never been very far up Blue Mountain beyond the place where his father's house nestled among the evergreens. You know, the summer before he had been a very small little bear indeed, and the higher one goes up Blue Mountain the harder the climbing becomes. But now Cuffy was growing very fast; and he was able to scramble up places he could never have even crept a year ago. Each day now Cuffy climbed a little nearer the top of Blue Mountain. And at last the day came when he reached the very top. It was so high that the trees did not grow there. He found nothing but rocks everywhere, with just a little earth to fill the cracks.

Cuffy thought it great fun to clamber about all by himself and look down at the hills and valleys that stretched away in all directions. Indeed, he hated to leave that delightful spot. But he noticed that the sun was getting low in the west and he knew that he must hurry home. So Cuffy started down the mountainside.

He did not pick out the easiest way to go. Oh, no! He chose the very steepest places to slide down. And as he went slipping down the steepest cliff of all he came upon something that gave him a great surprise. For he saw, built right in the crack of a ledge, a big bird's nest made of sticks. It was the biggest bird's nest Cuffy had ever seen; and in it were two great white eggs. They were the greatest white eggs Cuffy had ever seen, too.

How lucky! At least, that was what Cuffy thought then. For he was very fond of birds' eggs, and his climb had made him even hungrier than usual. He stopped then and there and with one rap of the paw he broke one of the eggs and began to eat it.

Cuffy was enjoying his lunch very much. He had almost finished the first egg and was just about to turn to the other when he heard a deafening scream.

Cuffy looked all around. He thought that perhaps there was a pig up there on the mountain. But no! He couldn't see a thing. Then came that cry again. This time it was louder. And it seemed to come from right over Cuffy's head. He looked up then. And there was an enormous bird dropping right down on top of him! It seemed to Cuffy that its wings stretched as wide as the branches of the great pine tree in his father's front-yard. He never even dreamed that there could be as big a bird in the whole world. And during that one instant that Cuffy's little beady bright eyes were turned upwards he saw that the great bird had a wicked, hooked beak and claws that were as sharp as his own, and ever so much longer.

One look was enough for Cuffy. He turned and tumbled down the steep cliff, head over heels, with the eagle following him.

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