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


A FTER Cuffy Bear's adventure with Mrs. Eagle he did not stray far from home for several weeks. You can see, from that, that he had been badly frightened. Yes—just to look at a crow flapping through the air made Cuffy dizzy now; and nothing would have tempted him to go up the mountain again.

But Cuffy became very tired of playing near his father's house all the time. And at last he wandered down into the valley one day. There was something down there that Cuffy wanted to see. You'd never guess what it was; so I'll tell you. Cuffy Bear wanted to see a mowing-machine. You may think that was queer. But you see, it was summer now. And down in the valley Farmer Green was making hay as fast as ever he could. Early and late there sounded far up the mountainside the click-clack-click-clack of Farmer Green's mowing-machine.

When he first heard it Cuffy Bear had been very much alarmed; and he had come running into the house in a great fright. But his mother explained what the sound was. And after that Cuffy had been very curious to see that wonderful machine, which was pulled back and forth through the meadows by horses, leaving behind it a broad path of grass which lay flat on the ground.

So that was the reason why Cuffy stole away from home. He felt that he simply must see a mowing-machine. Nothing but the sight of a mowing-machine would make him happy. He was sure of that.

Now, where Farmer Green's meadow met the forest, Cuffy paused. He hid behind a tree and looked out over the field. The click-clack sounded quite loud now. And from the other side of the meadow Cuffy could see two horses coming towards him. There was a man driving them. And Cuffy thought that they must be drawing the mowing-machine. So he waited quietly. And all the time the click-clack-click-clack grew louder than ever. And pretty soon, as he peeped slyly around the tree, Cuffy Bear saw the mowing-machine. It came delightfully close to him, stopped, turned about, and moved away again toward the opposite side of the field.

Cuffy gave a great sigh of satisfaction. He had seen a mowing-machine. He was glad that he had come down into the valley. He was not the least bit sorry that he had disobeyed his parents and stolen away from home.

Yes, Cuffy was feeling very happy as he went prowling along the border of the forest. He crept in and out of the bushes that fringed the hay-field, and was having altogether a most pleasant time; until all at once he stopped short. Cuffy's nose sniffed the air for a moment, and the hairs on his back bristled just like those on a dog when he is startled. Cuffy had caught a strange odor in the air.

At first he was frightened. But after he had sniffed the air a few times he decided that whatever it was that he smelled, it had a good, pleasant odor, and made him think of something to eat.

So Cuffy Bear began to nose about among the bushes. And presently he discovered, hidden away beneath a clump of ferns, a basket of delicious food. It was the haymakers' lunch that Cuffy had found. And he lost no time. He began to eat as fast as he could. Yes—I am very sorry to say that Cuffy actually gobbled Farmer Green's lunch. And he was so greedy that a strange thing happened to him.

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