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HOME > Children's Novel > The Curlytops in the Woods > CHAPTER XII TED IS CAUGHT
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 Trouble grunted1. Then he grunted again. Then he tried to get up from the floor where, as the lumberman said, the little fellow had sat down in a puddle3 of molasses.  
But Trouble found he couldn’t get up. His clothing stuck to the messy, sweet stuff and thus was held to the floor, almost as if it had been tacked4 there.
Then Trouble began to cry.
His father had run around the end of the counter to look behind it as soon as the lumberman spoke5 of the molasses. Ted2 and Janet followed their father. Thus all of them saw the trouble poor Trouble was in.
“Oh, he is stuck!” cried Ted, hardly able to keep from laughing.
“You poor dear!” murmured Janet. “I’ll get you up!”
“No, don’t go near him, or you’ll get in[138] the molasses, too,” warned Mr. Martin. “Stay where you are, Janet. I’ll lift Trouble out. Don’t cry, William,” he added kindly7, as he saw tears rolling down the little fellow’s face. “You couldn’t help it—I suppose,” he went on. “That is, unless you opened the spigot of the molasses barrel.”
“I only—now—er—I—now—only opened it a little bit of a way,” sobbed8 Trouble. “I wanted to see—now—how fast it would run out and it runned out an’ I—I couldn’t shut it off! Oh, dear!”
“Hum! I must put a lock on my molasses barrels if you are going to be around the store,” said Mr. Martin. He had first reached over Trouble’s head and shut off the stream of sweet stuff which no longer dribbled9 out on the floor. Then Mr. Martin lifted Trouble from his sticky seat, having to pull rather hard to get the little fellow up from the floor.
“My, but you need a bath!” cried Daddy Martin, holding Trouble as far away from him as possible so the dripping molasses would not soil his own clothes. “I guess I’ll dip you in the lake,” he added, with a laugh.
[139]“Oh, yes, give me a swim!” cried Trouble, thinking now only of this new fun.
“I believe I will,” said his father. “Your clothes will have to be soaked, anyhow, to get the molasses off, and I may as well soak you and them at the same time. It’s a warm day—just right for a bath.”
“Oh, may we go in, too?” begged Ted.
“No, I’d rather you wouldn’t now,” his father said.
“Anyhow, we’re going to play Pilgrims,” said Janet. “We’ll wait for you, Trouble,” she went on. “We’ll wait until you get cleaned up.”
Telling one of the clerks in the store to have the puddle of molasses mopped up and asking another man to look after things while he was gone, Mr. Martin took Trouble down to the lake, which was not far from the woodland store.
“What in the world are you going to do, Dick?” cried Mrs. Martin, as, coming over from the bungalow10, she saw her husband on his way to the lake with baby William.
“Daddy goin’ put me in water!” cried Trouble, now as much delighted as he had been frightened.
“What has happened?” asked his mother.
[140]“He sat in the molasses!” answered Ted.
“And he opened the barrel and it all ran out on the floor,” added Janet.
“Oh, Trouble!” sighed his mother.
“There didn’t much molasses run out,” corrected Mr. Martin. “Only about a quart, I guess, for he couldn’t get the spigot all the way open.”
He told what had happened, and said he thought the best way was to wash Trouble and his sticky clothes at the same time.
“Yes, it is a good way,” agreed Mrs. Martin. “I’ll do it, though, Dick. You go clean yourself off and get back to the store.”
“I guess I need a little scrubbing myself,” admitted Mr. Martin, with a laugh, as he looked at the spots of molasses that had dripped from Trouble to his trousers. Luckily they were an old pair that he had put on to do some rough work about the store, and he could easily change them.
“Dis lots ob fun!” announced Trouble, as his mother sat him down in the shallow water at the edge of the lake. “I go swimmin’ wif my clothes on! Ho! Ho!”
“Yes, it’s fun for you,” said his mother. “But it makes a lot of work for Lucy. She’ll have to wash and iron your clothes.[141] I don’t suppose there is much use in telling you not to do it again, for I don’t believe you will do that same thing again. But you’ll do something just as bad.”
And those of you who know Trouble will, no doubt, agree with Mrs. Martin.
Everything comes to an end at last, and so did the cleaning of Trouble. Dressed in dry garments, he went off with his brother and sister to the woods to play “Pigwim,” as he called it.
The children had with them some packages of crackers11 and other good things to eat for their lunch, and they hoped to have a lot of fun. Nor were they disappointed, for it was a lovely day to wander out among the trees of the forest.
The Curlytops and their little brother played “Pigwim” in the woods, pretending to be early Pilgrim Father settlers in fear of an attack by the Indians. Ted took the part of the Indians and made believe attack the log cabin of Trouble and Janet. The log cabin was made by piling some twigs13 the lumbermen had left against an old stump14. Afterwards Ted pretended to chase Trouble and Janet through the woods and they hid away from him.
[142]The children finally became tired of this game and started another. Then it was “time to eat,” as Trouble said, so they found a flat stump for a table and spread out on it the lunch their father had given them from the store.
“Doesn’t it taste good?” asked Ted of his sister.
“Awful good,” she agreed.
“Better’n it does at home,” added Ted.
“I ’ike it, too,” declared Trouble.
As I suppose you have all noticed, a picnic lunch, even if it is only crackers or bread and butter, tastes better than the finest meal served on plates with silver knives and forks and a spotless tablecloth15.
Suddenly, when the children were eating the last of their lunch, they heard a crackling in the bushes near them, and Trouble cried:
“It’s a bear!”
But it was nothing of the sort. It was only a couple of the lumbermen breaking their way through the underbrush and slashing16 at it with their sharp axes.
“Hello, kiddies!” greeted one of the men, with whom the Curlytops had been friendly.[143] “You’d better run away from here now,” he went on.
“Is a bear comin’?” asked Trouble.
“Oh, no,” laughed the man. “But we’re going to cut down some trees near here, and you might get hurt. Better run home.”
“Couldn’t we stay and watch you cut?” asked Ted.
“Yes, if you get in a safe place,” was the answer.
“I’ll put them where they won’t get hit,” said the other man.
Accordingly the Curlytops and Trouble were............
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