Bruno's Picnic

`AS bald as bald' was the bewildering reply. `Now, Bruno, I'll tell you a story.'

`And I'll tell oo a story,' said Bruno, beginning in a great hurry for fear of Sylvie getting the start of him: `once there were a Mouse--a little tiny Mouse--such a tiny little Mouse! Oo never saw such a tiny Mouse--'

`Did nothing ever happen to it, Bruno?' I asked. `Haven't you anything more to tell us, besides its being so tiny?'

`Nothing never happened to it,' Bruno solemnly replied.

`Why did nothing never happen to it?' said Sylvie, who was sitting, with her head on Bruno's shoulder, patiently waiting for a chance of beginning her story.

`It were too tiny,' Bruno explained.

`That's no reason!' I said. `However tiny it was, things might happen to it.'

Bruno looked pityingly at me, as if he thought me very stupid. `It were too tiny,' he repeated. `If anything happened to it, it would die--it were so very tiny!'

`Really that's enough about its being tiny!' Sylvie put in. `Haven't you invented any more about it?'

`Haven't invented no more yet.'

`Well, then, you shouldn't begin a story till you've invented more! Now be quiet, there's a good boy, and listen to my story.'

And Bruno, having quite exhausted all his inventive faculty, by beginning in too great a hurry, quietly resigned himself to listening. `Tell about the other Bruno, please,' he said coaxingly.

Sylvie put her arms round his neck, and began:--

`The wind was whispering among the trees,' (`That wasn't good manners!' Bruno interrupted. `Never mind about manners,' said Sylvie) `and it was evening--a nice moony evening, and the Owls were hooting--'

`Pretend they weren't Owls!' Bruno pleaded, stroking her cheek with his fat little hand. `I don't like Owls. Owls have such great big eyes. Pretend they were Chickens!'

`Are you afraid of their great big eyes, Bruno?' I said.

`Aren't `fraid of nothing,' Bruno answered in as careless a tone as he could manage: `they're ugly with their great big eyes. I think if they cried, the tears would be as big--oh, as big as the moon!' And he laughed merrily. `Doos Owls cry ever, Mister Sir?'

`Owls cry never,' I said gravely, trying to copy Bruno's way of speaking: `they've got nothing to be sorry for, you know.'

`Oh, but they have!' Bruno exclaimed. `They're ever so sorry, `cause they killed the poor little Mouses!'

`But they're not sorry when they're hungry, I suppose?'

`Oo don't know nothing about Owls!' Bruno scornfully remarked. `When they're hungry, they're very, very sorry they killed the little Mouses, `cause if they hadn't killed them there'd be sumfin for supper, oo know!'

Bruno was evidently getting into a dangerously inventive state of mind, so Sylvie broke in with `Now I'm going on with the story. So the Owls--the Chickens, I mean--were looking to see if they could find a nice fat Mouse for their supper--'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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