`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--'
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|