This is a series of six small books written for younger children and published under the pseudonym Laura Bancroft. The stories are: Mr. Woodchuck Bandit Jim Crow Prarie-Dog Town Prince Mud-Turtle Twinkle's Enchantment Sugar-Loaf Mountain
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Twinkle And Chubbins
Their Astonishing Adventuresin Nature-Fairyland
(a.k.a. L. Frank Baum)
Chapter I The Trap
Chapter II Mister Woodchuck Captures a Girl
Chapter III Mister Woodchuck Scolds Twinkle
Chapter IV Mrs. Woodchuck and Her Family
Chapter V Mr. Woodchuck Argues the Question
Chapter VI Twinkle is Taken to the Judge
Chapter VII Twinkle is Condemned
Chapter VIII Twinkle Remembers
Bandit Jim Crow
Chapter I Jim Crow Becomes a Pet
Chapter II Jim Crow Runs Away
Chapter III Jim Crow Finds a New Home
Chapter IV Jim Crow Becomes a Robber
Chapter V Jim Crow Meets Policeman Blue Jay
Chapter VI Jim Crow Fools the Policeman
Chapter VII Jim Crow is Punished
Chapter VIII Jim Crow Has Time to Repent His Sins
Chapter I The Picnic
Chapter II Prarie-Dog Town
Chapter III Mr. Bowko, the Mayor
Chapter IV Presto Digi, the Magician
Chapter V The Home of the Puff-Pudgys
Chapter VI Teenty and Weenty
Chapter VII The Mayor Gives a Luncheon
Chapter VIII On Top of the Earth Again
Chapter I Twinkle Captures the Turtle
Chapter II Twinkle Discovers the Turtle Can Talk
Chapter III The Turtle Tells of the Corrugated Giant
Chapter IV Prince Turtle Remembers His Magic
Chapter V Twinkle Promises to Be Brave
Chapter VI Twinkle Meets the Corrugated Giant
Chapter VII Prince Mud-Turtle Becomes Prince Melga
Chapter VIII Twinkle Receives a Medal
Chapter I Twinkle Enters the Big Gulch
Chapter II The Rolling Stone
Chapter III Some Queer Acquaintances
Chapter IV The Dancing Bear
Chapter V The Cave of the Waterfall
Chapter VI Prince Nimble
Chapter VII The Grasshoppers' Hop
Chapter I The Golden Key
Chapter II Through the Tunnel
Chapter III Sugaf-Loaf City
Chapter IV To the King's Palace
Chapter V Princess Sakareen
Chapter VI The Royal Chariot
Chapter VII Twinkle Gets Thirsty
Chapter VIII After the Runaway
Twinkle And Chubbins, L. Frank Baum
Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck
86450 Altenmünster, Loschberg 9
"THERE'S a woodchuck over on the side hill that is eating my clover," said Twinkle's father, who was a farmer.
"Why don't you set a trap for it?" asked Twinkle's mother.
"I believe I will," answered the man.
So, when the midday dinner was over, the farmer went to the barn and got a steel trap, and carried it over to the clover-field on the hillside.
Twinkle wanted very much to go with him, but she had to help mamma wash the dishes and put them away, and then brush up the dining-room and put it in order. But when the work was done, and she had all the rest of the afternoon to herself, she decided to go over to the woodchuck's hole and see how papa had set the trap, and also discover if the woodchuck had yet been caught.
So the little girl took her blue-and-white sun-bonnet, and climbed over the garden fence and ran across the corn-field and through the rye until she came to the red-clover patch on the hill.
She knew perfectly well where the woodchuck's hole was, for she had looked at it curiously many times; so she approached it carefully and found the trap set just in front of the hole. If the woodchuck stepped on it, when he came out, it would grab his leg and hold him fast; and there was a chain fastened to the trap, and also to a stout post driven into the ground, so that when the woodchuck was caught he couldn't run away with the trap.
But although the day was bright and sunshiny, and just the kind of day woodchucks like, the clover-eater had not yet walked out of his hole to get caught in the trap.
So Twinkle lay down in the clover-field, half hidden by a small bank in front of the woodchuck's hole, and began to watch for the little animal to come out. Her eyes could see right into the hole, which seemed to slant upward into the hill instead of downward; but of course she couldn't see very far in, because the hole wasn't straight, and grew black a little way from the opening.
It was somewhat wearisome, waiting and watching so long, and the warm sun and the soft chirp of the crickets that hopped through the clover made Twinkle drowsy. She didn't intend to go to sleep, because then she might miss the woodchuck; but there was no harm in closing her eyes just one little minute; so she allowed the long lashes to droop over her pretty pink cheeks--just because they felt so heavy, and there was no way to prop them up.
Then, with a start, she opened her eyes again, and saw the trap and the woodchuck hole just as they were before. Not quite, though, come to look carefully. The hole seemed to be bigger than at first; yes, strange as it might seem, the hole was growing bigger every minute! She watched it with much surprise, and then looked at the trap, which remained the same size it had always been. And when she turned her eyes upon the hole once more it had not only become very big and high, but a stone arch appeared over it, and a fine, polished front door now shut it off from the outside world. She could even read a name upon the silver door-plate, and the name was this:
"WELL, I declare!" whispered Twinkle to herself; "how could all that have happened?"
On each side of the door was a little green bench, big enough for two to sit upon, and between the benches was a doorstep of white marble, with a mat lying on it. On one side Twinkle saw an electric door-bell.
While she gazed at this astonishing sight a sound of rapid footsteps was heard, and a large Jack-Rabbit, almost as big as herself, and dressed in a messenger-boy's uniform, ran up to the woodchuck's front door and rang the bell.
Almost at once the door opened inward, and a curious personage stepped out.
Twinkle saw at a glance that it was the woodchuck himself,--but what a big and queer woodchuck it was!
He wore a swallow-tailed coat, with a waistcoat of white satin and fancy knee-breeches, and upon his feet were shoes with silver buckles. On his head was perched a tall silk hat that made him look just as high as Twinkle's father, and in one paw he held a gold-headed cane. Also he wore big spectacles over his eyes, which made him look more dignified than any other woodchuck Twinkle had ever seen.
When this person opened the door and saw the Jack-Rabbit messenger-boy, he cried out:
"Well, what do you mean by ringing my bell so violently? I suppose you're half an hour late, and trying to make me think you're in a hurry."
The Jack-Rabbit took a telegram from its pocket and handed it to the woodchuck without a word in reply. At once the woodchuck tore open the envelope and read the telegram carefully.
"Thank you. There's no answer," he said; and in an instant the Jack-Rabbit had whisked away and was gone.
"Well, well," said the woodchuck, as if to himself, "the foolish farmer has set a trap for me, it seems, and my friends have sent a telegram to warn me. Let's see--where is the thing?"
He soon discovered the trap, and seizing hold of the chain he pulled the peg out of the ground and threw the whole thing far away into the field.
"I must give that farmer a sound scolding," he muttered, "for he's becoming so impudent lately that soon he will think he owns the whole country."
But now his eyes fell upon Twinkle, who lay in the clover staring up at him; and the woodchuck gave a laugh and grabbed her fast by one arm.
"Oh ho!" he exclaimed; "you're spying upon me, are you?"
"I'm just waiting to see you get caught in the trap," said the girl, standing up because the big creature pulled upon her arm. She wasn't much frightened, strange to say, because this woodchuck had a good-humored way about him that gave her confidence.
"You would have to wait a long time for that," he said, with a laugh that was a sort of low chuckle. "Instead of seeing me caught, you've got caught yourself. That's turning the tables, sure enough; isn't it?"
"I suppose it is," said Twinkle, regretfully. "Am I a prisoner?"
"You might call it that; and then, again, you mightn't," answered the woodchuck. "To tell you the truth, I hardly know what to do with you. But come inside, and we'll talk it over. We musn't be seen out here in the fields."
Still holding fast to her arm, the woodchuck led her through the door, which he carefully closed and locked. Then they passed through a kind of hallway, into which opened several handsomely furnished rooms, and out again into a beautiful garden at the back, all filled with flowers and brightly colored plants, and with a pretty fountain playing in the middle. A high stone wall was built around the garden, shutting it off from all the rest of the world.
The woodchuck led his prisoner to a bench beside the fountain, and told her to sit down and make herself comfortable.
TWINKLE was much pleased with her surroundings, and soon discovered several gold-fishes swimming in the water at the foot of the fountain.
"Well, how does it strike you?" asked the woodchuck, strutting up and down the gravel walk before her and swinging his gold-headed cane rather gracefully.
"It seems like a dream," said Twinkle.
"To be sure," he answered, nodding. "You'd no business to fall asleep in the clover."
"Did I?" she asked, rather startled at the suggestion.
"It stands to reason you did," he replied. "You don't for a moment think this is real, do you?"
"It _seems_ real," she answered. "Aren't you the woodchuck?"
"_Mister_ Woodchuck, if you please. Address me properly, young lady, or you'll make me angry."
"Well, then, aren't you Mister Woodchuck?"
"At present I am; but when you wake up, I won't be," he said.
"Then you think I'm dreaming?"
"You must figure that out for yourself," said Mister Woodchuck.
"What do you suppose made me dream?"
"I don't know."
"Do you think it's something I've eaten?" she asked anxiously.
"I hardly think so. This isn't any nightmare, you know, because there's nothing at all horrible about it so far. You've probably been reading some of those creepy, sensational story-books."
"I haven't read a book in a long time," said Twinkle.
"Dreams," remarked Mister Woodchuck, thoughtfully, "are not always to be accounted for. But this conversation is all wrong. When one is dreaming one doesn't talk about it, or even know it's a dream. So let's speak of something else."
"It's very pleasant in this garden," said Twinkle. "I don't mind being here a bit."
"But you can't stay here," replied Mister Woodchuck, "and you ought to be very uncomfortable in my presence. You see, you're one of the deadliest enemies of my race. All you human beings live for or think of is how to torture and destroy woodchucks."
"Oh, no!" she answered. "We have many more important things than that to think of. But when a woodchuck gets eating our clover and the vegetables, and spoils a lot, we just have to do something to stop it. That's why my papa set the trap."
"You're selfish," said Mister Woodchuck, "and you're cruel to poor little animals that can't help themselves, and have to eat what they can find, or starve. There's enough for all of us growing in the broad fields."
Twinkle felt a little ashamed.
"We have to sell the clover and the vegetables to earn our living," she explained; "and if the animals eat them up we can't sell them."
"We don't eat enough to rob you," said the woodchuck, "and the land belonged to the wild creatures long before you people came here and began to farm. And really, there is no reason why you should be so cruel. It hurts dreadfully to be caught in a trap, and an animal captured in that way sometimes has to suffer for many hours before the man comes to kill it. We don't mind the killing so much. Death doesn't last but an instant. But every minute of suffering seems to be an hour."
"That's true," said Twinkle, feeling sorry and repentant. "I'll ask papa never to set another trap."
"That will be some help," returned Mister Woodchuck, more cheerfully, "and I hope you'll not forget the promise when you wake up. But that isn't enough to settle the account for all our past sufferings, I assure you; so I am trying to think of a suitable way to punish you for the past wickedness of your father, and of all other men that have set traps."
"Why, if you feel that way," said the little girl, "you're just as bad as we are!"
"How's that?" asked Mister Woodchuck, pausing in his walk to look at her.
"It's as naughty to want revenge as it is to be selfish and cruel," she said.
"I believe you are right about that," answered the animal, taking off his silk hat and rubbing the fur smooth with his elbow. "But woodchucks are not perfect, any more than men are, so you'll have to take us as you find us. And now I'll call my family, and exhibit you to them. The children, especially, will enjoy seeing the wild human girl I've had the luck to capture."
"Wild!" she cried, indignantly.
"If you're not wild now, you will be before you wake up," he said.
BUT Mister Woodchuck had no need to call his family, for just as he spoke a chatter of voices was heard and Mrs. Woodchuck came walking down a path of the garden with several young woodchucks following after her.
The lady animal was very fussily dressed, with puffs and ruffles and laces all over her silk gown, and perched upon her head was a broad white hat with long ostrich plumes. She was exceedingly fat, even for a woodchuck, and her head fitted close to her body, without any neck whatever to separate them. Although it was shady in the garden, she held a lace parasol over her head, and her walk was so mincing and airy that Twinkle almost laughed in her face.
The young woodchucks were of several sizes and kinds. One little woodchuck girl rolled before her a doll's baby-cab, in which lay a woodchuck doll made of cloth, in quite a perfect imitation of a real woodchuck. It was stuffed with something soft to make it round and fat, and its eyes were two glass beads sewn upon the face. A big boy woodchuck wore knickerbockers and a Tam o' Shanter cap and rolled a hoop; and there were several smaller boy and girl woodchucks, dressed quite as absurdly, who followed after their mother in a long train.
"My dear," said Mister Woodchuck to his wife, "here is a human creature that I captured just outside our front door."
"Huh!" sneered the lady woodchuck, looking at Twinkle in a very haughty way; "why will you bring such an animal into our garden, Leander? It makes me shiver just to look at the horrid thing!"
"Oh, mommer!" yelled one of the children, "see how skinny the beast is!"
"Hasn't any hair on its face at all," said another, "or on its paws!"
"And no sign of a tail!" cried the little woodchuck girl with the doll.
"Yes, it's a very strange and remarkable creature," said the mother. "Don't touch it, my precious darlings. It might bite."
"You needn't worry," said Twinkle, rather provoked at these speeches. "I wouldn't bite a dirty, greasy woodchuck on any account!"
"Whoo! did you hear what she called us, mommer? She says we're greasy and dirty!" shouted the children, and some of them grabbed pebbles from the path in their paws, as if to throw them at Twinkle.
"Tut, tut! don't be cruel," said Mister Woodchuck. "Remember the poor creature is a prisoner, and isn't used to good society; and besides that, she's dreaming."
"Really?" exclaimed Mrs. Woodchuck, looking at the girl curiously.
"To be sure," he answered. "Otherwise she wouldn't see us dressed in such fancy clothes, nor would we be bigger than she is. The whole thing is unnatural, my dear, as you must admit."
"But _we_'re not dreaming; are we, Daddy?" anxiously asked the boy with the hoop.
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