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Harper's Young People, July 20, 1880   By:

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[Illustration: HARPER'S




Tuesday, July 20, 1880. Copyright, 1880, by HARPER & BROTHERS. $1.50 per Year, in Advance.

[Illustration: "A POOR, DOOD, DEAD BEAR." DRAWN BY W. M. CARY.]



Dot Calliper had come out on the mountain side, with all the rest of them, after blackberries.

She had picked her little pail full industriously, but she was too fat and too small to climb any further among the rocks and stumps and bushes, so they had left her there, in the shade of the great chestnut tree, to watch the milk pails.

Not that there was any milk in them just now, for all three of them were more than half full of great, plump, overgrown berries blackberries, and the best and largest anybody had ever seen among those mountains. Such a season for berries!

There had been a great fire three years before, and it had burned the woods away, and nobody knew where the blackberry bushes had come from, but they had moved right in as if the country belonged to them, and they had climbed all over everything.

Dot sat by her pails and looked around, and she was half sorry all the berries near her had been picked and put into the big pails.

All the rest, even Johnny Coyne and Pen Burke, had little pails or else baskets, except Dot's big brother Bob, and he was now away up the mountain side with a pail that would hold almost as much as a milk pail.

Dot knew where the others were picking, for they didn't keep still a minute. Jessie Mack and Betsy were down among the rocks at her right, and Molly Calliper was with the boys up there on the left.

Dot was not in the least afraid at being alone, but she did wish she was hungry enough to eat some more berries.

She thought of it, and she tried to, but it was of no use, for all the while she had been picking she had put one berry in her rosy little mouth every time she had put another in her little tin pail.

"Oh, so much berries!" sighed Dot. "They're all our berries, too."

Yes, and Mrs. Calliper meant to dry them all and sell them, and buy some things for Dot and Molly and the baby. Bob had said that he meant to sell his own berries and buy him a new gun.

Want of appetite was the trouble with Dot; but there was somebody else in there, among the thickest of those bushes, picking, picking, picking, and eating every one he picked, and that fellow had never seen an hour in all his life when he could not have eaten some more blackberries.

An enormous fellow he was, and fatter for his size than Dot Calliper was for hers. He did not look at all ill natured, and there was even a sort of funny twinkle in his little black eyes, as he pulled the branches full of fruit to his mouth with his great clumsy looking paws.

They were not half so clumsy as they looked, and they were armed with long, sharp, cruel claws that were bent in a curve, like the teeth of the big shell comb Dot's mother bought of the peddler for her back hair. Then, too, when his mouth opened wide, as it did when he made one of his lazy, sleepy yawns, the teeth he showed were something dreadful to look at. Teeth of that size were never needed for eating such things as blackberries. They looked a great deal more as if they were meant for eating Dot Callipers.

He was evidently very fond of berries, and did not seem to have any doubt but what they all belonged to him. It was just as if he had offered a prize that summer for the bush that would bear the most blackberries, and was now going around among them to see which had won it. Every bush he came to just held out its branches for him to look at; but if Dot had been watching him, she would have seen at once that the fat old rascal never seemed to count the berries at all, but just gathered and swallowed them. How would he be able to tell, when he was done, which bush had done the best for him?

But Dot was not watching him... Continue reading book >>

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