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Nursery-Rhymes-Fun News, Issue #157 -- <
July 15, 2019

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It happened one day that, as Bully No-Tail, the frog boy, was walking along with his bag of marbles going clank-clank in his pocket, he met Johnnie and Billie Bushytail, the squirrels.

“Hello, Bully!” called the two brothers. “Do you want to have a game of marbles?”

“Of course I do,” answered Bully. “I just bought some new ones. ‘First shot agates!’”

“First shot!” yelled Billie, right after Bully.

“First shot!” also cried Johnnie, almost at the same time.

“Well, I guess we’re about even,” spoke Bully, as he opened his marble bag to look inside. “Now, how are we going to tell who will shoot first?”

“I’ll tell you,” proposed Billie. “We’ll each throw a marble up into the air, and the one whose comes down first will shoot first.”

Well, the other two animal boys thought that was fair, so they tossed their marble shooters up into the air. Billie only sent his up a little way, for then he knew it would come down first, but Johnnie and Bully didn’t think of this, and they threw their shooters up as high as they could. And, of course, their marbles were so much longer coming down to the ground again.

“Oh, ho! Here’s mine!” cried Billie. “I’m to shoot first.”

“And here’s mine,” added Johnnie, a little later, as his marble came down.

“Yes, but where’s mine?” asked Bully, and they all listened carefully to tell when Bully’s shooter would fall down. But the funny part of it was that it didn’t come.

“Say, did you throw it up to the sky?” asked Billie surprised like.

“Because, if you did, it won’t come down until Fourth of July,” added Johnnie.

“No, I didn’t throw it as high as that,” replied the frog boy. “But perhaps Dickie Chip-Chip, the sparrow boy, is flying around up there, and he may have caught it in his bill for a joke.”

So they looked up toward the clouds as far as they could, but no little sparrow boy did they see.

“Well, we’ll have a game of marbles, anyhow,” said Bully at length. “I have another shooter.”

So he and Billie and Johnnie made a ring in the dirt, and put some marbles in the center.

Then they began to play, and Billie shot first, then Johnnie, and last of all Bully. And all the while the frog boy was wondering what had happened to his first marble.

Billie and Johnnie had each missed hitting any marbles, and when it came Bully’s turn he took careful aim, with his second-best shooter, a red and blue one.

“Whack-bang!” That’s the way Bully’s shooter hit the marbles in the ring, scattering them all over, and rolling several outside.

“Say, are you going to knock ’em all out?” asked Billie.

“That’s right! Leave some for us,” begged Johnnie.

“Wait until I have one more trial,” went on Bully, for you see he had two shots on account of being lucky with his first one and knocking some marbles from the ring.

Then he went to look for his second-best shooter, for it had rolled away, but he couldn’t find it. It had completely, and mysteriously disappeared.

“I’m sure it rolled over here,” said Bully as he poked around in the grass near a big bush. “Please help me look for it, fellows.”

So Billie and Johnnie helped Bully look, but they couldn’t find the second lost shooter.

“You two go on playing and I’ll hunt for the marble,” said Bully after a while, so he searched along in the grass, and, as he did so, he dropped a nice glass agate out of his bag. He stooped to pick it up, but before he could get his toes on it something that looked like a big chicken’s bill darted out of the prickly briar bush and gobbled up the marble.

“Oh!” cried Bully in fright, jumping back, “I wonder if that was a snake?”

“No, I’m not a snake,” was the answer. “I’m a bird,” and then out from behind the bush came a great, big Pelican bird.

“Did—did you take my marble?” asked Bully timidly.

“I did!” cried the Pelican bird, snapping his bill together just like a big pair of scissors. “I think I shall collect them and make a necklace. They are really quite beautiful. Give me some more!”

The bird snapped his beak again, and Bully jumped back. As he did so the marbles in his pocket rattled, and the Pelican heard them.

“Ha! You have more!” he cried: “Hand ’em over. I just love marbles!”

“No, you can’t have mine!” exclaimed Bully, backing away. “I want to play some more games with Billie and Johnnie with these,” and he looked to see where his two friends were. They were quite some distance off, shooting marbles as hard as they could.

Then, all of a sudden, that Pelican bird made a swoop for poor Bully, and before the frog boy could get out of the way the bird had grabbed all of the marbles. In the process of grabbing the marbles, the Pelican bird snatched Bully’s marble bag, which Bully was holding tightly and Bully became tangled inside the Pelican’s big beak.

“Oh, let me out of here!” cried Bully, hopping about inside the bird’s big bill. “Let me out! Let me out!”

“No, I’ll not,” said the big bird, speaking through his nose because his mouth was shut. “I’ll keep you there until you give me all your marbles, or until I decide whether or not I’ll eat you for my supper.”

Well, poor Bully was very much frightened, and I guess you’d be, too. He tried to get out but he couldn’t, and the bird began walking off to his nest, taking the frog boy with him. Then Bully thought of his bag of marbles, and, inside the big bill, he rattled them as loudly as he could.

“Billie and Johnnie Bushytail may hear me, and help me,” he thought.

And, surely enough the squirrel boys did. They heard the rattle of Bully’s marbles inside the Pelican’s beak, and they saw the big bird, and they guessed at once where Bully was. Then they ran up to the Pelican, and began hitting him with their marbles, which they threw at him as hard as they could. In the eyes and on his ears and on his wiggily toes and on his big beak they hit him with marbles, until that Pelican bird was glad enough to open his bill and let Bully go, marbles and all. Then the bird flew away to its nest, and Bully and his friends could play their game once more.

The Pelican never did come back to bother them again and the three friends were able to continue their game of marbles without any further troubles.


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