THE SWINGING APPLES
Mother Brown now whispered something in Fat's ear and with a broad grin Fat disappeared through the door leading to the kitchen. In another moment he reappeared carrying two large, well-greased pans in his hands. At once the boys all crowded about the fireplace trying to help and in less time than it takes to tell, the taffy that had been boiling in the large pot was poured into the pans and set away to cool.
"By jiminy, I hope it tastes as good as it smells," observed Toad.
"I'm sure it will," replied Mother Brown, with a smile.
"Stand in line," ordered Chuck, "while I tie your hands behind your backs."
"You're not going to spank us, are you?" wailed Fat, making believe to cry.
"No, silly," laughed Chuck, adding, "Everyone take off his slip, now. We need our whole faces to play this game."
Toad, with the help of Father Brown, then placed a long pole so that the ends rested on the top of two bookcases and from it hung many bright red apples, tied on with strings.
"Now," said Chuck, "the fellow who can take one good bite out of an apple without using anything to steady it with, gets a prize."
"Me first," cried Herbie.
"All right," was the reply, "go ahead." And Herbie started.
At first it seemed very easy, but whenever he got ready to take a good bite the apple always slipped away. The boys all laughed as Herbie made one dive after another.
"Ah, have a bite," cried Reddy. "I picked that one out for you."
Herbie then gave the apple a push and stood with his mouth wide open, awaiting the return swing, but instead of getting a bite, the apple landed on his nose.
Fat fairly rolled over with laughter and after a few more attempts Herbie gave up his place to Linn Smith. Then Father Brown took Herbie's apple off the string and, tossing it to him, said:
"Here's the Boobie prize."
Linn had no better luck than Herbie, although he tried his hardest. The apple always bobbed about his head, rolling away just as he thought he had it.
"You're next," called out Toad, as Fat stepped forward toward the apples.
"Good evening," said Fat, bowing low, "I've a very empty feeling, would you like to step inside?"
"Ah, hurry up," shouted Reddy, "I want a turn some time tonight."
"So do I," chimed in Hopie Smith.
Fat grinned. "Don't be in such a hurry; it never pays," he retorted.
Again and again he tried but did no better than the rest. Hopie Smith, who followed, had no success, and then came Reddy's turn. Bending down, he brought his face up under the lower end of the apple and opening his mouth very wide and bringing his teeth together with a quick snap he succeeded in biting a piece out of the apple.
"Dandy," shouted Toad, "he gets the prize," and as he handed the winner a box Reddy opened it and exclaimed:
"Oh, it's a knife, that's great, and I needed one too."
"That's a beauty," declared Herbie, "You're lucky, Red."