BLOWING OUT THE CANDLES
"Let's try to blow out the candles next," suggested Toad, to which the others agreed.
"Bet I win this," boasted Fat, "I've got a lot of wind."
"Reddy ought to win," laughed Chuck, "he's always blowing about what he can do."
A tray with ten candles was now placed upon the table by Toad and the boys got in line while Father Brown lighted the candles. Then, with paper and pencil he stood near at hand to keep the score.
"Only one puff each, remember, so make it a big one," he laughed.
Fat and Herbie, from their places in the line, began at once puffing and blowing.
"Hey, what are you trying to do," called Linn Smith, "start a cyclone?"
"No, we're only practising," was the laughing reply.
"I'll puff, and I'll puff 'till I blow your house in," sang Herbie, adding, "here's where I win."
Hopie Smith, first in line, filled out his chest with all the air it would hold, and stepped forward.
"How many?" shouted the others.
"Five," counted Father Brown, "that's a good beginning."
Reddy then gave Fat a poke with his elbow.
"Move up," he urged.
Toad came next and turned around three times for luck and then took a long breath. Puff!
"One, two, three, four," called Father.
"What," cried Toad in surprise, "only four—why, I was sure they would all go out."
Linn came next. Standing upon his toes and holding his hands together high above his head he turned slowly around, then, leaning down he gave a great blow.
"Six," counted Father Brown, "that's the best yet."
"Watch me," cried Chuck, who stood next, and placing his hands upon his hips he started dancing about before the table.
"Ha, look at the funny dancer," shouted Hopie.
Chuck gave a puff and blew out six candles which tied Linn's score.
Fat, who was now next in line, leaned far over. Placing his hands on the floor he lifted his right foot and shook it three times, then standing up he puffed out his cheeks for a mighty blow.
"Look out, you'll bust," warned Herbie.
"By jiminy, he did it," cried Toad, "good boy, Fat," as every candle went out.
"Reddy may tie him," suggested Father. "Let's see."
Reddy turned three somersaults for luck and standing before the candles blew with all his strength, and seven went out.
"Fat gets the prize and it's just what he likes most," cried Toad.
"Oh, but I'm glad I came," sighed Fat, as he opened the big box of candy that Toad had handed him.
"Now all be good children," he added, "and I'll give you each a piece."