THE WONDERFUL PIE
Mother Brown now appeared in the doorway.
"Won't you come into the dining room?" she requested, and the boys lost no time in accepting the invitation.
"That means something to eat," whispered Herbie. "Wonder what it'll be."
As the boys entered the dining room they started with surprise, for there, hanging over the table, was the huge grinning face of a jack-o-lantern.
"Well," exclaimed Fat, "what a sweet face!" which brought a round of laughter from the others.
In the center of the table was a large paper pie and seven ribbons came from under the crust, each of them having a card on the end. A plate of paper snap-crackers of bright colors and the fancy yellow paper napkin at each place gave the table a gay look.
"What a funny pie," laughed Hopie. "What's inside?"
"Each one find the card with his name on it. Then we'll all pull together," directed Chuck, "and find out."
"Here's yours, Fat," called out Linn.
"You're over here, by me, Reddy," announced Toad.
"The fun's going to begin in a minute," cried Herbie. "Come on, Hopie, here's yours."
"Everyone ready now," cried Toad as each one held on to his own ribbon. "Now, one, two, three, pull," and, with a tearing of paper out came the contents of the pie.
Huge wiggly spiders, toads that hopped about the table, mice that looked real enough to frighten any girl, long striped paper snakes and giant grasshoppers were on the ends of those ribbons.
The boys screamed with laughter as the queer-looking things hopped, rolled and bumped about on the table.
"Look at what I've got," shrieked Hopie, holding an ugly looking spider up to view.
"If that was real I'll bet you wouldn't be within ten feet of it," said Fat.
"I'm going to scare our girl into fits with this mouse," laughed Herbie. "She'll just take one look at it then hop up on a chair; and won't she be mad when she finds out it isn't real?"
"Say, fellows, watch this frog jump," cried Fat, winding up a green and yellow one made of tin.
"Bet mine can beat it," boasted Reddy. "Let's race them."
"Thought yours could hop further than my little Heinie, didn't you?" teased Fat a minute later after his frog had won.
"Well, you wait until I get mine oiled up," warned Reddy, "and we'll try it again."
When the boys pulled the snappers, the gay paper hats caused great merriment, Fat having a baby cap with long strings which he tied under his chin.
"Ah, here comes the ice cream!" exclaimed Herbie. "Look at the funny figures it's in," he added, as a large platter, holding many odd little shapes, was placed before Toad.
"Youngest first," announced Toad. "What do you choose, Hopie?"
"I'll take, let's see; guess I'll have a pumpkin," finally decided Hopie and a yellow ice-cream pumpkin was placed before him.
"You're next, Reddy," said Chuck.
"Am not; Herbie's younger than I am," protested Reddy.
"I'll take the rabbit," laughed Herbie. "I like chocolate and vanilla best."
Reddy now chose a pink and white wind mill, Chuck a pony.
"Don't I wish it was real," he said.
"Well, the turtle looks like it might taste pretty good," said Fat, and then it was Linn's turn.
"It doesn't seem fair for you to be last, Toad, when you ought to have come after Reddy," remarked Linn.
"Oh, well, it's my party, so I have to be last," was the answer.
"Well," agreed Linn, "if that's so I'll have the ship."
"Oh, good," cried Toad, "that leaves the engine for me and I wanted it more than anything else."
"This turtle makes better ice cream than he would soup," grinned Fat as he took another spoonfull.
"I'm eating my rabbit's ears first," chirped Herbie.
"Well, I'm eating the smoke from my engine, first," Toad chimed in.
"Here's the cake, you'll have to cut it, Toad," Linn informed him, "for it's bad luck to let any one else cut a birthday cake for you."
It was covered with white icing and ablaze with candles.
"Now watch the candles go out," and Toad gave a great puff. "All over," he declared, laughing, "now I'll cut the cake."
"There is a piece of silver in it, Thomas," said his mother, "and the one who gets it will be the lucky one in life, and a thimble for the one who is going to be a bachelor."
At this the boys urged Toad to hurry and when the cake had been cut and passed around each boy looked his piece over carefully.
"Hurrah, I've got the money," shouted Hopie, holding up a bright dime so all could see.
"And I've got the thimble," wailed Chuck. "Now I'll have to sew on all my own buttons."
"Hopie's lucky all right; he won the money in the flour, too," observed Herbie.
It was now growing late so the boys, much against their will, found their hats and bade good-night to Father and Mother Brown.
"We've had a fine time, Toad," said Fat, "hope you have another birthday next year."
"I'm very sorry to have to do it," announced Linn, grasping Toad and turning him over his knee, "but you must have nine spanks and one for good luck."
"Why didn't we think of it before?" agreed the others, helping to hold Toad until each one had his turn.
"Well, I ought to be good for a year, now," laughed Toad, after he managed to get away. "Wait 'till it's your turn, Linn, won't I give you some good ones?"
"Good-night," responded Linn, "we've had a dandy time."
"You bet we have," echoed all the others.
"Good-bye, good-bye," called Chuck and Toad, standing in the doorway as the boys disappeared in the darkness.