IB AND CHRISTINE
When they had arrived at a point in the stream where the assistant-boatman dwelt, a little way from the bank, the boat was moored, and the two men landed, after exhorting the children to sit still. But the children did not do that very long. They must be peeping into the basket in which the eels and the sucking-pig had been placed, and they must needs pull the sucking-pig out, and take it in their hands ; and as both wanted to hold it at the same time, it came to pass that they let it fall into the water, and the sucking-pig drifted away with the stream— and here was a terrible event!
lb jumped ashore, and ran a little distance along the bank, and Christine sprang after him.
1 Take me with you !' she cried.
And in a few minutes they were deep in the thicket, and could no longer see either the boat or the bank. They ran on a little farther, and then Christine fell down on the ground and began to cry ; but lb picked her up.
' Follow me !' he cried. ' The house lies over there.'
But the house was not there. They wandered on and on, over the withered leaves, and over dry fallen branches that crackled beneath their feet. Soon they heard a loud piercing scream. They stood still and listened, and presently the scream of an eagle again sounded through the wood. It was an ugly scream, and they were frightened at it; but before them, in the thick wood, the most beautiful blueberries grew in wonderful profusion. They were so inviting that the children could not do otherwise than stop ; and they lingered for some time, eating the blueberries till they had quite blue mouths and blue cheeks. Now again they heard the cry they had heard before.
1 We shall get into trouble about the pig,' said Christine.
' Come, let us go to our house,' said lb ; 'it is here in the wood.'
And they went forward. They presently came to a road, but it did not lead them home ; and darkness came on, and they were afraid. The wonderful stillness that reigned around was interrupted now and then by the shrill cries of the great horned owl and of the birds that were strange to them. At last they both lost themselves in a thicket. Christine cried, and lb cried too ; and after they had cried