Christmas Holidays at Merryvale



"Hey, Captain of the enemy!" shouted Chuck from the other fort, "are you ready?"

"All ready," came the answer. "Fire!"

A storm of snowballs flew through the air and Reddy barely had time to duck his head as they whizzed by.

"Looks as though they had plenty of balls, too," exclaimed Toad, hastily picking up an armful and running outside to get within closer range.

"I don't think so," protested Herbie. "I could see all of them working on the fort. We have lots more, I'm sure."

"Well," cried the Captain, "let everybody take a pile of snowballs and we'll run out together and maybe we can drive them from their fort."

Each boy carried as many as he could in one arm, this leaving the other one free to throw with.

"We'll have to make a quick run for it and throw just as fast and hard as we can," said Herbie, as Toad, who had at that moment returned to the fort in a great hurry, his hat covered with snow, exclaimed:

"They got me, but I hit two or three of them!"

"All ready!" shouted the Captain, and the others, following close on his heels, dashed out.

Such a hail of snowballs met them that they halted for a moment, then dashed onward right up to the enemy's fort.

"Don't waste any ammunition until you get close," ordered Reddy, and his company obeyed. "Now let her fly," he directed, as they surrounded the fort.

The boys threw with a will and were vigorously answered by the defenders of the fort, and for a time it was hard to see which side would win. Finally, after the ammunition of the attacking force was used up, Captain Reddy ordered a retreat back to their own fort.

"I have a better plan this time," he announced after they were safely inside. "When we charge again, two of you fellows must keep running back to our own fort so as to bring us supplies of snowballs. Then we can keep up a much longer fight and when anyone gets tired throwing," he added, "he can change places with one of the fellows that have been carrying the balls."

At this moment, Herbie, who had been on the lookout, suddenly cried:

"They're coming to charge us."

"Get ready to give it to them," ordered the Captain and each boy, snatching up an armful of snowballs, prepared to repel the attack.

"Fire!" Reddy shouted, as the enemy drew near, and when they met that rain of balls it didn't take them long to get back to the cover of their own fort.

"That was great!" cried Herbie. "Come on, let us charge this time before they have a chance to get ready for us."

"Hey, I'm the Captain," insisted Reddy. "Nobody gives any orders but me," and he pulled his woolen cap well down over his ears in preparation for the coming attack.

"Well, hurry up and give them, then!" shouted Toad. "I'm all loaded up."

"Charge, charge on!" shouted Reddy, starting out on the run with the others close upon his heels, and after a few minutes of hard fighting they had forced their way to the walls of the fort.

The balls were flying so thick and so fast, from both sides, that it looked like a snow storm of enormous flakes shooting in all directions.

The boys carrying balls to supply the invaders were kept busy, but before long it was noticed that there were fewer coming from inside the fort.

"They've used up all they have," shouted Toad. "Let's get closer."

"Close in," cried Captain Reddy, "and aim well!"

In another minute you could plainly tell that each of the enemy, after throwing one snowball, had to stop long enough to make another one and this was the time for which Captain Reddy had been waiting.

"Charge the walls!" he ordered, and with wild cries the boys dashed forward.

Up over the walls they went and once inside the victory was easily won for the boys inside the fort were empty handed and couldn't defend themselves.

"We win, we win!" exclaimed Toad, throwing his hat into the air. "Three cheers for Captain Reddy!"

"Hurrah!" shouted all the boys.

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