LULU, ALICE AND JIMMIE WIBBLEWOBBLE
HOWARD R. GARIS
Author of Sammie and Susie Littletail, Johnnie and Billie Bushytail, Those Smith Boys, Dick Hamilton's Fortune, etc.
Illustrations by Louis Wisa
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R.F. Fenno & Company 18 East Seventeenth St. New York Children's Books
By HOWARD R. GARIS
THE BEDTIME STORIES SERIES
EIGHT COLORED ILLUSTRATIONS
Price 75 cents each, postpaid
SAMMIE AND SUSIE LITTLETAIL 31 Rabbit Stories JOHNNIE AND BILLIE BUSHYTAIL 31 Squirrel Stories LULU, ALICE AND JIMMIE WIBBLEWOBBLE 31 Duck Stories JACKIE AND PEETIE BOW-WOW 31 Dog Stories
Other volumes in preparation
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THE UNCLE WIGGILY SERIES
EIGHT COLORED ILLUSTRATIONS
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UNCLE WIGGILY'S ADVENTURES 31 of the Old Gentleman Rabbit Stories UNCLE WIGGILY'S TRAVELS 31 More Old Gentleman Rabbit Stories
THOSE SMITH BOYS SERIES
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THE SMITH BOYS Or, The Mystery of the Thumbless Man THOSE SMITH BOYS ON THE DIAMOND Or, Nip and Tuck for Victory
THE ISLAND BOYS SERIES
Price 75 cents each, postpaid
THE ISLAND BOYS Or, Fun and Adventures on Lake Modoc
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R.F. Fenno & Company
BEDTIME STORIES—Lulu, Alice and Jimmie
The stories herein contained appeared originally in the Evening News, of Newark, N.J., where (so many children and their parents have been kind enough to say) they gave pleasure to a number of little folks, and grown-ups also.
Permission to issue the stories in book form was kindly granted by the publisher and editor of the News, to whom the author extends his thanks.
LULU, ALICE AND JIMMIE WIBBLEWOBBLE
LULU WIBBLEWOBBLE STUCK IN THE MUD
Once upon a time, not so very many years ago, there lived three ducks in a duck pen. And this pen was not far from where Sammie and Susie Littletail, the rabbit children, had their burrow, and it was close to the trees where Johnnie and Billie Bushytail, the squirrel brothers, learned to jump from their nest. Now I am going to tell you some stories about these ducks, and what they did.
To begin with there was the mamma duck. She was Mrs. Wibblewobble, a nice, white duck, being a cousin to Mrs. Quack-Quack, who once rescued Billie and Johnnie Bushytail, and Jennie Chipmunk from the desert island where they had been shipwrecked, you remember.
Then there was the papa duck, and, of course, his name was Mr. Wibblewobble. Also there were the children ducks; Jimmie Wibblewobble and his two sisters, Lulu and Alice.
Lulu was a duckling who could throw a stone almost as well as could Jimmie, but Alice was not so fond of doing this. She would rather dress up, and play keep house, while Lulu wanted to be off having a good time with her brother. But the three ducklings got along very nicely together just the same.
What's that? Why were they named Wibblewobble? Well, because, you see they did wibblewobble from side to side when they walked, and so they had to be named Wibblewobble, or things wouldn't have come out right. So there!
Well, the Wibblewobble family lived in a nice, wooden house, called a pen, near a pond of water, and their house had a door and two windows to it, so you see they were quite well off. In fact they were very stylish ducks, and once Jimmie Wibblewobble even rode in an automobile, but I can't tell you about that now, because you see I am going to relate to you how Lulu was caught fast in the mud. It happened one day when Jimmie and his two sisters were swimming about on the pond, just like three white boats.
"Let's see who can swim the fastest!" suddenly called the little boy duck. "We'll race over to the other side of the pond," and he put his head down under the water to get a fine, juicy bit of weed, with some water-cress sauce on it.
"Oh, no," exclaimed Alice Wibblewobble, "it's not nice for girl ducks to race," and she spread out her wings to see how they looked.
"Yes it is," said Lulu. "Come on, Jimmie, I'll race with you."
So off they started, splashing the water with their yellow, webbed feet, throwing up a little spray, which sparkled in the sunshine, just like baby's eyes when you come close to her and she laughs at you so cunningly.
On they went, faster and faster and faster, Lulu and Jimmie, while Alice remained behind, to gaze in the water which was just like a looking glass, you know. Oh, my yes, but please don't try it, unless the water is very, very shallow. You see Alice wanted to see if all her feathers were on straight, and they were, believe me, as straight as straight can be.
Well, of course, Jimmie won the race, being a very good swimmer, but Lulu was close behind him, and would have beaten, only one of her legs got caught in a weed. Now I call that too bad, don't you? For I was hoping, all the while, that Lulu would win. But you never can tell what is going to happen in this world; now can you? No, indeed.
"Let's race back again," proposed Lulu, after she had rested.
"Oh, don't race any more," spoke Alice, swimming up just then. "Let's walk out on land and see if we can't find some nice corn meal. I'm sure it must be almost dinner time, and I just love corn meal."
"I know something better than that," suddenly said a quivery-quavery voice, right beside the ducks, and when they looked around who should be there but Mr. Goosey-Gander, the grandfather of all the ducks in the pen. "I know something better than corn meal, little ones," he said, and he splashed his wings in the water.
"What is it?" asked Lulu, as quickly as you can shoot a marble into the ring and out again. "Is it gum drops?"
"No," answered Grandfather Goosey-Gander, "it is not gum drops. It is better than that. It is nice, sweet roots and grasses that grow down under water," and, with that, what do you think he did? Why, he stood right up on his head, and reached his bill down beneath the pond, and got some of the nicest grass that ever was. "There," said the old gentleman duck, poking up his head, "do as I did, little ones."
So those three Wibblewobble children did, and pretty soon, Alice and Jimmie had as much as they could eat, and raised their heads. Then they saw that Lulu still had her bill down under the water.
"She must be getting lots more than we did," spoke Alice.
"Yes, indeed," replied Jimmie. "I wonder how she can hold her breath so long?"
Just then, what should happen but that Lulu began to wave her feet in the air, and she flapped her wings until the spray went up in a regular shower, just like at Asbury Park.
"Oh, my goodness me sakes alive, and three teaspoonsfull of corn meal with pepper in!" cried Grandfather Goosey-Gander. "Lulu is stuck in the mud! We must pull her out. Quick!" That's just the way he said it.
And, would you believe me, Lulu was held fast in the mud by her dear little bill! Oh, how terribly frightened Jimmie and Alice were. They squawked and they quacked, and they tried to pull Lulu out, but she was stuck too fast.
Then all the other ducks came swimming up to see what the trouble was, and they tried to pull her out, but they couldn't, and, all the while her feet were wiggling as fast as they could wiggle, almost like Sammie Littletail's nose.
Then Grandfather Goosey-Gander called out: "What ho! Make way there! I will save her!" And with that, what do you think he did? Why, he dived right down under the water, yes, sir, right down in the mud, and he pushed, and he pulled, and he hauled and he splashed, and he yanked, and he rooted, and he twisted, and he turned, and he shoved, and then, all alone, brave old grandfather that he was, he got Lulu up from the mud, where she had been stuck by her little bill!
And it was almost time, too, let me tell you, for her breath was nearly gone. But she soon got better, and she never put her head so far down under water again.
Then all the ducks said: "Quack, Quack, Quack!" three times, they were so glad, and they swam around in a circle, and the old rooster stood on the bank and crowed, just as if he had done it all! Oh, how glad Papa and Mamma Wibblewobble were that Lulu was saved!
Now, if you do not get your feet wet, I shall tell you, to-morrow night, how Jimmie rode in an automobile.
JIMMIE WIBBLEWOBBLE IN AN AUTO
One day, well, it must have been about a week after Lulu Wibblewobble got caught in the mud, she and Jimmie were out swimming around the pond.
"Come on," said Lulu, "let's go over and see Mrs. Greenie, the frog. She always has some candied sweet-flag root hidden away, and perhaps she will give us some."
"I don't believe there's any left," spoke Jimmie, "for Bully, the boy frog, is so fond of it that he eats all he can get."
"Well, we'll go, anyhow," went on Lulu. Just then she heard her mother calling:
"Jimmie! Lulu! Where are you going?"
"We are going over to see Mrs. Greenie," replied Jimmie.
"Wait for Alice," called Mamma Wibblewobble. "She will go with you. She is just putting a clean apron on."
"Oh, dear!" cried Lulu. "Why does Alice always make us wait while she puts on something clean?"
"I suppose," answered Jimmie, and he scratched his bill with his left leg, "I suppose it is because she wants to look nice."
"Yes," agreed Lulu, with a sort of quacking-sigh, "I suppose I ought to want to look nice, too; but, somehow I don't—ever. I always seem to be in such a hurry."
"Maybe you'll change, some day," suggested her brother.
"Maybe," spoke Lulu, and just then Alice came swimming along, looking just as nice and pretty as do some ducks which are in a picture. They all went over to see Mrs. Greenie, the old lady frog, who lived down on the bottom of the pond, at the far edge, by a big willow tree.
And, honestly, though I don't like to mention it, for fear you'll think Bully a greedy little boy, there wasn't a single bit of candied sweet-flag root in the house. No, sir, not a tiny, weeny bit. So Mrs. Greenie gave the Wibblewobble children some nice snails, which they liked very much, and then they went on swimming around. Jimmie was looking for Bully, but the little boy frog had hopped off to see his cousin. Now, in a few minutes Jimmie is going to have an adventure, and, if you please, I want you to listen very carefully, so as not to miss it.
Well, the three ducklings swam on, thinking how nice it was on the water, with the warm sun on their backs, when they suddenly came to the end of the pond. And who should be standing there but the man who owned the little puddle. And, more than that, there was another man also standing there in the road and beside him was a queer thing, with big fat wheels, fatter than the fattest duck or goose you ever saw. It was puffing away, and some smoke and a funny smell came from it. Of course, you've guessed it! An automobile! Now, what do you think about that? The ducks listened to what the men were saying, for, though the Wibblewobbles couldn't talk as the men did, they could understand our language.
"It's too bad," said the man who owned the pond. "Can't you go any farther?"
"No," said the man who had the automobile, "I can't. You see my horn, that I blow to tell people to get out of the way, is broken. I can't sound any warning, and if I ran my machine I might hurt some one; and I wouldn't do that for the world; no, not for two worlds, if you were to offer them to me."
"That is very kind of you; very kind, indeed, I'm sure," went on the man who owned the pond. "I am glad to have met you; and I wish I could help you."
"I'm afraid you can't," answered the other. "I have to walk way down to Newark, to get a new horn for my auto, so I can blow it, to warn people out of the way."
So he started to walk off, and then what do you think happened? Why, Jimmie Wibblewobble got so excited that he gave a loud "Quack-Quack!" Oh, so loud and clear! As soon as the man who owned the auto heard it he cried out, "My gracious goodness! What's that?"
"That," replied the man who owned the pond, "is one of my ducks. Doesn't he speak very loudly?"
Then Jimmie, just to show what he could do, quacked again, harder than before.
"Oh, extemporaneousness!" cried the auto man. "That is very fine quacking, indeed. I never heard better. I have the greatest idea," he added. "Would you be so kind as to lend me that little duck? I will bring him safely back to you and not harm him in the least."
"What will you do with him?" asked the man who owned the pond.
"I will take him on the seat beside me," replied the other, "and maybe he will go 'quack-quack' whenever a person gets in the way of my auto. Then they will not be run over. Why, this little duck will be as good as an auto horn! Will you let me take him?"
"I guess so," answered the other man. "But please do not frighten him, as he is very little."
The man who owned the auto said he would be careful, and he went over to where Jimmie was, and picked him right up.
Now I should have thought that Jimmie would have been frightened, but he wasn't a bit, no, would you believe me, not a bit. So the man took him and put him on the seat and started off in the auto. Jimmie knew exactly what to do. Every time he came to a crossing he "quack-quacked" as loudly as he could, without being told, and he did the same thing whenever he saw a person in the way of the big machine.
Oh, what a fine ride he had in the auto, and how proud he was! Not too proud, you know, but just proud enough. Well, as true as I'm telling you, if Jimmie wasn't as good an auto horn as one could wish. Not a single accident happened when he was on the seat, "quack-quacking" away, and when the man went to a store and got his regular horn, with the rubber handle to it, why, he brought Jimmie right back to the pond.
Now, wasn't that quite an adventure? All the other ducks thought so anyhow. To-morrow night, if you do not slam the door, you shall hear about Alice Wibblewobble's new bonnet.
ALICE WIBBLEWOBBLE'S NEW BONNET
When the Wibblewobble family came back to their house after a swim around the pond one bright sunny afternoon, and when the grass on the edges of the water was as green as it could be, Mamma Wibblewobble looked at her children, who were walking ahead of her. Jimmie and Lulu were throwing stones along the path, but Alice, who was as ladylike a little duck as one could wish, would not throw pebbles even, to say nothing of stones.
"I declare," exclaimed Mamma Wibblewobble, "those girls will have to have new bonnets. I must see to it at once."
"Very well," answered Papa Wibblewobble, "I will get them when I come home to-morrow. I met Mrs. Gooseyoosy this morning and she said they had a special sale of hats at the store by the barnyard gate."
"A man duck cannot get bonnets for Alice and Lulu," declared Mrs. Wibblewobble. "You would not know what to pick out! It is bad enough to have you get Jimmie's hats and shoes, but you would never know how to buy bonnets for the girls."
"Very well," answered Papa Wibblewobble, "then I will let you do the buying. I think a green colored bonnet would be nice for Alice."
"Green! With her complexion!" cried his wife. "Never! It must be blue—blue for Alice and a brown one for Lulu. Give me the money and I will start out shopping to-morrow."
So Mamma Wibblewobble started out the next day, taking Alice and Lulu with her, while Jimmie stayed home and played cross-tag with Bully, the frog, and Nurse Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy, who had a day's vacation.
They had lots of fun, and once Jimmie nearly fell down a great big—but there, I started to tell you about Alice Wibblewobble's bonnet, and I must not get off the track. That story about Jimmie will do for another time.
Well, you should have seen the numbers and numbers of duck-bonnets that Mrs. Wibblewobble looked at before she was satisfied with two for the girls. Not that Alice and Lulu were hard to please. Oh, my, no! But their mamma wanted them to look just right, and you know it is quite difficult to fit a bonnet on a duck and make it look like anything. The milliner said so herself, and she ought to know. But at last the two duck girls both had very fine bonnets indeed; as fine as mustard seeds, which are very, very fine. Alice had a nice blue one, and Lulu a brown one.
Well, would you ever imagine it? Something is going to happen to Alice's bonnet, and very soon, too. Just be patient and you shall hear.
"Now children," said Mrs. Wibblewobble, when they had reached the pen where they lived, "you may go out and swim around a bit with your new bonnets on until your papa comes home. I want him to see how well they fit you, for I think I have very good taste when it comes to bonnets."
"Oh, I don't want to wear my new one," spoke Lulu. "I will put on my old one and go and play with Jimmie and Bully, the frog."
So she did, but Alice, who was very fond of nice clothes, went for a swim on the pond. At first she paddled around, gazing down in the water, which was just like the looking-glass some men shave by, and she thought: "Oh, what a lovely bonnet I have! How fine I shall look when I go for a walk on Sunday!"
And just then—really I'm not exaggerating a bit—If it didn't begin to rain! Now, of course, rain couldn't hurt Alice any, for she was a duck and was used to the water, but she knew it would spoil her new bonnet. So she took it off and laid it under a big burdock plant leaf near the pond, to keep the flowers and ribbons dry.
"I wish it would stop raining," said Alice, after a while. "I want to go home," but the big drops kept on falling, and she had to remain near her bonnet for fear something would happen to it.
Then, in a little while, oh, maybe half an hour or so, all at once as quick as a wink, along came Mooleyooly, the big brown cow. Mooleyooly walked up to the burdock leaf, under which was the new bonnet, and Mooleyooly saw the pretty yellow flowers on it, and she saw the blue flowers on it and she saw the red flowers on it. Then Mooleyooly said, as she licked her lips with her red tongue:
"What have we here? It looks very nice."
"It is nice," answered Alice proudly, for she was glad to have some one, even a cow, admire her bonnet.
"It looks just like the green meadow where I live," went on Mooleyooly, "with buttercups, and daisies, and ragged sailor flowers and some red poppies growing in it. Oh, very fine, indeed. Why, those flowers are real!" exclaimed the cow, looking carefully at the new bonnet under the big leaf.
"Of course," cried Alice, "certainly they are real."
"Better and better!" went on Mooleyooly. "Most delightful, I am sure!" Then, oh, how sorry I feel that I have to tell it—then, if that brown cow didn't start right in and eat up Alice's new bonnet!
Yes, sir, every single bit, down to a bunch of green grass that looked so pretty on it. She ate it all up at one mouthful, before Alice could cry out "stop" or "halt" or "cease" or any words like that. Well, of course, Alice cried. Wouldn't you, boys and girls—I mean, of course, you girls—have done the same? Well, I guess so!
Then, when the cow saw how sorry Alice felt, Mooleyooly felt badly, too, and she cried great big tears until you would have thought it was raining harder then ever. Then, being a good cow, Mooleyooly promised to get Alice a new bonnet, which she did, made of the finest straw in the stable.
So Alice had a hat for Sunday after all, even if one was eaten up by mistake. Well, pretty soon it stopped raining and Alice went home with the bonnet the cow gave her, and Mamma Wibblewobble said it was even better than the one she had bought. Now, wasn't that rather odd? I thought so, myself.
To-morrow night if you do not sneeze, I hope to have the pleasure of telling you how Jimmie Wibblewobble almost fell over the waterfall; but don't let that alarm you the least bit, for he was saved in a most wonderful way.
JIMMIE AND THE WATERFALL
It was such a nice day that Mr. and Mrs. Wibblewobble decided to go visiting, as they had an invitation to call on Mrs. Greenie, the frog lady who lived at the end of the pond. So the two ducks, after seeing that the pen was in order, and the windows nice and clean, in case any company should call on them while they were out, started off, swimming very slowly, for they had their best clothes on and did not want to splash water on them.
"Now, I hope you children will be good," called Mamma Wibblewobble to Jimmie and Lulu and Alice. "Don't get into any mischief and we'll be back at supper time."
"We'll be good," promised Alice, but Jimmie and Lulu didn't say anything, though, of course they meant to be good also. Only, sometimes, you know how it is, just when you want to be good and make no trouble something is sure to happen; that is, most always. Well, that's the way it was this time.
The papa and mamma ducks hadn't been gone more than half an hour before Jimmie thought of something to do. Of course, he didn't know it was mischief but it was, all the same.
It happened that at one end of the pond where the ducks lived there was a waterfall. That is, the water ran from the pond, and fell over a high wall of stones upon some more stones down below, and made a lot of foam and a rushing, gurgling noise that was very cool in summer, making you think of ice cream and all nice things like that. And besides this there was, near the waterfall, a big mill, with a wheel that went around and around, to grind the corn and grain.
Well, Jimmie's papa and mamma hadn't been gone more than half an hour before the little boy duck called to Lulu and Alice. "Let's see how near we can go to the waterfall," he said.
Now this was a very dangerous thing to do, because there was a strong and swift current at the fall, and any one who went too near it might be carried over. Mr. and Mrs. Wibblewobble knew this, and many times had told their children to keep away. But, you see, Jimmie forgot, or else didn't want to remember, so he called to his sisters, telling them to see how near they could go.
"I'll not," spoke Alice. "And you hadn't better either, Jimmie. You know what mamma said."
"Oh, well, the water's low now," replied Jimmie. "I don't believe there's any danger. Come on, Lulu."
"All right," said Lulu. So she and Jimmie started to swim as close as they could to the waterfall. But Alice stayed near shore, and who should come along but Nurse Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy, the muskrat nurse who was out for a walk. She told Alice about Sammie and Susie Littletail, and said the little rabbit children were well.
Now all this while Jimmie and Lulu were swimming nearer and nearer to the waterfall. They could hear the water splashing on the rocks below, and they liked to listen to it.
"We had better stop," called Lulu, after a while.
"No, I'm going closer," declared Jimmie. "There is no danger; come on!"
But just then Lulu felt something pulling her down toward where the big wheel went around and around, and she got frightened. Then she swam just as hard as she could toward shore, and called to her brother: "Jimmie, don't go any closer! Come back!"
But Jimmie was a boy duck, and wanted to be brave, so he answered: "I'm going just a little bit closer."
Now Lulu had a very hard time, indeed, getting to shore, as the current was so strong, but she finally managed it. Jimmie, however, kept on swimming nearer and nearer to the falls. Then, all at once, before you could stick a pin in a cushion, what should take place but that the little boy duck felt himself being pulled along by the rushing water, just as the soap floats along when you pull the plug out of the bathtub. Oh, how fast the water swept him along! Jimmie splashed and paddled with all his might, and tried to swim ashore, where Lulu was anxiously watching him, but he couldn't seem to move. There he was, being carried along to the edge of the falls, with the cruel, sharp stones below, and the big millwheel going around and around. Then Jimmie knew he was in great danger, and he cried out: "Help! Help! Help!" three times, as loudly as he could call.
Lulu and Alice heard him, and were much frightened. They started to go to the aid of their brother, but Grandfather Goosey-Gander warned them not to.
"But who will save Jimmie?" they cried.
"I will try to," answered the old gentleman duck.
So he got a rope and threw it to Jimmie, but the rope wasn't long enough, and the poor little boy duck kept getting closer and closer to the edge of the falls, and the big millwheel. Oh, how hard he was swimming, but the water was stronger than he was.
"Get a board!" cried Bully, the frog, who came hopping along just then. So the ducks and the geese got a board and threw it to Jimmie, but it floated past him, and he couldn't get upon it. Then it surely did look as if he were going to be carried right over the falls, for he was being swept nearer and more near, and he could hear the water making a terrible roaring, splashing sound on the rocks. You have no idea how scared Jimmie was, and he wished he had never gone near the falls.
Then the other ducks got a long stick and Grandfather Goosey-Gander held it out, so the little boy duck could grasp it in his bill, but the stick broke, and every one said it was too bad! Then, just as Jimmie was almost to the edge of the falls, if Nurse Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy didn't call out: "Stand aside, everybody! I am a good swimmer and I will save him!"
Then what do you think happened? Why that good, kind muskrat jumped right into the water, and hurried to where Jimmie was. She dived down, and got hold of his yellow legs in her teeth, but she took hold very gently, so as not to hurt him. Then she was such a fine swimmer that she managed to get to shore, towing and pulling Jimmie with her, for the water could not hurt Nurse Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy, no matter how hard the millwheel splashed.
So that is how Jimmie was saved from the waterfall, and when his papa and mamma came home they were very glad, of course, and why shouldn't they be? But, all the same Lulu and Jimmie had to be punished for disobeying, and going too near the falls when they had been told not to, and their punishment was that they could not go in swimming for three days. And if you ever were a duck you know that was very severe punishment indeed, very severe.
But I'm not going to say that Jimmie and Lulu didn't deserve it, no indeed I'm not; not if you were to offer me an orange and a half; and I'm very fond of oranges; very. Well, that's how things will sometimes happen in this world, won't they? do the best that you can. But now I suppose you want to know what the story will be about to-morrow night. Well, if I see a pink grasshopper, I shall tell you about a visit the Wibblewobble children paid to poor, sick, Billie Bushytail.
A VISIT TO BILLIE BUSHTAIL
You remember how Lulu and Jimmie had to be punished for disobeying their papa and mamma, and going too near the waterfall, I suppose? They couldn't go in swimming for three days. Well, the three days were very nearly up; that is there was just one day left, so Lulu said:
"Come on, Jimmie, we will go for a walk in the woods. Don't you want to come, too, Alice?"
Now, of course, Alice could go in the water if she wanted to, for she was not punished, as she had not gone near the waterfall, but instead of going swimming alone, she stayed with her brother and sister, and I call that very kind of her. So, when Lulu asked her to take a walk in the woods, Alice answered:
"Of course, I will go with you. Who knows, perhaps we may have an adventure!" For you see Alice was very romantic. That is, she always hoped something would happen that never had happened before, and she was always hoping a fairy prince would come along and rescue her from some danger. But, up to this time, nothing like this had ever occurred, though those duck children are going to have a small adventure pretty soon, I think.
"All right," spoke Jimmie, "let's take a walk, and see what happens." So they walked on through the woods, which were very fine that day, and they felt the nice, warm, brown earth on their yellow feet, and it was almost as good as going in the water. Pretty soon, just after they had passed under a buttonball tree, the ducklings heard a noise, and who should run out from under a bush but little Sister Sallie. You remember her, I hope; Sister Sallie, who was named after Lolly-pop-Lally, and who lived with Johnnie and Billie Bushytail.
"Why, Sister Sallie!" cried Lulu Wibblewobble, "where are you going this bright, beautiful, sunshiny day?"
"I'm going for the doctor," answered Sister Sallie.
"Are you sick?" inquired Jimmie. "You don't look so."
"No, it's Billie Bushytail," said the little girl squirrel. "He is quite ill, and I am going for Dr. Possum. Billie has a fever and headache, and he snuffles something terrible. His papa and mamma are quite worried about him. Isn't it terrible to be sick?"
"I don't know," answered Jimmie, "for I was never sick."
"I was once," remarked Alice, "and it is not nice, I do assure you. Suppose we go call on Billie Bushytail Maybe we could cheer him up."
"I think that would be lovely," spoke Sister Sallie. "You go see him, while I hurry for the doctor."
So the three Wibblewobble children walked on through the pleasant woods, until they came to the place where the Bushytail family had moved. Their home was now in a hollow stump, close to the ground, and there was a fallen tree leading up to it, just like a plank over the brook, so the ducks could easily walk up it. They went right to the front door, and Jimmie knocked with his strong, yellow bill. Mrs. Bushytail opened the door, and when she saw the little ducklings, she said:
"Oh, my dears! Do not come too near, for we don't know what disease Billie may have. I would not want you to catch it."
"Oh, we are not afraid," spoke Jimmie. "But we will not come too near. We were out walking in the woods, and we met little Sister Sallie. We came to call on Billie, and cheer him up."
"That is very kind of you," said Mamma Bushytail. "The poor little fellow is quite miserable. I put his feet in hot mustard water, and gave him some Jamaica ginger, and he is now in bed. I fear he has the epizootic, which is a very dreadful disease."
"Oh, I hope not!" exclaimed Alice, kindly. "Perhaps he only has the pip, which is not nearly so bad."
"Perhaps," answered Mamma Bushytail. "I have sent Johnnie for some quinine, and that may help Billie."
"May we see him?" asked Lulu. "Perhaps we can cheer him up."
"To be sure, you may see him," replied Billie's mamma; so she opened the door a little wider in order that the ducklings might look in the hollow-stumphouse, for of course they could not enter, as it was too small. They saw Billie, all wrapped up in blankets, in bed, and he looked quite ill. But he seemed happy in spite of that, for the hot mustard footbath had helped him some. He smiled when he saw Jimmie and Lulu and Alice. Then Jimmie gave Mrs. Bushytail some nice acorns he had picked up in the woods and had carried under his wing.
"They are for Billie," said Jimmie. Next Lulu gave the sick squirrel-boy some nice, sweet grass she had gathered on the edge of the pond, and Alice had some lovely sugared sweet-flag root, which is very good in case of sickness. Then Billie felt much better, and after a while Jimmie said: "Let's sing a funny little song for Billie." So Jimmie, Alice and Lulu sang this little verse to cheer up poor, sick Billie, and, if you can get a good singer to sing it for you, it doesn't sound at all bad, I assure you:
Don't mind if you have to take stuff from a spoon, 'Tis better than having to climb to the moon. You might make a stumble or else have a tumble, And then you would fall pretty soon.
We came, little Billie, to make you feel better. At first we were going to write you a letter; But we had no ink, dear, so that's why we came here. We're dry now, but we'll soon be wetter.
Then Billie laughed right out loud, he felt so much better, and he ate some acorns and the sweet-flag root, nibbling at it with his sharp teeth. Then a scratching sound was heard on the stump, and who should come up it but Sister Sallie, with Dr. Possum.
The doctor said "He!" and he said "Hum!" and he said "Ahem!" Then he felt Billie's pulse and made him put out his tongue. Then Dr. Possum exclaimed: "Why, this little squirrel isn't sick at all! No, sir! Not at all. My goodness me; no, indeed! Why, the very idea! Sick? I guess not!"
But Mrs. Bushytail said her little boy had been very ill, and Dr. Possum answered:
"Well, if he was sick, these little ducks have cured him. They are just as good at doctoring as I am; yes, indeed; and a thermometer or two besides. There is no need for me."
"It was the funny little song that cured me," said Billie. Then he got out of bed and began frisking around; the doctor went home, and the little squirrel was all well. After a while Jimmie, Lulu and Alice had to leave, and they went home, feeling very happy for the good they had done to Billie Bushytail, for it always makes you feel happy to help some one. Now, if you promise not to whisper in school next week you shall hear to-morrow night how Jimmie tried to become a flying machine.
JIMMIE AS A FLYING MACHINE
One day, I think it must have been about three-and-a-half-quacks past cornmeal time, there was a great commotion in the yard, and around the pond where Jimmie Wibblewobble and his two sisters and his papa and mamma lived. There was a great fluttering in the air, and something, colored in beautiful tints, flew down and settled on the water with a little splash.
"My goodness, what is that?" asked Alice Wibblewobble, who was easily frightened. At first no one knew, for, though the creature was shaped just like a duck, it was not colored like any duck Jimmie had even seen. It was gold and bronze and green, with little patches of red and blue here and there, and was a most beautiful creature.
"Maybe that is a fairy," suggested Lulu, who sometimes read fairy stories.
"Oh, if it only might be one, and could tell me where the fairy prince is!" exclaimed Alice, with a sigh.
"Nonsense!" cried Jimmie, who was just going off to see his friend Bully, the frog. "Stuff and nonsense!"
"That's what I say, too," called out the strange creature. "Nonsense! I'm not a fairy at all. I'm a duck like yourselves, only I am a wild duck." Then its wings beat the air and water, and the wild duck arose and flew right over the pond and back again, as quickly as could be.
"My goodness! How do you do that?" asked Jimmie, who never could fly more than a few feet.
"Why," answered the wild duck, "I just did it, that's all."
"Snippery, snappery snails!" cried Jimmie, "you're just like a flying machine that my papa read about in the paper."
"Well, somewhat like one, perhaps," admitted the wild duck. "I can fly a long distance. Did you ever try?"
"No," answered Jimmie; "I never did."
"Perhaps you would like to try now," suggested the other. "I will stay here a little while, and show you. It is very easy. You can just as well become a flying machine as not. Come, I will fly up on the fence. You come up here, too, and when I say 'Go!' why start off, and, who knows? perhaps you will do as well as I. Don't be afraid."
"Of course, I'll try," said Jimmie, very bravely, for he was always wanting to try new things.
"So will I," cried Lulu. "I want to fly, too."
"Oh, you had better be careful," warned Alice, who was a very cautious duckling, never getting into danger if she could help it.
"Oh, we'll be careful, but we are going to become flying machines just the same," said Jimmie.
So the wild duck flew up on the fence, which was at one edge of the pond, and, oh, how beautiful he looked with the sun shining on his finely colored feathers. Jimmie had quite a struggle to get on the top rail of the fence, and so did Lulu, but they finally managed it, and, just as they stood beside the wild duck, who should come along but Grandfather Goosey-Gander. He asked the two Wibblewobble children what they were going to do, and when Jimmie said they were going to learn to become flying machines, the old duck said, "Humph!" just as quickly as he could.
"If you had such hard work getting to the top of the fence, how do you think you can fly across the pond?" he asked, and then he sneezed three times, for he was catching cold.
"Oh, we will do it," answered Jimmie, for, of course, you see, he really thought he could.
But something is going to happen, just as sure as you can add up two and three and make five out of them.
"Are you all ready?" asked the wild duck of Jimmie and Lulu, as they stood beside him, balanced on the fence rail.
"Yes," replied Jimmie, trying to stop his heart from beating so rapidly, "we are ready, Mr. Wild Duck. You fly and we will fly also."
"Watch me carefully," said the beautiful creature, "and do exactly as I do."
They were just about to fly, when the old rooster, who had been picking up corn down the road, come running up.
"Hold on!" he cried, "I can fly as good as that wild duck! Wait for me and we will have a race!"
So they waited until the old rooster got up on the fence rail, too. Then the wild duck counted: "One to begin with, two for a show, three to make ready and four to go!"
Then he flapped his wings, gave a loud "squawk-squawk" and sailed over that pond as nice as you please.
Well, of course, I've got to tell exactly what happened, or it wouldn't be fair. Jimmie tried to fly, but I wish you could have seen him. He only went a little way, and then, because his body was too heavy for his wings, or because his wings were too light for his body, he came flopping right down to the ground, ker-thump, and he hurt his nose considerably, let me tell you, for considerably is quite a lot.
Well, poor Lulu, if she didn't fall, too! Yes, sir, she turned a somersault right in the air, before all those watching ducks, and she, too, came down ker-flimmax-ker-flump, and she hurt her left-hand wing. Then she cried once, "Boo-hoo!" just like that. Then she stopped.
Jimmie didn't cry at all, if you'll believe me, no, sir, not a mite, but he felt badly all the same. And then that rooster! Oh, dear me, how foolish some roosters are, anyhow, now aren't they, really? Well, he started off all right, but just then the wind got in the wrong place, and it turned him upside down. Now, no rooster can fly upside down, no matter what else he can do, so that one came flippity-flop down into the water ker-splash-ker-sposh; and one more besides! Maybe he didn't feel mortified!
But that wild duck! Oh, my, goodness me! How he did fly. Around and around, and around that pond he went, never touching the water once. Then he came to where Jimmie and Lulu were, and he told them how sorry he felt for them, before he flew away to a far, far distant land, where only wild ducks live. Then Grandfather Goosey-Gander went up to those two Wibblewobble children, and so did Alice, to lend Lulu her handkerchief. And Grandfather Goosey said: "It is better for tame ducks to stay on the water, or on land. They were not made for flying." So that was the end of Jimmie trying to become an air ship. To-morrow night you may hear about Lulu and the gold fish, that is if the lemon squeezer doesn't pinch me.
LULU AND THE GOLD FISH
Well, here we are again, after a rest over night, and all ready for another story, I suppose. Let me see, it was to be about the fairy prince and Alice Wibblewobble—no, hold on there, I'm wrong. I know it. Lulu and the gold fish; to be sure! Well, here we go. Now, of course, I could make this about the fairy prince—in fact, he has something to do with this story—but as the gold fish has more, I put her name at the top.
Lulu Wibblewobble, the little duck girl, who could throw stones almost as straight as a boy, was swimming around the pond near the pen where she lived. It was a nice, warm, sunshiny day, and Lulu wanted to do something, but she didn't just know what. Jimmie, her brother, was off playing with Bully, the frog, and Alice, her sister, was straightening out her feathers in the back parlor bedroom, where a piece of tin could be used for a looking glass.
All at once Lulu's mamma called to her:
"Lulu, I want you to go to the store to get some acorn meal and a yeast cake. I am going to set bread to-night. Hurry, now, that's a good girl."
"All right, mamma," answered Lulu, and she steered herself around, just like a motorboat in the water, and started for the store, paddling as hard as she could.
She had not gone very far, with the little ripples and waves chasing each other across the pond, before she saw something swimming close beside her. Lulu looked down, and what do you think she saw? Well, you might guess, but then again, you might not, so I'll tell you. It was a gold fish.
Oh, it was such a beautiful gold fish, with red and silvery spots and streaks, and a long, feathery tail that looked like lace in the water.
"Hello!" exclaimed Lulu; "I didn't know you lived here."
"Oh, yes," answered the fish. "I have lived here for some time, but, you see, during the cold weather I stay down in the mud. However, as it is now spring, I have come up, and I am going to play around all summer."
"That's nice," remarked Lulu. "What's your name?"
"My name is Fannie Tail," replied the fish. "You see I got that name because my tail is shaped like a fan, but most persons just call me Fan Tail. You may, if you like."
"All right," agreed Lulu. "I will. My name is Lulu, but you may call me Lu, if you wish."
"Good," answered the fish, turning a double somersault in the water and wiggling her right fin as if trying to shake hands. "Now we are well acquainted. And may I ask where you are going?"
So Lulu told the fish girl about having to go to the store, and Fan seemed quite pleased to hear it. The two swam on together for some distance, the fish just under the water and Lulu on top. Pretty soon Lulu asked Fan where she was going, and the gold fish replied:
"I am going to the drug store for some sweet flag root for the fairy prince," and once more the fish girl turned a double somersault and opened her mouth wide, for she had a cold in her head, in consequence of being so wet. But as it is very difficult to write a story and make a gold fish talk as if she had a cold in the head, I have decided to make Fan talk just ordinarily. You never would have known anything about the cold if I hadn't mentioned it, so it's just as well.
"Pardon me," said Lulu, just like a telephone girl, "but did I understand you to say you were going for some sweet flag root for the fairy prince?"
"Yes," answered Fan Tail, "that's what I said."
"But!" cried Lulu. "A fairy prince! I never knew there were fairies in this pond!"
"Neither did lots of other persons," replied Fan. "It's supposed to be a secret, but I'll tell you. And, another thing. There is something strange about this fairy prince. Do you promise never to tell?"
"Yes," answered Lulu. "Cross my heart I'll never tell," and she lifted one leg out of the water and crossed her heart as well as she could.
"Then," said the gold fish in a whisper, "If you will come with me I will show you the fairy prince. That is, after I go to the drug store for him. But mind, it's a great secret."
So the two swam on together, but Lulu felt sad. And the reason she felt sad was this: Her sister Alice, who was very romantic—that is, she continually wanted things to happen that never could happen—Alice always had wished to see a fairy prince. Now, unless Fan would let Lulu tell the secret, Alice would never see a prince. And to think he was right in the same pond with her! Oh, it's dreadful to have a secret you can't tell even to your own sister, I think.
Lulu sighed so that she made quite a wave in the pond, and when the fish saw this she knew something was the matter. So she asked Lulu what it was, and Lulu told her how Alice was just crazy to see a fairy prince, and had been dreaming of one for ever and ever so long.
"And I've promised not to tell," ended Lulu. "Poor Alice! How disappointed she will be not to see a real, live fairy!"
"Well, perhaps it is too bad," admitted Fan Tail, and she sneezed so hard that the water flew up in a spray, just like a fountain. "Perhaps I shall let you off from your promise," the gold fish went on. "Yes, I think you may bring Alice to see the fairy prince."
"And Jimmie? Jimmie's my brother. I know he would love to see him, too. May he come?"
"Yes, you may bring Jimmie also. But mind, I don't want you to be disappointed. Most fairy princes are disappointing, so don't say I didn't warn you."
"Oh, that will be all right," spoke Lulu, now quite happy again. "May I bring them this afternoon?"
"Oh! I suppose so, but no one else, mind. You see the fairy prince is rather bashful."
So Lulu promised she would bring no one else, and she hurried to the store and back again. Fan Tail, the gold fish, went to the drug store for the sweet flag root for the fairy prince, and on the way she stubbed her nose against a stone, which made her cold in the head worse than ever; but of course we have nothing to do with that except to feel sorry for her.
When Lulu got home she was so excited she dropped the yeast cake in the pond, and it would have gotten all wet only it was wrapped in tin-foil. Then she told Alice and Jimmie about the fairy prince she was going to see, but, as this story is too long already, I must stop, and in case the postman does not blow his whistle too loud and scary, I shall have the pleasure, to-morrow night, of telling you about the fairy prince. And I hope you won't be disappointed.
WHO THE FAIRY PRINCE WAS
Mamma and Papa Wibblewobble were sitting in front of the duck pen, talking with Grandfather Goosey-Gander and the big rooster. They were so busily engaged in conversation about the best way to serve cold corn meal mixed with water, that when Lulu asked her parents if she and Jimmie and Alice could go for a swim, Mrs. Wibblewobble said:
"Yes, my dear, but be careful you don't get wet."
Now wasn't that a funny thing for a duck mamma to say to her little duck girl? But Mamma Wibblewobble was absent minded, so we must excuse her. You see she thought Lulu wanted to go for a walk in the woods. Well, it didn't much matter, but I thought I would speak about it.
"Can we go?" asked Jimmie, when Lulu came back.
"Yes," she answered. "Hurry now, for we are going to see the fairy prince, as the gold fish promised."
"Oh, I'm so excited I can hardly wait!" exclaimed Alice, who was quite romantic, as I have explained. "Am I swimming straight, Lulu? I wouldn't for all the world, have a fairy prince see me swimming crooked."
"Oh, don't be so fussy!" called out Jimmie. "I wish Bully, the frog was here. He and I could have some fun."
"Oh, no!" cried Lulu. "We are the only ones allowed to see the fairy prince. It's a secret, and he is quite bashful."
"How are you going to find him?" asked Jimmie. "This is a large pond, and it's going to be quite a task to locate the fairy prince, or even the gold fish."
"Oh! let's don't worry," suggested Alice. "Worrying is one of the very worst things you can do, especially when there is anything in it about a fairy. Don't you know that fairies are especially made not to worry? We will find our way somehow. Either a golden ball will appear and roll on before us to show us the right direction, or else a magical boat will suddenly come up in the water, and we can ride right to the place."
"Hu! What do we want of a boat?" asked Jimmie. "Can't we swim? I don't believe much in this fairy business, anyhow."
"Then, if you don't believe, you never will see the fairy prince," declared Alice. "Only those who believe in fairies can see them. I know, for I've read lots of fairy stories." You see Alice was very much in earnest about this matter.
So the three children swam on together over the pond, and the waters sparkled in the sun, until you would have thought there were thousands of diamonds floating on top. The breeze blew just enough to make little ripples, and altogether it was a very fine day. They went on and on, until pretty soon they were in a part of the pond they had never before visited. Tall rushes grew on either side, and the long meadow grass came right down to the edge of the water and trailed in it, making little green caves in which to hide. It was cool and quiet there, and very lovely. The ducks liked it, but still there was no sign of the fairy prince; and the gold fish had not come to show them the way.
"I don't believe we'll ever see any fairy prince," said Jimmie.
"Oh! but the gold fish promised me," spoke Lulu.
"Hush!" cried Alice. "We must keep very quiet. We may meet the magical boat, or the golden ball, any minute."
And just then, what should happen, but that they heard a voice singing. Yes, sir, just as true as I'm telling you, a voice singing, right down under the water. And this is what it sang, in silvery tones, just like the little bell that tinkles on pussy's neck:
The fairy prince lies deep and dark, Waiting for the firefly's spark; If you wish to see him now, Follow me, and make a bow.
And, all at once, who should appear but Fan Tail, the gold fish. She popped right out of the water, and when she saw the three duck children she asked:
"Did you hear me singing?"
"Was that you?" asked Lulu.
"It was," replied Fan. "But why don't you do as I said? If you wish to see the fairy prince you must bow. He always wants people to do that."
So Lulu and Jimmie bowed once, and Alice bowed three times, and when they asked why she did that she said you must always do things by threes where fairies are concerned.
"Now, follow me," called the gold fish; so they swam farther and farther up the part of the pond where they had never before been. It got smaller and smaller, until it was like a little brook, with rushes bending over it, while the water whispered to the green stems.
"The fairy prince lives in there," suddenly said the gold fish, poking her head up out of the water, so she could speak more plainly, and she pointed with her fin to a hole in the bank. "He will come out presently. Bow your prettiest." Well, you can just imagine how excited the duck children were. Alice fairly trembled, and even Jimmie was interested, as they all bowed.
"All ready now!" went on the gold fish. "Behold the fairy prince. Behold! Behold!" and she made a booming noise under the water, just like the big bass drum, when a man in the circus jumps over sixteen elephants and a quarter all at once.
Then, all of a sudden, oh! maybe in a second and a little more what should come out of that hole in the side of the bank, just above the water, what, I say, should come out of that hole—now be careful, take tight hold of the arms of the chair, and hold your breaths, so as not to be disappointed, what should come out of the hole but a big, brownish-black, spotted with red and yellow, wrinkle-legged, hard-shelled, sharp-beaked mud turtle! There, now!
At first the duck children were so frightened and surprised that they did not know what to do or say. They had expected something so different. Did you? Well, I'm awfully sorry, but you know I'm not responsible. I merely tell what happens.
"Why, that isn't a fairy prince!" cried Jimmie, speaking first.
"Of course not," added Lulu.
Then the gold fish came quite close to them and whispered something.
"Do you know," said Fan Tail, "I have always had my doubts about it myself. He says he's the fairy prince—insists on it, in fact,—and he has it engraved on his visiting cards. But I have my doubts, only I don't dare say so, for you see I work for him, run errands and the like of that; so far be it from me to say he is not a fairy prince. I have, however, guided you to him. Behold, the fairy prince!" and she called the last real loudly, for the mud turtle was looking right at her. Then she added in a whisper: "But I have my doubts."
"Hush! Oh hush, please!" begged Alice. "Of course he is a fairy prince! They are always disguised like that—always appearing as something different from what they really are, you know. Sometimes they are toads, and sometimes frogs, and sometimes mud turtles, I suppose, though I never heard of any of the last kind. But of course he is a fairy prince." Then she bowed again, three times, and said: "Fairy prince, I salute thee."
"Fairy nothing!" grunted Jimmie. "He is no more a fairy than I am."
Then the mud turtle heard them talking, and he stuck his head farther out of the shell, and he looked around with his snaky neck, and he came a little more out of the hole, and said:
"Of course I am the fairy prince. Everybody knows that. I've been a fairy prince for ever and ever so long." And then he sneezed, just to show that, though he was a fairy prince, he was not proud.
"What shall I do, O fairy prince, to change you back into your own rightful shape?" asked Alice. "Tell me, and I will do it at once. Dost thou need three drops of magical water?"
"No," answered the mud turtle, "not any at all, thank you, so much. I am a fairy prince, but I am satisfied with my shape as I am; and I do not want to change. I have always been this way, and I always want to stay so. Please be so kind as to go away. I want to eat my dinner."
So they hurried away, for the gold fish whispered that the mud turtle was always cross when he ate. Jimmie and Lulu were much disappointed, but Alice was not, for she insisted that the mud turtle was really wonderful, and was a fairy prince in disguise. Now what do you think about it? I leave it to you. But whatever you may think please don't be hasty. Take plenty of time. Perhaps you had better wait for the story to-morrow night, which if the cow bell doesn't ring and awaken the doll in the baby carriage will be about how Grandfather Goosey-Gander got into trouble and out again.
GRANDFATHER GOOSEY-GANDER IN TROUBLE
On their way home, after having seen the mud turtle fairy prince, Jimmie, Lulu and Alice Wibblewobble, of course, talked of nothing else. They wished the prince had done something wonderful, instead of merely sending them away when he ate his dinner, and they hoped he would perform a magical feat another time. He really did, as I shall tell you about later, if I do not forget it. The gold fish swam a little way back with the duck children, as she said the prince always liked to be alone when he ate.
"Well, how did you like him?" asked Fan Tail of the ducks.
"Not very much," replied Lulu. "I never did care for mud turtles."
"Nor I," added Jimmie.
"I don't believe he was really a mud turtle at all," declared Alice. "He was a real, truly, fairy prince, and he only looked like a mud turtle, because we did not have the right kind of eyes with which to see him or else because we had no faith in him. It is always so, in fairy stories. You must believe, or you can't see the beautiful things."
"Well, I'd rather have some snails to eat," said Jimmie. "You don't care how they look; it's how they taste. I'm never going to bother with fairies again."
It was about three days after this that Jimmie and Lulu were walking in the deep, green woods, under the trees, picking tender leaves and roots to eat. They were hoping they might meet Johnnie and Billie Bushytail, the squirrels whom they had not seen for some time. Alice stayed home to curl her feathers.
All at once, as they were walking along, the little boy and girl duck heard a funny noise.
"What's that?" cried Jimmie.
"I don't know," answered Lulu. "It sounds like some one calling."
And, sure enough, it was. As they stopped to listen they could hear some one crying: "Help! Help! Oh, help!"
"Let's go and see who it is," suggested Jimmie.
"Maybe it's a dog, or a bad rat, or a fox," objected Lulu.
"No," said her brother, "they would never call for help. Come on."
So they walked on, looking this way and that, to see what they could see; on and on through the woods, until, just as they came from behind a big oak tree, what should they catch sight of, but poor, Grandfather Goosey-Gander, caught fast in the middle of a pile of brush.
"Oh dear me! Oh my goodness me sakes alive! Oh, floppy! floppy! floppy! Oh, a bag of salt and some corn meal!" cried the poor old gentleman duck. "I am in a terrible state! Help me!"
Then Lulu and Jimmie ran right up to him, and asked him what was the matter.
"Oh dear," he said, "I really can't say. I've lost my glasses, and I can't see very well. All I know is that I was walking in the woods, thinking what a nice day it was, when, all of a sudden, in about a quack and a half, I found myself caught fast. And the worst part of it is that I can't get loose!"
"Let me take a look," said Jimmie.
So he went quite close and looked, and he saw that Grandfather Goosey-Gander's right leg was held in between two sticks. The old gentleman duck was in great pain.
"Is my leg broken?" he asked Jimmie.
"No," answered the little boy duck, "but some of the skin is scraped off."
"I knew it!" cried Grandfather Goosey-Gander. "Now I won't be able to go fishing next week. Oh, I do seem to have the worst luck; don't I?"
"We will get you out," Lulu said to him, and then she and her brother went to the aid of the poor old duck. They pushed this way and that way, and they pulled that way and this way, and they lifted up on the pieces of sticks, and they pushed down on them, but it was no use. Poor Grandfather Goosey-Gander was stuck fast there, and I think it was a shame, but it couldn't be helped. Oh my no, and a bit of peppermint candy besides!
"Well, I guess I will have to stay here and die," said the discouraged old duck, and he felt so badly that he wept. Lulu and Jimmie cried also, they felt so sorry. The three of them cried, and their tears were so many that if they had cried long enough there would have been quite a pond there, and they could have gone in swimming. That is, of course, all but Grandfather Goosey-Gander, and he couldn't swim for he was held fast. But they didn't weep long enough.
"Let's try once more," said Lulu, after a while, and then she and Jimmie tried harder than ever to get grandfather's leg out. But they couldn't.
"If I only had a saw!" cried Jimmie, "I could get him loose."
"Ha! perhaps I can help you!" suddenly exclaimed a voice.
Then, as quickly as you can break an egg by dropping it on the floor (only of course you must not do it without permission), who should appear but Nurse Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy, the muskrat. She was out walking with Sammie and Susie Littletail.
"Oh, somebody do please help me!" cried Grandfather Goosey-Gander. "I've lost my glasses, my leg is caught, and I have a pain in my back. Oh, oh, oh!"
"I'll gnaw through those sticks in a jiffy!" cried Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy, for a jiffy is very quick time indeed. Oh, yes, and a broken down couch besides!
So, telling Sammie and Susie Littletail to stand back, and calling to Jimmie and Lulu to remain with them, the muskrat nurse set to work to free Grandfather Goosey-Gander. Her teeth were like the chisels the carpenter uses and in a few seconds the old duck's leg was free. Oh, how glad he was, and how thankful to Nurse Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy! Of course the duck and rabbit children also were glad.
Then Jane gnawed out a little crutch for grandfather to walk with, as he was a trifle lame, and what do you think? Why, Susie Littletail found his glasses for him; and Sammie and Jimmie rubbed his back so nicely that the pain all went out of that. Now I call that doing something don't you?
Well, Grandfather Goosey-Gander started for home, and Jimmie and Lulu asked Sammie and Susie to come and play with them. Nurse Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy said they might, and they had a fine time under the trees in the woods, playing tag of all kinds; cross-tag, wood-tag, dirt-tag, leaf-tag, stump-tag, and a new kind, called acorn-tag, which I will explain about later. Then the bunny children went home with their nurse and Jimmie and Lulu also went home and about two days after that a very funny thing happened.
What it was you shall hear to-morrow night if the trolley car doesn't get off the track, but I'll let you know this much—it's going to be about the rooster trying to swim.
THE ROOSTER TRIES TO SWIM
Grandfather Goosey-Gander was quite lame the next day from having been caught in the brush pile, and could not go very far away from the duck pen. He did manage to hobble around on the crutch which Nurse Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy made for him, and he sat in a sunny corner, reading the newspaper with his glasses which Susie Littletail found. He was reading away as Alice, Lulu and Jimmie Wibblewobble were playing about on the edge of the pond, and the little duck children made so much noise that the old grandfather could not understand what was in the papers.
"Can't you children play something quiet?" he asked for Papa and Mamma Wibblewobble had gone visiting, and Grandfather Goosey-Gander was left to mind the house. "Play some nice, easy game," he suggested.
"Let's play acorn tag," said Lulu.
"All right, you're it," answered Jimmie. So they each took an acorn which they found in the woods and put it in their bills. Then Lulu had to chase after Jimmie and Alice, and when she touched either one of them with her wing she had to call out: "You can't run a little bit, I've tagged you, and now you're it." Yes, that's what she had to call, and she had to do it without letting the acorn fall out of her bill. Now, if you think that's a very easy thing to do, just you try it, that's all.
Lulu didn't have much trouble putting her wing on Jimmie or Alice, but, every time she tried to call out the little verse the acorn would roll out of her bill and she'd have to start all over again, or it wouldn't have been fair. So it was some time before she got over being "it," and then it was Jimmie's turn.
Well, they played acorn tag for quite a while, and, when they got tired of that they all went in swimming. They swam around in circles, and criss-crossed and went in squares, and in triangles and all sorts of queer figures, including eight, nine, ten, which are very difficult figures, indeed, for little ducks.
While they were swimming away, having lots of fun, and far enough off so that Grandfather Goosey-Gander could read his paper in peace, who should come down to the edge of the pond but the rooster. His name was Mr. Cock A. Doodle, and he was very proud. He walked right down to the edge of the water, and looked at the ducks. Then he crowed as loud as he could, and flapped his wings, just as if he were saying:
"There! I'd like to see any of you do that! Ha! Hum! Oh my, yes, indeed!"
"How do you do, Mr. Cock A. Doodle?" asked Jimmie.
"Ahem! I am pretty well, my young friend," replied the rooster. "And how may you happen to be to-day? And how are your sisters, Lulu and Alice Wibblewobble?"
"We are very well," answered Lulu and Alice, and Lulu went on: "Don't you wish you could swim, Mr. Doodle?"
"I can," said the rooster, and he strutted back and forth at the edge of the pond. "Certainly I can swim. What put the notion into your heads that I can't?"
"We never saw you," spoke Jimmie.
"Ahem! Perhaps not. You never saw me stand on one foot and jump over a barrel, but that doesn't prove that I can't do it," replied Mr. Doodle. "I can swim if I choose. I have never cared to, that's all."
"Try now," suggested Lulu, for she didn't believe that rooster could swim, no matter what he said.
"Oh, the water is too cold to go swimming now," said Mr. Doodle. "I never swim in cold water."
"Why, it's as warm as warm can be," declared Alice, and she splashed a few drops upon the rooster, so he could feel it.
"Well, er—ahem! The wind is blowing too much," said the rooster, when he felt the nice, warm water.
"Why, it doesn't blow at all," answered Jimmie.
"Well, I haven't my swimming shoes on," objected Mr. Cock A. Doodle. "I can't swim without them. You ducks have pieces of skin between your toes, so the water won't slip through, but I haven't my webbed feet on."
"Oh, that is very easily fixed," said Lulu. "We will take some pieces of cloth, and tie them over your claws to make them like ours. Do you think you could swim then?"
"Yes," answered the rooster, "I think I could." You see he had no more excuses to make. Oh, wasn't he a tricky old rooster, though, eh?
So Lulu and Jimmie got some bits of cloth, and, with long pieces of ribbon grass, they bound the cloth on the rooster's claws so his feet looked something like a duck's.
"Now come on and we'll have a swimming race," suggested Jimmie. "Walk right down into the water as we do. It won't hurt you the least bit, Mr. Doodle."
"Pooh! Do you think I'm afraid?" inquired Mr. Doodle, and he actually did walk right into the water, while all the ducks and chickens and geese looked on in wonder, for they had never seen the rooster swim, and didn't believe he could. Oh, but Mr. Doodle was proud! He even tried to crow as he stepped into the water, but, as he wasn't used to it, it made his breath feel just as if it were choking him when he tried to swallow.
Yes, he tried to crow, but all the noise he could make was a sort of a gasp and a sigh and a cough and a splutter and a sneeze and choke and a whimper.
"Ha! Aha! Ahem! Ha! Ha! Ho! Ho I will now swim" cried the rooster, and then the water got so deep that he couldn't wade any more, and he had to float. He struck out with his feet, and tried to paddle just as he saw Lulu and Alice and Jimmie doing, but a very funny thing happened.
The rooster went right around in a circle, for he only used one leg at a time. Then he got dizzy, and went around the other way. Then he had to stop. Next he flapped his wings and splashed the water all over.
Say, I wish you could have seen him. It was as good as a circus! He got his tail all wet, and his back got all wet, and, as his feathers weren't the kind that water runs off from, he was soon as soaked as your umbrella ever was. That made him heavy and he began to sink. Oh, how he splashed and spluttered around in that pond! He couldn't swim any more than my typewriter can, and, all at once, what do you suppose happened?
Why, he felt himself sinking more and more and more. Oh, it was terrible!
"Save me! Oh, save me!" Mr. Doodle cried. "I am going down! Help me, please! Help! Help! Help!"
Then the duck children felt sorry, and swam to him as fast as they could. Each one took hold of that poor rooster; Lulu and Alice by a wing, and Jimmie by the rooster's tail, and they towed him to shore. Oh, but he was a sorry looking sight! He couldn't even crow, nor flap his wings.
"I thought you said you could swim," spoke Jimmie.
"Hush!" begged Alice, who was very kind-hearted. "Don't be casting up! Don't make him feel bad."
"Oh, I feel bad enough without that," said Mr. Doodle, sighing. "I guess the water wasn't right for swimming to-day," and with that he walked off, and hid himself in some leaves, to get dry, for he hadn't any towels at his house. But the Wibblewobble children kept on swimming, for they knew how; and now, let me see; well, how about a story of an enchanted castle for to-morrow night; eh? that is if the scissors don't cut up too much.
ALICE WIBBLEWOBBLE'S ENCHANTED CASTLE
Alice Wibblewobble had made up her mind to find out more about the fairy prince. She couldn't believe he was only a mud turtle. She felt sure he was merely in that form until some one came along, pronounced the magical words, or sprinkled the magical water on him, or did something else, to change him back again.
"I think I will have another talk with him," she said. "Perhaps, if I go all alone, he will tell me what to do. Oh, wouldn't it be perfectly lovely if I could change him into a king with a golden-diamond-ruby crown. Yes, I certainly shall go."
So Alice swam off up the pond, in the direction the gold fish had once led Lulu and Jimmie and her.
Well, Alice went on and on and on, for ever so long, but she couldn't seem to find the place where the mud turtle fairy prince lived. She saw the green rushes hanging over the water's edge, she saw the bright ripples, just like diamonds that might be in a king's crown, and she heard the birds singing; but there was no mud hole where the fairy prince lived.
"Oh dear!" exclaimed Alice. "I'm afraid I'm lost."
"What? Lost in this beautiful place?" asked a voice just above her head, and, looking up, Alice saw a dear little yellow bird sitting on a tree over the water.
"Yes," said Alice, and a tear came into her eye, and ran down her yellow bill. "I am lost. I can't find the fairy prince."
"Oh, that is too bad," said the little yellow bird. "I don't just know what a fairy prince is, but it must be dreadful not to be able to find one when you want to. Do not feel badly, however. I can take you to an enchanted castle, if that will do."
"Oh, can you?" cried Alice. "That will be lovely. I had almost as soon see an enchanted castle as a fairy prince. Is it a really, truly one?"
"Oh, yes," answered the bird. "It certainly is. It is the most beautiful place in all the world. Come, and I will show you."
Then Alice felt delighted, and she walked out of the water, and waddled along on the land. The bird flew along, going slowly, so as not to get ahead of Alice. On and on they went, over green fields, and through the woods, until, pretty soon, they came to a place where the bird stopped.
"We are near the enchanted castle," he said. "But you must be very careful."
"Why?" asked Alice.
"Oh, because every once in a while a lot of water spouts up out of the castle, and it might drown you, if you were not careful."
"Oh, I don't mind water," answered Alice.
Then they went on a little farther, and, in a short time, oh, perhaps about as long as it takes you to peel an orange, and put some salt on it, they came to a most beautiful place. I wish you could have seen it! At first Alice thought the rainbow had fallen from the sky, there were so many colors. There was red and green and blue and orange and violet and yellow and pink and purple and even some of that skilligimink color, that once turned Sammie Littletail sky-blue-pink.
Then the little duck girl saw that the colors were all from different flowers that smelled just like mamma's perfume bottles. Next, as she walked on a little farther, she saw a great pile of stones high in the air, and, around the bottom of the pile was a big basin of water, not quite as large as the pond at the ducks' pen, but nearly, Green vines and flowers were growing in and out among the stones, and birds were flying here and there, singing.
"This," said the little yellow bird, "is the enchanted castle. I live here all summer, and so do all my friends. Sometimes we bathe in the water, and sometimes we hide under the flowers. Then, when the water spouts up out of the top of the castle we all fly away."
And just then, what should happen but that some water began to spurt, then and there, right out of the top of that big pile of stones. Up, up it went, in a spray, spreading out at the tops like an umbrella in a rain storm, and the drops fell with a splash into the basin below. Then Alice Wibblewobble cried out!
"Why, this isn't an enchanted castle at all!"
"No?" asked the yellow bird, putting its head on one side, so as to see better. "Why, we always call this our enchanted castle; always."
"No," answered Alice. "It is only a fountain in a stone pile in somebody's flower garden. I've seen one before, near our house."
"Well, it looks like an enchanted castle," said the bird, "and I'm sure it's just as pretty as one. Isn't it as good as your fairy prince?"
"Well," replied the little duck girl. "I suppose it is. But it's only water, such as I swim in."
"Oh, do you swim?" asked the bird. "Do please show me how. I've always wanted to learn."
So, though Alice was disappointed about the enchanted castle, she got in the little pond at the foot of the fountain, and swam around. The water spurted up in the air and fell all over her, but she didn't mind that. All the birds gathered around to watch, and even the flowers nodded their heads, they were so delighted.
"Oh, I'm sure we never can learn to swim," said the yellow bird, as Alice went around again. "It is much too difficult."
Then, all of a sudden, something happened. A boy and a girl came running down the gravel walk to the fountain. The little girl had yellow hair, just like a daffodil, and as soon as she saw Alice she cried out: "Oh, Norman! Come quick! Here is a lovely duck! I hope we can keep it!"
That frightened Alice very much, especially as the boy tried to grab her. So she sprang out of the water and ran and hid under some bushes where the children couldn't find her, and as soon as she could, she went back the way she had come, into the pond, and started to swim home.
And on the way a fox chased her and a big hawk tried to swoop down, and grab her, but she managed to get away. She was all tired out when she got home, and when Jimmie and Lulu asked her where she had been she told them all her adventures.
"Well," said Jimmie, when his sister had finished, "I think I would rather see that enchanted castle than the fairy prince again. Will you take us there some day, Alice?"
"Perhaps," she said, but before they made that trip something else happened, which you shall hear about to-morrow night if I find a green popcorn ball with a pink ribbon on it. It's a story of a visit to Grandpa Wibblewobble's house.
A VISIT TO GRANDPA WIBBLEWOBBLE
Jimmie Wibblewobble was playing marbles with Bully, the frog, one day. They had just finished one game, and were beginning another when Alice Wibblewobble came alone. "Jimmie," she said, "mamma wants you."
"What does she want?" asked her brother.
"She wants you to come for a walk in the woods with us. Papa is going along. Come right away."
"Aw, I'd rather play with Bully," answered Jimmie, but just then his mamma called him, and he had to go. Bully hopped off, and Jimmie and Alice walked home together.
"Come, Lulu, are you all ready?" asked Mrs. Wibblewobble, as she saw her other daughter throwing stones in the pond, and making a great splash.
"Yes," was the reply, and then Jimmie said: "Oh, mamma, I don't want to go walking."
"I think you will want to when you know where we are going," said his papa.
"Where are we going?"
"To Grandpa Wibblewobble's."
"Oh, goody!" cried Lulu and Jimmie at once, for they always had a nice time at their grandfather's. So the ducks set off through the woods and over the fields, and every time they came to a bit of water they swam over it as fast as a cat can wash her face.
Pretty soon, after awhile, not very long, they came to the pen where Grandpa Wibblewobble lived with his daughter, Miss Weezy Wibblewobble, who kept house for him.
"Ha, I think grandpa has company," said Papa Wibblewobble, as they came close to the pen and heard talking. "Yes, he certainly has." And, sure enough, the old gentleman duck had. And whom do you suppose it was? My Uncle Wiggily Longears, the old gentleman rabbit!
"How is your rheumatism?" asked Mrs. Wibblewobble of Uncle Wiggily Longears, after they had sat down.
"Oh, it doesn't seem to get any better," he answered. "I have carried a piece of horse chestnut in one ear, and a bit of dried potato in the other for ever so long, but nothing seems to do me any good. I am going to have a new doctor soon if I don't get well. Oh my, yes, and some pepper hash on bread and butter also! Ha! Hum! Oh my! Ouch! and Jack and the Bean Stalk!" Uncle Wiggily called out that last because his rheumatism hurt so.
Well, Grandpa Wibblewobble gave each of the Wibblewobble children some nice sugared corn meal, flavored with sweet flag, peppermint and watercress, and a few snails to eat, and maybe they didn't like them!
"Now," said grandpa, "you children go out to play, while we old folks talk about the weather and rheumatism," for you see rheumatism was about all Uncle Wiggily cared to talk about.
Well, the little duck children had a fine time playing around grandpa's house, and now, in about a minute something is going to happen. They had wandered off a little way, and, just as they were resting under some burdock leaves, in the shade, they heard voices talking. And one voice said:
"Now I'll go up to the front door of Grandpa Wibblewobble's house and you go up to the back door. We'll both knock at the same time, and the ducks won't know which door to go to first. Then we'll jump in the windows and eat them all up—all up—up! There are some extra fine ducks there to-day."
Oh, maybe Jimmie and his sisters weren't frightened. They trembled so that the leaves shook as if the wind was blowing them, and when Jimmie got a little quiet he looked out, and what do you suppose he saw? Why two mean, wicked, sly old foxes, who were getting ready to go to grandpa's house and eat him up, and Mamma and Papa Wibblewobble up, and probably Uncle Wiggily Longears, too; who knows?
"Oh, isn't this awful?" asked Alice in a whisper. "I am going to faint! I know I am!"
"Silly!" said Jimmie to her. "Don't you dare faint! Here, smell of this," and he picked some spearmint, and held it under his sister's nose, which made her feel better.
"We must do something," said Lulu. "It will never do to have those bad foxes go to grandpa's house! How can we stop them?"
"Let me think," whispered Jimmie, quite bravely, and he put his head under his wing, so he could be quiet and think better. "Ah, I have it!" he cried out. "Come with me, girls!"
So they stepped softly from under the burdock leaves, those three duck children did, and ran to grandpa's house as fast as they could, leaving the bad foxes in the woods. Well, you can imagine how surprised all the folks were, even Uncle Wiggily, when they heard the alarming news which the children told.
"Oh, whatever shall we do?" cried Weezy Wibblewobble.
"I know what I'd do, if it wasn't for my rheumatism!" said Uncle Wiggily. "I'd bite those foxes, and jump on them, too, but I can't! Oh, if Nurse Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy were only here!"
"Never mind. I will save you," spoke Jimmie. "Come now, we must get a lot of stones and some boards. Hurry, for the foxes will soon be here."
So the ducks, with Uncle Wiggily helping them as much as he could, put a board over the front door, and one over the back door, just inside the house. Then they piled a lot of stones on the boards and fixed them with strings, so that when the cords were pulled the boards would fall down and the stones would also fall, with a clatter on the head of whoever was at the door.
Well, after all this was done, the ducks and Uncle Wiggily went and hid in the house. Then, in a little while, those bad foxes came sneaking along. And, sure enough, one went to the back door and the other to the front door.
They knocked at the same time, just as they had said they would, and Papa Wibblewobble opened one door and Grandpa Wibblewobble the other. Then just as soon as the doors were opened Jimmie, who had hold of the strings that were fast to the boards, pulled them with his bill, and down clattered the stones, rattlety-bang-go-bung-ker-plunk, right on top of the heads of those two bad foxes! Oh, how scared they were!
"The house is falling! The house is falling! Run away!" cried one fox and they both ran as fast as they could, glad enough to escape, I tell you. Now, wasn't that a good trick Jimmie played on those bad animals?
I thought so, myself, and so did his grandpa and his papa and mamma, to say nothing of Uncle Wiggily Longears. And that's how the foxes didn't eat up the ducks, and to-morrow night, if the robin sings under my window as sweetly as he did yesterday morning, you shall hear about how Aunt Lettie came on a visit.
A VISIT FROM AUNT LETTIE
One day it was so very pleasant out of doors that Lulu and Alice and Jimmie Wibblewobble didn't want to go to school. The sun was sparkling on the water in the duck pond, and Alice said, as she felt the wind blowing on her feathers:
"Oh, I just wish I could go see the fairy prince again!"
"Pooh! I don't," spoke Jimmie. "But I wish we could stay home from school. Bully, the frog, and I were going to get up a baseball nine. Let's go ask papa if we can stay home."
"Can't I play on your ball team?" asked Lulu, who could throw a stone almost as well as a boy.
"No," said Jimmie. "Girls never play on ball teams."
"Couldn't I even umpire?" went on his sister.
"No, Uncle Wiggily Longears is going to do that," replied Jimmie. "Billie and Johnnie Bushytail and Sammie Littletail are going to play on the team. But let's go ask papa if we can stay home. It's too nice to go to school."
So they went and asked Mr. Wibblewobble, who had remained at home from work that day, because, you see, he happened to swallow a shoe button by mistake for a grain of corn, and he had indigestion something awful; yes, really.
You know it was a tan shoe button, and if your eyesight isn't very good, why it does look like a grain of corn, especially if you're very hungry and in a hurry. So Mr. Wibblewobble wasn't feeling very well when Jimmie and Lulu came in to ask him if they could stay home from school, and he was the least bit cross, perhaps, because his indigestion was really very bad at that moment. So he answered them:
"No, indeed, you can't stay home. Go to school at once! Quack!"
Now when a duck says one quack, instead of a double quack-quack, you may know he is feeling very, very miserable, and you don't want to bother him any more than you can help.
Lulu and Jimmie knew this, and they hurried out of the pen to go to school. Then their papa felt sorry for them, because, you see, he did not really mean to be cross, only he knew it was best for them to learn all they could. So he said "Quack-quack," which meant he was feeling better, and he added: "When you come home, my dears, you may each have a penny. Run along now, like good ducks."
So, though Jimmie felt badly about not being able to get up a ball nine, he waddled along with his sisters, and pretty soon they were at the owl school, where they met Sammie and Susie Littletail and Billie and Johnnie Bushytail, and Sister Sallie and Bully, the frog. Yes, they were all there, and, what's more, they had their lessons, too, so they were not kept in.
They hurried home after school, Alice and Lulu and Jimmie, I mean, because this story is about them, you see; and they got their pennies from their papa, and each one bought some watercress snails, preserved in salted cornmeal; very fine they were, too, for ducks.
Just as the three Wibblewobble children were finishing the last of the snails, who should come hopping along but Bully, the frog. He hopped into the water to cool himself off and then, when he had hopped out again, he asked:
"I say, Jimmie, are your folks expecting company?"
"I don't think so," answered Jimmie. "I saw mamma setting the table and she wasn't putting the clean cloth on. No, I guess we're not going to have company, or there'd be a clean cloth put on. Why do you ask?"
"Because, as I was coming through the woods just now I met a funny looking creature asking the way to your pen."
"Who was it?" inquired Lulu.
"Oh, it was a nice old lady. She had long hair and she carried a basket and she wore such a funny bonnet! Two sharp things stuck right out of the top of it. I offered to show her the way here, but she said I went in the water so often that she couldn't follow me, for she didn't want to get her feet wet. You must be going to have company."
"Maybe we are!" cried Alice. "Let's go ask mamma."
So they went, and asked their mother, but she said she did not know of any company coming, but, for fear some one might come along unexpectedly she did put the clean table cloth on, and she got out the napkins, and opened a jar of preserved sweet flag root.
"Come on," proposed Lulu, after a bit, "let's go through the woods. Bully, you show us where you met the queer lady, and maybe we'll see her."
So the four started off, Bully hopping along in front, and pretty soon, just as they got to the place where the weeping willow tree stands, what should they hear but a funny noise. It sounded like "Ma-a-a-a-a!" You know, just like a sheep cries.
"There she is!" exclaimed Bully. "That's just the way she talks. And there she is! Look! The nice old lady!"
The three Wibblewobble children looked, and what should they see but a big white goat. She was an old lady goat, and she was walking along with her basket on her arm, and the things sticking out of her bonnet were her horns. As soon as she saw the children she called:
"Oh, my dears, can you show me the way to Mrs. Wibblewobble's? I'm afraid I'm lost!"
"Why, Mrs. Wibblewobble is our mamma," answered Lulu, quickly.
"Oh, my dears! You don't mean it!" cried the goat. "Then you must be my little nieces and nephew I've heard so much about. But who is this little green boy? I've seen him before."
"Oh, he's the catcher on our base ball nine," said Jimmie. "He catches the balls in his mouth. But, who are you, if I may be so bold as to ask?"
"I'm your Aunt Lettie," replied the goat. "I've come to pay you a long visit. Oh, I'm so glad I found you, for I feared I would never get to your house! See, I have brought you some apple turnovers, and some gooseberry tarts. Now let's hurry home, but first kiss me."
So Aunt Lettie kissed them all, even Bully, the frog, and then she and the Wibblewobble children went to the ducks' pen, where she stayed several days.
And quite a number of things happened, too. In fact, one took place the very next day, as you shall hear to-morrow night, when I am going to tell you about Lulu and the pussy willows, provided a doggie with a yellow nose and pink ears doesn't scare me.
LULU AND THE PUSSY WILLOWS
"What shall we do now?" asked Lulu the next morning after Aunt Lettie came, and the duck children had gone out to play, leaving their mamma and the old lady goat to do the dishes.
"Let's go see the fairy prince," suggested Alice.
"Oh, you're always thinking of that fairy prince," objected Jimmie. "I say let's go for a walk."
"All right," agreed Lulu. "I know where there are some nice pussy willows. We'll get some to take to our school teacher next Monday."
So they started off up the pond to the place where the pussy willows grew. They gathered quite a number, breaking off the stems in their strong yellow bills, and then, putting the willows under their wings, they started back home again. They didn't have to hurry because, you see, it was Saturday, and there wasn't any school. Oh, my no! Ducks don't have to go to school on Saturday any more than you do, even if they are only in the kindergarten class.
Now, if you please, pay close attention, for something is going to happen very shortly, if Uncle Wiggily Longears doesn't come along and bother me, and I don't believe he will. Well, Lulu and Alice and Jimmie got safely home with the pussy willows, and as they were putting them in water to keep until Monday, Aunt Lettie came into the room.
"What have you there, my dears?" she asked, wiggling her horns and looking over the tops of her glasses as easily as you can draw a picture of a horse. "What have you there, my dears?"
"They are pussy willows, Aunt Lettie," replied Lulu.
"Oh dearie me! oh Sacramento!" cried Aunt Lettie, who was quite excitable at times. "Why ever did you bring them here, little ones?"