E-text prepared by Al Haines
UNCLE WIGGILY IN THE WOODS
HOWARD R. GARIS
Author of "Sammie and Susie Littletail," "Uncle Wiggily and Mother Goose," "The Bedtime Series of Animal Stories," "The Daddy Series," Etc.
Illustrated by Louis Wisa
[Frontispiece: She put her sled on the slanting tree, sat down and Jillie gave her a little push.]
A. L. Burt Company Publishers —————— New York Copyright 1917, by R. F. Fenno & Company
UNCLE WIGGILY IN THE WOODS
I Uncle Wiggily and the Willow Tree II Uncle Wiggily and the Wintergreen III Uncle Wiggily and the Slippery Elm IV Uncle Wiggily and the Sassafras V Uncle Wiggily and the Pulpit-Jack VI Uncle Wiggily and the Violets VII Uncle Wiggily and the High Tree VIII Uncle Wiggily and the Peppermint IX Uncle Wiggily and the Birch Tree X Uncle Wiggily and the Butternut Tree XI Uncle Wiggily and Lulu's Hat XII Uncle Wiggily and the Snow Drops XIII Uncle Wiggily and the Horse Chestnut XIV Uncle Wiggily and the Pine Tree XV Uncle Wiggily and the Green Rushes XVI Uncle Wiggily and the Bee Tree XVII Uncle Wiggily and the Dogwood XVIII Uncle Wiggily and the Hazel Nuts XIX Uncle Wiggily and Susie's Dress XX Uncle Wiggily and Tommie's Kite XXI Uncle Wiggily and Johnnie's Marbles XXII Uncle Wiggily and Billie's Top XXIII Uncle Wiggily and the Sunbeam XXIV Uncle Wiggily and the Puff Ball XXV Uncle Wiggily and the May Flowers XXVI Uncle Wiggily and the Beech Tree XXVII Uncle Wiggily and the Bitter Medicine XXVIII Uncle Wiggily and the Pine Cones XXIX Uncle Wiggily and His Torn Coat XXX Uncle Wiggily and the Sycamore Tree XXXI Uncle Wiggily and the Red Spots
She put her sled on the slanting tree, sat down and Jillie gave her a little push . . . . . . Frontispiece
Down toppled Uncle Wiggily's hat, not in the least hurt.
As they passed a high rock, out from behind it jumped the bad old tail-pulling monkey.
The tree barked and roared so like a lion that the foxes were frightened and were glad enough to run away.
Up, up and up into the air blew the kite and, as the string was tangled around the babboon's paws, it took him up with it.
"Ker-sneezio! Ker-snitzio! Ker-choo!" he sneezed as the powder from the puff balls went up his nose and into his eyes.
Jackie was so surprised that he opened his mouth.
Before Uncle Wiggily could stop himself he had run into the bush.
UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE WILLOW TREE
"Well, it's all settled!" exclaimed Uncle Wiggily Longears, the rabbit gentleman, one day, as he hopped up the steps of his hollow stump bungalow where Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, his muskrat lady housekeeper, was fanning herself with a cabbage leaf tied to her tail. "It's all settled."
"What is?" asked Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy. "You don't mean to tell me anything has happened to you?" and she looked quite anxious.
"No, I'm all right," laughed Uncle Wiggily, "and I hope you are the same. What I meant was that it's all settled where we are going to spend our vacation this Summer."
"Oh, tell me where!" exclaimed the muskrat lady clapping her paws, anxious like.
"In a hollow stump bungalow, just like this, but in the woods instead of in the country," answered Uncle Wiggily.
"Oh, that will be fine!" cried Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy. "I love the woods. When are we to go?"
"Very soon now," answered the bunny gentleman uncle. "You may begin to pack up as quickly as you please."
And Nurse Jane and Uncle Wiggily moved to the woods very next day and his adventures began.
I guess most of you know about the rabbit gentleman and his muskrat lady housekeeper who nursed him when he was ill with the rheumatism. Uncle Wiggily had lots and lots of adventures, about which I have told you in the books before this one.
He had traveled about seeking his fortune, he had even gone sailing in his airship, and once he met Mother Goose and all her friends from Old King Cole down to Little Jack Horner.
Uncle Wiggily had many friends among the animal boys and girls. There was Sammie and Susie Littletail, the rabbits, who have a book all to themselves; just as have Jackie and Peetie Bow Wow, the puppy dog boys, and Jollie and Jillie Longtail, the mice children.
"And I s'pose we'll meet all your friends in the woods, won't we, Uncle Wiggily?" asked Nurse Jane, as they moved from the old hollow stump bungalow to the new one.
"Oh, yes, I s'pose so, of course," he laughed in answer, as he pulled his tall silk hat more tightly down on his head, fastened on his glasses and took his red, white and blue striped barber pole rheumatism crutch that Nurse Jane had gnawed for him out of a cornstalk.
So, once upon a time, not very many years ago, as all good stories should begin, Uncle Wiggily and Nurse Jane found themselves in the woods. It was lovely among the trees, and as soon as the rabbit gentleman had helped Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy put the hollow stump bungalow to rights he started out for a walk.
"I want to see what sort of adventures I shall have in the woods," said Mr. Longears as he hopped along.
Now in these woods lived, among many other creatures good and bad, two skillery-scalery alligators who were not exactly friends of the bunny uncle. But don't let that worry you, for though the alligators, and other unpleasant animals, may, once in a while, make trouble for Uncle Wiggily, I'll never really let them hurt him. I'll fix that part all right!
So, one day, the skillery-scalery alligator with the humps on his tail, and his brother, another skillery-scalery chap, whose tail was double jointed, were taking a walk through the woods together just as Uncle Wiggily was doing.
"Brother," began the hump-tailed 'gator (which I call him for short), "brother, wouldn't you like a nice rabbit?"
"Indeed I would," answered the double-jointed tail 'gator, who could wobble his flippers both ways. "And I know of no nicer rabbit than Uncle Wiggily Longears."
"The very same one about whom I was thinking!" exclaimed the other alligator. "Let's catch him!"
"That's what we'll do!" said the double-jointed chap. "We'll hide in the woods until he comes along, as he does every day, and the we'll jump out and grab him. Oh, you yum-yum!"
"Fine!" grunted his brother. "Come on!"
Off they crawled through the woods, and pretty soon they came to a willow tree, where the branches grew so low down that they looked like a curtain that had unwound itself off the roller, when the cat hangs on it.
"This is the place for us to hide—by the weeping willow tree," said the skillery-scalery alligator with bumps on his tail.
"The very place," agreed his brother.
So they hid behind the thick branches of the tree, which had leafed out for early spring, and there the two bad creatures waited.
Just before this Uncle Wiggily himself had started out from his hollow stump bungalow to walk in the woods and across the fields, as he did every day.
"I wonder what sort of an adventure I shall have this time?" he said to himself. "I hope it will be a real nice one."
Oh! If Uncle Wiggily had known what was in store for him, I think he would have stayed in his hollow stump bungalow. But never mind, I'll make it all come out right in the end, you see if I don't. I don't know just how I'm going to do it, yet, but I'll find a way, never fear.
Uncle Wiggily hopped on and on, now and then swinging his red-white-and-blue-striped rheumatism crutch like a cane, because he felt so young and spry and spring-like. Pretty soon he came to the willow tree. He was sort of looking up at it, wondering if a nibble of some of the green leaves would not do him good, when, all of a sudden, out jumped the two bad alligators and grabbed the bunny gentleman.
"Now we have you!" cried the humped-tail 'gator.
"And you can't get away from us," said the other chap—the double-jointed tail one.
"Oh, please let me go!" begged Uncle Wiggily, but they hooked their claws in his fur, and pulled him back under the tree, which held its branches so low. I told you it was a weeping willow tree, and just now it was weeping, I think, because Uncle Wiggily was in such trouble.
"Let's see now," said the double-jointed tail alligator. "I'll carry this rabbit home, and then—"
"You'll do nothing of the sort!" interrupted the other, and not very politely, either. "I'll carry him myself. Why, I caught him as much as you did!"
"Well, maybe you did, but I saw him first."
"I don't care! It was my idea. I first thought of this way of catching him!"
And then those two alligators disputed, and talked very unpleasantly, indeed, to one another.
But, all the while, they kept tight hold of the bunny uncle, so he could not get away.
"Well," said the double-jointed tail alligator after a while, "we must settle this one way or the other. Am I to carry him to our den, or you?"
"Me! I'll do it. If you took him you'd keep him all for yourself. I know you!"
"No, I wouldn't! But that's just what you'd do. I know you only too well. No, if I can't carry this rabbit home myself, you shan't!"
"I say the same thing. I'm going to have my rights."
Now, while the two bad alligators were talking this way they did not pay much attention to Uncle Wiggily. They held him so tightly in their claws that he could not get away, but he could use his own paws, and, when the two bad creatures were talking right in each other's face, and using big words, Uncle Wiggily reached up and cut off a piece of willow wood with the bark on.
And then, still when the 'gators were disputing, and not looking, the bunny uncle made himself a whistle out of the willow tree stick. He loosened the bark, which came off like a kid glove, and then he cut a place to blow his breath in, and another place to let the air out and so on, until he had a very fine whistle indeed, almost as loud-blowing as those the policemen have to stop the automobiles from splashing mud on you so a trolley car can bump into you.
"I'll tell you what we'll do," said the hump-tail alligator at last. "Since you won't let me carry him home, and I won't let you, let's both carry him together. You take hold of him on one side, and I'll take the other."
"Good!" cried the second alligator.
"Oh, ho! I guess not!" cried the bunny uncle suddenly. "I guess you won't either, or both of you take me off to your den. No, indeed!"
"Why not?" asked the hump-tailed 'gator, sort of impolite like and sarcastic.
"Because I'm going to blow my whistle and call the police!" went on the bunny uncle. "Toot! Toot! Tootity-ti-toot-toot!"
And then and there he blew such a loud, shrill blast on his willow tree whistle that the alligators had to put their paws over their ears. And when they did that they had to let go of bunny uncle. He had his tall silk hat down over his ears, so it didn't matter how loudly he blew the whistle. He couldn't hear it.
"Toot! Toot! Tootity-toot-toot!" he blew on the willow whistle.
"Oh, stop! Stop!" cried the hump-tailed 'gator.
"Come on, run away before the police come!" said his brother. And out from under the willow tree they both ran, leaving Uncle Wiggily safely behind.
"Well," said the bunny gentleman as he hopped along home to his bungalow, "it is a good thing I learned, when a boy rabbit, how to make whistles." And I think so myself.
So if the vinegar jug doesn't jump into the molasses barrel and turn its face sour like a lemon pudding, I'll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the winter green.
UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE WINTERGREEN
Uncle Wiggily Longears, the nice old gentleman rabbit, knocked on the door of the hollow tree in the woods where Johnnie and Billie Bushytail, the two little squirrel boys, lived.
"Come in!" invited Mrs. Bushytail. So Uncle Wiggily went in.
"I thought I'd come around and see you," he said to the squirrel lady. "I'm living in the woods this Summer and just now I am out taking a walk, as I do every day, and I hoped I might meet with an adventure. But, so far, I haven't. Do you know where I could find an adventure, Mrs. Bushytail?"
"No, I'm sorry to say I don't, Uncle Wiggily," answered the squirrel lady. "But I wish you could find something to make my little boy Billie feel better."
"Why, is he ill?" asked the bunny uncle, surprised like, and he looked across the room where Billy Bushytail was curled up in a big rocking chair, with his tail held over his head like an umbrella, though it was not raining.
"No, Billie isn't ill," said Mrs. Bushytail. "But he says he doesn't know what to do to have any fun, and I am afraid he is a little peevish."
"Oh, that isn't right," said Mr. Longears. "Little boys, whether they are squirrels, rabbits or real children, should try to be jolly and happy, and not peevish."
"How can a fellow be happy when there's no fun?" asked Billie, sort of cross-like. "My brother Johnnie got out of school early, and he and the other animal boys have gone off to play where I can't find them. I had to stay in, because I didn't know my nut-cracking lesson, and now I can't have any fun. Oh, dear! I don't care!"
Billie meant, I suppose, that he didn't care what he said or did, and that isn't right. But Uncle Wiggily only pinkled his twink nose. No, wait just a moment if you please. He just twinkled his pink nose behind the squirrel boy's back, and then the bunny uncle said:
"How would you like to come for a walk in the woods with me, Billie?"
"Oh, that will be nice!" exclaimed the squirrel lady. "Do go, Billie."
"No, I don't want to!" chattered the boy squirrel, most impolitely.
"Oh, that isn't at all nice," said Mrs. Bushy-tail. "At least thank Uncle Wiggily for asking you."
"Oh, excuse me, Uncle Wiggily," said Billie, sorrylike. "I do thank you. But I want very much to have some fun, and there's no fun in the woods. I know all about them. I know every tree and bush and stump. I want to go to a new place."
"Well, new places are nice," said the bunny uncle, "but old ones are nice, too, if you know where to look for the niceness. Now come along with me, and we'll see if we can't have some fun. It is lovely in the woods now."
"I won't have any fun there," said Billie, crossly. "The woods are no good. Nothing good to eat grows there."
"Oh, yes there does—lots!" laughed Uncle Wiggily. "Why the nuts you squirrels eat grow in the woods."
"Yes, but there are no nuts now," spoke the squirrel boy. "They only come in the Fall."
"Well, come, scamper along, anyhow," invited Uncle Wiggily. "Who knows what may happen? It may even be an adventure. Come along, Billie."
So, though he did not care much about it, Billie went. Uncle Wiggily showed the squirrel boy where the early spring flowers were coming up, and how the Jacks, in their pulpits, were getting ready to preach sermons to the trees and bushes.
"Hark! What's that?" asked Billie, suddenly, hearing a noise.
"What does it sound like?" asked Uncle Wiggily.
"Like bells ringing."
"Oh, it's the bluebells—the bluebell flowers," answered the bunny uncle.
"Why do they ring?" asked the little boy squirrel.
"To call the little ants and lightning bugs to school," spoke Uncle Wiggily, and Billy smiled. He was beginning to see that there were more things in the woods than he had dreamed of, even if he had scampered here and there among the trees ever since he was a little squirrel chap.
On and on through the woods went the bunny uncle and Billie. They picked big, leafy ferns to fan themselves with, and then they drank with green leaf-cups from a spring of cool water.
But no sooner had Billie taken the cold water than he suddenly cried:
"Ouch! Oh, dear! Oh, my, how it hurts!"
"What is it?" asked Uncle Wiggily. "Did you bite your tongue or step on a thorn?"
"It's my tooth," chattered Billie. "The cold water made it ache again. I need to go to Mr. Stubtail, the bear dentist, who will pull it out with his long claws. But I've been putting it off, and putting it off, and now—Oh, dear, how it aches! Wow!"
"I'll cure it for you!" said Uncle Wiggily. "Just walk along through the woods with me and I'll soon stop your aching tooth."
"How can you?" asked Billie, holding his paw to his jaw to warm the aching tooth, for heat will often stop pain. "There isn't anything here in the woods to cure toothache; is there?"
"I think we shall find something," spoke the bunny uncle.
"Well, I wish we could find it soon!" cried Billie, "for my tooth hurts very much. Ouch!" and he hopped up and down, for the toothache was of the jumping kind.
"Ah, ha! Here we have it!" cried Uncle Wiggily, as he stooped over some shiny green leaves, growing close to the ground, and he pulled some of them up. "Just chew these leaves a little and let them rest inside your mouth near the aching tooth," said Mr. Longears. "I think they will help you, Billie."
So Billie chewed the green leaves. They smarted and burned a little, but when he put them near his tooth they made it nice and warm and soon the ache all stopped.
"What was that you gave me, Uncle Wiggily?" Billie asked.
"Wintergreen," answered Uncle Wiggily. "It grows in the woods, and is good for flavoring candy, as well as for stopping toothache."
"I am glad to know that," said Billie. "The woods are a nicer place than I thought, and there is ever so much more in them than I dreamed. Thank you, Uncle Wiggily."
So, as his toothache was all better, Billie had good fun in the woods with the bunny uncle, until it was time to go home. And in the next story, if the top doesn't fly off the coffee pot and let the baked potato hide away from the egg-beater, when they play tag, I'll tell you about Uncle Wiggily and the slippery elm.
UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE SLIPPERY ELM
"Where are you going, Uncle Wiggily?" asked Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady housekeeper, as she saw the rabbit gentleman standing on the front steps of his hollow stump bungalow in the woods one morning. "Where are you going?"
"Oh, just for a walk through the forest," spoke the bunny uncle. "It is so nice in the woods, with the flowers coming up, and the leaves getting larger and greener every day, that I just love to walk there."
"Well," said Nurse Jane with a laugh, "if you happen to see a bread-tree in the woods, bring home a loaf for supper."
"I will," promised Uncle Wiggily. "You know, Nurse Jane, there really are trees on which bread fruit grows, though not in this country. But I can get you a loaf of bread at the five and ten cent store, I dare say."
"Do, please," asked the muskrat lady. "And if you see a cocoanut tree you might bring home a cocoanut cake for supper."
"Oh, my!" laughed the rabbit gentleman. "I'm afraid there are no cocoanut trees in my woods. I could bring you home a hickory nut cake, perhaps."
"Well, whatever you like," spoke Nurse Jane. "But don't get lost, whatever you do, and if you meet with an adventure I hope it will be a nice one."
"So do I," Uncle Wiggily said, as he hopped off, leaning on his red, white and blue stripped [Transcriber's note: striped?] rheumatism crutch which Nurse Jane had gnawed for him out of a cornstalk.
The old rabbit gentleman had not gone very far before he met Dr. Possum walking along in the woods, with his satchel of medicine on his tail, for Dr. Possum cured all the ill animals, you know.
"What in the world are you doing, Dr. Possum?" asked Uncle Wiggily, as he saw the animal doctor pulling some bark off a tree. "Are you going to make a canoe, as the Indians used to do?"
"Oh, no," answered Dr. Possum. "This is a slippery elm tree. The underside of the bark, next to the tree, and the tree itself, is very slippery when it is wet. Very slippery indeed."
"Well, I hope you don't slip," said Uncle Wiggily, kindly.
"I hope so, too," Dr. Possum said. "But I am taking this slippery elm bark to mix with some of the bitter medicine I have to give Billie Wagtail, the goat boy. When I put some bark from the slippery elm tree in Billie's medicine it will slip down his throat so quickly that he will never know he took it."
"Good!" cried Uncle Wiggily, laughing. Then the bunny uncle went close to the tree, off which Dr. Possum was taking some bark, and felt of it with his paw. The tree was indeed as slippery as an icy sidewalk slide on Christmas eve.
"My!" exclaimed Mr. Longears. "If I tried to climb up that tree I'd do nothing but slip down."
"That's right," said Dr. Possum. "But I must hurry on now to give Billie Wagtail his medicine."
So Dr. Possum went on his way and Uncle Wiggily hopped along until, pretty soon, he heard a rustling in the bushes, and a voice said:
"But, Squeaky-Eeky dear, I can't find any snow hill for you to ride down on your sled. The snow is all gone, you see. It is Spring now."
"Oh, dear!" cried another voice. "Such a lot of trouble. Oh, dear! Oh, dear!"
"Ha! Trouble!" said Uncle Wiggily to himself. "This is where I come in. I must see if I cannot help them."
He looked through the bushes, and there he saw Jillie Longtail, the little girl mouse, and with her was Squeaky-Eeky, the cousin mouse. And Squeaky-Eeky had a small sled with her.
"Why, what's the matter?" asked Uncle Wiggily, for he saw that Squeaky-Eeky had been crying. "What is the matter, little mice?"
"Oh, hello. Uncle Wiggily!" cried Jillie. "I don't know what to do with my little cousin mouse. You see she wants to slide down hill on her Christmas sled, but there isn't any snow on any of the hills now."
"No, that's true, there isn't," said the bunny uncle. "But, Squeaky, why didn't you slide down hill in the Winter, when there was snow?"
"Because, I had the mouse-trap fever, then," answered Squeaky-Eeky, "and I couldn't go out. But now I am all better and I can be out, and oh, dear! I do so much want a ride down hill on my sled. Boo, hoo!"
"Don't cry, Squeaky, dear," said Jillie. "If there is no snow you can't slide down hill, you know."
"But I want to," said the little cousin mouse, unreasonable like.
"But you can't; so please be nice," begged Jillie.
"Oh, dear!" cried Squeaky. "I do so much want to slide down hill on my sled."
"And you shall!" suddenly exclaimed Uncle Wiggily. "Come with me, Squeaky."
"Why, Uncle Wiggily!" cried Jillie. "How can you give Squeaky a slide down hill when there is no snow? You need a slippery snow hill for sleigh-riding."
"I am not so sure of that," spoke Uncle Wiggily, with a smile. "Let us see."
Off through the woods he hopped, with Jillie and Squeaky following. Pretty soon Uncle Wiggily came to a big tree that had fallen down, one end being raised up higher than the other, like a hill, slanting.
With his strong paws and his sharp teeth, the rabbit gentleman began peeling the bark off the tree, showing the white wood underneath.
"What are you doing, Uncle Wiggily?" asked Jillie.
"This is a slippery elm tree, and I am making a hill so Squeaky-Eeky can slide down," answered the bunny uncle. "Underneath the bark the trunk of the elm tree is very slippery. Dr. Possum told me so. See how my paw slips!" And indeed it did, sliding down the sloping tree almost as fast as you can eat a lollypop.
Uncle Wiggily took off a lot of bark from the elm tree, making a long, sliding, slippery place.
"Now, try that with your sled, Squeaky-Eeky," said the bunny uncle. And the little cousin mouse did. She put her sled on the slanting tree, sat down and Jillie gave her a little push. Down the slippery elm tree went Squeaky as fast as anything, coming to a stop in a pile of soft leaves.
"Oh, what a lovely slide!" cried Squeaky. "You try it, Jillie." And the little mouse girl did.
"Who would think," she said, "that you could slide down a slippery elm tree? But you can."
Then she and Squeaky took turns sliding down hill, even though there was no snow, and the slippery elm tree didn't mind it a bit, but rather liked it.
And if the coal man doesn't take away our gas shovel to shoot some tooth powder into the wax doll's pop gun, I'll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the sassafras.
UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE SASSAFRAS
"Uncle Wiggily! Uncle Wiggily! Get up!" called Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady housekeeper, as she stood at the foot of the stairs of the hollow stump bungalow and called up to the rabbit gentleman one morning.
"Hurry down, Mr. Longears," she went on. "This is the last day I am going to bake buckwheat cakes, and if you want some nice hot ones, with maple sugar sauce on, you'd better hurry."
No answer came from the bunny uncle.
"Why, this is strange," said Nurse Jane to herself. "I wonder if anything can have happened to him? Did he have an adventure in the night? Did the bad skillery-scalery alligator, with humps on its tail, carry him off?"
Then she called again:
"Uncle Wiggily! Uncle Wiggily! Aren't you going to get up? Come down to breakfast. Aren't you going to get up and come down?"
"No, Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy," replied the bunny uncle, "not to give you a short answer, I am not going to get up, or come down or eat breakfast or do anything," and Mr. Longears spoke as though his head was hidden under the bed clothes, which it was.
"Oh, Uncle Wiggily, whatever is the matter?" asked Nurse Jane, surprised like and anxious.
"I don't feel at all well," was the answer. "I think I have the epizootic, and I don't want any breakfast."
"Oh, dear!" cried Nurse Jane. "And all the nice cakes I have baked. I know what I'll do," she said to herself. "I'll call in Dr. Possum. Perhaps Uncle Wiggily needs some of the roots and herbs that grow in the woods—wintergreen, slippery elm or something like that. I'll call Dr. Possum."
And when the animal doctor came he looked at the bunny uncle's tongue, felt of his ears, and said:
"Ha! Hum! You have the Spring fever, Uncle Wiggily. What you need is sassafras."
"Nurse Jane has some in the bungalow," spoke Mr. Longears. "Tell her to make me some tea from that."
"No, what is needed is fresh sassafras," said Dr. Possum. "And, what is more, you must go out in the woods and dig it yourself. That will be almost as good for your Spring fever as the sassafras itself. So hop out, and dig some of the roots."
"Oh, dear!" cried Uncle Wiggily, fussy like. "I don't want to. I'd rather stay here in bed."
"But you can't!" cried Dr. Possum in his jolly voice. "Out with you!" and he pulled the bed clothes off the bunny uncle so he had to get up to keep warm.
"Well, I'll just go out and dig a little sassafras root to please him," thought Uncle Wiggily to himself, "and then I'll come back and stay in bed as long as I please. It's all nonsense thinking I have to have fresh root—the old is good enough."
"I do feel quite wretched and lazy like," said Uncle Wiggily to himself, as he limped along on his red, white and blue-striped barber-pole rheumatism crutch, that Nurse Jane had gnawed for him out of a cornstalk. "As soon as I find some sassafras I'll pull up a bit of the root and hurry back home and to bed."
Pretty soon the bunny uncle saw where some of the sassafras roots were growing, with their queer three-pointed leaves, like a mitten, with a place for your finger and thumb.
"Now to pull up the root," said the bunny uncle, as he dug down in the ground a little way with his paws, to get a better hold.
But pulling up sassafras roots is not as easy as it sounds, as you know if you have ever tried it. The roots go away down in the earth, and they are very strong.
Uncle Wiggily pulled and tugged and twisted and turned, but he could break off only little bits of the underground stalk.
"This won't do!" he said to himself. "If I don't get a big root Dr. Possum will, perhaps, send me hack for more. I'll try again."
He got his paws under a nice, big root, and he was straining his back to pull it up, when, all of a sudden, he heard a voice saying:
"How do you do?"
"Oh, hello!" exclaimed the bunny, looking up quickly, and expecting to see some friend of his, like Grandpa Goosey Gander, or Sammie Littletail, the rabbit boy. But, instead, he saw the bad old fox, who had, so many times, tried to catch the rabbit gentleman.
"Oh!" said Uncle Wiggily, astonished like. And again he said: "Oh!"
"Surprised, are you?" asked the fox, sort of curling his whiskers around his tongue, sarcastic fashion.
"A little—yes," answered Uncle Wiggily. "I didn't expect to see you."
"But I've been expecting you a long time," said the fox, grinning most impolitely. "In fact, I've been waiting for you. Just as soon as you have pulled up that sassafras root you may come with me. I'll take you off to my den, to my dear little foxes Eight, Nine and Ten. Those are their numbers. It's easier to number them than name them."
"Oh, indeed?" asked Uncle Wiggily, as politely as he could, considering everything. "And so you won't take me until I pull this sassafras root?"
"No, I'll wait until you have finished," spoke the fox. "I like you better, anyhow, flavored with sassafras. So pull away."
Uncle Wiggily tried to pull up the root, but he did not pull very hard.
"For," he thought, "as soon as I pull it up then the fox will take me, but if I don't pull it he may not."
"What's the matter? Can't you get that root up?" asked the fox, after a while. "I can't wait all day."
"Then perhaps you will kindly pull it up for me," said the bunny uncle. "I can't seem to do it."
"All right, I will," the fox said. Uncle Wiggily hopped to one side. The fox put his paws under the sassafras root. And he pulled and he pulled and he pulled, and finally, with a double extra strong pull, he pulled up the root. But it came up so suddenly, just as when you break the point off your pencil, that the fox keeled over backward in a peppersault and somersault also.
"Oh, wow!" cried the fox, as he bumped his nose. "What happened?" But Uncle Wiggily did not stay to tell. Away ran the bunny through the woods, as fast as he could go, forgetting all about his Spring fever. He was all over it.
"I thought the sassafras would cure you," said Dr. Possum, when Uncle Wiggily was safely home once more.
"The fox helped some," said the bunny uncle, with a laugh.
And if the black cat doesn't cover himself with talcum powder and make believe he's a white kid glove going to a dance, I'll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and Jack-in-the-Pulpit.
UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE PULPIT-JACK
"Well, how are you feeling today, Uncle Wiggily?" asked Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady housekeeper, as she saw the rabbit gentleman taking his tall silk hat down off the china closet, getting ready to go for a walk in the woods one morning.
"Why, I'm feeling pretty fine, Nurse Jane," answered the bunny uncle. "Since I ran home to get away from the fox, after he turned a peppersault from pulling too strong to get up the sassafras root, I feel much better, thank you."
"Good!" cried Nurse Jane. "Then perhaps you would not mind going to the store for me."
"Certainly not," spoke Uncle Wiggily. "What do you wish?"
"A loaf of bread," replied Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy, "also a box of matches and some sugar and crackers. But don't forget the matches whatever you do."
"I won't," promised the bunny uncle, and soon he was hopping along through the woods wondering what sort of an adventure he would have this day.
As he was going along keeping a sharp look-out for the bad fox, or the skillery-scalery alligator with the double jointed tail. Uncle Wiggily heard a voice saying:
"Oh, dear! I'll never be able to get out from under the stone and grow tall as I ought. I've pushed and pushed on it, but I can't raise it. Oh, dear; what a heavy stone!"
"Ha! Some one under a stone!" said Uncle Wiggily to himself. "That certainly is bad trouble. I wonder if I cannot help?"
The bunny uncle looked all around and down on the ground he saw a flat stone. Underneath it something green and brown was peeping out.
"Was that you who called?" asked Mr. Longears.
"It was," came the answer. "I am a Jack-in-the-Pulpit plant, you see, and I started to grow up, as all plants and flowers do when summer comes. But when I had raised my head out of the earth I found a big stone over me, and now I can grow no more. I've pushed and pushed until my back aches, and I can't lift the stone."
"I'll do it for you," said Uncle Wiggily kindly, and he did, taking it off the Pulpit-Jack.
Then the Jack began growing up, and he had been held down so long that he grew quite quickly, so that even while Uncle Wiggily was watching, the Jack and his pulpit were almost regular size.
A Jack-in-the-Pulpit, you know, is a queer flower that grows in our woods. Sometimes it is called an Indian turnip, but don't eat it, for it is very biting. The Jack is a tall green chap, who stands in the middle of his pulpit, which is like a little pitcher, with a curved top to it. A pulpit, you know, is where some one preaches on Sunday.
"Thank you very much for lifting the stone off me so I could grow," said the Jack to Uncle Wiggily. "If ever I can do you a favor I will."
"Oh, pray don't mention it," replied the rabbit gentleman, with a low bow. "It was a mere pleasure, I assure you."
Then the rabbit gentleman hopped on to the store, to get the matches, the crackers, the bread and other things for Nurse Jane.
"And I must be sure not to forget the matches," Uncle Wiggily said to himself. "If I did Nurse Jane could not make a fire to cook supper."
There was an April shower while Uncle Wiggily was in the store, and he waited for the rain to stop falling before he started back to his hollow stump bungalow. Then the sun came out very hot and strong and shone down through the wet leaves of the trees in the woods.
Along hopped the bunny uncle, and he was wondering what he would have for supper that night.
"I hope it's something good," he said, "to make up for not having an adventure."
"Don't you call that an adventure—lifting the stone off the Jack-in-the-Pulpit so he could grow?" asked a bird, sitting up in a tree.
"Well, that was a little adventure." said Uncle Wiggily. "But I want one more exciting; a big one."
And he is going to have one in about a minute. Just you wait and you'll hear all about it.
The sun was shining hotter and hotter, and Uncle Wiggily was thinking that it was about time to get out his extra-thin fur coat when, all of a sudden, he felt something very hot behind him.
"Why, that sun is really burning!" cried the bunny. Then he heard a little ant boy, who was crawling on the ground, cry out:
"Fire! Fire! Fire! Uncle Wiggily's bundle of groceries is on fire! Fire! Fire!"
"Oh, my!" cried the bunny uncle, as he felt hotter and hotter, "The sun must have set fire to the box of matches. Oh, what shall I do?" He dropped his bundle of groceries, and looking around at them he saw, surely enough, the matches were on fire. They were all blazing.
"Call the fire department! Get out the water bugs!" cried the little ant boy. "Fire! Water! Water! Fire!"
"That's what I want—water," cried the bunny uncle. "Oh, if I could find a spring of water. I could put the blazing matches, save some of them, perhaps, and surely save the bread and crackers. Oh, for some water!"
Uncle Wiggily and the ant boy ran here and there in the woods looking for a spring of water. But they could find none, and the bread and crackers were just beginning to burn when a voice cried:
"Here is water, Uncle Wiggily!"
"Where? Where?" asked the rabbit gentleman, all excited like. "Where?"
"Inside my pulpit," was the answer, and Uncle Wiggily saw, not far away, the Jack-plant he had helped from under the stone.
"When it rained a while ago, my pitcher-pulpit became filled with water," went on Jack. "If you will just tip me over, sideways, I'll splash the water on the blazing matches and put them out."
"I'll do it!" cried Uncle Wiggily, and he quickly did. The pulpit held water as good as a milk pitcher could, and when the water splashed on the fire that fire gave one hiss, like a goose, and went out.
"Oh, you certainly did me a favor, Mr. Pulpit-Jack," said Uncle Wiggily. "Though the matches are burned, the bread and crackers are saved, and I can get more matches." Which he did, so Nurse Jane could make a fire in the stove.
So you see Uncle Wiggily had an adventure after all, and quite an exciting one, too, and if the lemon drop doesn't fall on the stick of peppermint candy and make it sneeze when it goes to the moving pictures, I'll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the violets.
UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE VIOLETS
Down in the kitchen of the hollow stump bungalow there was a great clattering of pots and pans. Uncle Wiggily Longears, the rabbit gentleman who lived in the bungalow, sat up in bed, having been awakened by the noise, and he said:
"Well, I wonder what Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy is doing now? She certainly is busy at something, and it can't be making the breakfast buckwheat cakes, either, for she has stopped baking them."
"I say, Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy, what's going on down in your kitchen?" called the rabbit gentleman out loud.
"I'm washing," answered the muskrat lady.
"Washing what; the dishes?" the bunny uncle wanted to know. "If you wash them as hard as it sounds, there won't be any of them left for dinner, and I haven't had my breakfast yet."
"No, I'm getting ready to wash the clothes, and I wish you'd come down and eat, so I can clear away the table things!" called the muskrat lady.
"Oh, dear! Clothes-washing!" cried Uncle Wiggily, making his pink nose twinkle in a funny way. "I don't like to be around the bungalow when that is being done. I guess I'll get my breakfast and go for a walk. Clothes have to be washed, I suppose," went on the rabbit gentleman, "and when Nurse Jane has been ill I have washed them myself, but I do not like it. I'll go off in the woods."
And so, having had his breakfast of carrot pudding, with turnip sauce sprinkled over the top, Uncle Wiggily took his red, white and blue striped rheumatism crutch, and hopped along.
The woods were getting more and more beautiful every day as the weather grew warmer. The leaves on the trees were larger, and here and there, down in the green moss, that was like a carpet on the ground, could be seen wild flowers growing up.
"I wonder what sort of an adventure I will have today?" thought the bunny uncle as he went on and on. "A nice one, I hope."
And, as he said this, Uncle Wiggily heard some voices speaking.
"Oh, dear!" exclaimed a sad little voice, "no one will ever see us here! Of what use are we in the world? We are so small that we cannot be noticed. We are not brightly colored, like the red rose, and all that will happen to us will be that a cow will come along and eat us, or step on us with her big foot."
"Hush! You musn't talk that way," said another voice. "You were put here to grow, and do the best you know how. Don't be finding fault."
"I wonder who can be talking?" said Uncle Wiggily. "I must look around." So he looked up in the air, but though he heard the leaves whispering he knew they had not spoken. Then he looked to the right, to the left, in front and behind, but he saw no one. Then he looked down, and right at his feet was a clump of blue violet flowers.
"Did you speak?" asked Uncle Wiggily of the violets.
"Yes," answered one who had been finding fault. "I was telling my sisters and brothers that we are of no use in the world. We just grow up here in the woods, where no one sees us, and we never can have any fun. I want to be a big, red rose and grow in a garden."
"Oh, my!" cried Uncle Wiggily. "I never heard of a violet turning into a rose." Then the mother violet spoke and said:
"I tell my little girl-flower that she ought to be happy to grow here in the nice woods, in the green moss, where it is so cool and moist. But she does not seem to be happy, nor are some of the other violets."
"Well, that isn't right," Uncle Wiggily said, kindly. "I am sure you violets can do some good in this world. You are pretty to look at, and nice to smell, and that is more than can be said of some things."
"Oh, I want to do something big!" said the fault-finding violet. "I want to go out in the world and see things."
"So do I! And I! And I!" cried other violets.
Uncle Wiggily thought for a minute, and then he said:
"I'll do this. I'll dig up a bunch of you violets, who want a change, and take you with me for a walk. I will leave some earth on your roots so you won't die, and we shall see what happens."
"Oh, goodie!" cried the violets. So Uncle Wiggily dug them up with his paws, putting some cool moss around their roots, and when they had said good-by to the mother violet away they went traveling with the bunny uncle.
"Oh, this is fine!" cried the first violet, nodding her head in the breeze. "It is very kind of you, Uncle Wiggily to take us with you. I wish we could do you a kindness."
And then a bad old fox jumped out from behind a stump, and started to grab the rabbit gentleman. But when the fox saw the pretty violets and smelled their sweetness, the fox felt sorry at having been bad and said:
"Excuse me, Uncle Wiggily. I'm sorry I tried to bite you. The sight of those pretty violets makes me feel happier than I did. I am going to try to be good."
"I am glad of it," said Mr. Longears, as he hopped on through the woods. "You see, you have already done some good in this world, even if you are only tiny flowers," he said to the violets.
Then Uncle Wiggily went on to his hollow stump bungalow, and, reaching there, he heard Nurse Jane saying:
"Oh, dear! This is terrible. Here I have the clothes almost washed, and not a bit of bluing to rinse them in. Oh, why didn't I tell Wiggy to bring me some blueing from the store? Oh, dear!"
"Ha! Perhaps these will do to make blue water," said the bunny uncle, holding out the bunch of violets. "Would you like to help Nurse Jane?" he asked the flowers.
"Oh, yes, very much!" cried the violets.
Then Uncle Wiggily dipped their blue heads in the clean rinsing water—just a little dip so as not to make them catch cold—and enough color came out of the violets to make the water properly blue for Nurse Jane's clothes, so she could finish the washing.
"So you see you have done more good in the world," said Uncle Wiggily to the flowers. Then he took them back and planted them in the woods where they lived, and very glad they were to return, too.
"We have seen enough of the world," they said, and thereafter they were glad enough to live down in the moss with the mother violet. And if the umbrella doesn't turn inside out so the handle tickles its ribs and makes it laugh in school, I'll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the high tree.
UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE HIGH TREE
Uncle Wiggily Longears, the nice rabbit gentleman, stood in front of the looking glass trying on a new tall silk hat he had just bought ready for Easter Sunday, which would happen in about a week or two.
"Do you think it looks well on me, Nurse Jane?" asked the bunny uncle, of the muskrat lady housekeeper, who came in from the kitchen of the hollow stump bungalow, having just finished washing the dishes.
"Why, yes, I think your new hat is very nice," she said.
"Do you think I ought to have the holes for my ears cut a little larger?" asked the bunny uncle. "I mean the holes cut, not my ears."
"Well, just a little larger wouldn't hurt any," replied Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy. "I'll cut them for you," and she did, with her scissors. For Uncle Wiggily had to wear his tall silk hat with his ears sticking up through holes cut in it. His ears were too large to go under the hat, and he could not very well fold them down.
"There, now I guess I'm all right to go for a walk in the woods," said the rabbit gentleman, taking another look at himself in the glass. It was not a proud look, you understand. Uncle Wiggily just wanted to look right and proper, and he wasn't at all stuck up, even if his ears were, but he couldn't help that.
So off he started, wondering what sort of an adventure he would have that day. He passed the place where the blue violets were growing in the green moss—the same violets he had used to make Nurse Jane's blueing water for her clothes the other day, as I told you. And the violets were glad to see the bunny uncle.
Then Uncle Wiggily met Grandfather Goosey Gander, the nice old goose gentleman, and the two friends walked on together, talking about how much cornmeal you could buy with a lollypop, and all about the best way to eat fried ice cream carrots.
"That's a very nice hat you have on, Uncle Wiggily," said Grandpa Goosey, after a bit.
"Glad you like it," answered the bunny uncle. "It's for Easter."
"I think I'll get one for myself," went on Mr. Gander. "Do you think I would look well in it?"
"Try on mine and see," offered Uncle Wiggily most kindly. So he took his new, tall silk hat off his head, pulling his ears out of the holes Nurse Jane had cut for them, and handed it to Grandfather Goosey Gander—handed the hat, I mean, not his ears, though of course the holes went with the hat.
"There, how do I look?" asked the goose gentleman.
"Quite stylish and proper," replied Mr. Longears.
"I'd like to see myself before I buy a hat like this," went on Grandpa Goosey. "I hope it doesn't make me look too tall."
"Here's a spring of water over by this old stump," spoke Uncle Wiggily. "You can see yourself in that, for it is just like a looking glass."
Grandpa Goosey leaned over to see how Uncle Wiggily's tall, silk hat looked, when, all of a sudden, along came a puff of wind, caught the hat under the brim, and as Grandpa Goosey had no ears to hold it on his head (as the bunny uncle had) away sailed the hat up in the air, and it landed right in the top of a big, high tree.
"Oh, dear!" cried Uncle Wiggily.
"Oh, dear!" said Grandpa Goosey. "I'm very sorry that happened. Oh, dear!"
"It wasn't your fault at all," spoke Uncle Wiggily kindly. "It was the wind."
"But with your nice, new tall silk hat up in that high tree, how are we ever going to get it down," asked the goose gentleman.
"I don't know," answered Uncle Wiggily. "Let me think."
So he thought for a minute or two, and then he said:
"There are three ways by which we may get the hat down. One is to ask the wind to blow it back to us, another is to climb up the tree and get the hat ourselves, and the third is to ask the tree to shake it down to us. We'll try the wind first."
So Uncle Wiggily and Grandpa Goosey asked the wind that had blown the hat up in the top of the high tree to kindly blow it back again. But the wind had gone far out to sea, and would not be back for a week. So that way of getting the hat was of no use.
"Mr. High Tree, will you kindly shake my hat down to me?" begged Uncle Wiggily next.
"I would like to, very much," the tree answered politely, "but I cannot shake when there is no wind to blow me. We trees cannot shake ourselves, you know. We can only shake when the wind blows us, and until the wind comes back I cannot shake."
"Too bad!" said Uncle Wiggily. "Then the only way left for us to do, Grandpa Goosey, is to climb the tree."
But this was easier said than done, for neither a rabbit nor a goose gentleman is made for climbing up trees, though when he was a young chap Grandpa Goosey had flown up into little trees, and Uncle Wiggily had jumped over them. But that was long, long ago.
Try as they did, neither the rabbit gentleman nor the goose gentleman could climb up after the tall silk hat.
"What are we going to do?" asked Grandpa Goosey.
"I don't know," replied Mr. Longears. "I guess I'll have to go get Billie or Johnnie Bushytail, the squirrel boys, to climb the tree for us. Yes, that's what I'll do; and then I can get my hat."
Uncle Wiggily started off through the woods to look for one of the Bushytail chaps, while Grandpa Goosey stayed near the tree, to catch the hat in case it should happen to fall by itself.
All of a sudden Uncle Wiggily heard some one coming along whistling, and then he heard a loud pounding sound, and next he saw Toodle Flat-tail, the beaver boy, walking in the woods.
"Oh, Toodle! You're the very one I want!" cried Uncle Wiggily. "My hat is in a high tree and I can't get it. With your strong teeth, just made for cutting down trees, will you kindly cut down this one, and get my hat for me?"
"I will," said the little beaver chap. But when he began to gnaw the tree, to make it fall, the tree cried:
"Oh, Mr. Wind, please come and blow on me so I can shake Uncle Wiggily's hat to him, and then I won't have to be gnawed down. Please blow, Mr. Wind."
So the wind hurried back and blew the tree this way and that. Down toppled Uncle Wiggily's hat, not in the least hurt, and so everything was all right again, and Uncle Wiggily and Grandpa Goosey and Toodle Flat-tail were happy. And the tree was extra glad as it did not have to be gnawed down.
And if the little mouse doesn't go to sleep in the cat's cradle and scare poor pussy so her tail swells up like a balloon, I'll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the peppermint.
UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE PEPPERMINT
"Uncle Wiggily, would you mind going to the store for me?" asked Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady housekeeper, one morning, as she came in from the kitchen of the hollow stump bungalow, where she had been getting ready the breakfast for the rabbit gentleman.
"Go to the store? Why of course I'll go, Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy," answered the bunny uncle. "Which store?"
"The drug store."
"The drug store? What do you want; talcum powder or court plaster?"
"Neither one," answered Nurse Jane. "I want some peppermint."
"Peppermint candy?" Uncle Wiggily wanted to know.
"Not exactly," went on Nurse Jane. "But I want a little of the peppermint juice with which some kind of candy is flavored. I want to take some peppermint juice myself, for I have indigestion. Dr. Possum says peppermint is good for it. I must have eaten a little too much cheese pudding last night."
"I'll get you the peppermint with pleasure," said the bunny uncle, starting off with his tall silk hat and his red, white and blue striped rheumatism barber pole crutch.
"Better get it in a bottle," spoke Nurse Jane, with a laugh. "You can't carry peppermint in your pocket, unless it's peppermint candy, and I don't want that kind."
"All right," Uncle Wiggily said, and then, with the bottle, which Nurse Jane gave him, he hopped on, over the fields and through the woods to the drug store.
But when he got there the cupboard was bare—. No! I mustn't say that. It doesn't belong here. I mean when Uncle Wiggily reached the drug store it was closed, and there was a sign in the door which said the monkey-doodle gentleman who kept the drug store had gone to a baseball-moving-picture show, and wouldn't be back for a long while.
"Then I wonder where I am going to get Nurse Jane's peppermint?" asked Uncle Wiggily of himself. "I'd better go see if Dr. Possum has any."
But while Uncle Wiggily was going on through the woods once more, he gave a sniff and a whiff, and, all of a sudden, he smelled a peppermint smell.
The rabbit gentleman stood still, looking around and making his pink nose twinkle like a pair of roller skates. While he was doing this along came a cow lady chewing some grass for her complexion.
"What are you doing here, Uncle Wiggily?" asked the cow lady.
Uncle Wiggily told her how he had gone to the drug store for peppermint for Nurse Jane, and how he had found the store closed, so he could not get any.
"But I smell peppermint here in the woods," went on the bunny uncle. "Can it be that the drug store monkey doodle has left some here for me?"
"No, what you smell is—that," said the cow lady, pointing her horns toward some green plants growing near a little babbling brook of water. The plants had dark red stems that were square instead of round.
"It does smell like peppermint," said Uncle Wiggily, going closer and sniffing and snuffing.
"It is peppermint," said the cow lady. "That is the peppermint plant you see."
"Oh, now I remember," Uncle Wiggily exclaimed. "They squeeze the juice out of the leaves, and that's peppermint flavor for candy or for indigestion."
"Exactly," spoke the cow lady, "and I'll help you squeeze out some of this juice in the bottle for Nurse Jane."
Then Uncle Wiggily and the cow lady pulled up some of the peppermint plants and squeezed out the juice between two clean, flat stones, the cow lady stepping on them while Uncle Wiggily caught the juice in the empty bottle as it ran out.
"My! But that is strong!" cried the bunny uncle, as he smelled of the bottle of peppermint. It was so sharp that it made tears come into his eyes. "I should think that would cure indigestion and everything else," he said to the cow lady.
"Tell Nurse Jane to take only a little of it in sweet water," said the cow lady. "It is very strong. So be careful of it."
"I will," promised Uncle Wiggily. "And thank you for getting the peppermint for me. I don't know what I would have done without you, as the drug store was closed."
Then he hopped on through the woods to the hollow stump bungalow. He had not quite reached it when, all of a sudden, there was a rustling in the hushes, and out from behind a bramble bush jumped a big black bear. Not a nice good bear, like Neddie or Beckie Stubtail, but a bear who cried:
"Ah, ha! Oh, ho! Here is some one whom I can bite and scratch! A nice tender rabbit chap! Ah, ha! Oh, ho!"
"Are—are you going to scratch and bite me?" asked Uncle Wiggily.
"I am," said the bear, snappish like. "Get ready. Here I come!" and he started toward Uncle Wiggily, who was so frightened that he could not hop away.
"I'm going to hug you, too," said the bear. Bears always hug, you know.
"Well, this is, indeed, a sorry day for me," said Uncle Wiggily, sadly. "Still, if you are going to hug, bite and scratch me, I suppose it can't be helped."
"Not the least in the world can it be helped," said the bear, cross-like and unpleasant. "So don't try!"
"Well, if you are going to hug me I had better take this bottle out of my pocket, so when you squeeze me the glass won't break," Uncle Wiggily said. "Here, when you are through being so mean to me perhaps you will be good enough to take this to Nurse Jane for her indigestion, but don't hug her."
"I won't," promised the bear, taking the bottle which Uncle Wiggily handed him. "What's in it?"
Before Uncle Wiggily could answer, the bear opened the bottle, and, seeing something in it, cried:
"I guess I'll taste this. Maybe it's good to eat." Down his big, red throat he poured the strong peppermint juice, and then—well, I guess you know what happened.
"Oh, wow! Oh, me! Oh, my! Wow! Ouch! Ouchie! Itchie!" roared the bear. "My throat is on fire! I must have some water!" And, dropping the bottle, away he ran to the spring, leaving Uncle Wiggily safe, and not hurt a bit.
Then the rabbit gentleman hurried back and squeezed out more peppermint juice for Nurse Jane, whose indigestion was soon cured. And as for the bear, he had a sore throat for a week and a day.
So this teaches us that peppermint is good for scaring bears, as well as for putting in candy. And if the snow man doesn't come in our house and sit by the gas stove until he melts into a puddle of molasses, I'll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the birch tree.
UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE BIRCH TREE
Uncle Wiggily Longears, the nice old rabbit gentleman, was walking along through the woods one afternoon, when he came to the hollow stump school, where the lady mouse teacher taught the animal boys and girls how to jump, crack nuts, dig homes under ground, and do all manner of things that animal folk have to do.
And just as the rabbit gentleman was wondering whether or not school was out, he heard a voice inside the hollow stump, saying:
"Oh, dear! I wish I had some one to help me. I'll never get them clean all by myself. Oh, dear!"
"Ha! That sounds like trouble!" thought Mr. Longears to himself. "I wonder who it is, and if I can help? I guess I'd better see."
He looked in through a window, and there he saw the lady mouse teacher cleaning off the school black-boards. The boards were all covered with white chalk marks, you see.
"What's the matter, lady mouse teacher?" asked Uncle Wiggily, making a polite, low bow.
"Oh, I told Johnnie and Billy Bushytail, the two squirrel boys, to stay in and clean off the black-boards, so they would be all ready for tomorrow's lesson," said the lady mouse. "But they forgot, and ran off to play ball with Jackie and Peetie Bow Wow, the puppy dog boys. So I have to clean the boards myself. And I really ought to be home now, for I am very tired."
"Then you trot right along," said Uncle Wiggily, kindly. "Tie a knot in your tail, so you won't step on it, and hurry along."
"But what about the black-boards?" asked the lady mouse. "They must be cleaned off."
"I'll attend to that," promised the bunny uncle. "I will clean them myself. Run along, Miss Mouse."
So Miss Mouse thanked the bunny uncle, and ran along, and the rabbit gentleman began brushing the chalk marks off the black-boards, at the same time humming a little tune that went this way:
"I'd love to be a teacher, Within a hollow stump. I'd teach the children how to fall, And never get a bump.
I'd let them out at recess, A game of tag to play; I'd give them all fresh lollypops 'Most every other day!"
"Oh, my! Wouldn't we just love to come to school to you!" cried a voice at the window, and, looking up. Uncle Wiggily saw Billie Bushytail, the boy squirrel, and brother Johnnie with him.
"Ha! What happened you two chaps?" asked the bunny uncle. "Why did you run off without cleaning the black-boards for the lady mouse teacher?"
"We forgot," said Johnnie, sort of ashamed-like and sorry. "That's what we came back to do—clean the boards."
"Well, that was good of you," spoke Uncle Wiggily. "But I have the boards nearly cleaned now."
"Then we will give them a dusting with our tails, and that will finish them," said Billie, and the squirrel boys did, so the black-boards were very clean.
"Now it's time to go home," said Uncle Wiggily. So he locked the school, putting the key under the doormat, where the lady mouse could find it in the morning, and, with the Bushytail squirrel boys, he started off through the woods.
"You and Billie can go back to your play, now, Johnnie," said the bunny uncle. "It was good of you to leave it to come back to do what you were told."
The three animal friends hopped and scrambled on together, until, all of a sudden, the bad old fox, who so often had made trouble for Uncle Wiggily, jumped out from behind a bush, crying:
"Ah, ha! Now I have you, Mr. Longears—and two squirrels besides. Good luck!"
"Bad luck!" whispered Billie.
The fox made a grab for the rabbit gentleman, but, all of a sudden, the paw of the bad creature slipped in some mud and down he went, head first, into a puddle of water, coughing and sneezing.
"Come on, Uncle Wiggily!" quickly cried Billie and Johnnie. "This is our chance. We'll run away before the fox gets the water out of his eyes. He can't see us now."
So away ran the rabbit gentleman and the squirrel boys, but soon the fox had dried his eyes on his big brush of a tail, and on he came after them.
"Oh, I'll get you! I'll get you!" he cried, running very fast. But Uncle Wiggily and Billie and Johnnie ran fast, too. The fox was coming closer, however, and Billie, looking back, said:
"Oh, I know what let's do, Uncle Wiggily. Let's take the path that leads over the duck pond ocean. That's shorter, and we can get to your bungalow before the fox can catch us. He won't dare come across the bridge over the duck pond, for Old Dog Percival will come out and bite him if he does."
"Very well," said Uncle Wiggily, "over the bridge we will go."
But alas! Also sorrowfulness and sadness! When the three friends got to the bridge it wasn't there. The wind had blown the bridge down, and there was no way of getting across the duck pond ocean, for neither Uncle Wiggily nor the squirrel boys could swim very well.
"Oh, what are we going to do?" cried Billie, sadly.
"We must get across somehow!" chattered Johnnie, "for here comes the fox!"
And, surely enough the fox was coming, having by this time gotten all the water out of his eyes, so he could see very well.
"Oh, if we only had a boat!" exclaimed Uncle Wiggily, looking along the shore of the pond, but there was no boat to be seen.
Nearer and nearer came the fox! Uncle Wiggily and the squirrel boys were just going to jump in the water, whether or not they could swim, when, all at once, a big white birch tree on the edge of the woods near the pond, said:
"Listen, Uncle Wiggily and I will save you. Strip off some of my bark. It will not hurt me, and you can make a little canoe boat of it, as the Indians used to do. Then, in the birch bark boat you can sail across the water and the fox can't get you."
"Good! Thank you!" cried the bunny uncle. With their sharp teeth he, Billie and Johnnie peeled off long strips of birch bark. They quickly bent them in the shape of a boat and sewed up the ends with long thorns for needles and ribbon grass for thread.
"Quick! Into the birch bark boat!" cried Uncle Wiggily, and they all jumped in, just as the fox came along. Billie and Johnnie held up their bushy tails, and Uncle Wiggily held up his tall silk hat for sails, and soon they were safe on the other shore and the fox, not being able to swim, could not get them.
So that's how the birch tree of the woods saved the bunny uncle and the squirrels, for which, I am very glad, as I want to write more stories about them. And if the gold fish doesn't tickle the wax doll's nose with his tail when she looks in the tank to see what he has for breakfast, I'll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the butternut tree.
UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE BUTTERNUT TREE
"Well, I declare!" exclaimed Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady housekeeper of Uncle Wiggily Longears, the rabbit, as she looked in the pantry of the hollow stump bungalow one day. "Well, I do declare!"
"What's the matter?" asked Mr. Longears, peeping over the top of his spectacles. "I hope that the chimney hasn't fallen down, or the egg beater run away with the potato masher."
"No, nothing like that," Nurse Jane said. "But we haven't any butter!"
"No butter?" spoke Uncle Wiggily, sort of puzzled like, and abstracted.
"Not a bit of butter for supper," went on Nurse Jane, sadly.
"Ha! That sounds like something from Mother Goose. Not a bit of butter for supper," laughed Uncle Wiggily. "Not a bit of batter-butter for the pitter-patter supper. If Peter Piper picked a pit of peckled pippers—"
"Oh, don't start that!" begged Nurse Jane. "All I need is some supper for butter—no some bupper for batter—oh, dear! I'll never get it straight!" she cried.
"I'll say it for you," said Uncle Wiggily, kindly. "I know what you want—some butter for supper. I'll go get it for you."
"Thank you," Nurse Jane exclaimed, and so the old rabbit gentleman started off over the fields and through the woods for the butter store.
The monkey-doodle gentleman waited on him, and soon Uncle Wiggily was on his way back to the hollow stump bungalow with the butter for supper, and he was thinking how nice the carrot muffins would taste, for Nurse Jane had promised to make some, and Uncle Wiggily was sort of smacking his whiskers and twinkling his nose, when, all at once, he heard some one in the woods calling:
"Uncle Wiggily! Oh, I say, Uncle Wiggily! Can't you stop for a moment and say how-d'-do?"
"Why, of course, I can," answered the bunny, and, looking around the corner of an old log, he saw Grandpa Whackum, the old beaver gentleman, who lived with Toodle and Noodle Flat-tail, the beaver boys.
"Come in and sit down for a minute and rest yourself," invited Grandpa Whackum.
"I will," said Uncle Wiggily. "And I'll leave my butter outside where it will be cool," for Grandpa Whackum lived down in an underground house, where it was so warm, in summer, that butter would melt.
Grandpa Whackum was a beaver, and he was called Whackum because he used to whack his broad, flat tail on the ground, like beating a drum, to warn the other beavers of danger. Beavers, you know, are something like big muskrats, and they like water. Their tails are flat, like a pancake or egg turner.
"Well, how are things with you, and how is Nurse Jane?" asked Grandpa Whackum.
"Oh, everything is fine," said Uncle Wiggily. "Nurse Jane is well. I've just been to the store to get her some butter."
"That's just like you; always doing something for some one," said Grandpa Whackum, pleased like.
Then the two friends talked for some little while longer, until it was almost 6 o'clock, and time for Uncle Wiggily to go.
"I'll take my butter and travel along," he said. But when he went outside, where he had left the pound of butter on a flat stump, it wasn't there.
"Why, this is queer," said the bunny uncle. "I wonder if Nurse Jane could have come along and taken it to the hollow stump bungalow herself?"
"More likely a bad fox took the butter," spoke the old gentleman beaver. "But we can soon tell. I'll look in the dirt around the stump and see whose footprints are there. A fox makes different tracks from a muskrat."
So Grandpa Whackum looked and he said:
"Why, this is queer. I can only see beaver tracks and rabbit tracks near the stump. Only you and I were here and we didn't take anything."
"But where is my butter?" asked Uncle Wiggily.
Just then, off in the woods, near the beaver house, came the sound of laughter and voices cailed:
"Oh, it's my turn now, Toodle."
"Yes, Noodle, and then it's mine. Oh, what fun we are having, aren't we?"
"It's Toodle and Noodle—my two beaver grandsons," said Grandpa Whackum. "I wonder if they could have taken your butter? Come; we'll find out."
They went softly over behind a clump of bushes and there they saw Toodle and Noodle sliding down the slanting log of a tree, that was like a little hill, only there was no snow on it.
"Why, they're coasting!" cried Grandpa Whackum. "And how they can do it without snow I don't see."
"But I see!" said Uncle Wiggily. "Those two little beaver boys have taken my butter that I left outside of your house and with the butter they have greased the slanting log until it is slippery as ice. That's how they slide down—on Nurse Jane's butter."
"Oh, the little rascals!" cried Grandpa Whackum.
"Well, they didn't mean anything wrong," Uncle Wiggily kindly said. Then he called; "Toodle! Noodle! Is any of my butter left?"
"Your butter?" cried Noodle, surprised like.
"Was that your butter?" asked Toodle. "Oh, please forgive us! We thought no one wanted it, and we took it to grease the log so we could slide down. It was as good as sliding down a muddy, slippery bank of mud into the lake."
"We used all your butter," spoke Noodle. "Every bit."
"Oh, dear! That's too bad!" Uncle Wiggily said. "It is now after 6 o'clock and all the stores will be closed. How can I get more?" And he looked at the butter the beaver boys had spread on the tree. It could not be used for bread, as it was all full of bark.
"Oh, how can I get some good butter for Nurse Jane?" asked the bunny uncle sadly.
"Ha! I will give you some," spoke a voice high in the air.
"Who are you?" asked Uncle Wiggily, startled.
"I am the butternut tree," was the answer. "I'll drop some nuts down and all you will have to do will be to crack them, pick out the meats and squeeze out the butter. It is almost as good as that which you buy in the store."
"Good!" cried Uncle Wiggily, "and thank you."
Then the butter tree rattled down some butternuts, which Uncle Wiggily took home, and Nurse Jane said the butter squeezed from them was very good. And Toodle and Noodle were sorry for having taken Uncle Wiggily's other butter to make a slippery tree slide, but they meant no harm.
So if the pussy cat doesn't take the lollypop stick to make a mud pie, and not give any ice cream cones to the rag doll, I'll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and Lulu's hat.
UNCLE WIGGILY AND LULU'S HAT
"Uncle Wiggily, do you want to do something for me?" asked Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady housekeeper, of the rabbit gentleman one day as he started out from his hollow stump bungalow to take a walk in the woods.
"Do something for you, Nurse Jane? Why, of course, I want to," spoke Mr. Longears. "What is it?"
"Just take this piece of pie over to Mrs. Wibblewobble, the duck lady," went on Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy. "I promised to let her taste how I made apple pie out of cabbage leaves."
"And very cleverly you do it, too," said Uncle Wiggily, with a polite bow. "I know, for I have eaten some myself. I will gladly take this pie to Mrs. Wibblewobble," and off through the woods Uncle Wiggily started with it.
He soon reached the duck lady's house, and Mrs. Wibblewobble was very glad indeed to get the piece of Nurse Jane's pie.
"I'll save a bit for Lulu and Alice, my two little duck girls," said Mrs. Wibblewobble.
"Why, aren't they home?" asked Uncle Wiggily.
"No, Lulu has gone over to a little afternoon party which Nannie Wagtail, the goat girl, is having, and Alice has gone to see Grandfather Goosey Gander. Jiminie is off playing ball with Jackie and Peetie Bow Wow, the puppy dog boys, so I am home alone."
"I hope you are not lonesome," said Uncle Wiggily.
"Oh, no, thank you," answered the duck lady. "I have too much to do. Thank Nurse Jane for her pie."
"I shall," Uncle Wiggily promised, as he started off through the woods again. He had not gone far before, all of a sudden, he did not stoop low enough as he was hopping under a tree and, the first thing he knew, his tall silk hat was knocked off his head and into a puddle of water.
"Oh, dear!" cried Uncle Wiggily, as he picked up his hat. "I shall never be able to wear it again until it is cleaned and ironed. And how I can have that done out here in the woods is more than I know."
"Ah, but I know," said a voice in a tree overhead.
"Who are you, and what do you know?" asked the bunny uncle, surprised like and hopeful.
"I know where you can have your silk hat cleaned and ironed smooth," said the voice. "I am the tailor bird, and I do those things. Let me have your hat, Uncle Wiggily, and I'll fix it for you."
Down flew the kind bird, and Uncle Wiggily gave him the hat.
"But what shall I wear while I'm waiting?" asked the bunny uncle. "It is too soon for me to be going about without my hat. I'll need something on my head while you are fixing my silk stovepipe, dear Tailor Bird."
"Oh, that is easy," said the bird. "Just pick some of those thick, green leafy ferns and make yourself a hat of them."
"The very thing!" cried Uncle Wiggily. Then he fastened some woodland ferns together and easily made himself a hat that would keep off the sun, if it would not keep off the rain. But then it wasn't raining.
"There you are, Uncle Wiggily!" called the tailor bird at last. "Your silk hat is ready to wear again."
"Thank you," spoke the bunny uncle, as he laid aside the ferns, also thanking them. "Now I am like myself again," and he hopped on through the woods, wondering whether or not he was to have any more adventures that day.
Mr. Longears had not gone on very much farther before he heard a rustling in the bushes, and then a sad little voice said:
"Oh, dear! How sad! I don't believe I'll go to the party now! All the others would make fun of me! Oh, dear! Oh, dear!"
"Ha! That sounds like trouble!" said the bunny uncle. "I must see what it means."
He looked through the bushes and there, sitting on a log, he saw Lulu Wibblewobble, the little duck girl, who was crying very hard, the tears rolling down her yellow bill.
"Why, Lulu! What's the matter?" asked Uncle Wiggily.
"Oh, dear!" answered the little quack-quack child. "I can't go to the party; that's what's the matter."
"Why can't you go?" Uncle Wiggily wanted to know. "I saw your mother a little while ago, and she said you were going."
"I know I was going," spoke Lulu, "but I'm not now, for the wind blew my nice new hat into the puddle of muddy water, and now look at it!" and she held up a very much beraggled and debraggled hat of lace and straw and ribbons and flowers.
"Oh, dear! That hat is in a bad state, to be sure," said Uncle Wiggily. "But don't cry, Lulu. Almost the same thing happened to me and the tailor bird made my hat as good as ever. Mine was all mud, too, like yours. Come, I'll take you to the tailor bird."
"You are very kind, Uncle Wiggily," spoke Lulu, "but if I go there I may not get back in time for the party, and I want to wear my new hat to it, very much."
"Ha! I see!" cried the bunny uncle. "You want to look nice at the party. Well, that's right, of course. And I don't believe the tailor bird could clean your hat in time, for it is so fancy he would have to be very careful of it.
"But you can do as I did, make a hat out of ferns, and wear that to Nannie Wagtail's party. I'll help you."
"Oh, how kind you are!" cried the little duck girl.
So she went along with Uncle Wiggily to where the ferns grew in the wood, leaving her regular hat at the tailor bird's nest to be cleaned and pressed.
Uncle Wiggily made Lulu the cutest hat out of fern leaves. Oh, I wish you could have seen it. There wasn't one like it even in the five and ten-cent store.
"Wear that to Nannie's party, Lulu," said the rabbit gentleman, and Lulu did, the hat being fastened to her feathers with a long pin made from the stem of a fern. And when Lulu reached the party all the animal girls cried out:
"Oh, what a sweet, lovely, cute, dear, cunning, swell and stylish hat! Where did you get it?"
"Uncle Wiggily made it," answered Lulu, and all the girls said they were going to get one just like it. And they did, so that fern hats became very fashionable and stylish in Woodland, and Lulu had a fine time at the party.
So this teaches us that even a mud puddle is of some use, and if the rubber plant doesn't stretch too far, and tickle the gold fish under the chin making it sneeze, the next story will be about Uncle Wiggily and the snow drops.
UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE SNOW DROPS
"Uncle Wiggily! Uncle Wiggily! Will you come with me?" called a voice under the window of the hollow stump bungalow, where the old gentleman rabbit was sitting, half asleep, one nice, warm afternoon.
"Ha! Come with you? Who is it wants me to come with them?" asked the bunny gentleman. "I hope it isn't the bad fox, or the skillery-scalery alligator with humps on his tail that is calling. They're always wanting me to go with them."
The rabbit looked out of the window and he heard some one laughing.
"That doesn't sound like a bad fox, nor yet an unpleasant alligator," said Mr. Longears. "Who is it wants me to come with them?"
"It is I—Susie Littletail, the rabbit girl," was the answer.
"And where do you want me to come?" asked Uncle Wiggily.
"To the woods, to pick some flowers," answered Susie. "The lady mouse teacher wants me to see how many kinds I can find. You know so much about the woods, Uncle Wiggily, that I wish you'd come with me."
"I will," said the nice rabbit gentleman. "Wait until I get my tall silk hat and my red, white and blue striped barber pole rheumatism crutch."
And, when he had them, off he started, holding Susie's paw in his, and limping along under the green trees and over the carpet of green moss.
Uncle Wiggily and the little rabbit girl found many kinds of flowers in the woods. There were violets, some white, some yellow and some purple, with others blue, like the ones Uncle Wiggily used to make blueing water for Nurse Jane's clothes. And there were red flowers and yellow ones, and some Jacks-in-their-pulpits, which are very queer flowers indeed.
"Here, Susie, is a new kind of blossom. Maybe you would like some of these," said Uncle Wiggily, pointing to a bush that was covered with little round, white balls.
"Oh, I didn't know the snow had lasted this long!" Susie cried. "I thought it had melted long ago."
"I don't see any snow," said Uncle Wiggily, looking around.
"On that bush," said Susie, pointing to the white one.
"Oh!" laughed the bunny uncle. "That does look like snow, to be sure. But it isn't, though the name of the flowers is snowdrop."
"Flowers! I don't call them flowers!" said Susie. "They are only white balls."
"Don't you want to pick any?" asked the rabbit.
"Thank you, no," Susie said. "I like prettier colored flowers than those, which are just plain white."
"Well, I like them, and I'll take some to Nurse Jane," spoke the bunny uncle. So he picked a bunch of the snowdrops and carried them in his paws, while Susie gathered the brighter flowers.
"I think those will be all teacher will want," said the little rabbit girl at last.
"Yes, we had better be getting home," spoke Uncle Wiggily. "Nurse Jane will soon have supper ready. Won't you come and eat with me, Susie?"
"Thank you, I will, Uncle Wiggily," and the little bunny girl clapped her paws; that is, as well as she could, on account of holding her flowers, for she loved to eat at Uncle Wiggily's hollow stump bungalow, as did all the animal children.
Well, Uncle Wiggily and Susie were going along and along through the woods, when, all of a sudden, as they passed a high rock, out from behind it jumped the bad old tail-pulling monkey.
"Ah, ha!" chattered the monkey chap. "I am just in time, I see."
"Time for what?" asked Uncle Wiggily, suspicious like.
"To pull your tails," answered the monkey. "I haven't had any tails to pull in a long while, and I must pull some. So, though you rabbits haven't very good tails, for pulling, I must do the best I can. Now come to me and have your tails pulled. Come on!"
"Oh, dear!" cried Susie. "I don't want my tail pulled, even if it is very short."
"Nor I mine," Uncle Wiggily said.
"That makes no manner of difference to me," chattered the monkey. "I'm a tail-pulling chap, and tails I must pull. So you might as well have it over with, now as later." And he spoke just like a dentist who wants to take your lolly-pop away from you.
"Pull our tails! Well, I guess you won't!" cried Uncle Wiggily suddenly. "Come on, Susie! Let's run away!"
Before the monkey could grab them Uncle Wiggily and Susie started to run. But soon the monkey was running after them, crying:
"Stop! Stop! I must pull your tails!"
"But we don't want you to," answered Susie.
"Oh, but you must let me!" cried the monkey. Then he gave a great big, long, strong and double-jointed jump, like a circus clown going over the backs of fourteen elephants, and part of another one, and the monkey grabbed Uncle Wiggily by his ears.
"Oh, let go of me, if you please!" begged the bunny. "I thought you said you pulled tails and not ears."
"I do pull tails when I can get hold of them," said the malicious monkey. "But as I can't easily get hold of your tail, and as your ears are so large that I can easily grab them, I'll pull them instead. All ready now, a long pull, a strong pull and a pull altogether!"
"Stop!" cried the bunny uncle, just as the monkey was going to give the three kinds of pull at once. "Stop!"
"No!" answered the monkey. "No! No!"
"Yes! Yes!" cried the bunny uncle. "If you don't stop pulling my ears you'll freeze!" and with that the bunny uncle pulled out from behind him, where he had kept them hidden, the bunch of white snowdrops.
"Ah, ha!" cried Mr. Longears to the monkey. "You come from a warm country, where there is no snow or snowdrops. Now when you see these snow drops, shiver and shake—see how cold it is! Shiver and shake! Shake and shiver! Burr-r-r-r-r!"
Uncle Wiggily made believe the flowers were real snow, sort of shivering himself (pretend like) and the tail-pulling chap, who was very much afraid of cold and snow and ice, chattered and said:
"Oh, dear! Oh, how cold I am! Oh, I'm freezing. I am going back to my warm nest in the tree and not pull any tails until next summer!"
And then the monkey ran away, thinking the snowdrops Uncle Wiggily had picked were bits of real snow.
"I'm sorry I said the snowdrops weren't nice," spoke Susie, as she and Uncle Wiggily went safely home. "They are very nice. Only for them the monkey would have pulled our tails."
But he didn't, you see, and if the hookworm doesn't go to the moving pictures with the gold fish and forget to come back to play tag with the toy piano, I'll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the horse chestnut tree.
UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE HORSE CHESTNUT
"Bang! Bango! Bunko! Bunk! Slam!"
Something made a big noise on the front porch of the hollow stump bungalow, where, in the woods, lived Uncle Wiggily Longears, the rabbit gentleman.
"My goodness!" cried Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady housekeeper. "I hope nothing has happened!"
"Well, from what I heard I should say it is quite certain that SOMETHING has happened," spoke the bunny uncle, sort of twisting his ears very anxious like.
"I only hope the chimney hasn't turned a somersault, and that the roof is not trying to play tag with the back steps," went on Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy, a bit scared like.
"I'll go see what it is," offered Uncle Wiggily, and as he went to the front door there, on the piazza, he saw Billie Wagtail, the little goat boy.
"Oh, good morning, Uncle Wiggily," spoke Billie, politely. "Here's a note for you. I just brought it."
"And did you bring all that noise with you?" Mr. Longears wanted to know.
"Well, yes, I guess I did," Billie said, sort of bashful like and shy as he wiggled his horns. "I was seeing how fast I could run, and I ran down hill and got going so lickity-split like that I couldn't stop. I fell right up your front steps, rattle-te-bang!"
"I should say it was rattle-te-bang!" laughed Uncle Wiggily. "But please don't do it again, Billie."
"I won't," promised the goat boy. "Grandpa Goosey Gander gave me that note to leave for you on my way to the store for my mother. And now I must hurry on," and Billie jumped off the porch and skipped along through the Woodland trees as happy as a huckleberry pie and a piece of cheese.
"What was it all about?" asked Nurse Jane, when Uncle Wiggily came in.
"Oh, just Billie Wagtail," answered the bunny uncle. "He brought a note from Grandpa Goosey, who wants me to come over and see him. I'll go. He has the epizootic, and can't get out, so he wants some one to talk to and to play checkers with him."
Off through the woods went Uncle Wiggily and he was almost at Grandpa Goosey's house when he heard some voices talking. One voice said:
"Oh, dear! How thirsty I am!"
"And so am I!" said another.
"Well, children, I am sorry," spoke a third voice, "but I cannot give you any water. I am thirsty myself, but we cannot drink until it rains, and it has not rained in a long, long time."
"Oh, dear! Oh, dear! Oh, dear!" cried the other voices again. "How thirsty we are!"
"That's too bad," thought Uncle Wiggily. "I would not wish even the bad fox to be thirsty. I must see if I can not be of some help."
So he peeked through the bushes and saw some trees.
"Was it you who were talking about being thirsty?" asked the rabbit gentleman, curious like.
"Yes," answered the big voice. "I am a horse chestnut tree, and these are my children," and the large tree waved some branches, like fingers, at some small trees growing under her.
"And they, I suppose, are pony chestnut trees," said Uncle Wiggily.
"That's what we are!" cried the little trees, "and we are very thirsty."
"Indeed they are," said the mother tree. "You see we are not like you animals. We cannot walk to a spring or well to get a drink when we are thirsty. We have to stay, rooted in one place, and wait for the rain, or until some one waters us."
"Well, some one is going to water you right away!" cried Uncle Wiggily in his jolly voice. "I'll bring you some water from the duck pond, which is near by."
Then, borrowing a pail from Mrs. Wibblewobble, the duck lady, Uncle Wiggily poured water all around the dry earth, in which grew the horse chestnut tree and the little pony trees.
"Oh! How fine that is!" cried the thirsty trees. "It is almost as nice as rain. You are very good, Uncle Wiggily," said the mother tree, "and if ever we can do you a favor we will."
"Thank you," spoke Uncle Wiggily, making a low bow with his tall silk hat. Then he went on to Grandpa Goosey's where he visited with his epizootic friend and played checkers.
On his way home through the woods, Uncle Wiggily was unpleasantly surprised when, all of a sudden out from behind a stone jumped a bad bear. He wasn't at all a good, nice bear like Beckie or Neddie Stubtail.
"Bur-r-r-r-r!" growled the bear at Uncle Wiggily. "I guess I'll scratch you."
"Oh, please don't," begged the bunny uncle.
"Yes, I shall!" grumbled the bear. "And I'll hug you, too!"
"Oh, no! I'd rather you wouldn't!" said the bunny uncle. For well he knew that a bear doesn't hug for love. It's more of a hard, rib-cracking squeeze than a hug. If ever a bear wants to hug you, just don't you let him. Of course if daddy or mother wants to hug, why, that's all right.
"Yes, I'm going to scratch you and hug you," went on the bad bear, "and after that—well, after that I guess I'll take you off to my den."
"Oh, please don't!" begged Uncle Wiggily, twinkling his nose and thinking that he might make the bear laugh. For if ever you can get a bear to laugh he won't hurt you a bit. Just remember that. Tickle him, or do anything to get him to laugh. But this bear wouldn't even smile. He just growled again and said:
"Well, here I come, Uncle Wiggily, to hug you!"
"Oh, no you don't!" all of a sudden cried a voice in the air.
"Ha! Who says I don't?" grumbled the bear, impolite like.
"I do," went on the voice. And the bear saw some trees waving their branches at him.
"Pooh! I'm not afraid of you!" growled the bear, and he made a rush for the bunny. "I'm not afraid of trees."
"Not afraid of us, eh? Well, you'd better be!" said the mother tree. "I'm a strong horse chestnut and these are my strong little ponies. Come on, children, we won't let the bear get Uncle Wiggily." Then the strong horse chestnut tree and the pony trees reached down with their powerful branches and, catching hold of the bear, they tossed him up in the air, far away over in the woods, at the same time pelting him with green, prickly horse chestnuts, and the bear came down ker-bunko in a bramble brier bush.
"Oh, wow!" cried the bear, as he felt his soft and tender nose being scratched. "I'll be good! I'll be good!"
And he was, for a little while, anyhow. So this shows you how a horse chestnut tree saved the bunny gentleman, and if the postman doesn't stick a stamp on our cat's nose so it can't eat molasses cake when it goes to the puppy dog's party, I'll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the pine tree.
UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE PINE TREE
Uncle Wiggily Longears, the nice old gentleman rabbit, put on his tall silk hat, polished his glasses with the tip of his tail, to make them shiny so he could see better through them, and then, taking his red, white and blue striped rheumatism crutch down off the mantel, he started out of his hollow stump bungalow one day.
"Better take an umbrella, hadn't you?" asked Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady housekeeper. "It looks as though we might have an April shower."
"An umbrella? Yes, I think I will take one," spoke the bunny uncle, as he saw some dark clouds in the sky. "They look as though they might have rain in them."
"Are you going anywhere in particular?" asked the muskrat lady, as she tied her tail in a soft knot.
"No, not special," Uncle Wiggily answered. "May I have the pleasure of doing something for you?" he asked with a polite bow, like a little girl speaking a piece in school on Friday afternoon.
"Well," said Nurse Jane, "I have baked some apple dumplings with oranges inside, and I thought perhaps you might like to take one to Grandfather Goosey Gander to cheer him up."
"The very thing!" cried Uncle Wiggily, jolly-like. "I'll do it, Nurse Jane."
So with an apple dumpling carefully wrapped up in a napkin and put in a basket, Uncle Wiggily started off through the woods and over the fields to Grandpa Goosey's house.
"I wonder if I shall have an adventure today?" thought the rabbit gentleman as he waved his ears to and fro like the pendulum of a clock. "I think I would like one to give me an appetite for supper. I must watch for something to happen."
He looked all around the woods, but all he could see were some trees.
"I can't have any adventures with them," said the bunny uncle, "though the horse chestnut tree did help me the other day by tossing the bad bear over into the briar bush. But these trees are not like that."
Still Uncle Wiggily was to have an adventure with one of the trees very soon. Just you wait, now, and you shall hear about it.
Uncle Wiggily walked on a little farther and he heard a funny tapping noise in the woods.
"Tap! Tap! Tap! Tappity-tap-tap!" it sounded.
"My! Some one is knocking on a door trying to get in," thought the bunny. "I wonder who it can be?"
Just then he saw a big bird perched on the side of a pine tree, tapping with his bill.
"Tap! Tap! Tap!" went the bird.
"Excuse me," said the bunny uncle, "but you are making a mistake. No one lives in that tree."
"Oh, thank you, Uncle Wiggily. I know that no one lives here," said the bird. "But you see I am a woodpecker, and I am pecking holes in the tree to get some of the sweet juice, or sap. The sap is running in the trees now, for it is Spring. Later on I will tap holes in the bark to get at bugs and worms, when there is no more sap for me to eat."
And the woodpecker went on tapping, tapping, tapping.
"My! That is a funny way to get something to eat," said the bunny gentleman to himself. He watched the bird until it flew away, and then Uncle Wiggily was about to hop on to Grandpa Goosey's house when, all of a sudden, before he could run away, out popped the bad old bear once more.
"Ah, ha! We meet again, I see," growled the bear. "I was not looking for you, Mr. Longears, but all the same I am glad to meet you, for I want to eat you."
"Well," said Uncle Wiggily, sort of scratching his pink, twinkling nose with his ear, surprised like. "I can't exactly say I'm glad to see you, good Mr. Bear."
"No, I s'pose not," agreed the fuzzy creature. "But you are mistaken. I am the Bad Mr. Bear, not the Good."
"Oh, excuse me," said Uncle Wiggily. All the while he knew the bear was bad, but he hoped by calling him good, to make him so.
"I'm very bad!" growled the bear, "and I'm going to take you off to my den with me. Come along!"
"Oh, I don't want to," said the bunny uncle, shivering his tail.
"But you must!" growled the bear. "Come on, now!"
"Oh, dear!" cried Uncle Wiggily. "Will you let me go if I give you what's in my basket?" he asked, and he held up the basket with the nice orange apple turnover in it. "Let me go if I give you this," begged the bunny uncle.
"Maybe I will, and maybe I won't," said the bear, cunning like. "Let me see what it is."
He took the basket from Uncle Wiggily, and looking in, said:
"Ah, ha! An apple turnover-dumpling with oranges in it! I just love them! Ah, ha!"
"Oh," thought Uncle Wiggily. "I hope he eats it, for then maybe I can get away when he doesn't notice me. I hope he eats it!"
And the bear, leaning his back against the pine tree in which the woodpecker had been boring holes, began to take bites out of the apple dumpling which Nurse Jane had baked for Grandpa Goosey.
"Now's my chance to get away!" thought the bunny gentleman. But when he tried to hop softly off, as the bear was eating the sweet stuff, the bad creature saw him and cried:
"Ah, ha! No you don't! Come hack here!" and with his claws he pulled Uncle Wiggily close to him again.
Then the bunny uncle noticed that some sweet, sticky juice or gum, like that on fly paper, was running down the trunk of the tree from the holes the woodpecker had drilled in it.
"Oh, if the bear only leans back hard enough and long enough against that sticky pine tree," thought Mr. Longears, "he'll be stuck fast by his furry hair and he can't get me. I hope he sticks!"