It’s really too bad that the
Should be snooping around with his gun.
Why doesn’t he stay in the Old Mill all day
And leave little folks to their fun?
That’s what the Little People of the Shady Forest and the Sunny Meadow thought. You see, the Miller’s Boy had very little to do just now, for the farmers were busy in the fields and the corn wasn’t ready to be ground into meal. So all the Miller’s Boy had to do was to attend to a few chores and then get out his gun and go hunting. And of course all the little four-footed and feathered people were dreadfully afraid of that great noisy gun.
“Look here,” said Mrs. Rabbit, one day to her little son, “you had better be careful. You can’t run faster than a bullet, you know. It’s all very well to run away from Danny Fox and Mr. Wicked Weasel, or to dodge from under Hungry Hawk, but a bullet is a different thing,” and the kind lady bunny patted her small son on the left ear and gave him a piece of cherry pie.
Well, as soon as the pie was gone, Little Jack Rabbit hopped out of the Old Bramble Patch, clipperty clip, lipperty lip, and pretty soon he met Chippy Chipmunk and Woody Chuck in the Shady Forest.
“Mother says a bullet goes faster than Danny Fox,” explained the little bunny, and as everybody in the Shady Forest knew Mrs. Rabbit never told anything that wasn’t true, as Grandmother Magpie did, for instance, these two little friends looked very serious. Yes, indeed, they looked serious. They began to feel that the Miller’s Boy was a dangerous person.
“Let’s tell all our friends,” said Woody Chuck, so off the three started and by and by, not so very far, they came to the Shady Forest Pond where Busy Beaver lived.
“Pooh, pooh!” he said, when he heard the news. “I’m safe in the water. He can’t get a shot at me.”
“Don’t be too sure,” answered Little Jack Rabbit, as he ran down to the Old Duck Pond to tell Granddaddy ”
Now the old gentleman frog was half asleep on his log, his chin resting on his gray waistcoat and his eyes closed, for he had just eaten a big dinner of flies.
“Helloa, there, Granddaddy Bullfrog,” shouted the little rabbit. The old frog opened his eyes and took out his watch to see the time, for he thought at first it was Mrs. Bullfrog calling him home.
“Oh, it’s you, is it?” he said to the little rabbit. “Gracious me, I must have fallen asleep, for I had a dream.
“I thought I’d caught a thousand
All on this summer day.
But now that you’ve awakened me
They all have flown away.
“Oh, it was such a pleasant dream,
I fear I shall grow thinner.
You should have let me slumber on
Until I’d finished dinner.”