BILLY BUNNY AND FRESHWATER CRAB.
Let me see. It was raining in the last story when we left off, wasn't it? Billy Bunny and the little freshwater crab were talking together, weren't they?
That's it, and now I know where to begin, for it's stopped raining since then and Mr. Happy Sun is shining in the sky and the little clouds are chasing each other over the blue meadows like little lambs.
"I like that little piece of poetry you just said," cried the little rabbit. "Please say another." So the freshwater crab wrinkled his forehead, and then he began:
when the sun is shining,
And all is bright and gay,
Just keep a little sunshine
To help a rainy day."
"I will," said the little bunny, for he was a cheerful little fellow, and then he hopped away and by and by he came to the Old Mill Pond.
But Uncle Bullfrog was nowhere to be seen.
There stood the old log, but there was nobody on it but a black snail. It seemed strange not to see the old gentleman frog sitting there, his eyes winking and blinking and his white waist-coat shining in the sun, and it made the little rabbit feel lonely.
"Where is Uncle Bullfrog?" he asked a big bluebottle fly, who was buzzing away at a great rate. But he didn't know, and neither did a big darning needle that was skimming over the quiet water.
"I wonder if that dreadful Miller's Boy has taken Uncle Bullfrog away," thought Billy Bunny, and just then Mrs. Oriole flew down from her nest that swung in the weeping willow tree and said:
"Are you looking for Uncle Bullfrog, little rabbit?"
"Yes, ma'am. Do you know where he is?"
"He's down by the mill dam," answered the pretty little bird, and then she flew back to her nest that looked like an old white cotton stocking at Christmas time because it was all bulgy and full, only, of course, hers had little birds inside and a Christmas stocking has all sorts of toys, with an orange in the toe and a Jack-in-the-Box sticking out of the top.
So off hopped the little rabbit, and pretty soon he saw the old gentleman bullfrog catching flies, and undoing his waistcoat one button every time a fly disappeared down his throat.
"I thought at first that dreadful Miller's Boy had taken you away," said Billy Bunny, "and I was very sad, for I like you, Uncle Bullfrog, and I've never forgotten how you found the letter I lost a long time ago."
"Tut, tut," said the old gentleman frog. "How's your mother?" and then he swallowed another fly and unbuttoned the last button, and if he takes off his waistcoat I'll tell you so in the next story.