BILLY BUNNY





STORY XXI.

BILLY BUNNY AND JACK-IN-THE-BOX.

     Oh, I'm a rollicking Jack-in-the-Box,
     And I'm not afraid of a bear or a fox,
     For every one's scared when up I pop,
     And the little girl cries, "Oh, stop! oh, stop!"
     I'm the bravest thing you ever saw,
     I'm not afraid of my Mother-in-Law!

Well, sir, I suppose you'll think Billy Bunny was frightened and that Uncle Lucky lost his breath and the automobile a tire. But nothing of the sort happened. Instead, the old gentleman rabbit laughed so hard that his collar button fell out and it took him fifteen minutes and half an hour to find it. And then he never would have if the Jack-in-the-Box hadn't seen it first. And where do you suppose that ex-as-per-a-ting, which means teasing, button was? You'd never guess, so I'll have to tell you without asking you again.

It was in the old gentleman rabbit's waistcoat pocket where he kept his gold watch and chain and pocket knife and pencil with a rubber on the end and a toothpick.

"How did you see it pop into my pocket?" he asked the Jack-in-the-Box. "I'll never tell you," said the Jack-in-the-Box, "but what does that matter? You've found your collar button, and that's enough."

"If I come across your cousin Jack-in-the-Pulpit," said Uncle Lucky, after he had buttoned up his collar and wound his watch, "I'll tell him how kind you were to find my collar button for me," and then the old gentleman rabbit took off his old wedding stovepipe hat and bowed to the Jack-in-the-Box and drove away in the Luckmobile down the road, and when he came to a bridge he said to his little nephew, "Do you think we're on the right road?"

"I don't remember this bridge, do you?" And then a voice cried out,
"Don't be anxious, Mr. Lucky Lefthindfoot. This is the road to
Lettuceville.

"Keep right on after you cross the bridge until you come to a little red schoolhouse and then turn to your left and then turn to your right and if you don't get home until morning you've made a mistake."

"Thank you," said Uncle Lucky. "And if I make a mistake I'll come back and give you a scolding," and after that they crossed the bridge, and just as they came to the first turn in the road they heard a dreadful loud noise in the woods close by.

"What's that?" asked Billy Bunny, and he turned up his left ear and his coat collar so that he could hear better.

"It's an old friend of yours," answered a deep growly kind of a voice, and before the two rabbits could wonder who it was their friend, the good-natured bear jumped out of the bushes.

"Take me with you, please," he said, "for I've run a splinter in my foot and it hurts me to walk." And in the next story you shall hear of another adventure which the two little rabbits had.



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