BILLY BUNNY





STORY XVII.

BILLY BUNNY AND THE FOREST DANCE.

     When the moon is big and bright
     Little bunnies dance at night.
     How they hop and skip and go
     On their lucky left hind toe.

Well, sir, that's what Billy Bunny was doing. It was a lovely moonlight night in August, and the big, round moon was gleaming down on the Pleasant Meadow just like an electric lamp, only it was up in the sky, you know, and not on the ceiling.

And Mrs. Bunny was there, too, and so was Cousin Cottontail, and all the little rabbits for miles around.

Now it's a dangerous thing to be dancing, even if the moon is bright, for owls and hawks fly by night, and if they happen to see a bunny dance, they always fly down and break it up. They don't say a word; they just fly away with one of the little bunny dancers and he never dances any more. No, sireemam.

Well, on this particular night little Billy Bunny was doing the fox trot with a nice little lady bunny, when all of a sudden from out of the Friendly Forest came Slyboots and Bushy Tail, the small sons of Daddy Fox, you remember.

And the reason they were out so late at night was because their father had sprained his foot jumping over a stone fence to get away from a pack of hounds who had chased him for a thousand and one miles and fourteen feet.

Now Billy Bunny had forgotten all about Daddy Fox. He was thinking only about Robber Hawk or Old Barney the Owl, and so he never saw the two foxes until they were so close to him that they almost stubbed their whiskers on his powder puff tail.

And if it hadn't been for the lady bunny who was dancing with him maybe Slyboots, or maybe Bushy Tail, would have caught the little bunny. But the lady rabbit saw them just in time and she gave a scream and hopped into a hollow stump and Billy Bunny after her, and then all that the two foxes could do was to stand close by and say:

    "Isn't that a shame,                                           
     To spoil their little game,
     To stop their dancing
     And their prancing,
     Who do you think's to blame?"

"You are, you two bad foxes," said Billy Bunny, but he didn't come out of that hollow stump. No, sireemam, he staid inside and so did the little lady rabbit, and by and by the two bad foxes went away and told their father, Daddy Fox, all about it, and he said, "Don't make any excuse.

"You are very poor hunters if you can't catch a rabbit when he's dancing the Fox Trot." And I guess he was right, for Slyboots and Bushy Tail were so ashamed that they didn't dare look in their mother's looking-glass for two days and three nights.

And in the next story if Billy Bunny gets out of that hollow stump before I see him, I'll ask Robbie Redbreast to tell me what he does so that I can write tomorrow's story for you to read.



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