The next morning after Billy Bunny and Uncle Lucky had returned to the Old Brier Patch, as I told you in the last story, it rained and poured, and, of course, nobody could go out.
If it had been a gentle shower it wouldn’t have made any difference, but it rained so hard that I really believe Billy Bunny would have been drowned if he had even hopped out of the front door and back again.
“Now the best thing for you to do,” said Mrs. Bunny after breakfast, “is to go up into the garret and play with all your old toys. You’ve been away so long they’ll all seem just like new.”
So Billy Bunny hopped upstairs and Uncle Lucky sat down and read the Bunnyville “Bugle,” and Mrs. Bunny washed up the breakfast dishes, and, of course, they all had a lovely time in spite of the rain.
Well, it turned out just as Mrs. Bunny had said. The toys in the garret all seemed just like new and some Billy Bunny had forgotten all about, so that he had a lovely time till lunch, and then the sun came out and dried up the wet places, and the Pleasant Meadow looked twice as green and lovely as before.
Now whenever it rained Uncle Lucky’s leg hurt him—the leg you remember that was shot by the Miller’s Boy—so he said to his little nephew, “You run out on the meadow and play and I’ll stay home with your mother, for my leg hurts me and I don’t want to do any hopping to-day.”
Then the little rabbit hopped away by himself and by and by he came to the Babbling Brook. So he looked into the water and when he saw his face he began to laugh.
For Billy Bunny hadn’t looked at himself for so long he had forgotten how he looked, and, anyway, he had grown so large that he wouldn’t have known himself if he hadn’t been sure that there was nobody else looking into the water at the same time.
And while he was laughing Mrs. Cow came along, the little bell tinkling at her throat and making such pretty music it seemed to say to the little rabbit:
“I’m just a tiny tinkling bell,
But everywhere I go
The people say I am so gay,
They love to hear me so.
Tinkle, tinkle, dinkle, dell,
Oh, I’m a happy little bell!”
“Did you hear what the little bell was saying?” asked Billy Bunny, but Mrs. Cow shook her head.
“It didn’t say anything but tinkle, tinkle, did it?” But the little rabbit felt sure it did say just what he thought it did, so he asked the little bell to tinkle again, and it did, and the tinkles said the same thing all over again, and this made Billy Bunny very happy, even if Mrs. Cow didn’t understand.
And in the next story you shall hear how Billy Bunny made a call at the Old Farm.