Well, before I go any further, I’ll tell you that the little birds were so delighted with the chocolate cake which the little rabbit left for them on the clean white stone, as I told you in the last story, that they went right to sleep after eating it and dreamed of a little white candy bunny and a big birthday cake with seven pink candles in it.
And after that little Billy Bunny hopped away, lippity, lip, clippity clip, and by and by he came to the Old Brush Heap where Cousin Cottontail lived before she moved next door to his mother in the Old Brier Patch at Snake Fence Corner.
And just as he reached the little patch that led into the Old Brush Heap he met Mrs. Grouse with her brood of little brown birdies.
“Good morning, Billy Bunny,” she said, while her small brood hid themselves in the dry leaves that strewed the ground. “Come here, children,” she called, “Billy Bunny won’t hurt you. He’s a friend.” So the little brown birds came out from their hiding places and stood in a row and bowed as nicely as you please, and the little rabbit opened his knapsack and gave them each a candy carrot.
Wasn’t that kind of him? And after that he said a little poem, and how I came to hear it was because a little wild canary, who was sitting close by, told it to me.
And this is the way it went:
“I am Billy Bunny from Old Snake
Fence Corner Town,
So don’t be worried, don’t be hurried,
Little birds of brown.
Mother knows I will not harm you;
I’m no cruel snake to charm you,
So be merry; here’s a cherry
From the Circus Clown.”
And then he gave them a big red cherry, a candy cherry, you know, which his friend the Clown at the circus had given him a long time ago.
“Well, I must be hopping along,” said the little rabbit after the little birds had picked the cherry candy all to pieces until there was nothing left but the stone.
So away he went again to seek more adventures, and after a little while, not so very long ago, he came to the railroad bridge where you remember he and his brother, Bobby Tail, had taken a ride one day, oh, so long ago, maybe one hundred stories back, in a big empty freight car. And just then a train came by, and when the engineer saw Billy Bunny he stopped the train, for I suppose he thought the little rabbit wanted to get aboard.
And the brakeman helped him on and away went the train, over the rails that went clunkity, clunk, clunkity clunk, while the smoke from the engine trailed out behind, like a long gray feather. And the train didn’t stop until the brakeman called out Lettuceville, where a thousand little rabbits raised lovely green lettuce in a big field.
And in the next story you shall hear how the little rabbit scratched his ear and had some lettuce salad, too, all covered o’er with sugar dew.