Mr. John Rabbit had been a great jumper in his youth, and Little Jack Rabbit wished to learn to jump as far as his father, and even farther.
So every day he practiced jumping in the Sweet Clover Field near the Old Rail Fence until by and by he could jump over the second rail.
"Pretty good," said Mr. Rabbit. "Don't believe I did any better when I was your age. How is Bobby Tail getting along?"
Now Little Jack Rabbit's brother was called Bobby Tail, because his tail was so short. Yes, siree, it was so short that it looked exactly like a white powder puff. And his eyes were just like little pink beads. But they weren't any pinker than his nose.
But, I'm sorry to say, there was something wrong with Bobby Tail. He was too lazy for anything. That was what was the matter with him. He didn't want to learn to jump—he'd rather spend his time eating clover tops. By and by he grew to be dreadfully fat.
And a fat bunny can't run fast nor jump far. Bobby Tail found this to be true when one day Sic'em, the Farmer's Dog, chased him across the Sunny Meadow.
The Bunny Brothers had hopped down to the Old Duck Pond to see Granddaddy Bullfrog, when all of a sudden Sic'em saw them. Goodness me! What a chase he gave them! Over the Sunny Meadow, through the Shady Forest, and along the Old Rail Fence! At first Bobby Tail was able to keep up with brother, but after a while he fell behind.
"Hurry up!" shouted Little Jack Rabbit. But, Oh dear me! Bobby Tail was so fat and so short of breath that he couldn't. Closer and closer came Sic'em till the little bunny could almost feel his hot breath.
"If I ever get back to the Old Bramble Patch," he thought, "I'll practice running and jumping every day in the week."
Just then, he reached the Old Rail Fence. Another jump landed him in the dear Old Bramble Patch, leaving Sic'em barking and growling outside the prickly bushes.
"You've had a narrow escape," said Mr. Rabbit, looking up over his evening paper, "I hope it will teach you a lesson!"
And it did. The very next day Bobby Tail practiced jumping with Little Jack Rabbit, and kept it up until he became almost as good a jumper as his brother.
But Old Sic'em never knew how this came to pass. He was too busy keeping watch over the Old Farmyard to bother his head about Bobby Tail, for Danny Fox, who was always prowling around, hunting for a stray chicken, kept the old dog forever on the lookout.