Everybody in the Shady Forest was having a dreadful time. Old Parson Owl was nearly coughing his head off, Professor Jim Crow's voice was so hoarse his scholars could hardly understand him, and Little Jack Rabbit's eyes looked as if he had been crying for a week.
The reason for all this was that the smoke from the Farmer Boy's big bonfire had drifted into the forest until every chink and corner was filled.
At first no one knew what was the matter. Of course the air smelled queer and made one's eyes smart. But after a while when the smoke grew so thick that it seemed like night-time and Mr. Merry Sun couldn't be seen at all, the Forest Folk thought it time to hold a meeting to consider what was best to do. They all decided to ask Billy Breeze to help them, and you can imagine how grateful they were when he agreed to blow the smoke out of the Shady Forest. Before Mr. Merry Sun went down behind the hills that night Billy Breeze had cleared the smoke away and everything was clean and sweet again.
Now, before all this had taken place, a handful of burning leaves had drifted along the Old Rail Fence, setting fire to the long, dry grass, and in a short time there was quite a fire close to the Old Bramble Patch.
It didn't take Little Jack Rabbit long to borrow some sweet potatoes from his mother, and while he was roasting them Chippy Chipmunk climbed through the fence with a bagful of chestnuts.
Pretty soon along came Jimmy Crow, and when he saw what was going on, he was mighty anxious to have some fun, too. So off he went to get some bittersweet berries, for he likes them much better than sweet potatoes.
After a while Mrs. Rabbit came out to see whether they were up to any mischief. She was worried for fear they might burn up the Old Rail Fence or set fire to the Old Bramble Patch. But no, nothing was wrong. All three were quietly sitting around a small fire, the little rabbit peeling a hot sweet potato, the little chipmunk shelling a smoking hot chestnut and the little crow picking out the nice browned bittersweet berries.
"Well, well!" exclaimed the lady rabbit with a sigh of relief, "I expected to see the Old Rail Fence in ashes and the dear Old Bramble Patch in flames."