Uncle Wiggily and his Woodland Friends





STORY XI

UNCLE WIGGILY AND BUSY BUG

Everywhere Uncle Wiggily and the black cricket went in the next few days, every one was glad to see them. For they were both so jolly, and laughed and joked so much along the road, that no one who heard them could be sad.

They came to one place where there was a boy sick with the toothache, and his mamma had done everything for him that she could think of, even to putting mustard on it, but still that boy's tooth ached.

Well, as soon as that boy saw the cricket and the old gentleman rabbit, and heard them laugh, why the boy smiled, and then the pain, somehow, seemed to be better, and he smiled some more, and then he laughed.

Then Uncle Wiggily told a funny story about a monkey who made faces at himself in a looking-glass, and got so excited about it that he jumped around behind the glass, thinking another monkey was there, and there wasn't, and the monkey fell into the freezer full of ice cream and caught cold because he ate so much of it.

Well, that boy opened his mouth real wide to laugh at the funny story and his mamma all of a sudden slipped a string around the aching tooth and she pulled it out in a moment, and it never ached again.

"Oh, how glad I am!" cried the little boy. "I wish you would always stay with me, Uncle Wiggily—you and the jolly cricket."

"I'd like to, but I can't," said the old gentleman rabbit. "I must keep on after my fortune."

"I'll stay with you for a little while," said the cricket, and he did, telling some funny stories to other boys who had the toothache, and right away after that they allowed their bad teeth to be pulled, and their pain was over.

So Uncle Wiggily said good-by to the cricket and went on by himself. He was feeling very good now, for he and the cricket had met a kind muskrat, a thirty-fifth cousin to Nurse Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy, and this muskrat gave Uncle Wiggily a lot of sandwiches for his satchel, so he wouldn't be hungry again for some time.

"And I don't mind so much about the cent, either," thought the rabbit, as he remembered the one that belonged to the chipmunk. "After all a cent is not so much, and I need more than that for my fortune. Ha! Ha! Ho! Ho!"

He just had to laugh, you see, when he thought of the jolly cricket. So he traveled on and on, over hill and dale, until one evening, just as the sun was going down behind the clouds, all red and golden and violet colored, he saw a little house built of green leaves.

"Ha!" exclaimed Uncle Wiggily. "That is a very fine house. I wish I had one like it in which to stay to-night. But it's too small for me. I guess I'll have to keep on and look for a haystack under which to crawl."

Well, just as he said that, all of a sudden there was a little rustling, scratching noise, and a bug came to the door of the queer little green leaf house. The bug had a broom and she began sweeping off the front porch and then she knocked the dirt out of the doormat, and then she swept some cobwebs off the shutters and then she hurried out and swept off the sidewalk, all so quickly that you could scarcely see her move.

"My, but she is a fast worker," said Uncle Wiggily. "She is almost as quick as Jennie Chipmunk."

"I have to be!" exclaimed the bug, for the old gentleman rabbit had spoken out loud without thinking, and the bug had heard him. "I have to hustle around," she said, "for I am the busy bug, and I have to keep busy. I work from morning to night to keep my house in order. Now excuse me; I have to go in and dust the piano," and she was just going to run in the house, when Uncle Wiggily said:

"Do you happen to know of a place where I can stay to-night?"

"Why, yes," said the busy bug. "Next door is a house where Mr. Groundhog used to live. But now he is away on his vacation, and I have the keys. I'm sure he wouldn't mind you staying in there over night. I'll get it in order for you. Come along, hurry up, no time to lose!"

And before Uncle Wiggily knew what was happening the busy bug had run in, got the keys, opened the front door of the groundhog's house. Then she flew in, and she began dusting it. My! what a dust she raised. Uncle Wiggily had to sneeze, there was so much of it.

And the funny part of it was that the house was already just as neat and clean as a piece of cocoanut or custard, or maybe even apple pie.

"Don't fuss any more with it," said Uncle Wiggily. "It will do very well as it is."

"Oh, it must be made cleaner," said the busy bug, and she swept and dusted until Uncle Wiggily sneezed again. Then the bug dusted a little more, and at last she said the house was in pretty fair shape and Uncle Wiggily could sleep there.

Then the busy bug flew back home and she kept busy up to nine o'clock, making beds and dusting the crumbs off the mantelpiece and picking up grains of sand off the floor. Then she went to sleep.

Well, along in the middle of the night Uncle Wiggily was awakened by hearing some one talking under his window. He looked out, and there were two savage old owls.

"Now, we'll fly right in through her window," said one owl, "and we'll eat her all up, and then we'll tear her house down."

And, would you believe it, they started right toward the house of the poor busy lady bug, who was fast asleep.

"Ha! This must never be!" cried Uncle Wiggily. "I must save her. How can I do it?" So he looked around, and he saw a broom, which the busy bug had left behind when she finished sweeping. "That will do!" cried the rabbit. He took it in his paws and, leaning out of the window, he held it just as if it was a gun, and cried:

"Now, you bad owls, fly away or I'll shoot all your feathers off! Fly away and don't you harm my friend, the busy lady bug!"

Well, sir, those owls were so frightened, thinking that Uncle Wiggily was going to shoot them with the broom-gun (only, of course, they didn't know it was only a broom), and, would you believe it, they were terribly afraid and they flew off into the dark woods, and so didn't eat up the busy bug after all, and she slept in peace and quietness, never even waking up, she was so tired after being busy all day.

Then Uncle Wiggily went back to bed, and the owls didn't disturb him again that night. And in the morning the busy bug got his breakfast and thanked him when he told her about scaring the owls away with the make-believe broom-gun.

Uncle Wiggily traveled on, and soon he had another adventure. What it was I'll tell you almost right away, when, in case the cake of ice doesn't melt, and make a mud puddle for the baby to fall into, I'll tell you about Uncle Wiggily and the funny monkey.



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