Uncle Wiggily and his Woodland Friends





STORY XV.

UNCLE WIGGILY AND CRAWLY SNAKE

"Do you feel all right to travel to-day?" asked Uncle Wiggily of the elephant the next morning, after the hot-peanut-man had cured the big chap.

"Oh, yes, I feel very fine!" said the elephant. "We will travel along together again, and perhaps we may find your fortune this time."

"Hadn't we better take some extra peanuts with us, in case you become ill again?" asked the rabbit, as he looked in the satchel to see if he had any sandwiches, in case he got hungry.

"Oh, to be sure, we must have peanuts!" exclaimed the elephant. "Take as many as we can carry, for I just love 'em!"

So they hunted up the hot-peanut-man, and bought all the rest of his peanuts, besides paying for those the elephant had eaten to make himself get well.

"Good luck to you!" cried the peanut man, as he wheeled away his empty wagon, "I wish I had elephants for customers every day, then I would soon get rich," and away he went singing:

"I sell peanuts good and hot,
Five cents buys you quite a lot.
Get your money and come here,
Buy my peanuts, children dear.

"My peanuts are hot and brown,
Finest ones in all the town.
Nice and juicy—good to chew,
I have some for all of you."

"Well, come on," said the elephant to Uncle Wiggily, "put some peanuts in your valise, and I will carry the rest."

"How; in your trunk?" asked the rabbit.

"No, I'm going to wrap them up in a bundle, and tie them on my back. I want my trunk to squirt water through when it gets hot, as I think the sun is going to be very scorchy to-day."

So he tied the bundle of peanuts on his back, and then the two friends journeyed on together. Well, it did get very hot, and it kept on getting hotter, and there wasn't much shade.

"Oh my, I wish it would rain a little shower!" said Uncle Wiggily, as he wiped his ears with his handkerchief. "I am as hot as an oven."

"I can soon fix that part of it," said the elephant. And pretty soon he came to a spring of cold water, and he sucked a lot of it up in his hollow trunk, and then he squirted a nice cool, fine spray of it over the rabbit, just as if it came out of a hose with which papa waters the garden or lawn.

"My! That feels fine!" said the rabbit. Then the elephant squirted some water on himself, and they went on, feeling much better.

But still they were warm again in a short time, and then the elephant said:

"I know what I am going to do. I am going to get some more ice cream cones. They will cool us off better than anything else. I'll go for them and bring back some big ones. You stay here in the shade, Uncle Wiggily, but don't walk on ahead, or you may tumble into the water again."

"I'll not," promised the rabbit. "I'll wait right here for you."

Off the elephant started to get the ice cream cones and pretty soon he came to the store where the man sold them.

"I want two of your very coldest cones," said the elephant to the man, for sometimes, in stories, you know, elephants can talk to people. "I want a big strawberry cone for myself," the elephant went on, "and a smaller one for my friend, Uncle Wiggily, the rabbit."

"Very well," said the man, "but you will have to wait until I make a large cone for you."

So that man took seventeen thousand, six hundred and eighty-seven little cones and made them into one big one for the elephant. Then he took eighteen thousand, two hundred and ninety-one quarts of strawberry ice cream, and an extra pint, and put it into the big cone. Then he made a rabbit-sized ice cream cone for Uncle Wiggily and gave them both to the elephant, who carried them in his trunk so they wouldn't melt.

But I must tell you what was happening to Uncle Wiggily all this while. As he sat there in the shade of the apple tree, thinking, about his fortune and whether he would ever find it, all of a sudden he saw something round and squirming sticking itself toward him through the bushes.

"Ha! the elephant has come back so quietly that I didn't hear him," thought the rabbit. "That is his trunk he is sticking out at me. I guess he thinks I don't see him, and he is going to tickle me. I hope he has those ice cream cones."

Well, the crawly, squirming, round thing, which was like the small end of an elephant's trunk, kept coming closer and closer to the rabbit.

"Now, I'll play a trick on that elephant—I'll tickle his trunk for him, and he'll think it's a mosquito!" said Uncle Wiggily to himself.

He was just about to do this, when suddenly the crawly thing made a sort of jump toward him, and before the rabbit could move he found himself grasped by a big, ugly snake, who wrapped himself around the rabbit just as ladies wrap their fur around their necks in the winter. It wasn't the elephant's trunk at all, but a bad snake.

"Now, I have you!" hissed the snake like a steam radiator in Uncle Wiggily's left ear. "I'm going to squeeze you to death and then eat you," and he began to squeeze that poor rabbit just like the wash-lady squeezes clothes in the wringer.

"Oh, my breath! You are crushing all the breath out of me!" cried Uncle Wiggily. "Please let go of me!"

"No!" hissed the snake, and he squeezed harder than ever.

"Oh, this is the end of me!" gasped the rabbit, when all of a sudden he heard a great crashing in the bushes. Then a voice cried:

"Here, you bad snake, let go of Uncle Wiggily."

And bless my hat! If the elephant didn't rush up, just in time, and he grabbed hold of that snake's tail in his trunk, and unwound the snake from around the rabbit, and then the elephant with a long swing of his trunk threw the snake so high up in the air that I guess he hasn't yet come down.

"I was just in time to save you!" said the elephant to Uncle Wiggily. "Here, eat this ice cream cone and you'll feel better."

So the rabbit did this, and his breath came back and he was all right again, but he made up his mind never to try to tickle a crawly thing again until he was sure it wasn't a snake.

So that's all for the present, if you please, but in case my fur hat doesn't sleep out in the hammock all night, and catch cold in the head so that it sneezes and wakes up the alarm clock, I'll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the water lilies.



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