UNCLE WIGGILY AND FUNNY MONKEY
It was a bright and beautiful sunshiny day, and Uncle Wiggily was hopping along the road, thinking many thoughts and about the busy bug and the black cricket and all things like that and how hard it was to look and look for your fortune and never find it, when all of a sudden, just as he happened to put his crutch down on a round stone, it slipped, and down he fell kerthump.
"Oh, wow! Ouch!" cried the old gentleman rabbit as he bumped his nose on a sharp stick. "That hurt! My, I hope I haven't broken one of my ears or paw-nails. If I did I'll have to get in the ambulance and go to the hospital."
So he sat up very slowly and carefully and looked himself all over and he was glad to see that he hadn't broken anything except a lettuce sandwich that he carried in his satchel and, as it was just as good broken as it was whole, it didn't matter much.
"Oh, are you hurt?" suddenly cried a voice, as Uncle Wiggily took some dirt out of his left ear. "If you are I can give you something to put on your cuts," and out from under a big leaf came a beautiful butterfly.
"What can you put on my cuts?" asked the rabbit.
"Oh, I can get some sticky gum from a tree or a flower and spread it on a leaf and make some court plaster," spoke the butterfly. "It will cure a cut very quickly."
"Thank you very much," said Uncle Wiggily, "but very luckily I haven't any cuts. I'm all right, I guess, but because you are so kind to me here is just a drop of honey that I found in the bottom of my satchel. The bee gave it to me." So he handed to the kind butterfly a little honey he had left. The butterfly was very glad to get it, and fluttered away, jumping from one flower to another as easily as a boy can spin his top.
Then the old gentleman rabbit traveled on, and pretty soon, when it was just about time for dinner, he came to a beautiful place in the woods. The trees were nice and green and shady, and there was a little brook that was bubbling and babbling over the mossy stones and then all at once Uncle Wiggily heard the queerest music he had ever heard. It was like forty-'leven bands all playing in the park at once.
"My, I must be near a big picnic!" cried the rabbit. "I shall have to look out for myself, or some boys may chase me."
The music kept getting louder but still the old gentleman rabbit didn't see any people, and he went on very slowly until he came to a little house built of shingles, and there in front of it sat a monkey. And he was the funniest monkey you ever saw.
For that monkey was playing five hand organs all at once. Yes, just as true as I'm telling you, he was. He played one organ with his left paw and he played another organ with his right paw, and he played still another with his left foot and he twisted the crank of another with his right foot. And then, to finish off with, he whirled around the crank of the fifth organ with his long tail. Oh, he was a smart monkey, I tell you!
"My! This is almost as good as a circus!" exclaimed Uncle Wiggily. "I'm glad I came this way."
Well, that funny monkey played faster than ever, and on one organ he played the tune "Please Bring Your Umbrella Inside When it Rains," and on another he played "May I Have Some of Your Ice Cream Cone if I Give You a Kiss?" And on the third hand organ the monkey was playing the tune "Come Out Into the Hammock and See Who'll Fall Out First," and another tune was "Please Don't Let that Big Black Bug Tickle Me," and on the organ that he twisted with his tail the monkey ground out the song "Come On Inside the Motorboat and Have a Nice, Cool Swim."
"My, how do you do it?" asked the rabbit of the monkey. "You must be very musical."
"Oh, it comes natural to me," said the monkey, not a bit proud like.
"But where did you get so many organs?"
"Oh, I saved up my pennies for them," said the monkey. "You see, it was this way. I used to work for a man who had a hand organ, and he used to take me around with him to climb up on the porches, and in the second-story windows to get the pennies from the children. Well, I always loved music, and I wanted the man to let me play his organ, but he never would. So I made up my mind I would save up all my pennies and some day buy an organ for myself.
"Well, I did that, for you know often when I used to go around to collect pennies for the man, some children would give me a few for myself. Finally I got rich and I didn't work for the man any longer, and I had enough to buy five hand organs, for I can play five at once. Then I came here, and built this shingle house and every day I amuse myself by playing tunes, and I never have to climb up the rainwater pipe to get money. Oh, it is a happy life," and the monkey felt so funny that he hung by his tail from a tree branch, and made faces at Uncle Wiggily—just in fun, you understand.
Uncle Wiggily was very glad he had met the monkey, and he listened to the music, and the monkey even let the rabbit play one tune for himself, and it was called, "When You Wiggle Your Wiggily Ears Wiggle Them Good and Hard."
And then, all of a sudden, just as that tune was finished, there was a terrible noise in the bushes.
"My goodness! What's that?" cried the monkey as he hopped up on top of one of his hand organs and curled his tail around the handle.
"It sounds like a bear!" said the rabbit. "But don't worry. I'll do just as the cricket did to the alligator and make him laugh so that he won't hurt us."
"Good!" cried the monkey. And then the noise became louder and out from the bushes popped a big animal. But it was an elephant instead of a bear, and as soon as he saw the monkey and Uncle Wiggily he ran up to them and shook his trunk at them and cried:
"Oh, I'm so glad to see you! I just got away from the circus, and I want to have some fun!" and he was as kind and gentle as he could be and he and Uncle Wiggily had quite an adventure the next day.
I'll tell you about it on the next page, when, in case the little boy across the street doesn't tickle my pussy cat and make him sneeze the rubbers off the umbrella plant, the story will be about Uncle Wiggily and the big dog.