Uncle Wiggily and his Woodland Friends





STORY XIV

UNCLE WIGGILY AND PEANUT MAN

After Uncle Wiggily and the elephant and the big dog had eaten up the ice cream cones, they sat in the woods a while and looked at the place where the watery lake had been before the elephant drank it up to save the rabbit from drowning.

"My, but you must be strong to take up all that water," said the dog.

"Yes, I guess I am pretty strong," said the elephant, though he was not at all proud-like. "I will show you how I can pull up a tree," he said. So he wound his trunk around a big tree and he gave one great, heaving pull and up that tree came by the roots. Then, all of a sudden a voice cried:

"Oh, you're upsetting all my eggs!" and a robin, who had her nest in the tree, fluttered around feeling very sad.

"Oh, excuse me, Mrs. Robin," said the elephant. "I would not have disturbed you for the world had I known that your nest was in that tree. I'll plant it right back again in the same place I pulled it up. Anyhow, I intended to do it, as it is not a good thing to kill a tree. I'll plant it again."

So he put the tree back in the hole, and with his big feet he stamped down the earth around it. Then the robin's nest and eggs were safe, and she sang a pretty song because she was thankful to the elephant.

Well, the elephant had to sleep out-of-doors again that night, because he couldn't find a house large enough for him, but Uncle Wiggily slept in the big dog's kennel. In the morning the rabbit said:

"It is very nice here, and I like it very much, but I must travel along, I s'pose, and see if I can't find my fortune. Are you coming, Mr. Elephant?"

"Why, certainly. I will go along with you," said the big chap. "Perhaps the dog will come also."

"No, thank you," said the dog. "I am going to meet a friend of mine, named Percival, and we are going to call on Lulu and Alice and Jimmie Wibblewobble, the duck children."

"Is that so?" exclaimed Uncle Wiggily. "Why, Percival and the Wibblewobbles are friends of mine. Kindly give them my love and say that I hope soon to get back home with my fortune."

So the dog said he would, and he started off to meet Percival, who used to work in the same circus where the elephant came from. And the rabbit and the elephant hurried off together down the road.

"Are you ever going back to the circus?" asked Uncle Wiggily of the elephant as they went along.

"Not unless they catch me and make me go," he answered. "I like this sort of life much better, and besides, no one gave me ice cream cones in the circus."

Well, pretty soon the rabbit and the elephant came to a place where there was a high mountain.

"Oh, we'll never get up that," said Uncle Wiggily.

"Yes, we will," said the elephant, "I'll make a hole through it with my tusks, and we can walk under it instead of climbing over."

So with his long, sharp tusks he made a tunnel right through the mountain, and, though it was a bit darkish, he and the rabbit went through it as easily as a mouse can nibble a bit of cheese.

Then, a little later they came to a place where there was a big river to cross, and there was no bridge.

"Oh, we can never get over that," said Uncle Wiggily.

"Yes, we can," said the elephant.

"Are you going to drink it up as you did the lake?" asked the rabbit.

"No," said the elephant, "but I will make a bridge to go over the river." So he found a great big tree that the wind had blown down, and, taking this in his strong trunk, the elephant laid it across the river, and then he laid another tree and another, and pretty soon he had as good a bridge as one could wish, and he and Uncle Wiggily crossed over on it.

Well, they hadn't gone on very far, before, all of a sudden the elephant fell down, and he was so heavy that he shook the ground just like when a locomotive choo-choo engine rushes past.

"Oh, whatever is the matter?" asked Uncle Wiggily. "Did you hurt yourself?"

"No," said the elephant, sad-like, "I am not hurt, but I am sick. I guess I drank too much ice water, which is a bad thing to do in hot weather. Oh, how ill I am! You had better go for a doctor."

Well, that poor elephant was so ill that he had to lie down on the ground, and he cried and groaned, and the big tears rolled down his trunk, and made quite a mud puddle on the earth. For when an elephant is ill he is very ill, indeed, as there is so much of him.

"I'll cover you with leaves so you won't get sunburned," said Uncle Wiggily, "and then I'll hop off for a doctor." Well, it takes a great number of leaves to cover up an elephant, but finally the rabbit did it, and then away he started.

He looked everywhere for an elephant doctor, but he couldn't seem to find any. There were dog doctors and horse doctors and cat doctors and even doctors for boys and girls, but none for the elephant.

"Oh, what shall I do?" thought the rabbit. "My poor, dear elephant may die."

Just then he heard some one singing in the woods like this:

"Peanuts, they are good to eat,
Mine are most especially neat,
I am going to make them hot
So that you will eat a lot."

"Oh, are you an elephant doctor?" cried Uncle Wiggily.

"No, I am a hot-peanut-man," said the voice, and then the peanut roaster began to whistle like a tea-kettle. "But, perhaps I can cure a sick elephant," said the peanut man. So he and Uncle Wiggily hurried off through the woods to where the elephant was groaning, and, would you believe it? as soon as the big chap heard the whistle of the hot-peanut wagon and smelled the nuts roasting he got well all of a sudden and he ate a bushel of the nuts and Uncle Wiggily had some also. So that's how the elephant got well, and he and the rabbit traveled on the next day.

They had quite an adventure, too, as I shall have the pleasure of telling you in the next story which will be about Uncle Wiggily and the crawly snake—that is if the baby doesn't drop his bread and butter down the stovepipe and make the rice pudding laugh.



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