UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE BOYS
"Well," said the monkey after the bear had run away. "I guess we can now sit down and talk quietly together; eh, Uncle Wiggily?"
"Yes," said the old gentleman rabbit. "But what is it that you want me to do? I heard you sing that funny little song, about the boys coming in the tent. But I don't exactly understand."
"That's just it," replied the monkey. "You see, it's this way. I have a little sort of a circus-show here, and the troublesome boys don't want to pay any money to get in. So when my back is turned they crawl under the tent, and so they see the show for nothing—just like at the circus."
"Oh, so that's how it is?" asked Uncle Wiggily. "And you want me to keep out the boys?"
"That's it," said the monkey. "Here's a big stick, with which to tickle the boys who crawl in under the tent without paying. Now I'll practice my tricks."
So the monkey did a lot of tricks. He stood on his head, and he hung by his tail, and he danced around in a circle. Then he pounded the drum, not so hard as to hurt it, but hard enough to make a noise, and he played the fiddle and blew on the horn, and then he ran inside the tent and jumped over a bench, making believe it was an elephant, and he did all sorts of funny tricks like that. He even stood on his head, and made a funny face.
"That will make a very nice show," said Uncle Wiggily after he had watched the monkey. "Now I'll stay outside, and keep the boys from coming in unless they pay their money. And you can be inside, doing the tricks."
"And I'll give you money for working for me," said the monkey. "Then perhaps you can make your fortune, and, besides that, I'll give you a cocoanut, and you can make a cocoanut pie with it."
"That will be fine!" cried Uncle Wiggily. So he and the monkey practiced to get ready for their show. It was a nice little tent in which it was to be given, and there were seats for the people, who would come, and a platform, and flying rings and trapeze bars and paper hoops, and all things like that, just the same as in a real circus. Well, finally the time came for the show. It was the day after Uncle Wiggily got to the place where the tent was, and he had slept that night in a hammock, put up between two trees.
"Now we're almost ready for the show," said the monkey to the old gentleman rabbit, after a bit, "so I hope you will be sure to keep out the troublesome boys. They always creep under the tent, and see the show for nothing. I can't have that going on if I'm to make any money."
"Oh, I'll stop 'em!" declared Uncle Wiggily.
"And here's the club to do it with," said the monkey, handing Uncle Wiggily a stick.
"Oh, I don't know about that," answered the rabbit. "I never hurt boys if I can help it. Perhaps I shan't need the club. I'll leave it here."
So Uncle Wiggily hid the club under an apple tree, but the monkey said it would be needed, and he wanted Uncle Wiggily to keep it, and take a whip, too. But the old rabbit shook his head.
"I'll try being kind to the boys," he said. "You let me have my way, Mr. Monkey."
Well, pretty soon, not so very long, the show began. The monkey went inside the tent, and he blew on the horn, and he made music on the fiddle, and sang a funny song about a little great big pussy, who had a red balloon. She stuck a pin inside it, and it played a go-bang! tune.
Of course, as soon as the show started the people came crowding up to the tent, just as they do at the circus. There were men and women, and little boys and girls, and big boys and girls, and they all wanted to get inside to see what the monkey was doing. But, do you know, I believe all that he was doing was playing monkey-doodle tricks—but, of course, I might be mistaken.
Well, as it always happens, some boys didn't have any money with which to pay their way inside the tent. And, of course, as it will sometimes happen, one boy said to another:
"Hey! I know a way we can crawl in under the tent, and see the show, and not have anything to pay."
"But that wouldn't be fair," spoke the other boy. "It would be cheating, and there's nothing meaner in this world than to cheat, whether it's playing a baseball game or going to a circus."
"I guess you're right," said the first boy. "What shall we do, though? I want to see the show."
"Well, we must be fair, anyhow," spoke the second boy. "We can't crawl in under the tent, but perhaps if we ask the monkey to let us in for nothing he'll do it."
"Very well, we will," said the first boy. So they went up to the monkey and asked if they could go in for nothing, but, of course, he wouldn't let them.
"May we crawl in under the tent, then?" asked the second boy.
"If Uncle Wiggily will let you," answered the monkey, blinking his two eyes and wrapping his tail around his neck.
So those boys tried to crawl in under the tent, and as soon as Uncle Wiggily saw them he rushed up and cried out:
"Hey! Hold on there! Nobody must go under the tent. You must buy a ticket," and he shook a feather at the boys and, instead of hitting them, he only tickled them, and didn't hurt them a bit, for they sneezed.
Well, those boys were very troublesome. They kept on trying to crawl under the tent, and Uncle Wiggily rushed here, there and around the corner trying to stop them, and he cracked the lash on his whip, just like the man in the circus ring. But those boys kept on trying to crawl under the tent, for the monkey had given them permission, you see.
So finally Uncle Wiggily said:
"I'll give those boys a little show myself, outside the tent, for nothing. Then maybe they'll stop bothering me."
So he stood on his left ear, and then on his right ear, and then he jumped through a hoop, and rolled over, and barked liked a dog, and all the boys that had tried to crawl under the tent to see the monkey-show for nothing, ran out to see Uncle Wiggily's show.
And he did lots of tricks and kept them all from crawling in under the tent, and he even ate a popcorn ball, standing on his hind legs, and wiggling his left ear with a pin-wheel on it. Then, after a while, the monkey-show was all over, and the monkey said:
"Uncle Wiggily, you did very well. You treated those troublesome boys just fine! So I'll give you ten pennies, and perhaps they will make you have a good fortune."
Then the monkey gave Uncle Wiggily ten pennies, and he went to sleep in a feather bed, while the old gentleman rabbit went down to the drug store to get an ice cream soda.
And what happened after the show was over, and what Uncle Wiggily did after he had his ice cream, I'll tell you in the next story which will be about Uncle Wiggily in a balloon. That is, if our pussy cat doesn't get all covered with red paint, and look like a tomato growing on a strawberry vine. So watch out, and don't let that happen.