UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE THIRD KITTEN
Uncle Wiggily Longears, the nice old gentleman rabbit, came walking slowly up the front path that led to his hollow-stump bungalow. He was limping a little on his red, white and blue striped barber-pole rheumatism crutch that Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady housekeeper, had gnawed for him out of a corn-stalk.
“Well, I’m glad to be home again,” said the rabbit uncle, sitting down on the front porch to rest a minute. And just then the door in the hollow stump opened, and Nurse Jane, looking out, said:
“Oh, here he is now, Mrs. Purr.”
With that a cat lady came to the door and she said:
“Oh, Uncle Wiggily! I thought you never would come back. Did you find her?”
“Find who?” asked the rabbit gentleman. “I was not looking for any one. I have just been down to Lincoln Park to see some squirrels who live in a hollow tree. They are second cousins to Johnnie and Billie Bushytail, the squirrels who live in our woods. I had a nice visit with them.”
“Then you didn’t find Wuzzo, my third little lost kitten, did you?” asked Mrs. Purr, the cat mother.
“What! Is Wuzzo still lost?” asked the bunny uncle, in great surprise. “I thought she had come home.”
“No, she hasn’t,” said Mrs. Purr. “You know you found my other kittens, Fuzzo and Muzzo, for me, but Wuzzo, the third little kitten, is still lost. She has been away all night, and I came over here the first thing this morning to see if you would not kindly go look for her. But you had already left and I have been waiting here ever since for you to come back.”
“Yes, I stayed longer with the park squirrels than I meant to,” said Uncle Wiggily. “But now I am back I will start off and try to find Wuzzo. It’s too bad your three little kittens ran away.”
They had, you know, as I told you in the two stories before this one. The three little kittens ate cherry pie with their new mittens on. And they soiled their mittens. Then they were so afraid their mother, Mrs. Purr, would scold them that they all ran away.
But Mrs. Purr was a kind cat, and would not have scolded at all. And when she found her little kittens were gone she asked Uncle Wiggily to find them.
“And you did find the first two, Fuzzo and Muzzo,” said the cat lady. “So I am sure you can find the third one, Wuzzo.”
“I hope I can,” Uncle Wiggily said. “I remember now I started off to find her, but my rheumatism hurt me so I had to come back to my bungalow. Then I forgot all about Wuzzo. But I’m all right now, and I’ll start off.”
So away over the fields and through the woods went Uncle Wiggily, looking for the third little lost kitten. When he had found the two others he had helped them wash the pie-juice off their mittens, so they were nice and clean. And then the kittens were not afraid to go home.
Uncle Wiggily looked all over for the third little kitten, under bushes, up in trees (for cats climb trees, you know), and even behind big rocks Uncle Wiggily looked. But no Wuzzo could he find.
At last, when the rabbit gentleman came to a big hollow log that was lying on the ground, he sat down on it to rest, and, all of a sudden, he heard a voice inside the log speaking. And the voice asked:
“Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?”
“I’ve been to London to see the Queen,” answered another voice.
“Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you do there?”
“I frightened a little mouse, under her chair,” came the answer, and this time it was a little pussy cat kitten speaking, Uncle Wiggily was certain.
The old rabbit gentleman looked in one end of the hollow log, and there surely enough, he saw Wuzzo, the third lost kitten.
And besides Wuzzo, Uncle Wiggily saw Neddie Stubtail, the little bear boy, who always slept in a hollow log all Winter. But this time Neddie was awake, for it was near Spring.
“Wuzzo, Wuzzo! Is that you? What are you doing there?” asked Uncle Wiggily. “Don’t you know your poor mother is looking all over for you, and that she has sent me to find you? Why don’t you come home?”
“I—I’m afraid to,” said Wuzzo, crawling out of the hollow log, and Neddie, the boy bear also crawled out, saying:
“Hello, Uncle Wiggily!”
“How do you do, Neddie,” spoke the bunny uncle. “How long has Wuzzo been staying with you?”
“She just ran in my hollow log,” said the little bear chap, “and her tail, brushing against my nose, tickled me so that I sneezed and awakened from my Winter sleep.”
“Where have you been all night, since you ran away, Wuzzo?” asked Uncle Wiggily.
“Well,” answered the third little kitten. “After Fuzzo, Muzzo and I soiled our mittens with cherry pie we all ran away.”
“Yes, I know that part,” spoke the bunny uncle. “It was not right to do, but I have found the two other lost kitties. I couldn’t find you, though. Why was that?”
“Because I met Mother Goose,” said Wuzzo, “and she asked me to go to London to see the Queen. She took me through the air on the back of her big gander, and we flew as quickly as you could have gone in your airship.”
“You went to London to see the Queen!” exclaimed Uncle Wiggily, in surprise. “Well, well! What did you do there?”
“I frightened a little mouse under her chair, just as Mother Goose wanted me to do,” said Wuzzo. “Then the big gander flew with me to these woods and went back to get Mother Goose, who stayed to talk with the Queen. So here I am, but I don’t know the way home.”
“Oh, I’ll take you home all right,” said Uncle Wiggily. “But first we must wash your mittens.”
“Oh, I did that for her, in the log,” said Neddie Stubtail, laughing. “With my red tongue I licked off all the sweet cherry-pie-juice, which I liked very much. So, now the mittens are clean.”
“Good!” cried the bunny uncle. “Now we will go to your mother, Wuzzo. She will be glad to know that you frightened a little mouse under the Queen’s chair.”
So Uncle Wiggily took the third little kitten home, and thus they were all found. And if the cat on our roof doesn’t jump down the chimney, and scare the lemon pie so it turns into an apple dumpling, I’ll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the Jack horse.