UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE WIBBLEWOBBLES
Uncle Wiggily, the nice old gentleman rabbit, was sleeping on the soft moss under a clump of ferns, and over his head the bluebell flower was nodding in the night breeze, keeping watch for danger. For you remember, I dare say, that the flower had promised to awaken Uncle Wiggily in case any harm happened to come near him.
Hour after hour crept along, like a little mouse after a bit of cheese, and still the rabbit slumbered, and still the bluebell nodded her drowsy head, for she would not go to sleep while she was keeping watch.
"I think I will just take one little nap," said the flower to herself, after a bit, "just shut my eyes for a little while." So she did so, and then, all of a sudden, as quietly as a clock when it isn't ticking, there came creeping and crawling through the woods, the bad scalery-tailery alligator.
He was looking around sniffing, and snooping, and scuffing for something to eat, and pretty soon he sniffed and snuffed until he came to where Uncle Wiggily was fast asleep, dreaming that he had found his fortune. And the worst part of it was that the bluebell flower also was sleeping, and she couldn't tell the rabbit what was going to happen.
"Oh, I'll have a fine meal in about a minute," said the scalery-tailery alligator as he smacked his big jaws. Then he shuffled up closer to Uncle Wiggily, and was about to bite him when all of a sudden the nutmeg grater tail of the scalery alligator accidentally hit against the bluebell flower, and she awoke quickly.
"Tinkle! Tinkle! Tinkle! Ding-dong! Ding-dong!" rang out the bluebell, just like an alarm clock in the morning. "Ding-dong-dong! Tinkle! Tinkle!"
Up jumped Uncle Wiggily, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. He looked through the woods, and by the light of the silvery moon he saw the grinning alligator, with his open mouth, close to him.
"Run, Uncle Wiggily! Run!" cried the bluebell, and then she made such a jingling-jangling noise that all the birds in the woods awakened, and by the moonlight, they flew down at that alligator, and stuck him with their sharp bills, so that he was glad to crawl away, and he didn't forget to take his scalery tail with him, either.
"My, that was a narrow escape!" said the rabbit. "I am glad he didn't eat me."
"So am I," said the bluebell, "and I'll not go to sleep again, either, I promise you."
So the flower stayed wide awake the rest of the night, and the rabbit slept on the soft moss, and in the morning he awakened and ate his breakfast out of his valise, and then, saying good-by to the flower and thanking her, he set off once more to seek his fortune.
Uncle Wiggily traveled on and on, looking in all the places he could think of for some gold, but he couldn't seem to find any. And then, just when he got on top of a little hill, and started down the other side he heard some one crying—no, I'm just a bit wrong, he heard three some ones crying—three separate and distinct cries.
"Oh, dear, I've got a sliver in my foot!" blubbered one voice.
"And I've stepped on a stone and there's a big bruise on my foot!" sniffled another voice.
"Oh! none of you is as badly off as I am," quivered a third voice, "for I've cut my two feet on a piece of glass! Oh, whatever shall we do?"
"My, I wonder who they can be?" thought the rabbit, for he could see no one as yet. "Maybe those are the little children of the burglar fox, and if they are, then the burglar fox must be somewhere around here, and I had better be careful of myself."
Well, the rabbit was about to turn, and run back down the hill, up which he had just come, when he saw something white fluttering like a piece of paper.
"A fox isn't white," Uncle Wiggily said to himself, "at least not the foxes around here. That must be something else." So he took another careful look, and he saw three nice little duck children—I guess you remember their names—Lulu and Alice and Jimmie Wibblewobble. And as soon as they saw the old gentleman rabbit, those three duck children exclaimed:
"Oh, joy! Oh, happiness!" and they didn't think about the slivers and the bruises and the cuts in their feet any more.
"My goodness me sakes alive and a potato pancake!" cried Uncle Wiggily. "What are you children doing so far away from home? You must be lost."
"We are lost," said Jimmie Wibblewobble, "all three of us."
"Yes," went on Lulu, "we are certainly lost, and it's Jimmie's fault, for he asked us to come."
"Oh! it's not all Jimmie's fault," said Alice gently, as she looked at her brother. "You see, Uncle Wiggily, we are visiting our Aunt Lettie, the old lady goat, who lives in the country near here. We are at her house for our vacation, and to-day we started to go to the woods to have a good time, but we took the wrong path and we are lost, and I have a big sliver in my foot."
"Yes, and I stepped on a stone, and have a big bruise," whimpered Jimmie.
"And I've cut both feet on a piece of glass," cried Lulu Wibblewobble, "and Oh, we are all so miserable!"
"Well, well!" exclaimed the rabbit in a jolly voice, "this is too bad. I must see what I can do for you. First we will take the sliver out of Alice's foot," and he did so with a sharp needle. It hurt a little, but Alice never cried.
"Now for Jimmie's bruise," said the rabbit, and he took some soft green leaves, and made a plaster of them, and with some ribbon-grass for a string he tied the plaster on Jimmie's foot, and that was almost well. Then Uncle Wiggily made a little salve, from some gum out of a cherry tree, and bound up the glass cuts on Lulu's feet.
"Now, I will lead you to your Aunt Lettie's house," said the rabbit, "and you won't be lost any more." So the three Wibblewobble children felt much better and happier, and when they were almost at their aunt's house, a big hawk swooped down out of the sky and tried to bite Lulu. But Uncle Wiggily hit the bad bird with his barber-pole crutch, and the hawk flew away, flopping his wings and tail.
"Oh, how good, and brave, and strong you are!" cried Lulu to Uncle Wiggily, and then all three duck children kissed him. Soon they were at the goat-lady's home, and Aunt Lettie was very glad to see the rabbit gentleman, and also glad to have the children back. So she invited Uncle Wiggily to stay to supper, and very glad he was to do so.
He also stayed all night at Aunt Lettie's house, and he had quite an adventure, too, which I shall tell you about directly, when, in case the fire shovel doesn't slide down hill on a cake of ice and break its roller skates the next bedtime story will be about Uncle Wiggily and the berry bush.