UNCLE WIGGILY MAKES A PIE
Do you remember the little boy whom Uncle Wiggily helped save after he fell out of the boat? Well, that boy's papa was so glad because Uncle Wiggily had helped save the little chap from drowning that he couldn't do enough for the old gentleman rabbit.
"You can stay here forever, and have carrot ice cream every day if you like," the man said.
"Oh, thank you very much, but I think I'll travel on," replied Uncle Wiggily. "I have still to seek my fortune."
"Why, I will give you a fortune!" said the boy's papa. "I will give you a thousand million dollars, and a penny besides."
"That would be a fine fortune," spoke the rabbit, "but I would much rather find my own. It is no fun when you get a thing given to you. It is better to earn it yourself, and then you think more of it."
"Yes, that is so," said the man. "Well, we will be sorry to see you go."
Uncle Wiggily started off the next day, once more to seek his fortune, and the little boy felt so sad at seeing him go that he cried, and put his arms around the old gentleman rabbit, and kissed him between the ears. And Uncle Wiggily felt badly, too.
Well, the old gentleman rabbit traveled on and on for several days after that, sleeping under hay stacks part of the time, or in empty hollow stumps, and sometimes he dug a burrow for himself in the soft ground.
And one afternoon, just as the sun was getting ready to go to bed for the night, Uncle Wiggily came to an open place in the woods where there was a cave, made of a lot of little stones piled up together.
"My! I wonder who lives there?" thought the rabbit. "It is too small for a giant to live in, but there may be a bad bear or a savage fox in there. I guess I'd better get away from here."
Well, Uncle Wiggily was just going, when, all at once, a voice cried out:
"Here, hold on there!"
The rabbit looked back, and he saw a great big porcupine, or hedgehog—you know, those animals like a big gray rabbit, only their fur is the stickery-prickery kind, like needles, and the quills come out and stick in anybody who bites a hedgehog. So I hope none of you ever bite one. And they won't bite you if you don't bother them.
So as soon as Uncle Wiggily saw that it was Mr. Hedgehog who was speaking he wasn't a bit afraid, for he knew him.
"Oh, it's you, is it?" asked the rabbit. "I'm real glad to see you. I was going to travel on, but——"
"Don't say another word!" cried the hedgehog heartily. "You can stay in my cave all night. I have two beds, and it's a good thing I have, for if you slept with me you might get full of my stickery-stickers."
"Yes, I guess I had better sleep alone," said Uncle Wiggily, with a laugh. "But it seems to me, Mr. Hedgehog, that you are not looking well."
"I'm not," answered the porcupine, as he shivered so that several of his quills fell out on the grass. "I'm suffering for some cherry pie. Oh, cherry pie! If I only had some I know I'd feel better at once. I just love it!"
"Why don't you make some yourself?" asked Uncle Wiggily.
"I have tried," replied the hedgehog. "I've tried and tried again, but, somehow, it never comes out right. Here, I'll show you. I made a cherry pie just before I looked out of the door and saw you. I'll show it to you."
He went into his little stone house, and Uncle Wiggily went with him.
"There's the pie—it's no good!" cried the porcupine, as he pointed to something on the table. Well, as soon as Uncle Wiggily saw it he laughed so hard that his ears waved back and forth.
"What's the matter? I don't see anything funny," asked Mr. Hedgehog, shivering so that more quills fell out.
"Why, you've gone and put the cherry pits into the pie instead of the cherries," said the rabbit. "That's no way to do. You must take out the stones from inside the cherries and put the outside part of them inside the pie, and throw the inside or stony part of the cherries away."
"Oh, good land!" cried the hedgehog, "no wonder I couldn't eat the pie. You see, I thought cherries were like peanuts. For you know you throw away the outside part of the peanut, and eat the inside."
"Yes, and cherries are just the opposite," said the rabbit, laughing again. "For you eat the outside of a cherry and throw away the pit or stone that is inside. Now, I'll make you a cherry pie."
"I wish you would," said the porcupine. "I'll go get the cherries."
So he went out in the orchard, and he shot his sharp stickery quills, like little arrows at the cherries on the tree, and they fell down, so he could pick them up in a basket. I mean the cherries fell down, though of course the quills did also though the hedgehog didn't pick them up.
And while he was doing that Uncle Wiggily was making the pie crust. He took flour and lard and water, and mixed them together, and then he put in other things—Oh, well, you just ask your mamma or the cook what they were, for I might get it wrong—and soon the pie crust was ready. Then Uncle Wiggily built a hot fire in the stove, and he waited for Mr. Hedgehog to come in with the cherries.
And pretty soon the porcupine came back with his basket full, and he and Uncle Wiggily shelled the peanuts—I mean the cherries—taking out the pits.
"Now I'll put them in the pie, and put sugar on them, bake it in the oven, and soon it will be done, and we can eat it," said the rabbit.
"Oh, joy!" cried the hedgehog. "That will be fine!"
So Uncle Wiggily put the cherries in the pie, and threw the pits away, and he put the pie in the oven, and then he and Mr. Hedgehog sat down to wait for it to bake. And oh, how delicious and scrumptious it did smell! if you will excuse me for saying so.
Well, in a little while, the pie was baked, and Uncle Wiggily took it from the oven.
"I can hardly wait to eat it!" cried the hedgehog, and just then there came a terribly loud knock on the door.
"Oh, maybe it's that bad fox come for some of my pie!" exclaimed the hedgehog. "If it is, I'll stick him full of stickery-stickers." But when he went to the door there stood old Percival, the circus dog, and he was crying as hard as he could cry.
"Come in," invited Uncle Wiggily. "Come in, and have some cherry pie, and you'll feel better." So Percival came in, and they all three sat down, and ate the cherry pie all up, and sure enough Percival did feel better, and stopped crying.
Then the circus dog and Uncle Wiggily stayed all night with Mr. Hedgehog, and they had more cherry pie next day, and it was very fine and sweet.
Now, if our cook makes some nice watermelon sandwiches, with maple syrup on them, for supper, I'll tell you in the next story about Uncle Wiggily and old dog Percival, and why Percival cried.