BILLY BUNNY AND THE MILLER'S DOG.
After the Miller's Dog stopped singing, as I told you in the story before this, he poked his nose into the hat box where Billy Bunny had hidden himself and said in a deep, growly voice:
out of there or I will growl and bite the bonnet
That Mrs. Muskrat wears for best
And the purple flowers on it.
And then she'll think it's you who did
This dreadful unkind deed,
And never speak to you again
Or you with cookies feed."
"Goodness me, but you are a very poor sort of a poet," said the little rabbit, peeping out of the hat box. "Your poetry is dreadful," and this made the Miller's Dog so ashamed of himself that he couldn't wag his tail or even bark.
No, sir. He couldn't do a thing but slink out of the door and close it so softly that it didn't pinch his tail hardly at all.
"Ha! ha!" laughed the little rabbit. "Did you ever see such a silly dog?" And neither did I and neither did you, I know.
Well, after a little while, Mrs. Jenny Eva Muskrat carne up the back stairs from the river, where she had gone in the last story, you remember, and wasn't she glad that nothing more had happened? "If you had jumped into that other hat box," she said, "you would have spoilt my next year's Easter bonnet, and that would have been too dreadful for anything."
And wasn't the little rabbit glad? Well, I guess he was twice over and maybe three times. And after that he said good-by and hopped away, and after he had traveled for a long, long ways he came to the field where his old friend the Scarecrow lived.
"How have you been?" asked the little rabbit, and he took a lollypop out of his knapsack and offered it to the scarecrow, but he didn't want it. "Haven't you got a cigar?" he asked. "I haven't smoked for ever so long."
"I'm sorry," said Billy Bunny. "I don't think I have any really and truly cigars. Here's a chocolate one if that will do," and he handed it to his friend the Old Clothes Man.
But the Old Clothes Man couldn't smoke it at all, although he tried the best he could, and pretty soon it began to rain and the chocolate became soft and sticky, and the little Bunny all wet, so he said: "I guess I'll crawl into a hollow stump if I can find one."
And it didn't take him long, for he hopped away to the woods nearby, and the first thing he saw was an old stump, so he hopped inside. And no sooner was he safely out of the rain than a voice said:
are you doing in my hollow stump;
Who are you anyway?
Why didn't you knock on this old wood block
If you really want to stay?"
And in the next story I'll tell who it was that said this.