BILLY BUNNY AND THE PEACOCK.
Well, if it hadn't been for Robbie Redbreast who saw little Billy Bunny hopping away from the lily pond, as I told you in the last story, I never would have found out what he did after that, and so there would have been no story to-night. So the next time you see Robbie Redbreast, please thank him.
And now this is what he told me. After the little rabbit had hopped along for maybe a mile or three, he came to a high stone wall. "I wonder what's on the other side?" he said to himself, and then a beautiful peacock looked over and said: "I'll tell you, little rabbit.
"It's a beautiful garden where a fountain plays all day and the breezes sing all night and the flowers whisper and bow their heads."
"How can I get in?" asked the little bunny, "for I love flowers and I never heard a fountain play. What does it play?"
"Oh, all sorts of waterfall music," said the peacock, and he spread his beautiful tail out like a fan and brushed a little green fly off his nose. "It plays trills and rills and cascades and ripples and dipples."
And this made the little rabbit so curious that he hunted all around to find a gate in the high stone wall. And pretty soon, not so very long, he came to one, with big iron rods and curiously carved images of lions and dragons and animals with wings.
So he squeezed through and hopped up to the beautiful fountain where lots of little gold and silver fish swam around and around and the water fell in diamonds and rubies and emeralds, but he didn't know that it was Mr. Happy Sun who colored the water drops to make them look like precious stones.
"Please play me a tune," said the little rabbit. And then the beautiful peacock said, "What tune would you like?" and the little rabbit answered:
sprinkle, little star,
Just a water drop you are.
Twinkle, twinkle, drops of dew,
With the sunlight shining through."
So the beautiful fountain played this little song while Billy Bunny sat there listening and the beautiful peacock spread his tail to catch the sparkle from the glittering drops of water. And then all the roses began singing:
white and roses red,
And roses yellow too, instead,
And pretty lilies white as snow,
And every other flower you know.
And after that Billy Bunny asked the peacock to sing a song, but when he started to sing, oh dear, oh dear. For you know just because a bird has beautiful feathers he may not have a beautiful voice, and the sounds the peacock made were dreadful.
Yes, indeed. And if the little rabbit hadn't skipped away he would have had to hold his paws over his ears, and then maybe he couldn't have stopped them up, for he had very large ears and very small feet.