In the last story I left off just where Billy Bunny was setting out to make a call on his good kind Uncle Lucky, you remember, and if you have forgotten, please take my word for it, for I keep a scrapbook of all these little stories and I’m sure I’m right, for I just looked to see.
Well, as the little rabbit hopped along with his knapsack on his back and his striped candy cane in his right paw, he heard a robin redbreast singing in her nest, and this is what she sang:
“Some day you’ll be old enough
To leave the dear home nest,
But till that day just grow and say
I’ll try to do my best
To make my wings grow big and strong
And learn to sing the whole day long,
For some day when I’m big and free
I’ll build a nest in an apple tree.”
And then the robin flew down to the ground and pushed back the pink sunbonnet on her head so that she could see the little rabbit without standing up on her toes.
“Well, here is my dear little friend, Billy Bunny,” she twittered. “How is he to-day?”
“Very well, thank you, ma’am,” replied the little rabbit, opening his leather knapsack to give her a piece of sponge cake for her little birdies. “That won’t hurt them a bit,” said he, “for my mother made it and it’s very simple.”
And then the little robins peeped over their nest and cried, “Oh, hurry, mother dear, and give us the cake,” for they were just as fond of sponge cake as Billy Bunny was of lollypops, and while they were eating the cake he took a lollypop out of his knapsack and ate it, for he was hungry too, for it was half-past noon, and that’s the hungry hour for rabbits, I am told.
Well, after that he said good-by and started off again for Uncle Lucky’s house. “I must get there before sundown,” he said to himself, “for I don’t want to sleep out of doors to-night if I can help it.”
So he hopped along as fast as he was able, but Mr. Happy Sun was in a hurry, too, and pretty soon he went down behind the purple hills and it began to grow dark. “Oh, dear! oh, dear!” sighed the little rabbit, “where am I going to sleep if I don’t get to Uncle Lucky’s house pretty soon?” And just then a sleepy voice exclaimed:
“Under this bush is a soft pile of leaves,
Come and sleep on it if you please.”
So Billy Bunny hopped under the bush and there he saw a little ruffed grouse, who is often called a quail and sometimes a pheasant. “Oh, thank you, Mrs. Quail,” said Billy Bunny, “you are very kind,” and then he made a soft bed for himself and went to sleep, and if he wakes up early enough in the morning I’ll tell you in the next story how he reached dear kind Uncle Lucky’s house.