Ting-a-ling! went the rising bell, and Billy Bunny opened his left eye and twinkled his nose and stretched his right hind leg, and then he was wide awake.
But before he got out of bed he pulled out his gold watch and chain, the watch which his kind Uncle Lucky Lefthindfoot had given him, you remember, from under his pillow, for he was so sleepy he wondered if his mother hadn’t made a mistake. But, no, she hadn’t.
It was half past fourteen o’clock and Mr. Happy Sun was laughing through the little window. So up jumped Billy Bunny and combed his fur and parted it in the middle down his back, and after that he was almost ready for breakfast, except to brush his teeth with a new toothbrush which he had bought at the Three-in-one-cent store.
After breakfast he started right out to play on the Pleasant Meadow, and the first person he saw was little Dickey Meadow Mouse. He had just come out of his little grass ball house and was looking around to see what he would do.
“Good morning,” said Billy Bunny, “how are you this lovely day?”
And of course Dickey Meadow Mouse said he was well, for the little people of the Pleasant Meadow are never ill unless some enemy injures them, for they know how to take very good care of themselves, you know, and kind Mother Nature always provides them with enough to eat, and sometimes more.
And while they stood there laughing and talking Tommy Turtle passed by with his little shell house on his back, which always goes with him, rain or shine. Isn’t it nice not to have to move out of your house, but always have it go with you?
“Come with me, Billy Bunny,” cried Tommy Turtle, “I’m going down to the Old Mill Pond for a swim.” So the little rabbit said good-by to Dickey Meadow Mouse and went with Tommy Turtle, and by and by they came to the pond where Old Uncle Bullfrog sat all day on his log and caught flies until he grew so fat that his white waistcoat bulged out till the buttons nearly popped off.
“Kerchunk! Kerchunk! Kerplunk! Kerplunk!
I’m king of this Old Mill Pond.
I never care to go anywhere,
Not even a foot beyond.
For I’m contented to stay right here
Where the cattails wave in the at-mos-phere,
And the Darning Needles and Bottle Flies
Dart and skim ’neath the summer skies.”
And then the old frog blinked his eyes and swallowed a foolish fly that came too near.
“Top of the morning to you, Uncle Bullfrog,” said little Billy Bunny. “Does the Miller’s Boy throw stones at you nowadays?”
“Sometimes,” said the old gentleman frog, “but not so often of late, for his father is away and he doesn’t have the time. He has to look after the Old Mill, you know.”
And just then a stone splashed in the water, but I’ll let you guess who threw it until the next story.