You remember in the last story I left off just as Billy Bunny got out of the train at Lettuceville, where there was a big family of rabbits who raised lettuce leaves for all the bunnies in the big U. S. A.
And the first person he saw was an old gray-haired rabbit, who said: “Glad to see you, Mr. William Bunny. Do you want to buy a car-load of lettuce leaves?”
“How much?” asked the little rabbit.
“Five million carrot cents,” replied the old gentleman bunny, “and that’s very cheap, for the leaves are big and juicy and will keep all winter if you put them in the ice house.”
Well, sir, this was a very cheap price, don’t you think so? And Billy Bunny thought so, too, for he opened his knapsack and took out five million carrot cents and gave them to the old gray-haired bunny, and after that all the farmer bunnies loaded a big freight car just full of lettuce leaves and marked on the outside in chalk:
“MR. WILLIAM BUNNY,
Brier Patch, Old Snake Fence Corner, U. S. A.”
“RUSH! Fast Freight.”
And then it was time for lunch, so the old rabbit said to his new customer, which was Billy Bunny, of course:
“Come with me to my home and we’ll have something to eat.” And as Billy Bunny had a great big appetite by this time, and I might say right here that rabbits always are hungry, he hopped away with the lettuce rabbit farmer, and by and by they came to a little green house in a raspberry patch with a lovely clover field on one side and a peach orchard on the other.
“I’ve brought my friend, Billy Bunny, home to lunch,” said the old gray-haired bunny to a nice-looking lady rabbit whose gray hair was parted in the middle and held down on each side by two red coral combs.
“Why, it’s Billy Bunny,” she said. “I know his mother and his cousin, Mrs. Cottontail.” And she led them into the little green house. After they had eaten all they wanted she made the pianola play this song:
“The clover patch is in full bloom
With juicy red-topped clover.
Across the lea the honey bee
Looks like a golden rover.”
And it might have kept on playing some more, only just then who should look into the door but Daddy Fox. As soon as the pianola saw him it stopped right then and there, and the rabbits jumped into the cupboard and closed the door and turned the key on the inside before you could say “Jack Rabbit.”
“Ha! ha!” laughed Daddy Fox. “I’ll stay here till you get so tired of that cupboard prison that you’ll come out. And when you do, you know what will happen, for I don’t like lettuce leaves and I just love rabbits.”
Wasn’t that a dreadful thing to hear? But, never mind. I’m not going to let that wicked fox get the best of Billy Bunny and his friends. No, sir. Not if I have to go there myself to-morrow and scare him away with a gun.
But this book won’t hold any more, and I’ll have to tell what happened further to our animal friends in the next one, which is entitled “Billy Bunny and Uncle Bull Frog.”