As soon as Billy Bunny saw the Scarecrow—who had thrown the head of lettuce at the little rabbit in the last story, but he shan’t do it again in this story! I’ll promise you that right now—the little rabbit said:
“Did you hit me just now between my left ear and my left hind leg with this lettuce?”
“I did,” replied the Scarecrow, in a sort of scarecrowey voice.
As soon as the little rabbit heard that he picked up that head of lettuce and threw it right at the head of that Scarecrow and knocked off his stovepipe hat. And when Billy Bunny looked at the hat he saw two gold letters pasted inside the crown, and what do you think they were? I don’t know why I asked you, for I’ve got to tell you, anyway. Well, they were the letters U. L.
“Uncle Lucky!” cried the little rabbit. “It’s Uncle Lucky’s wedding stovepipe hat! Oh, how glad he’ll be to get it back!” And Billy Bunny picked it up and put the lettuce inside and then hopped away as fast as he could for his kind old uncle’s house. And after he had gone for maybe three miles or less, he came to the old gentleman rabbit’s house. And there was dear, kind Uncle Lucky swinging in the hammock on the front porch. And when he saw his little nephew, he fell out—excuse me, I mean, he hopped out—of the hammock and opened the front gate and said:
“That looks like my old wedding stovepipe hat,” and the old gentleman rabbit put it on his head without even taking the head of lettuce out first, but that didn’t matter, for there was plenty of room in that old stovepipe hat for two heads.
Well, as soon as Uncle Lucky got over his excitement, he asked his bunny nephew where he had found his hat, and when Billy Bunny told him, the old gentleman rabbit took it off and took out the head of lettuce and he and Billy Bunny ate it all up—not the hat, but the lettuce, you know—and some apple pie and carrot ice cream besides, for Uncle Lucky always had his pantry just full of the nicest things to eat you ever saw or ever heard of. And that’s one reason why all the bunny boys and girls loved the old gentleman rabbit, for when they were coming home from school he would stand on his front porch and say:
“Come in and get some apple pie,
An ice cream cone or two;
A lollypop with jam on top,
Some sweet prunes à la stew,
Some lemonade—don’t be afraid.
For I’m inviting you.”
And I hope with all my heart that if you ever pass by Uncle Lucky’s house on Carrot street he’ll ask you, too. And in the next story, if the pepper box doesn’t fall into the ice cream freezer so that the little mouse in the pantry sneezes his head ’most off. I’ll tell you another story to-morrow.