"Come, get your cap, I'm going to take you to school today!"
Little Jack Rabbit was too surprised to answer—he just opened his mouth, and the only sound his mother heard was a funny little noise like a whistle.
"Don't you hear me?" she asked, tying the strings of her Sunday bonnet under her furry chin.
"Whew!" said the little rabbit at last recovering from his surprise. "Why do you want me to go to school?"
"Because all the Shady Forest grown-ups think it's a good thing to have a school for the children," and she gave her bonnet a push and pulled on her black silk mitts.
"Get your cap. Every mother will be there for the opening day, and we mustn't be late."
The little rabbit hopped silently along by his mother's side, wondering how it had all happened so suddenly. He hadn't heard a word about a school, nor had any of his playmates.
"Why didn't you tell me sooner?" he asked at last.
"Because we didn't want Grandmother Magpie to know anything until the matter was settled," answered Mrs. Rabbit in a low voice. "She is such a busy-body."
Goodness me! Mrs. Rabbit had hardly finished speaking when up flew the very person she had been talking about. Yes, there she stood, right on the Shady Forest Path a few feet in front of them.
"Good morning," said Grandmother Magpie.
Mrs. Jack Rabbit gave her bonnet strings a jerk. She always did this when she was angry, and the sight of that disagreeable bird reminded her of the time she had told tales on Little Jack Rabbit.
"Good morning," answered the little rabbit's mother stiffly. She didn't really want to say good morning, but she had to be polite.
"Where are you going?" asked Grandmother Magpie, hopping along by Mrs. Rabbit's side. Mrs. Rabbit said nothing, only hopped along faster, but she couldn't get rid of that mischievous old bird. Oh, my, no. She stuck around like a chestnut burr.
"Grandmother Magpie," said Mrs. Rabbit at last, "I have some important business to attend to this morning, so I will say goodby." And she gave Grandmother Mischief, as she was often called, such a stiff bow that the old lady magpie stopped short and let them go on without her.