The First Train

Look out for the Choo-choo cars!
Don't you hear the thunder jars?
First the whistle, then the bell
Clanging through the Forest Dell.

For weeks and weeks there was great excitement among the Little People of the Shady Forest and Sunny Meadow. From behind trees and bushes, rocks and stumps, they watched the building of the railroad.

Professor Jim Crow came to offer advice, but changed his mind. As for Little Jack Rabbit, he looked out from behind a stump and wondered.

Cousin Cotton Tail had been forced to move from the Big Brush Heap on the hill. She and her little bunnies were now visiting in the Old Bramble Patch.

When Little Jack Rabbit was told that a railroad must be level, he thought a man would come with a big scythe and slice off the top of the hill like a loaf of bread and lay the slices in the hollows.

This wasn't so very strange, seeing that he was only a little bunny boy and, of course, didn't know anything about building railroads.

Every day the railroad came nearer being finished. The hill was dug out. As Mr. Mole remarked, "It was done almost as well as I could have done it, only, of course, I would have made a tunnel."

Then the sleepers were laid. Busy Beaver smiled as he watched the men lay the great logs on the smooth earth.

"Wouldn't they be dandy for my dam?" he remarked.

"You've got all you need," answered Little Jack Rabbit. "I'm glad they didn't break up the Old Rail Fence and make railroad ties out of it."

Finally the rails were fastened on the logs and the railroad was finished; the first train was to run through and everybody was waiting to see it.

Mr. and Mrs. John Rabbit put on their Sunday clothes and took Little Jack Rabbit and Brother Bobby Tail to the end of the Old Rail Fence.

Pretty soon a black speck appeared at the end of the long line. It grew bigger and bigger. A cloud of smoke arose and drifted over to the Shady Forest. There was a rattle and a roar and a din. Little Jack Rabbit hid behind his mother's skirt, but the train had already passed them.

And there on the platform of the last car, stood the Farmer's Boy, holding on by the door, bowing and smiling and proud as a king.


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