The Old Farm Yard was a very comfortable sort of a place. Little Jack Rabbit liked to go there, for all the Barnyard Folk were very nice to him, especially Henny Penny and Cocky Doodle, who always gave him some of their corn.
Then, too, it was great fun playing about the High Haystack. Here they all gathered after a snow storm, for the snow soon melted on the sunny side.
Another reason, too, why the little rabbit came so often was because many of his friends were tucked away for a long winter's nap.
Busy Beaver was safe in his little house under the ice in the Forest Pool. Squirrel Nutcracker and his family came out only on warm, sunshiny days. The rest of the time they spent sleeping in their warm little houses. As for Granddaddy Bullfrog, he never showed up—he was sound asleep in the soft mud at the bottom of the Old Duck Pond.
The little rabbit's mother had told him not to go too often to the Old Farm Yard for fear the Kind Farmer might not like it. "Henny Penny and Cocky Doodle are your friends," she told him, "but I'm not so sure about Mr. Farmer."
"Oh, he's all right, mother," answered the little rabbit. "He's very kind. He feeds all the Barn Yard Folk with such nice food. I'm sure he's very good and kind."
"Don't be too sure," answered the little rabbit's mother, with a knowing wag of her head.
One day when the little bunny hopped into the Old Farm Yard he heard Cocky Doodle say:
"It's a beautiful sleigh!" And just as Little Jack Rabbit was going to ask what he meant, the Kind Farmer came out of the Big Red Barn with Betsy, the Old Gray Mare, and hitched her up to a beautiful dark green sleigh.
"Git ap!" he said, snapping the whip over her back.
"Oh, Oh!" cried the little rabbit, "Maybe mother is right. I guess he's not such a kind farmer after all!" But of course the little bunny didn't know that the Kind Farmer hardly touched Old Betsy, although the whip made a loud crack and she threw out her heels and ran off at a great rate.
"Jingle bells, jingle bells,
On the nice new sleigh.
Oh what fun it is to run!"
Sang dear Old Betsy Gray.