It was a wild story that came to the ears of Little Jack Rabbit for, as he came hopping down the Shady Forest Path, a whole troop of his playmates ran out to meet him, and one cried one thing, and one another, but the words which he heard most plainly were:
"The railroad! The railroad! Oh, have you heard?"
"Yes," answered Little Jack Rabbit, not at all excited, "I know a railroad is going to run past the Sunny Meadow."
"Oh, but that's nothing! It's going to run right through your house!" cried Busy Beaver.
"Right through the Old Bramble Patch!" shouted Chippy Chipmunk.
"Right through your front door!" screamed Gray Squirrel.
"I don't believe that," said Little Jack Rabbit. "A railroad can't get through a door!"
"Why, of course they'll take out the door," replied Busy Beaver; "they'll pull down your whole house; they'll clear away the Old Bramble Patch; why, they may use the whole of the Sunny Meadow—every bit of it!"
By this time Little Jack Rabbit was excited. Already he saw the dear Old Bramble Patch torn out by the roots; the little house gone, and himself and all the family forced to rove homeless through the Shady Forest. So it was no wonder he almost forgot to stop at the postoffice on his way home.
But as he came up the Shady Forest Path that afternoon, he saw that the dear Old Bramble Patch was still there—that was one comfort. No wandering about tonight, at least.
And there, too, was his little brother, Bobby Tail, turning somersaults under the Old Chestnut Tree, and Mr. and Mrs. John Rabbit sitting quietly on the front doorstep.
So Little Jack Rabbit plucked up heart and asked Papa Rabbit if the railroad were going to take away the Old Bramble Patch and their house.
"No, it isn't," replied Mr. Rabbit, "but it's coming mighty close."
"I just knew it wasn't," said Little Jack Rabbit with a sigh of relief. "But Busy Beaver said it was and that I must pack up my clothes at once."
"Well, the line was laid out to run right through the dear Old Bramble Patch," said Mr. Rabbit, "but when they found it must cross the Old Duck Pond, they turned it to one side. So the dear Old Bramble Patch is safe."