UNCLE WIGGILY AND BIG DOG
Let's see, I left off in the last story just where the elephant came out of the woods and shook his tail—I mean his trunk—at Uncle Wiggily and the funny monkey, didn't I? Well, now, I'm going to tell you what happened after that.
"Why did you run away from the circus?" asked the old gentleman rabbit of the elephant. "I should think you would like it there. I know Sammie and Susie Littletail would love a circus."
"Yes, some folks like it," spoke the elephant slow and thoughtful-like, as he sat down on his trunk, "but I do not care for it. You see of late the children ate all the peanuts, instead of giving me my share, and I just couldn't stand it any longer. Why, it got so, finally, that when a man would give his little boy five cents to buy a bag of peanuts for me the little boy would eat all but two or three of the nuts, and those were all he gave to me. It wasn't enough, so I ran away."
"I don't in the least blame you," said the monkey, "and I'm going to let you play some of my hand organs."
Well, the elephant was delighted at that, and he played one organ with his trunk and another one with his tail, making some very nice music.
Uncle Wiggily stayed in the monkey's house that night, and the elephant wanted to come in also, but of course he was far too big, so he had to sleep outside under a tree. It was an apple tree, and in the middle of the night the elephant snored so hard and heavily through his trunk that he shook the tree and all the apples fell off, and in the morning the monkey made an apple pie from some of them.
"I think I had better start off on my travels again," said the old gentleman rabbit after breakfast. "There must be a fortune for me somewhere if I can only find it. So I'll trot along."
"I'll go with you," said the kind elephant. "Perhaps you might see your fortune in the top of a tall tree, and then you couldn't get it. But I would pull the tree down for you."
"That would be fine!" cried Uncle Wiggily. "I'll be glad to have you travel with me."
So they said good-by to the monkey, and off they started together, the rabbit and the elephant. They talked of many things, about how hot it was, and whether there would be rain soon, and about how much ice cream cones cost, and sometimes what a little bit of ice cream the man puts in the cones when he is in a hurry.
"Speaking of ice cream cones," said the elephant, "makes me hungry for some. I wish I had one."
"I wish I had one also," spoke Uncle Wiggily. "You would have to have a very large one, though, Mr. Elephant, but a small one would do for me."
"Don't say another word," cried the elephant as he waved his trunk in the air. "I'm going right off and get us some ice cream cones. I know where there's a store. You hop along slowly and I'll catch up to you."
So the elephant went off to the ice cream cone store, and Uncle Wiggily, with his valise and the barber pole crutch, hopped on through the woods, looking about to see if his fortune was up in any of the trees, but it wasn't there yet.
Well, pretty soon, in a little while, not so very long, all of a sudden the old gentleman rabbit heard a sniffing-sniffing noise in the woods. And then there was a rustling in the bushes.
"Ha, hum!" exclaimed the rabbit. "Perhaps that may be a bear. I had better look out for myself."
He started to hop softly away, so the bear, or whatever it was, wouldn't hear him, but he was too late. In an instant out of the bushes popped something big and black and shaggy, and the rabbit, taking one look at it, saw that it was a big dog.
"New is the time for me to run!" cried Uncle Wiggily. "That dog will eat me up, sure pop!"
Away hopped the old gentleman rabbit, his heart going "pitter-patter-pat," he was so frightened. On and on he ran down a path in the woods.
"Here, come back here! Come back!" cried the dog.
"Indeed, I will not," answered Uncle Wiggily. "I know what you want to do. You want to eat me."
"No, I don't, honestly!" cried the dog. "But come back, for if you run any farther on that road you'll fall into a lake and be drowned."
"Humph! I don't believe that!" cried the rabbit. "You are saying that to scare me," and on he hopped faster than ever.
"Come back! Come back!" cried the dog again, but Uncle Wiggily wouldn't. My! how fast he did hop, until, all of a sudden, as he returned around the corner of a stump, he saw a lake of water right in front of him. And before he could stop himself he had fallen plump into it; crutch, satchel and all, and of course he couldn't swim. And he could hear the dog coming barking down the path after him.
"Oh, this is the end of me, sure pop!" thought poor Uncle Wiggily. "I'll never get any fortune now."
"Oh, dear!" cried the dog. "I told you how it would be. I tried to save you from getting in the water," and then the rabbit knew the big dog had been telling the truth. But it was too late now. Uncle Wiggily was going down under the deep, dark, cold water when, all of a sudden, along came the elephant with a great big ice cream cone for himself, and a little one for Uncle Wiggily. He saw the rabbit in the water and he also saw the big shaggy dog.
"Did you push Uncle Wiggily in the water?" asked the elephant, "because if you did I'm going to throw you in."
"No, indeed, I didn't," answered the dog. "It was an accident," and he told the elephant how it happened. "But I'll jump in, grab him and swim out with him," said the dog.
"No, don't do that, you might accidentally bite him," spoke the elephant. "I have a better plan." So he laid down the ice cream cones and then he put the end of his hollow trunk in the lake, and he began to suck up and drink the water, just as you suck lemonade up through a straw.
And presto chango! in a few seconds all the water was sucked out of the lake by the elephant, and it was dry land and the rabbit could walk safely to shore, and so he wasn't drowned after all. And how he did thank the elephant! Uncle Wiggily ate his ice cream cone, and the elephant gave some of his to the dog, and they were all happy.
Now, if the elephant doesn't get a sliver in his foot so he can't dance at the hoptoads' picnic, I'll tell you in the next story about Uncle Wiggily and the peanut man.