"Excuse me," spoke a gentle voice behind Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady housekeeper, who was cleaning the steps of the hollow stump bungalow one morning. "Excuse me, but can Uncle Wiggily be out to play?"
"Be out to play?" repeated Nurse Jane. "Do you mean play with you?" and the muskrat lady turned to see a little girl, with flaxen hair, standing at the foot of the steps.
"Yes, play with me, if you please," said the little girl. "I'm Alice from Wonderland, you know, and Uncle Wiggily and I had such a jolly time yesterday, when the Unicorn tickled the alligator and made him laugh, that I'd like to go off with him again."
"With whom—the alligator?" asked Nurse Jane.
"No, with Uncle Wiggily," laughed Alice. "Where is he?"
"Here I am, Alice. I've just finished breakfast," answered the bunny rabbit gentleman himself, as he came out on the front bungalow steps. "Are you ready for another auto ride?"
"Indeed I am, thank you. And as tomorrow is a holiday I don't have any school today."
"That's funny," said Uncle Wiggily, twinkling his pink nose. "What holiday is it?"
"The Fourth of July!" answered Alice. "Have you forgotten? Even though I am an English girl I know what it means. Your boys and girls shoot off lollypops, bang ice cream cones and light red, white and blue candy."
"Candy? I guess you mean candles!" laughed Uncle Wiggily. "However, you're right. It is the Fourth of July tomorrow, and whereas, years ago, we used to shoot off firecrackers, we have since civilized our ways and now we have a nicer holiday.
"We go off in the woods and gather flowers. Why, do you know!" cried the bunny uncle, "there are flowers just right for Fourth of July. There are puff balls that are as good as torpedoes, and snap-dragons that open their mouths and make believe bite you, and there are dogwood flowers that bark, and red sumac which is just the color of firecrackers."
"Then let's go off in the woods and have Fourth of July there," proposed Alice, and soon she and the bunny uncle were in the automobile. And then along came Sammie and Susie Littletail, the rabbit children, and Johnnie and Billie Bushytail, the squirrels, and Jackie and Peetie Bow Wow, the puppy dogs.
"Oh, Uncle Wiggily!" cried these animal boys and girls. "Take us with you for Fourth of July!"
"Of course I shall!" promised the bunny gentleman, so they all got in the automobile with him and Wonderland Alice, and away they went.
They had not gone very far before, all of a sudden, they came to a stone wall, and when Alice saw something on top of it, she cried:
"Why, there's my old friend Humpty Dumpty. I must stop and speak to him or he'll think I'm proud," and she waved her hands.
"Why, that—that's nothing but an—egg!" said Sammie. "It's like the ones I colored for Easter when the skilli-gimink dye splashed all over me. That isn't Humpty Dumpty at all—it's an egg!"
"Hush!" whispered Susie. "Humpty Dumpty is an egg, of course, but he doesn't like to be told of it. Don't you know the little verse?
"'Humpty Dumpty sat on the
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King's horses and all the King's men
Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again.'"
"That's right," said Alice from Wonderland. "Only don't speak of the fall before Humpty. He doesn't like to be reminded of it."
"I don't see why," spoke Jackie Bow Wow. "He can't hear a word we say. He's only an egg—he hasn't any ears."
"He really isn't dressed yet," said Alice. "It's a bit early. But I'll soon make him look more human."
With that she jumped out of the auto and, taking two ears of corn from a field nearby, she fastened them with silk from the cob, one on each side of the egg.
"Now he can hear," said Alice. Then with tulip flowers she made Humpty a mouth and from a potato she took two eyes, so the egg could see. A comb made him as nice teeth as one could wish for, and they never ached, and for a nose she took out a cute little bottle of perfume.
"I think that's a strange nose," said Johnnie Bushytail, frisking his tail.
"Well, a bottle of perfume smells, doesn't it?" asked Alice, "and that's what a nose is especially for; smells."
"Indeed it is!" cried Humpty Dumpty in his jolly voice, speaking through the tulips. "I'm all made now. I only hope—" And then he suddenly turned pale, for he nearly fell off the wall. "Has any one any powder?" he asked. "I think I'd like to clean my teeth."
"I have some," spoke Lulu Wibblewobble, the duck girl, coming along just then. She reached into her apron pocket and drew out her dandelion flower wishing powder.
"That will do," spoke Humpty Dumpty. "It will be just fine." And with a brush made from the end of a soft fern he began to clean his teeth with the dandelion wishing powder which Lulu gave him.
And then, all of a sudden, there was a loud noise, a puff of smoke, and Humpty Dumpty, the egg man, was seen sailing off through the air like a big white balloon.
"Well, this is better than falling off the wall!" he cried in a faint voice.
"Oh, my! What happened?" asked Sammie Littletail, trying to make his pink nose twinkle as Uncle Wiggily did his.
"Humpty Dumpty fell up instead of falling down," said Alice. "I guess your dandelion powder was too strong for his nose, Lulu, my dear. And it being the Fourth of July tomorrow, Humpty wanted to give us some fireworks. So there he goes, but I'm glad he wasn't broken, the way the book has it, when he falls off the wall."
But, after a while Humpty Dumpty sailed back again, not hurt a bit, and he sat on the wall as well as ever.
Then Alice and Uncle Wiggily and the animal boys and girls had fun in the woods.
And, if the pink flower petals don't hide in the green fern bush, I'll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the looking glass.