"You'll be home to supper, won't you?" asked Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady housekeeper, as she saw her friend, Uncle Wiggily Longears, the rabbit gentleman, hopping down off the front porch of the hollow stump bungalow one morning.
"Oh, yes, I'll be home," he answered, "I'm just going to look for a little adventure."
Then, not having been on the board walk in quite a while, Uncle Wiggily went down to the ocean seashore beach.
"For," said the old rabbit gentleman to himself, "I have not had a seashore adventure in some time. And, perhaps, my friend, Alice, from Wonderland, may be down there. I know in her story book there are many curious things that happen near the sea."
So down to the shore went Uncle Wiggily and as he was walking along, looking at the funny marks his feet made in the wet sand, all of a sudden he came to a pile of damp, green seaweed, and from underneath it he heard a voice calling:
"Oh, help me out! Please help me out!"
"Ha! That sounds like someone in trouble!" Uncle Wiggily said. "I must help them." Then with his red, white and blue striped rheumatism crutch that Nurse Jane had gnawed for him out of a lollypop stick, the bunny poked away the seaweed, and underneath it, all tangled up so he could hardly move, was a Lobster gentleman.
"Oh, it was so good of you to get me out," said the Lobster as he gave a flip-flap with his tail. "An old crab, who doesn't like me, piled the seaweed over my back as I was taking a nap in the sun. My long thin legs were all tangled in it, and even with my big pinching claws I could not get loose, and I was so afraid I'd be late."
"Late for what?" asked Uncle Wiggily, wondering where the Lobster was going.
"To the dance, of course," was the answer.
"Oh, now I remember," said the bunny. "It's in the Wonderland Alice book. You have to go to a dance, don't you?"
"Exactly," said the Lobster. "I'd be pleased to have you come with me."
"I will," promised Uncle Wiggily, thinking maybe he would have an adventure there. So down the beach started the Lobster gentleman and the bunny uncle. On and on they went for a long, long time, it seemed to Uncle Wiggily, and it was getting quite late, as he could tell by the star fish which were twinkling on the beach, and still they had seen no signs of a dance.
"I can't understand it," said the Lobster. "Alice said I was to walk until I met her, and she'd take me to the party. And we certainly have been walking a long time."
"We have," agreed Uncle Wiggily. "It is so late I'm afraid I'll have to leave you and go home to supper, as I promised Nurse Jane."
"That's too bad," went on the Lobster. "I wanted you to see how well I can dance on the end of my tail. But I can't understand why we don't get to the dance. We certainly have walked down the beach, haven't we?"
"We have," answered the bunny. "But—Ah! I have it!" Uncle Wiggily suddenly cried. "You have been walking BACKWARD, and I have been following you. We have been going away from the dance instead of toward it."
"Of course!" cried the Lobster, in a cold and clammy voice. "Why didn't I think of that before? I always have to go backward, on account of my claws being so heavy I have to pull them after me, instead of pushing them ahead.
"And so, of course, going backward as I do, and as all Lobsters do, when I want to get anywhere I always turn my back toward it, and get to it that way. This time I forgot to do that."
"But what can we do now?" Uncle Wiggily wanted to know. "How can we get to the dance?"
"I'll just turn around and back up to it," spoke the Lobster. "I'm sorry to have mixed things up for you, especially as you were so kind as to get me from under the pile of seaweed."
"Oh, don't worry!" laughed Uncle Wiggily, jolly-like. "I dare say it will be all right. Come on!"
So the lobster turned around and began to back toward where he hoped to find the dance. It grew darker and darker, and the star fish were twinkling more than ever, and then, all of a sudden, they came to the hollow stump bungalow where Uncle Wiggily lived.
"Hurray!" cried the Lobster. "Here we are at the dance. Now I'll explain to Alice—"
"No, this isn't the dance," said Uncle Wiggily. "This is where I live. But I'd be pleased to have you come in to supper, and we can go to the dance tomorrow."
"I will!" cried the Lobster, after thinking about it.
Into the hollow stump bungalow they went, the Lobster backing in, of course, and Uncle Wiggily cried:
"Supper for two, if you please, Nurse Jane!"
"Right away!" answered the muskrat lady. And she began to set the table. And then, while Uncle Wiggily and the Lobster were talking together Nurse Jane called:
"Oh, dear! I've lost the can opener, and I can't open this can of peaches. What shall I do?"
"Let me try!" begged Uncle Wiggily. But his paws were not big enough.
"I'll do it!" said the Lobster. And with his strong, pinching claws he punched open the can of peaches as easily as you can eat a chocolate cream drop. It was no trouble at all for him. So, it was a good thing Uncle Wiggily brought the Lobster home for supper, you see.
And if the stairs don't stand on their heads and with their toes tickle all the holes out of the lawn tennis nets, I'll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and Father William.