"I declare!" exclaimed Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady housekeeper for Uncle Wiggily Longears, the rabbit gentleman, "I declare, I'll never get it done—never!"
"What?" asked Uncle Wiggily. "What won't you get done?"
"All this housework," answered Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy. "You see, going over to call on Mrs. Bushytail, the squirrel lady, last night I didn't wash the supper dishes, and now I have them to do, and also the breakfast dishes and the sweeping and dusting and I ought to bake a cake, and mend some of your socks and—"
"Whoa!" called Uncle Wiggily with a jolly laugh, as though he had spoken to Munchie Trot, the pony. "That's enough! Don't say any more. You have too much work to do."
"And I'm worried about it," said Nurse Jane.
"Don't be," advised the rabbit gentleman. "I'll stay and help you do it."
"No," said Nurse Jane. "Thank you just the same, but I'd rather you wouldn't stay around the hollow stump bungalow when there is so much to do. You might get in my way and I'd step on you. That would give me the fidgets. It is very kind of you, but if you'll go off and have an adventure I think that will be best."
"Just as you say," agreed Uncle Wiggily. "But I'd like to help. Can't I bring you a diamond dishpan or a gold wash rag from the five and ten cent store?"
"No! Hop along with you!" laughed Nurse Jane. "I dare say I'll manage somehow."
So Uncle Wiggily hopped along, over the fields and through the woods, and then he suddenly said to himself:
"I know what I'll do. I'll play a little trick on Nurse Jane. She shouldn't spend so much time in the kitchen. A little is all right, but there is too much trouble about housework. Here I go off and have an adventure and she has to slop around in dishwater. It isn't right!"
Then the rabbit gentleman hopped along until he came to a woodland telephone, made from a trumpet vine flower, and into that he called, speaking right into his own hollow stump bungalow and to Nurse Jane.
"Oh, Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy!" called Uncle Wiggily. "Can you come over to Mrs. Wibblewobble's duck house right away?"
"Why, yes, I can," answered the muskrat lady, "though I have a lot of work to do. What is the matter?"
"I'll tell you when you get there," said the voice of Uncle Wiggily, pretending he was Mrs. Wibblewobble, the duck lady. Then he called up Mrs. Wibblewobble herself, told her how he had fooled Nurse Jane, and asked the duck lady, when the muskrat lady housekeeper came, to keep her talking and visiting as long as she could.
"And while Nurse Jane is at your house, Mrs. Wibblewobble," said Uncle Wiggily, over the trumpet vine telephone, "I'll run around the back way to the hollow stump bungalow and do all the work."
"That will be a nice surprise for Nurse Jane," the duck lady said.
Uncle Wiggily guessed so, too, and when he thought Nurse Jane was safely at Mrs. Wibblewobble's house, he went to the bungalow. He took off his tall silk hat, laid aside his red, white and blue striped rheumatism crutch, and began with the dishes. There was a large pile of them, but Uncle Wiggily was brave.
"When I was a soldier I fought a great many more mosquitoes than there are dishes here," he said. "I will make believe the plates, cups and saucers are the enemy, and I will charge on them and souse them."
And Uncle Wiggily did, with a very large cake of soap. But, still and with all, there were many dishes, and when he thought of the beds to make, the sweeping and dusting to be done and the socks to mend, Uncle Wiggily said:
"What's the matter?" asked a voice behind him, and turning, he saw Alice from Wonderland. With her was a strange bird, which had a tail like that of a mouse.
"Oh, I'm glad to see you!" said Uncle Wiggily. "But I can't go and have an adventure with you, Alice, as I have to do all these dishes. Then I have to do the sweeping and do the dusting and do—"
"That's enough!" laughed Alice. "There are too many Do-dos. I am just in time, I see. My friend will help you," and she pointed to the queer bird.
"What?" cried Uncle Wiggily. "Can he do dishes?"
"He can do anything!" laughed Alice. "He is the Do-do bird, and all I have to do is to pinch his tail and he will work very fast."
"Doesn't it hurt him?" asked Uncle Wiggily.
"What, to work fast?" Alice wanted to know.
"No, to pinch his tail."
"Not in the least," answered Alice. "He's used to it. The only trouble is I have to keep on pinching it to make him do things, and that means I have to keep my finger and thumb on his tail all the while and follow him around. Now we'll begin to do things, dear Do-do," and she pinched the bird's tail.
At once the bird began to wash dishes, and soon they were all done, and then when the Do-do started to do the beds Uncle Wiggily thought of a new plan.
"As long as you have to pinch his tail," said the bunny to Alice, "I'll get Nurse Jane's hair curlers. You can snap them on his tail and they'll keep pinching on it, and pinching on it all the while, and you and I can go take a walk."
"Fine!" cried Alice. So with the hair curlers pinching his tail the Do-do bird quickly did all the bungalow housework, and Uncle Wiggily and Alice had a fine walk. And when Nurse Jane came home from Mrs. Wibblewobble's and found the work all done she was very happy. And so was the Do-do, for he loved to do chores.
And if the teacup doesn't try to hide in the milk pitcher, where the bread crumbs can't tickle it when they play tag with the soup spoons, I'll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the Lory.