Uncle Wiggily Longears, the nice rabbit gentleman, had just finished shaving his whiskers in his hollow stump bungalow one morning when Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, his muskrat lady housekeeper, came to his door, knocked gently by flapping her tail against it, and said:
"If you please, Mr. Longears, there's a young lady to see you."
"Of course I'm pleased," answered Uncle Wiggily. "I always like to see young ladies, especially if they have light, fluffy hair. Has this one that kind?"
"Very much so," answered Nurse Jane. "Here she is now," and with that in came a nice young lady, or, rather, a tall girl, with flaxen hair.
"I'm afraid you don't remember me," she said, as Uncle Wiggily wiped the soap lather off the end of his pink, twinkling nose, where it had splashed by mistake, making it look like part of a frosted chocolate cake.
"Oh, yes, I do remember you!" cried the bunny gentleman, in his most jolly voice. "You're Alice from Wonderland, and you were very kind to help me grow smaller that time the big mosquito got me into his cave and I swelled up from eating cake."
"Oh, I'm so glad you remember me!" laughed Alice, for it was indeed she. "I've come to ask you to do me a bit of a favor. I have to go see the Gryphon, and I thought maybe you'd come with me, for I'm afraid he'll be real cross to me."
"You have to go see the Gryphon?" exclaimed Uncle Wiggily. "Who in the world is he?"
"Oh, he's a funny animal who lives in the same story book with me," explained Alice. "He's something between a dragon, a lion, an elephant, a flying fish and an alligator."
"Whew!" whistled Uncle Wiggily. "He must be a curious creature!"
"He is," Alice said. "And sometimes he's very cross, especially if the wind blows his veil up."
"If the wind blows his veil up?" asked Uncle Wiggily. "In the first place, why does he wear a veil, and in the second place, why should he be angry if the wind blows it?"
"There isn't any first or second place about it," spoke Alice, "for you never can tell in which place the Gryphon will be found. But he wears a veil because he is so ugly that everyone runs away when one sees him, and he doesn't like that. And, of course, he doesn't like the wind to blow up his veil so folks can see how he really looks."
"Ah, ha! I understand," remarked the bunny. "But if he is so cross why do you want to go to see him?"
"I don't want to," replied Alice, "but I have to, because it's that way in the book. You see, to make everything come out right, the Gryphon takes me to the Mock Turtle, who tells me a funny story, and so now I've come to see if you'll take me to the Gryphon?"
"I will," promised Uncle Wiggily, washing the soap lather out of his ears. "But where shall we find him?"
"Oh, that's the question!" laughed Alice, just as though Uncle Wiggily had asked a riddle. "You have three guesses," she went on.
The bunny gentleman twinkled his pink nose, so that he might think better, and then he said:
"I'll tell you what we'll do. We'll go for a walk, and make believe I'm looking for an adventure. Then I may find the Gryphon for you."
"Fine!" cried Alice, and, Uncle Wiggily having finished shaving, he and Alice set out together over the fields and through the wood, her hand holding the bunny's paw.
"Now we must keep a sharp watch for the Gryphon," said Alice, who had had so many adventures in Wonderland that it took a whole book to tell of them. "You never know whether he'll appear like an elephant, a dragon, a lion or a big bird, for he has wings," she said.
"Has he, indeed?" asked Uncle Wiggily. "Then I think I hear him coming now," he went on. "Listen, do you hear the buzzing?" And, surely enough, the air seemed filled with the buzzing and fluttering of wings. And then the sun appeared to be hidden by a cloud.
"That must be the Gryphon," said Uncle Wiggily.
Alice looked, and then she cried:
"Oh, no! It's a big cloud of bad, biting mosquitoes. It is the buzzing of their wings we hear! Oh, Uncle Wiggily, you haven't your talcum powder bean-shooter gun with you, and here come a billion-million mosquitoes!"
"That's right!" cried the bunny uncle, as he, too, saw them. "We must hide or they will bite even our shoes off!"
So Uncle Wiggily and Alice looked for a place to hide, but there was none, and the buzzing mosquitoes cried:
"Ah, ha! Now we have that Uncle Wiggily Longears rabbit. He can't get away now, for he isn't a soldier today! And we'll get Alice from Wonderland, too!"
Well, the mosquitoes were just going to grab the bunny gentleman, and the nice little young lady girl, with the fluffy flaxen hair, when a voice out of the air cried:
"Oh, ho! No you're not going to get them, either!"
"Who says we are not?" asked the captain mosquito.
"And who are you?"
"I am the Gryphon!" was the answer. "And I have on my mosquito net veil. I'll catch all you bad biting bugs in my net, just as a professor catches butterflies. Whoop! Swoop! Here I come!"
And with that the Gryphon, raising his veil, which hung down from his big ears as from around a lady's big hat, made a net of it and, flying around, soon caught all the mosquitoes that would have bitten Uncle Wiggily and Alice.
And the mosquitoes that were not caught were so frightened at the fierce look on the Gryphon's face that they fainted, and couldn't bite even as much as a spoonful of mustard.
So the Gryphon drove the mosquitoes away and then he took Alice to see the Mock Turtle, while Uncle Wiggily hopped on home to his bungalow.
And if the rubber doll doesn't bounce off the clothes horse when she rides to the candy store for some cornstarch pudding, I'll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the blue Caterpillar.