UNCLE WIGGILY and the LATE SCHOLAR
“Heigh-ho!” cried Uncle Wiggily Longears, the nice rabbit gentleman, one morning, as he hopped from bed and went to the window of his hollow-stump bungalow to look out. “Heigh-ho! It will soon be Spring, I hope, for I am tired of Winter.”
Then he went down-stairs, where Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady housekeeper, had his breakfast ready on the table.
Uncle Wiggily ate some cabbage pancakes with carrot maple sugar sprinkled over them, and then as he wiped his whiskers on his red tongue, which he used for a napkin, and as he twinkled his pink nose to see if it was all right, Nurse Jane said:
“Yesterday, Uncle Wiggily, you told me you would like me to make some lettuce cakes today; did you not?”
“I did,” answered Uncle Wiggily, sort of slow and solemn like. “But what is the matter, Nurse Jane? I hope you are not going to tell me that you cannot, or will not, make those lettuce cakes.”
“Oh, I’ll make them, all right enough, Wiggy,” the muskrat lady answered, “only I have no lettuce. You will have to go to the store for me.”
“And right gladly will I go!” exclaimed the bunny uncle, speaking like some one in an old-fashioned story book. “I’ll get my automobile out and go at once.”
Uncle Wiggily had not used his machine often that Winter, as there had been so much snow and ice. But now it was getting close to Spring and the weather was very nice. There was no snow in the woods and fields, though, of course, some might fall later.
“It will do my auto good to have me ride in it,” said the bunny uncle. He blew some hot air in the bologna sausage tires, put some talcum powder on the steering-wheel so it would not catch cold, and then, having tickled the whizzicum-whazzicum with a goose feather, away he started for the lettuce store.
It did not take him long to get there, and, having bought a nice head of the green stuff, the bunny uncle started back again for his hollow-stump bungalow.
“Nurse Jane will make some fine lettuce cakes, with clover ice cream cones on top,” he said to himself, as he hurried along in his automobile.
He had not gone very far, and he was about halfway home, when from behind a bush he heard the sound of crying. Now, whenever Uncle Wiggily heard any one crying he knew some one was in trouble, and as he always tried to help those in trouble, he did it this time. Stopping his automobile, he called:
“Who are you, and what is the matter? Perhaps I can help you.”
Out from behind the bush came a boy, a nice sort of boy, except that he was crying.
“Oh, are you Simple Simon?” asked Uncle Wiggily, “and are you crying because you cannot catch a whale in your mother’s water pail?”
“No; I am not Simple Simon,” was the answer of the boy.
“Well, you cannot be Jack Horner, because you have no pie with you, and you’re not Little Boy Blue, because I see you wear a red necktie,” went on the bunny uncle. “Do you belong to Mother Goose at all?”
“Yes,” answered the boy. “I do. You must have heard about me. I am Diller-a-Dollar, a ten o’clock scholar, why do you come so soon? I used to come at ten o’clock, but now I’ll come at noon. Don’t you know me?”
“Ha! Why, of course, I know you!” cried Uncle Wiggily, in his jolly voice, as he put some lollypop oil on the doodle-oodleum of his auto. “But, why are you crying?”
“Because I’m going to be late at school again,” said the boy. “You see of late I have been late a good many mornings, but this morning I got up early, and was sure I would get there before noon.”
“And so you will, if you hurry,” Uncle Wiggily said, looking at his watch, that was a cousin to the clock, up which, and down which, ran Hickory Dickory Dock, the mouse. “It isn’t anywhere near noon yet,” went on the rabbit gentleman. “You can almost get to school on time this morning.”
“I suppose I could,” said the boy, “and I got up early on purpose to do that. But now I have lost my way, and I don’t know where the school is. Oh, dear! Boo hoo! I’ll never get to school this week, I fear.”
“Oh, yes, you will!” said Uncle Wiggily, still more kindly. “I’ll tell you what to do. Hop up in the automobile here with me, and I’ll take you to the school. I know just where it is. Sammie and Susie Littletail, my rabbit friends, and Johnnie and Billie Bushytail, the squirrels, as well as Nannie and Billie Wagtail, the goats, go there. Hop in!”
So Diller-a-Dollar, the late scholar, hopped in the auto, and he and Uncle Wiggily started off together.
“You’ll not be late this morning,” said the bunny uncle. “I’ll get you there just about nine o’clock.”
Well, Uncle Wiggily meant to do it, and he might have, only for what happened. First a hungry dog bit a piece out of one of the bologna sausage tires on the auto wheels, and they had to go slower. Then a hungry cat took another piece and they had to go still more slowly.
A little farther on the tinkerum-tankerum of the automobile, which drinks gasolene, grew thirsty and Uncle Wiggily had to give it a glass of lemonade. This took more time.
And finally when the machine went over a bump the cork came out of the box of talcum powder and it flew in the face of Uncle Wiggily and the late scholar and they both sneezed so hard that the auto stopped.
“See! I told you we’d never get to school,” sadly said the boy. “Oh, dear! And I thought this time teacher would not laugh, and ask me why I came so soon, when I was really late.”
“It’s too bad!” Uncle Wiggily said. “I did hope I could get you there on time. But wait a minute. Let me think. Ha! I have it! We are close to my bungalow. We’ll run there and get in my airship. That goes ever so much faster than my auto, and I’ll have you to school in no time.”
No sooner said than done! In the airship the late scholar and Uncle Wiggily reached school just as the nine o’clock bell was ringing, and so Diller-a-Dollar was on time this time after all. And the teacher said:
“Oh, Diller-a-Dollar, my ten o’clock scholar, you may stand up in line. You used to come in very late, but now you come at nine.”
So the late scholar was not late after all, thanks to Uncle Wiggily, and if the egg beater doesn’t go to sleep in the rice pudding, where it can’t get out to go sleigh-riding with the potato masher, I’ll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and Baa-Baa, the black sheep.