"Well, Uncle Wiggily, you certainly did have quite a time, didn't you," said Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady housekeeper for the rabbit gentleman as they both sat on the porch of the hollow stump bungalow one morning. It was the day after the bunny rabbit had been caught in the mosquito hole, where he swelled up too big to get out, after eating cake from the glass box, as I told you in the first story.
Then Alice from Wonderland happened along and gave Uncle Wiggily a drink from a magical little bottle so that he grew small enough to crawl out of the hole again.
"Yes, I had a wonderful time with Alice," said the rabbit gentleman. "It was quite an adventure."
"What do you s'pose was in the cake to make you swell up so large?" asked Nurse Jane.
"Cream puffs," answered Uncle Wiggily. "They're very swell-like, you know."
"Of course," agreed Nurse Jane. "And what was in the bottle to make you grow smaller?"
"Alum water," Uncle Wiggily made reply. "That's very shrinking, you know, and puckery."
"Of course," spoke Nurse Jane again, "I might have guessed it. Now I suppose you're off again?"
"Off to have another adventure," went on Uncle Wiggily, with a jolly laugh. "I hope I meet Alice again. I wonder where she lives?"
"Why, she's out of a book," said Nurse Jane. "I used to read about her to Sammie Littletail, when he was quite a little rabbit chap."
"Oh, yes, to be sure," said Uncle Wiggily. "Alice from Wonderland is like Mother Goose, Sinbad the Sailor and my other Arabian Night friends. Well, I hope I meet some of them and have another adventure now," and away he hopped down the front steps of his bungalow as spry as though he never had had the rheumatism.
The bad mosquitoes that used to live over in the swamp had gone away on their summer vacation, and so they did not bother the bunny rabbit just at present. He no longer had to practice being a soldier and stand on guard against them.
Pretty soon, as Uncle Wiggily hopped along, he came to a little place in the woods, all set around with green trees, and in the center was a large doll's tea table, all ready for a meal.
"Ha! This looks like an adventure already!" said the bunny uncle to himself. "And there's a party," he went on, as he saw the little girl named Alice, a March Hare (which is a sort of spring rabbit), a hatter man, with a very large hat, much larger than Uncle Wiggily's, on his head, and a dormouse. A dormouse (or doormouse) is one that crawls out under a door, you know, to get away from the cat.
"Oh, here's Uncle Wiggily!" cried Alice.
"Come right along and sit down. We didn't expect you!"
"Then if I'm unexpected, perhaps there isn't room for me," spoke Uncle Wiggily, looking at the March Hare.
"Oh, yes, there's plenty of room—more room than there is to eat," said the spring rabbit. "Besides, we really knew you were coming."
As this was just different from what Alice had said, Uncle Wiggily did not know what to believe.
"You see, it's the unexpected that always happens," went on the March Hare, "and, of course, being unexpected, you happened along, so we're glad to see you."
"Only there isn't anything to eat," said Alice. "You see, the Hatter's watch only keeps one kind of time—"
"That's what I do when I dance," interrupted Uncle Wiggily.
"We haven't come to that yet," Alice spoke gently. "But as the Hatter's watch only keeps tea-time we're always at the tea table, and the cake and tea were eaten long ago."
"And we always have to sit here, hoping the Hatter's watch will start off again, and bring us to breakfast or dinner on time," said the March Hare, who, Uncle Wiggily noticed, began to look rather mad and angry. "He's greased it with the best butter, but still his watch has stopped," the hare added.
"It's on account of the hard crumbs that got in the wheels," said the Hatter, dipping his watch in the cream pitcher. "I dare say they'll get soaked in time. But pass Uncle Wiggily the buns," he added, and Alice passed an empty plate which once had dog biscuits on, only Jackie and Peetie Bow Wow had eaten them all up—I should say down, for they swallowed them that way.
Uncle Wiggily was beginning to think this was a very queer tea party indeed, when, all of sudden, out from the bushes jumped a great, big, pink-striped Wabberjocky cat, who began singing:
"London Bridge is falling up,
On Yankee Doodle Dandy!
As we go 'round the mulberry bush
To buy a stick of candy."
"Well, what do you want?" asked the Mad March Hare of the Wabberjocky. "If you've come to wash the dishes you can't, for it's still tea time and it never will be anything else as long as he keeps dipping his watch in the molasses jug! That's what makes it so sticky-slow," and he tossed a tea biscuit at the Hatter, who caught it in his hat, just like a magician in the theater, and turned it into a lemon meringue pie.
"I've come for Uncle Wiggily!" cried the Wabberjocky. "I've come to take him off to my den, and then—"
Uncle Wiggily was just going to hide under the table, which he noticed was growing smaller and smaller, and he was wondering if it would be large enough to cover him, when—
All of a sudden the Mad March Hare caught up the bunny uncle's red, white and blue striped rheumatism crutch, and cried:
"You've come for Uncle Wiggily, have you? Well, we've no time for that!" and with this the March Hare smashed the crutch down on the Hatter's watch, "Bang!" breaking it all to pieces!
"There, I guess it'll go now!" cried the March Hare, and indeed the wheels of the watch went spinning while the spring suddenly uncurled, and one end, catching around Uncle Wiggily's left hind leg, flew out and tossed him safely away over the trees, until he fell down on his soft soldier tent, right in front of his own hollow stump bungalow. So he was saved from the Wabberjocky.
"Well! That was an adventure!" cried the bunny uncle. "I wonder what happened to the rest of them? I must find out." And if the laundry man doesn't let the plumber take the bath tub away for the gold fish to play tag in, I'll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the Cheshire Cat.