UNCLE WIGGILY AT THE PARTY
Well, when Uncle Wiggily Longears found that the elephant wouldn't get off his trunk—oh, listen to me! What I meant to say was, that when Uncle Wiggily saw those two boys running off with Fido Flip-Flop, the little trick dog, as I told you about in the story before this, the old gentleman rabbit was so surprised at first that he didn't know what to do.
"Won't you please come back with that little doggie?" begged Uncle Wiggily, but the bad boys kept right on. I guess they knew how smart Fido was, and they wanted to get up a show with him. Anyhow, they kept on running through the woods, holding him tightly in their arms.
"Oh, dear! This is terrible!" exclaimed Uncle Wiggily. "I'll never get any good fortune if Fido has such bad luck. And it was partly my fault, too, for if we hadn't been doing tricks, we would have heard these boys coming, and could have run away. Well, now I must save Fido."
So Uncle Wiggily sat down on a stump, and thought, and thought, and thought of all the plans he could think of, to save the doggie from the two boys, and at last he decided the only way to do was to scare them.
"Then they'll drop Fido, and run away," said the old gentleman rabbit. "Let me see, how can I scare them? I know, I'll make believe I'm a tiger!"
So what did that brave Uncle Wiggily do? but go to a mud hole, and with his crutch dipped into the mud, he made himself all striped over like a tiger that you see in a circus. Oh, he was a most ferocious sight when he finished decorating himself! Then he hid his satchel in the bushes, and he started off on a short cut through the woods, to get ahead of the boys. Faster and faster through the woods went Uncle Wiggily, and he looked so peculiarly terrifying that all the animals who saw him were scared out of their wits, and one old blue-jay bird was so frightened that he wiggled his tail up and down, and hid his head in a hollow tree.
Well, by and by, after a while, Uncle Wiggily got to a place in the woods where he knew those boys, with Fido Flip-Flop, would soon come by. Then the rabbit hid himself in the bushes, so that his long ears wouldn't show. For he knew that if the boys saw them, they would know right away he wasn't a tiger, no matter if he was striped like one.
In a few minutes along came the boys, and they were talking about what they were going to do to Fido, and how they would put him in a cage, and make him do lots of tricks. All of a sudden there was a rustling in the bushes, and Uncle Wiggily just stuck out his head and part of his body, laying his ears flat back where they could not be seen. But the boys could see the mud stripes, only they didn't know they were just mud, you understand.
"Oh! See that!" cried one boy.
"Yes, it's a tigery-tiger!" exclaimed the other boy.
"Let's run!" shouted both the boys together. "The tiger will eat us up!"
And just then Uncle Wiggily growled as loudly as he could, a real fierce growl, and he rattled the bushes and stuck out his striped paws, and those boys dropped Fido Flip-Flop, and ran away, as hard as they could through the woods, leaving Fido to join the rabbit.
"Thank you very much for saving me, Uncle Wiggily," said the dog, as soon as he got over being frightened. "That was a good trick, to pretend you were a tiger. But I knew you right away, only, of course, I wasn't going to tell those boys who you were. It served them right, for squeezing me the way they did. Now we'll go on, and see if we can find a fortune for you."
So they went back to where Uncle Wiggily had left his valise, and there it was safe and sound, and inside it were some nice things to eat, and the rabbit and doggie had a dinner there in the woods, after the mud stripes were washed off.
Then they went on and on, for ever so long, and nothing happened, except that a mosquito bit Fido on the end of his nose, and every time he sneezed it tickled him.
"Well, I guess we won't have any more adventures to-day, Uncle Wiggily," spoke the doggie, but, a moment later, they heard a rustling in the bushes and, before they could hide themselves, out jumped Arabella Chick, the sister of Charlie, the rooster boy.
"Oh, you dear Uncle Wiggily!" she exclaimed, "you're just in time."
"What for?" asked Uncle Wiggily; "for the train?"
"No, for my party," answered Arabella. "I'm going to have one for all my friends, and I want you to come. Will you?"
"Oh, I guess so, Arabella. But you see, I have a friend with me, and——"
"Oh, he can come too," spoke Arabella, making a bow to Fido Flip-Flop. So Uncle Wiggily introduced the doggie to the chickie girl, and the chickie girl to the doggie.
Then they went on together to the party, which was held in a nice big chicken coop.
Oh, I wish you could have been there! It was just too nice for anything! Sammie and Susie Littletail were there, and they were so glad to see Uncle Wiggily again. He said he hadn't been very lucky in finding his fortune so far, but his rheumatism was not much worse, and he was going to keep on traveling. He sent his love to all the folks, and said he'd be home some time later.
Then, of course, all the other animal friends were at the party and they played games—games of all kinds, including a new one called "Please don't sit on my hat, and I won't sit on yours." It was too funny for anything, really it was.
Then, of course, there were good things to eat. Buddy Pigg passed around the ice cream, and just as he was handing a plate of it to Jennie Chipmunk it slipped—I mean the ice cream slipped—and went right into Uncle Butter's lap. But the old goat didn't care a bit. He said it reminded him of a pail of paste, and he ate the ice cream, and Nurse Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy got Jennie some more.
Then Flip-Flop and Uncle Wiggily did some of their tricks, and every one said they were fine, and they thought it was the best party they had ever been at.
But all of a sudden, just as they were playing the game called "Jump on the piano, and play a queer tune," there came a knock at the door.
"Who's there?" asked Arabella Chick.
"I am," answered a voice, "and I want Uncle Wiggily Longears instantly! He must come with me!" And they all looked from the window, and there stood a big dog, dressed up like a soldier, and he had a gun with him. And he wanted Uncle Wiggily to come out, and everyone was frightened, for fear he'd shoot the old gentleman rabbit.
But please don't you get alarmed. I wouldn't have that happen for worlds, and in the next story, if I catch a fish in the milk bottle, and he doesn't bite my finger, I'll tell you about Uncle Wiggily in a parade. And it will be a Decoration Day story.