UNCLE WIGGILY AND LULU'S HAT
"Uncle Wiggily, do you want to do something for me?" asked Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady housekeeper, of the rabbit gentleman one day as he started out from his hollow stump bungalow to take a walk in the woods.
"Do something for you, Nurse Jane? Why, of course, I want to," spoke Mr. Longears. "What is it?"
"Just take this piece of pie over to Mrs. Wibblewobble, the duck lady," went on Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy. "I promised to let her taste how I made apple pie out of cabbage leaves."
"And very cleverly you do it, too," said Uncle Wiggily, with a polite bow. "I know, for I have eaten some myself. I will gladly take this pie to Mrs. Wibblewobble," and off through the woods Uncle Wiggily started with it.
He soon reached the duck lady's house, and Mrs. Wibblewobble was very glad indeed to get the piece of Nurse Jane's pie.
"I'll save a bit for Lulu and Alice, my two little duck girls," said Mrs. Wibblewobble.
"Why, aren't they home?" asked Uncle Wiggily.
"No, Lulu has gone over to a little afternoon party which Nannie Wagtail, the goat girl, is having, and Alice has gone to see Grandfather Goosey Gander. Jiminie is off playing ball with Jackie and Peetie Bow Wow, the puppy dog boys, so I am home alone."
"I hope you are not lonesome," said Uncle Wiggily.
"Oh, no, thank you," answered the duck lady. "I have too much to do. Thank Nurse Jane for her pie."
"I shall," Uncle Wiggily promised, as he started off through the woods again. He had not gone far before, all of a sudden, he did not stoop low enough as he was hopping under a tree and, the first thing he knew, his tall silk hat was knocked off his head and into a puddle of water.
"Oh, dear!" cried Uncle Wiggily, as he picked up his hat. "I shall never be able to wear it again until it is cleaned and ironed. And how I can have that done out here in the woods is more than I know."
"Ah, but I know," said a voice in a tree overhead.
"Who are you, and what do you know?" asked the bunny uncle, surprised like and hopeful.
"I know where you can have your silk hat cleaned and ironed smooth," said the voice. "I am the tailor bird, and I do those things. Let me have your hat, Uncle Wiggily, and I'll fix it for you."
Down flew the kind bird, and Uncle Wiggily gave him the hat.
"But what shall I wear while I'm waiting?" asked the bunny uncle. "It is too soon for me to be going about without my hat. I'll need something on my head while you are fixing my silk stovepipe, dear Tailor Bird."
"Oh, that is easy," said the bird. "Just pick some of those thick, green leafy ferns and make yourself a hat of them."
"The very thing!" cried Uncle Wiggily. Then he fastened some woodland ferns together and easily made himself a hat that would keep off the sun, if it would not keep off the rain. But then it wasn't raining.
"There you are, Uncle Wiggily!" called the tailor bird at last. "Your silk hat is ready to wear again."
"Thank you," spoke the bunny uncle, as he laid aside the ferns, also thanking them. "Now I am like myself again," and he hopped on through the woods, wondering whether or not he was to have any more adventures that day.
Mr. Longears had not gone on very much farther before he heard a rustling in the bushes, and then a sad little voice said:
"Oh, dear! How sad! I don't believe I'll go to the party now! All the others would make fun of me! Oh, dear! Oh, dear!"
"Ha! That sounds like trouble!" said the bunny uncle. "I must see what it means."
He looked through the bushes and there, sitting on a log, he saw Lulu Wibblewobble, the little duck girl, who was crying very hard, the tears rolling down her yellow bill.
"Why, Lulu! What's the matter?" asked Uncle Wiggily.
"Oh, dear!" answered the little quack-quack child. "I can't go to the party; that's what's the matter."
"Why can't you go?" Uncle Wiggily wanted to know. "I saw your mother a little while ago, and she said you were going."
"I know I was going," spoke Lulu, "but I'm not now, for the wind blew my nice new hat into the puddle of muddy water, and now look at it!" and she held up a very much beraggled and debraggled hat of lace and straw and ribbons and flowers.
"Oh, dear! That hat is in a bad state, to be sure," said Uncle Wiggily. "But don't cry, Lulu. Almost the same thing happened to me and the tailor bird made my hat as good as ever. Mine was all mud, too, like yours. Come, I'll take you to the tailor bird."
"You are very kind, Uncle Wiggily," spoke Lulu, "but if I go there I may not get back in time for the party, and I want to wear my new hat to it, very much."
"Ha! I see!" cried the bunny uncle. "You want to look nice at the party. Well, that's right, of course. And I don't believe the tailor bird could clean your hat in time, for it is so fancy he would have to be very careful of it.
"But you can do as I did, make a hat out of ferns, and wear that to Nannie Wagtail's party. I'll help you."
"Oh, how kind you are!" cried the little duck girl.
So she went along with Uncle Wiggily to where the ferns grew in the wood, leaving her regular hat at the tailor bird's nest to be cleaned and pressed.
Uncle Wiggily made Lulu the cutest hat out of fern leaves. Oh, I wish you could have seen it. There wasn't one like it even in the five and ten-cent store.
"Wear that to Nannie's party, Lulu," said the rabbit gentleman, and Lulu did, the hat being fastened to her feathers with a long pin made from the stem of a fern. And when Lulu reached the party all the animal girls cried out:
"Oh, what a sweet, lovely, cute, dear, cunning, swell and stylish hat! Where did you get it?"
"Uncle Wiggily made it," answered Lulu, and all the girls said they were going to get one just like it. And they did, so that fern hats became very fashionable and stylish in Woodland, and Lulu had a fine time at the party.
So this teaches us that even a mud puddle is of some use, and if the rubber plant doesn't stretch too far, and tickle the gold fish under the chin making it sneeze, the next story will be about Uncle Wiggily and the snow drops.