UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE SNOW DROPS
"Uncle Wiggily! Uncle Wiggily! Will you come with me?" called a voice under the window of the hollow stump bungalow, where the old gentleman rabbit was sitting, half asleep, one nice, warm afternoon.
"Ha! Come with you? Who is it wants me to come with them?" asked the bunny gentleman. "I hope it isn't the bad fox, or the skillery-scalery alligator with humps on his tail that is calling. They're always wanting me to go with them."
The rabbit looked out of the window and he heard some one laughing.
"That doesn't sound like a bad fox, nor yet an unpleasant alligator," said Mr. Longears. "Who is it wants me to come with them?"
"It is I—Susie Littletail, the rabbit girl," was the answer.
"And where do you want me to come?" asked Uncle Wiggily.
"To the woods, to pick some flowers," answered Susie. "The lady mouse teacher wants me to see how many kinds I can find. You know so much about the woods, Uncle Wiggily, that I wish you'd come with me."
"I will," said the nice rabbit gentleman. "Wait until I get my tall silk hat and my red, white and blue striped barber pole rheumatism crutch."
And, when he had them, off he started, holding Susie's paw in his, and limping along under the green trees and over the carpet of green moss.
Uncle Wiggily and the little rabbit girl found many kinds of flowers in the woods. There were violets, some white, some yellow and some purple, with others blue, like the ones Uncle Wiggily used to make blueing water for Nurse Jane's clothes. And there were red flowers and yellow ones, and some Jacks-in-their-pulpits, which are very queer flowers indeed.
"Here, Susie, is a new kind of blossom. Maybe you would like some of these," said Uncle Wiggily, pointing to a bush that was covered with little round, white balls.
"Oh, I didn't know the snow had lasted this long!" Susie cried. "I thought it had melted long ago."
"I don't see any snow," said Uncle Wiggily, looking around.
"On that bush," said Susie, pointing to the white one.
"Oh!" laughed the bunny uncle. "That does look like snow, to be sure. But it isn't, though the name of the flowers is snowdrop."
"Flowers! I don't call them flowers!" said Susie. "They are only white balls."
"Don't you want to pick any?" asked the rabbit.
"Thank you, no," Susie said. "I like prettier colored flowers than those, which are just plain white."
"Well, I like them, and I'll take some to Nurse Jane," spoke the bunny uncle. So he picked a bunch of the snowdrops and carried them in his paws, while Susie gathered the brighter flowers.
"I think those will be all teacher will want," said the little rabbit girl at last.
"Yes, we had better be getting home," spoke Uncle Wiggily. "Nurse Jane will soon have supper ready. Won't you come and eat with me, Susie?"
"Thank you, I will, Uncle Wiggily," and the little bunny girl clapped her paws; that is, as well as she could, on account of holding her flowers, for she loved to eat at Uncle Wiggily's hollow stump bungalow, as did all the animal children.
Well, Uncle Wiggily and Susie were going along and along through the woods, when, all of a sudden, as they passed a high rock, out from behind it jumped the bad old tail-pulling monkey.
"Ah, ha!" chattered the monkey chap. "I am just in time, I see."
"Time for what?" asked Uncle Wiggily, suspicious like.
"To pull your tails," answered the monkey. "I haven't had any tails to pull in a long while, and I must pull some. So, though you rabbits haven't very good tails, for pulling, I must do the best I can. Now come to me and have your tails pulled. Come on!"
"Oh, dear!" cried Susie. "I don't want my tail pulled, even if it is very short."
"Nor I mine," Uncle Wiggily said.
"That makes no manner of difference to me," chattered the monkey. "I'm a tail-pulling chap, and tails I must pull. So you might as well have it over with, now as later." And he spoke just like a dentist who wants to take your lolly-pop away from you.
"Pull our tails! Well, I guess you won't!" cried Uncle Wiggily suddenly. "Come on, Susie! Let's run away!"
Before the monkey could grab them Uncle Wiggily and Susie started to run. But soon the monkey was running after them, crying:
"Stop! Stop! I must pull your tails!"
"But we don't want you to," answered Susie.
"Oh, but you must let me!" cried the monkey. Then he gave a great big, long, strong and double-jointed jump, like a circus clown going over the backs of fourteen elephants, and part of another one, and the monkey grabbed Uncle Wiggily by his ears.
"Oh, let go of me, if you please!" begged the bunny. "I thought you said you pulled tails and not ears."
"I do pull tails when I can get hold of them," said the malicious monkey. "But as I can't easily get hold of your tail, and as your ears are so large that I can easily grab them, I'll pull them instead. All ready now, a long pull, a strong pull and a pull altogether!"
"Stop!" cried the bunny uncle, just as the monkey was going to give the three kinds of pull at once. "Stop!"
"No!" answered the monkey. "No! No!"
"Yes! Yes!" cried the bunny uncle. "If you don't stop pulling my ears you'll freeze!" and with that the bunny uncle pulled out from behind him, where he had kept them hidden, the bunch of white snowdrops.
"Ah, ha!" cried Mr. Longears to the monkey. "You come from a warm country, where there is no snow or snowdrops. Now when you see these snow drops, shiver and shake—see how cold it is! Shiver and shake! Shake and shiver! Burr-r-r-r-r!"
Uncle Wiggily made believe the flowers were real snow, sort of shivering himself (pretend like) and the tail-pulling chap, who was very much afraid of cold and snow and ice, chattered and said:
"Oh, dear! Oh, how cold I am! Oh, I'm freezing. I am going back to my warm nest in the tree and not pull any tails until next summer!"
And then the monkey ran away, thinking the snowdrops Uncle Wiggily had picked were bits of real snow.
"I'm sorry I said the snowdrops weren't nice," spoke Susie, as she and Uncle Wiggily went safely home. "They are very nice. Only for them the monkey would have pulled our tails."
But he didn't, you see, and if the hookworm doesn't go to the moving pictures with the gold fish and forget to come back to play tag with the toy piano, I'll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the horse chestnut tree.