UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE PUFF BALL
"Are you going for a walk to-day, as you nearly always do, Uncle Wiggily?" asked Nurse Jane Fuzzy, the muskrat lady housekeeper, of the rabbit gentleman, as he got up from the breakfast table in the hollow stump bungalow one morning.
"Why, yes, Janie, I am going for a walk in the woods very soon," answered Uncle Wiggily. "Is there anything I can do for you?"
"There is," said the muskrat lady. "Something for yourself, also."
"What is it?" Uncle Wiggily wanted to know, sort of making his pink nose turn orange color by looking up at the sun and sneezing. "What is it that I can do for myself as well as for you, Janie?"
"Cream puffs," answered Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy.
"Cream puffs?" cried the bunny uncle, hardly knowing whether his housekeeper was fooling or in earnest.
"Yes, I want some cream puffs for supper, and if you stop at the baker's and get them you will be doing yourself a favor as well as me, for we will both eat them."
"Right gladly will I do it," Uncle Wiggily made answer. "Cream puffs I shall bring from the baker's," and then, whistling a funny little tune, away he hopped to the woods.
It did not take him long to get to the place where the baker had his shop. And in a few minutes Uncle Wiggily was on his way back with some delicious cream puffs in a basket.
"I'll take them home to Nurse Jane for supper," thought the bunny uncle, "and then I can keep on with my walk, looking for an adventure."
You know what cream puffs are, I dare say. They are little, round, puffy balls made of something like piecrust, and they are hollow. The inside is filled with something like corn-starch pudding, only nicer.
Uncle Wiggily was going along with the cream puffs in his basket when, coming to a nice place in the woods, where the sun shone on a green, mossy log, the bunny uncle said:
"I will sit down here a minute and rest."
So he did, but he rested longer than he meant to, for, before he knew it, he fell asleep. And while he slept, along came a bad old weasel, who is as sly as a fox. And the weasel, smelling the cream puffs in the basket, slyly lifted the cover and took every one out, eating them one after the other.
"Now to play a trick on Uncle Wiggily," said the weasel in a whisper, for the bunny uncle was still sleeping. So the bad creature found a lot of puff balls in the woods, and put them in the basket in place of the cream puffs.
Puff balls grow on little plants. They are brown and round and hollow, and, so far, they are like cream puffs, except that inside they have a brown, fluffy powder that flies all over when you break the puff ball. And, if you are not careful, it gets in your eyes and nose and makes you sneeze.
"I should like to see what Uncle Wiggily and Nurse Jane do when they open the basket, and find puff balls instead of cream puffs," snickered the weasel as he went off, licking his chops, where the cornstarch pudding stuff was stuck on his whiskers. "It will be a great joke on them!"
But let us see what happens.
Uncle Wiggily awakened from his sleep in the woods, and started off toward his hollow stump bungalow.
"I declare!" he cried. "That sleep made me hungry. I shall be glad to eat some of the cream puffs I have in my basket."
"What's that?" asked a sharp voice in the bushes. "What did you say you had in the basket?"
"Cream puffs," answered Uncle Wiggily, without thinking, and then, all of a sudden, out jumped the bad old skillery-scalery alligator with the humps on his tail.
"Ha! Cream puffs!" cried the 'gator, as I call him for short, though he was rather long. "Cream puffs! If there is one thing I like more than another it is cream puffs! It is lucky you brought them with you, or I would have nothing for dessert when I have you for supper."
"Are you—are you going to have me for supper?" asked Uncle Wiggily, sort of anxious like.
"I am!" cried the alligator, positively. "But I will eat the dessert first. Give me those cream puffs!" he cried and he made a grab for the bunny's basket, and, reaching in, scooped out the puff balls, thinking they were cream puffs. The 'gator, without looking, took one bite and a chew and then——
"Oh, my! Ker-sneezio! Ker-snitzio! Ker-choo!" he sneezed as the powder from the puff balls went up his nose and into his eyes. "Oh, what funny cream puffs! Wow!" And, not stopping to so much as nibble at Uncle Wiggily, away ran the alligator to get a drink of lemonade.
So you see, after all, the weasel's trick saved Uncle Wiggily, who soon went back to the store for more cream puffs—real ones this time, and he got safely home with them.
And nothing else happened that day. But if the trolley car stops running down the street to play with the jitney bus, so the pussy cat can have a ride when it wants to go shopping in the three and four-cent store, I'll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the May flowers.
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