Once upon a time, after Uncle Wiggily Longears, the nice bunny rabbit gentleman, had some funny adventures with Baby Bunty, and when he found that his rheumatism did not hurt him so much as he hopped on his red, white and blue striped barber pole crutch, the bunny uncle wished he might have some strange and wonderful adventures.
"I think I'll just hop along and look for a few," said Uncle Wiggily to himself one morning. He twinkled his pink nose, and then he was all ready to start.
"Good-bye, Nurse Jane! Good-bye!" he called to his muskrat lady housekeeper, with whom he lived in a hollow stump bungalow. "I'm going to look for some wonderful adventures!" He hopped down the front steps, with his red, white and blue striped crutch under one paw, and his tall, silk hat on his head. "Good-bye, Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy!"
"Good-bye!" answered Nurse Jane. "I hope you have some nice adventures!"
"Thanks, I wish you the same," answered Uncle Wiggily, and away he went over the fields and through the woods. He had not hopped very far, looking this way and that, before, all of a sudden, he came to a queer little place, near an old rail fence. Down in one corner was a hole, partly underground.
"Ha! That's odd," said Uncle Wiggily to himself. "That looks just like the kind of an underground house, or burrow, where I used to live. I wonder if this can be where I made my home before I moved to the hollow stump bungalow? I must take a look. Nurse Jane would like to hear all about it."
So Uncle Wiggily, folding back his ears in order that they would not get bent over and broken, began crawling down the rabbit hole, for that is what it really was.
It was dark inside, but the bunny uncle did not mind that, being able to see in the dark. Besides, he could make his pink nose twinkle when he wanted to, and this gave almost as much light as a firefly.
"No, this isn't the burrow where I used to live," said Uncle Wiggily to himself, when he had hopped quite a distance into the hole. "But it's very nice. Perhaps I may have an adventure here. Who knows?"
And just as he said that to himself, Uncle Wiggily saw, lying under a little table, in what seemed to be a room of the underground house, a small glass box.
"Ha! My adventure begins!" cried Uncle Wiggily. "I'll open that glass box and see what is in it."
So the bunny uncle raised the cover, and in the glass box was a little cake, made of carrots and cabbage, and on top, spelled out in pink raisins, were the words:
"Ha! That's just what I'll do!" cried jolly Uncle Wiggily, and, never stopping to think anything might be wrong, the bunny gentleman ate the cake. And then, all of a sudden, he began to feel very funny.
"Oh, my!" exclaimed Uncle Wiggily. "I hope that cake didn't belong to my nephew, Sammie Littletail, or Johnnie or Billie Bushytail, the squirrel brothers. One of them may have lost it out of his lunch basket on his way to school. I hope it wasn't any of their cake. But there is surely something funny about it, for I feel so very queer!"
And no wonder! For Uncle Wiggily had suddenly begun to grow very large. His ears grew taller, so that they lifted his tall silk hat right off his head. His legs seemed as long as bean poles, and as for his whiskers and pink, twinkling nose, they seemed so far away from his eyes that he wondered if he would ever get them near enough to see to comb the one, or scratch the other when it felt ticklish.
"This is certainly remarkable!" cried Uncle Wiggily. "I wonder what made me grow so large all of a sudden? Could it have been the cake which gave me the indyspepsia?"
"It was the cake!" cried a sudden and buzzing voice, and, looking around the hole Uncle Wiggily saw a big mosquito. "It was the cake that made you grow big," went on the bad biting bug, "and I put it here for you to eat."
"What for?" asked the bunny uncle, puzzled like.
"So you would grow so big that you couldn't get out of this hole," was the answer. "And now you can't! This is how I have caught you! Ha! Ha!" and the mosquito buzzed a most unpleasant laugh.
"Oh, dear!" thought Uncle Wiggily. "I wonder if I am caught? Can't I get out as I got in?"
Quickly he hopped to the front of the hole. But alas! Likewise sorrowfulness! He had grown so big from eating the magical cake that he could not possibly squeeze out of the hole through which he had crawled into the underground burrow.
"Now I have caught you!" cried the mosquito. "Since we could not catch you at your soldier tent or in the trenches near your hollow stump bungalow, I thought of this way. Now we have you and we'll bite you!" and the big mosquito, who with his bad friends had dug the hole on purpose to get Uncle Wiggily in a trap, began to play a bugle tune on his wings to call the other biting bugs.
"Oh, dear!" thought Uncle Wiggily. "I guess I am caught! And I haven't my talcum powder pop gun that shoots bean-bag bullets! Oh, if I could only get out of here!"
"You can get out, Uncle Wiggily," said a soft little voice down toward the end of his pink, twinkling nose. "You can get out!"
"Oh, no, I can't!" the bunny said. "I am much too large to squeeze out of the hole by which I came in here. Much too large. Oh, dear!"
"Here, drink some of this and you'll grow small just as I did when I drank from it before I fell into the pool of tears," the soft and gentle voice went on, and to Uncle Wiggily's surprise, there stood a nice little girl with long, flaxen hair. She was holding out to him a bottle with a tag that read:
"Am I really to drink this?" asked the bunny.
"You are," said the little girl.
Uncle Wiggily took a long drink from the bottle. It tasted like lollypop ice cream soda, and no sooner had he taken a good sip than all of a sudden he found himself shutting up small, like a telescope. Smaller and smaller he shrank, until he was his own regular size, and then the little girl took him by the paw and cried:
"Come on! Now you can get out!"
And, surely enough, Uncle Wiggily could.
"But who are you?" he asked the little girl.
"Oh! I'm Alice from Wonderland," she said, "and I know you very well, though you never met me before. I'm in a book, but this is my holiday, so I came out. Come on, now, before the mosquitoes catch us! We'll have a lot of funny adventures with some friends of mine. Come on!" And away ran Uncle Wiggily with Wonderland Alice, who had saved him from being bitten. So everything came out all right, you see.
And if the teacup doesn't lose its handle and try to do a foxtrot waltz with the soup tureen, I'll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the March Hare.