Patty Rabbit sat looking at her storybook with a very dissatisfied look on her face. She was so interested in the pictures that she did not see her grandmother coming along the path and run to meet her as she usually did.
“Why, Patty, dear, what is the matter? You look as if you did not like the pictures or stories in your book,” said Grandmother Rabbit.
“Oh, grandmother!” said Little Patty Rabbit, dropping her book on the ground and running to her grandmother, “I didn’t see you coming. I am so glad to see you.”
“Tell me why you were looking so unhappy? Don’t you like your book?” asked Grandmother Rabbit.
“Y-e-s,” said Patty Rabbit, “I like it sometimes, but I get tired reading all the time about Peter Rabbit and Jackie Rabbit and Bennie Rabbit and looking at their pictures. I should like so much to read a story about a little girl Rabbit. Don’t little girl rabbits ever do anything that would make a good story, Grandmother?”
“Of course they do, my dear. Didn’t I ever tell you about Susie Rabbit that ate her doll?” asked Grandmother Rabbit.
“Oh, grandmother, do tell it to me!” said Patty Rabbit, dancing about her grandmother on her hind feet and her ears sticking right up straight at the thought of what she was about to tell her. “Tell me the story, quick, do!”
Grandmother Rabbit sat down on the steps of Patty’s house and took her knitting out of a bag, and as she knit, she told the story of Susie Rabbit who ate her doll.
“Once upon a time,” said Grandmother Rabbit, “there lived a little girl Rabbit named Susie. Her father and mother were poor, and they did not live as you do, where they could get plenty of food, and she didn’t have a book with pictures in it, either.
“Susie Rabbit never had anything to play with. She was lucky if she had enough to eat.
“But one day Susie Rabbit saw a little girl with a doll going through the woods where she lived and ran home to her mother and cried for a doll. Her mother couldn’t get her a doll because they did not live near a store, and if they had she did not have any money to buy one; so Susie cried and cried, and when her father came home she was still crying.
‘What is the matter with Susie?’ he asked, and Susie’s mother told him she wanted a doll.
“After Susie was in bed that night her mother said to her father: ‘I have thought of something; we can make Susie a doll.’
‘How can we make a doll?’ asked Susie’s father, looking surprised that his wife should suggest such a thing.
‘I’ll tell you,’ said Susie’s mother, ‘you go over to the garden at the farmhouse over the hill and get me a big carrot and a head of nice crisp lettuce, and I will show you how I can make a doll.’
“So away ran Susie’s father and got the carrot and the lettuce and brought them home.
“Then Susie’s mother cut the top of the carrot for a head and made eyes and mouth and nose of berries, and then she made a pretty dress of the lettuce with a ruffled skirt, which was long, so it did not matter if the doll did not have any feet.
“She made a cape of one lettuce leaf and a little bonnet from a small leaf; the clothes were fastened on with little sticks which Susie’s father whittled from twigs.
‘There! I think that looks nice,’ said Susie’s mother, holding it up for her husband to see.
‘It looks nice enough to eat,’ said Susie’s father, smacking his mouth. Susie’s mother sprinkled the doll with water, so it would keep fresh, and put it by Susie’s bed.
‘In the morning when she awoke she saw it the first thing. ‘Oh! I have got a doll! I’ve got a doll!’ she cried, laughing and running to her mother with the doll clasped in her arms.
“Susie played with the doll for a while, but, as I told you, Susie did not have nice things to eat as you do, and a whole carrot and a head of lettuce all for herself was something new to poor little Susie Rabbit, so after a while she just nibbled a bit of the cape and then she nibbled one ruffle.
‘I guess she will look just as well if she has only one ruffle on her skirt,’ said Susie, so she ate one leaf of lettuce.
“After a while she ate the bonnet, and by and by she ate the other ruffle and the cape.
‘A doll without a dress isn’t any use,’ said Susie, so she ate the carrot, and that was the end of Susie Rabbit’s doll.”
“Oh, grandmother, that was a lovely story,” said Patty. “I think that is good enough to print in a book. Won’t you have it printed? Please do. I know lots of little folks would like to read about a girl Rabbit as well as about Peter and Jackie and other boy Rabbits.”
So Grandmother Rabbit did as Patty Rabbit asked, and that is the way you happen to be reading the story.