The Mad March Hare

“You hear me shout, without a doubt,
You wonder what I’m mad about.”

sang the Mad March Hare one day in March when the stormy winds were blowing.

He went hoppety-hop to his little wee house in the woods. He roared so loudly as he went about his house-keeping and broke so many dishes as he washed his cups and saucers, that Old Hug-Me-Tight, the Bear, pricked up his ears as he passed by, saying:

“Spring has come, but do beware,
Hear him roar, the Mad March Hare.”

The Mad March Hare stuck his head out the kitchen window and called:

“Old Hug-Me-Tight, come in, come in,
If you can stand my noisy din.”

The Bear was happy to come in and dry his wet paws by the kitchen fire.

The fire roared up the chimney.

The tea kettle sang and the Mad March Hare kept dropping dishes, clitter, clatter, smash, crash on the floor.

The Bear said:

“Why are you so wild in spring?
Why are you mad at everything?”

The Mad March Hare gave a wild leap over to the Bear and boxed his ears, replying:

“Why do you take a winter nap,
Why do you wear a warm night-cap?”

Old Hug-Me-Tight, the Bear, hung his head for sure enough, he did sleep all winter!

At this very minute Big Brother Beaver came lopping along. He heard such a noise in the house of the Mad March Hare that he tapped politely at the door and inquired:

“As all the birds are on the wing,
Why are you mad at everything?”

The Mad March Hare snapped:

“Why are you building night and day,
Big Brother Beaver, tell me pray.”

The Beaver did not know what to say to that for it was his nature to build, but he came in and warmed his paws by the fire and dried his coat, for it was a misty, moist morning.

The Mad March Hare went on washing dishes and breaking handles off his cups, and dropping knives and forks.

He peeped out the window and saw Chatter-Box, the monkey, swinging on the tree outside. He called:

“Come in, come in, let’s live together,
In this terrible March weather.”

Chatter-Box said:

“My chatter-box I always bring,
Why are you mad at everything?”

The Mad March Hare turned over a whole dish-pan full of water on the floor and shouted:

“Why do you imitate what you see,
Chatter-Box, come, answer me.”

The Monkey danced and pranced about and helped the Mad March Hare finish his dish-washing.

Then, suddenly, without any warning the Mad March Hare said:

“Tis well to keep secrets without a doubt
You may wonder what I am mad about.”

The Beaver put on his horn-rimmed spectacles and tried to see what the reason could be.

The Monkey put his paw up to his ear to listen.

All the time the March wind howled louder, and louder, and the rain fell, and the sleet came, but the kitchen fire roared merrily and the tea kettle sang a cheerful song.

The Mad March Hare said:

“Mary is mad when they comb her hair,
She stamps her foot, and she doesn’t care.”

The Bear, the Beaver and the Monkey nodded their heads. They had seen Mary mad many times when her hair was combed.

The Mad March Hare continued:

“Jack is mad to be bathed I fear,
He cried so loud that the neighbors hear.”

Then those comical animals clapped their paws, and told of one hundred and nine children who got mad every day over one thing or another!

The Mad March Hare said:

“I gather up their scowls and tears,
No wonder I am mad, my dears,
They’re mad to-day and mad to-morrow,
So they bring to me much sorrow,
They are not bad, they just get mad,
And so they make the March Hare sad.”

For one hour and sixteen minutes they sat warm and dry about the cheerful fire. Suddenly, Hug-Me-Tight began to hug them all in turn, and Big Brother Beaver and Chatter-Box danced a hornpipe and they all shouted:

“We’ll put it in story, and put it in song,
The whole world will read about it ere long.”

So, those comical little animals wrote a story and a song, asking the children not to get mad any more, so the March Hare could be happy.

Chatter-Box drew a picture of the Hare that all children love, and they all sang the song they composed to the tune of “Twinkle Little Star.”

“Do be gentle, have a care,
If you love the Mad March Hare,
Don’t get mad now anywhere,
If you love the Mad March Hare.
School time’s coming, oh beware,
If you love the Mad March Hare,
Work is pleasant, I declare,
If you love the Mad March Hare.”

Soon the visitors had to go home.

“I’ll tell the children,” said the Bear, “Good bye, good bye, dear Mad March Hare.”

The Beaver said:

“I’ll take your message everywhere,
Good bye, good bye, dear Mad March Hare.”

Chatter-Box said:

“I’ll sing for the children if I dare,
Good bye, good bye, dear Mad March Hare.”

The Mad March Hare grew as happy as happy could be, and waved his hat as his visitors ran homeward. He called after them:

“We don’t mind the Mad March weather,
We had such a happy time together.”

So many children learned the song about the Mad March Hare, and so many children enjoyed the story that all over the world they whistled and sang instead of getting angry.

The Mad March Hare whistled and sang:

“I am happy—as happy could be,
The Mad March Hare is no name for me,
When you feel angry, oh have a care,
And give three cheers for the Mad March Hare.”

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