Uncle Wiggily And Jennie Chipmunk (18/31)

After Uncle Wiggily had been pulled up out of the well by Percival, the old circus dog, and they had run far enough off so that the wolves couldn’t get them, the rabbit and the grasshopper and Percival sat down on the ground to rest. For you see Uncle Wiggily was tired from having fallen down the well, and the grasshopper was tired from having run so fast to call back Percival, and of course Percival was tired from having pulled up the old gentleman rabbit. So they were all pretty well tired out.

“I’m sure I can’t thank you enough for what you did for me,” said Uncle Wiggily to Percival, and the grasshopper. “And as a little treat I’m going to give you some cherry pie that I made for the hedgehog.”

So they ate some cherry pie, and then they felt better. And they were just going to travel on together again, when, all at once, there was a rustling in the bushes, and out flew Dickie Chip-Chip, the sparrow boy.

“Oh, my” cried Uncle Wiggily, wrinkling up his nose. “At first I thought you were a savage owl.”

“Oh, no, I’m not an owl,” said Dickie. “But I’m in a great hurry, and perhaps I made a noise like an owl. Percival, you must come back home to the Bow Wow house right away.”

“Why?” asked Percival, sticking up his two ears so that he could hear better.

“Because Peetie Bow Wow is very ill with the German measles, and he wants to see you do some of your funny circus tricks,” spoke Dickie. “He thinks that will make him better.”

“Ha! I’ve no doubt that it will!” exclaimed Uncle Wiggily. “If I were not traveling about, seeking my fortune, I’d go back with you, Percival. I love Peetie Bow Wow, and Jackie, too.”

“Oh, I’ll go,” said the grasshopper. “I will play Peetie a funny fiddle tune, on my left hind leg, and that may make him laugh.”

“And Nellie and I will sail through the air, and go off to find some pretty flowers for him,” said Dickie.

So the sparrow boy, the grasshopper and old Percival, the circus dog, started off together to see poor sick Peetie Bow Wow, leaving Uncle Wiggily there on the grass.

“Give my love to Peetie!” called the old gentleman rabbit after them, “and tell him that I’ll come and see him as soon as I find my fortune.”

Uncle Wiggily felt a little bit sad and lonely when his friends were gone, but he ate another piece of cherry pie, taking care to get none of the juice, on his blue necktie, and then he was a little happier.

“Now to start off once more,” he said. “I wonder what will happen next? But I know one thing, I’m never going to do any jumping for any squatty old toads any more.”

So Uncle Wiggily traveled on and on, and when it came night he didn’t have any place to sleep. But as it happened he met a kind old water snake, who had a nice house in an old pile of wood, and there the rabbit stayed until morning, when the water snake got him a nice breakfast of pond lilies, with crinkly eel-grass sauce on.

Pretty soon it was nearly noon that day, and Uncle Wiggily was about to sit down on a nice green mossy bank in the woods—not a toy bank with money in it, you understand, but a dirt-bank, with moss on it like a carpet. That’s where he was going to sit.

“I think I’ll eat my dinner,” said the old gentleman rabbit as he opened his valise, and just then he heard a voice in the woods singing. And this was the song:

“Oh dear! I’m lost, I know I am,
I don’t know what to do.
I had a big red ribbon, and
I had one colored blue.

But now I haven’t got a one
Because a savage bear
Took both of them, and tied a string
Around my curly hair.

I wish I had a penny bright,
To buy a trolley car.
I’d ride home then, because, you see,
To walk it is too far.”

“I guess that’s some one in trouble, all right,” said Uncle Wiggily, as he cautiously peeped through the bushes. “Though, perhaps, it is a little wolf boy, or a fox.” But when he looked, whom should he see but little Jennie Chipmunk, and she was crying as hard as she could cry, so she couldn’t sing any more.

“Why, Jennie, what is the matter?” kindly asked Uncle Wiggily.

“Oh, I came out in the woods to gather acorns in a little basket for supper,” she said, “and I guess I must have come too far. The first thing I knew a big bear jumped out of the bushes at me, and he took off both my nice, new hair ribbons and put on this old string.”

And, sure enough, there was only just an old black shoestring on Jennie’s nice hair.

“Where is that bear?” asked Uncle Wiggily, quite savage like. “Just tell me where he is, and I’ll make him give you back those ribbons, and then I’ll show you the way home.”

“Oh, the bear ran off after he scared me,” said the little chipmunk girl. “Please don’t look for him, Uncle Wiggily, or he might eat you all up.”

“Pooh!” exclaimed the old gentleman rabbit. “I’m not afraid of a bear. I have traveled around a great deal of late, and I have had many adventures. It takes more than a bear to scare me!”

“Oh, it does; does it?” suddenly cried a growly-scowly voice, and, would you believe me? right out from the bushes jumped that savage bear! And he had Jennie’s blue ribbon tied on his left ear, and the red one tied on his right ear, and he looked very strange. “I can’t scare you; eh?” he cried to the rabbit. “Well, I’m just going to eat you, and that chipmunk girl all up, and maybe that will scare you!”

So he made a jump for Uncle Wiggily, but do you s’pose the rabbit gentleman was afraid? Not a bit of it. He knew what he was going to do.

“Quick, Jennie!” called Uncle Wiggily. “Get in front of me. I’ll fix this bear all right.” So Jennie got in front, and the rabbit turned his back on the bear, and, then Uncle Wiggily began scratching in the dirt with his sharp claws. My! how he did make the dirt fly. It was just like a regular rain-shower of sand and gravel.

And the dirt flew all over that bear; in his eyes and nose and mouth and ears, it went, and he sneezed, and he couldn’t see out of his eyes, and he fairly howled. And by that time Uncle Wiggily had dug a big hole in the ground with his feet, and he and Jennie hid there until the bear ran off to get some water to wash the dirt off his face, and then the rabbit and the chipmunk girl came out safely.

Then Uncle Wiggily gave Jennie some pennies to buy two new hair ribbons, and he showed her the way home with her basket of acorns, and he himself went on with his travels. And he had another adventure the next day. Now in case a cowboy doesn’t come along, and take my little pussy cat off to the wild west show I’ll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the paper lantern.