“Now, Uncle Wiggily,” said Kittie Kat, as she and the old gentleman rabbit went along, the day after he had been cured by the catnip tea, “you must take good care of yourself. Keep in the shade, and walk slowly, for I don’t want you to get sick again.”
“And I don’t want to myself,” spoke Uncle Wiggily, “for I want to find my fortune.”
“Oh, I think you will, and very soon,” said Kittie. “I dreamed last night of a pile of gold and diamonds, and I’m sure you will soon be rich, so that you can come back home, and live with us all again.”
“Where was the pile of gold of which you dreamed?” asked the rabbit. “Was it at the end of the rainbow? Because, if it was, there is no use to think of it. I once looked there and found nothing.”
“No, it wasn’t there,” said Kittie, shaking her head. “I don’t know where it was because I awakened before my dream was over, but I’m sure you will soon find your fortune. Now remember to walk slowly, and keep in the shade.”
So she and Uncle Wiggily traveled on and on. Once they came to a big hill, which they could hardly climb, and they didn’t know what to do. But they happened to meet a friendly mud turtle, who was very strong, and who had a large, broad shell.
“Get on my back,” said the turtle, “and I will take you up the hill. I go slowly, but I am very sure. You will have time to rest yourselves while I am climbing up.”
So Uncle Wiggily and Kittie Kat got on the turtle’s back, and in time he took them up the hill. Then, after traveling on a little farther, they came to a broad river.
“Oh, how shall we ever get across?” asked Kittie.
“Perhaps I can make a boat,” said the rabbit. He was looking for some wood and some broad leaves with which to make a sail, when along came swimming a big goldfish.
“Just perch upon my back,” the fish said, “and I will be very glad to take you across.”
“But you swim under water, and we will get all wet,” objected Uncle Wiggily.
“No, I will swim with my back away up out of water,” said the goldfish, and this he did, so that the rabbit and the pussy girl were taken safely over to the other side of the river and they never even so much as wet their eyelashes.
“Perhaps I may find my fortune over here,” spoke Uncle Wiggily, as he hopped along after thanking the goldfish. He looked on the ground, and up in the air, but no fortune could he find.
“There is a little house, made of leaves and bark over there,” said Kittie, pointing through the woods, “let us go and see who is in it.”
“Perhaps a bear lives there,” said the rabbit.
“It is too small for a bear’s house,” decided Kittie.
But as they came close to it they heard a scratching noise inside, and they thought perhaps it might be the fuzzy fox. And then, all of a sudden, they heard a voice singing this song:
“I sweep, I sew, I dust, I mend,
From morning until night.
And then I wash the plates and cups.
And scrub the table white.
“I love to make a pudding,
Also a pie and cake.
And when I do my ironing,
Potatoes do I bake.
“Now I must hurry–hurry,
To get a meal for you,
And then I’ll go and gather
A hickory nut or two.”
“Why, I know who that is!” cried Kittie Kat.
“Who?” asked Uncle Wiggily, making his nose twinkle like three stars and a moon on a frosty night.
“It’s Jennie Chipmunk!” cried Kittie. “I just know it is. Oh, Jennie!” she called. “Is that you?”
“Yes, who is it that wants me?” asked a voice, and out from the tiny house stepped the little chipmunk girl. She had on her sweeping cap, and her apron, and in one hand was a cloth and in the other a plate she was drying.
“Well, well, Jennie, you’re as busy as ever, I see!” exclaimed Uncle Wiggily. “But are you living here?”
“Hush! No,” answered Jennie Chipmunk. “I don’t live here, but in this house is a dear old lady squirrel, who is so feeble that she can’t get around and do all her work. So every day I come over and clean up for her, and get her meals. Oh, I just love to work!” cried Jennie.
“I believe you,” spoke the rabbit. “But can’t we help?”
“Of course we can,” decided Kittie. “You get some wood for the fire, Uncle Wiggily, and Jennie and I will do the housework.”
Then the rabbit and Kittie went in the little house, and Jennie Chipmunk introduced them to the old lady squirrel, who had to lie down in bed most of the time.
“Oh, I am very glad to see you,” she said in her gentle voice. “I don’t know what I would do without Jennie. She is such a help; aren’t you, Jennie?”
But Jennie wasn’t there to answer, for she had skipped out into the kitchen to finish the dishes, and she was singing away as she hurried along as happy as a grasshopper.
Then Uncle Wiggily brought in a lot of wood, and with Kittie to help with the sweeping and dusting, the house was soon as neat as a piece of apple pie on a Sunday morning.
“Now we must go out and gather some nuts for the old lady squirrel,” said Jennie.
“What will we carry them in?” asked Kittie.
“Oh, there is a basket for you, and Uncle Wiggily can use his valise, and as for me,” said Jennie, “I have little pockets in each side of my cheeks, you know.” And it’s really true, a chipmunk has little pouches or pockets one on each side of its face. You look the next time you see one, and notice how a chipmunk’s cheeks stick out when it has a lot of nuts to carry.
So the nuts were soon gathered for the old lady squirrel, and then Jennie made a cup of tea for Uncle Wiggily and Kittie. And as they sat in the house drinking it, and talking cheerfully to the old lady squirrel, all of a sudden the fuzzy old fox came along and tried to get in. But Uncle Wiggily saw him through the window, and quickly shut and locked the door.
“Never mind,” cried the fox, as he sat down outside and licked his lips. “I’ll wait until you come out, Mr. Rabbit, and then I’ll get you.”
“Oh! what shall we do?” cried Kittie Kat in great fright.
“I’ll show you,” said Jennie Chipmunk. So she took the big dusting brush down off the nail, and she stuck the brush out of the window, and she waved it at the fox–waved the brush, not the window you know.
And when that fox saw the fuzzy brush waving, he thought it was the bushy tail of Old Dog Percival. And the fox was so afraid of dogs that then and there he gave three separate and distinct howls, and away he ran as fast as his legs would take him and so Uncle Wiggily and Kittie Kat could come out.
“My! But you are a smart little girl, Jennie Chipmunk,” said the old gentleman rabbit. “I never would have thought of that.”
Then Jennie sang her song again, and made a cherry pie for the rabbit, and he and Kittie traveled on.