“Well, what are we going to do to-day?” asked the grasshopper of Uncle Wiggily, as they sat down to breakfast one sunny morning, after a rain the night before.
“Oh, I suppose I must keep on searching for some gold or diamonds for my fortune,” answered the old gentleman rabbit. “But I am getting quite tired of going around so much and finding nothing. I’ll keep it up a week or so longer, and then, if I don’t find any money, I’m going back home, anyhow. I’m quite lonesome for Sammie and Susie Littletail and all of my friends.”
“When you go home I hope that I can go with you,” said the grasshopper sort of sad-like. “I’ll be sorry when you leave me.”
“Of course you can come along,” answered Uncle Wiggily, kindly, as he flopped his long ears back and forth.
Then he and the grasshopper finished their breakfast, washed the acorn cups and saucers, and shook the crumbs off the green leaf which they had used for a table cloth. And pretty soon a whole lot of little black ants crawled along and ate up all the crumbs, so that nothing was wasted.
“Well, here we go!” cried the old gentleman rabbit cheerfully as he picked up his barber-pole crutch and slung his valise over his shoulder. Then he hopped off and so did the grasshopper, singing a funny little song on the way, and also playing the fiddle with his left hind leg. The song went something like this:
“Here we go,
Fast and slow,
Hopping on our way.
In heat and cold
We look for gold,
Which we may find some day.
“Sing a song
Not too long,
Cheerful, gay and bright.
When wide awake
We eat sweet cake,
And then we sleep all night.
We sing and do not cry.
Skip and jump
Around the pump;
Now we’ll say good-by.”
“Why, what in the world did you say that for?” asked Uncle Wiggily of the grasshopper as the insect finished his song. “There is no one here to whom we can say good-by, and not a sign of a pump.”
“I know it, but you see I’m just making believe,” replied the cheerful little fellow, turning one somersault and part of another one.
“Oh, then that’s different,” agreed the old gentleman rabbit, as he stooped over to take a stone out of his shoe. And, just as he did so there came bouncing down out of a tall tree a big green hickory nut, and it almost hit Uncle Wiggily on the end of his twinkling nose.
“Hum!” exclaimed the grasshopper, as he crawled under a big leaf in order to be out of danger, “some one is throwing things at us. I wonder who it can be?”
“I don’t know,” answered the rabbit, and then he and the grasshopper looked up in a tree, but they could see no one. So they went on a little farther, and pretty soon Uncle Wiggily got another stone in his shoe. He stooped over to take it out when slam-bang! down came a green butternut this time, and it struck him on the end of his left ear.
“This must stop!” cried the old gentleman rabbit. “If it doesn’t, the first thing we know there will be coconuts falling down on us and then we will be hurt.”
“Oh, I think there are no monkeys around here to throw coconuts at us,” said the grasshopper, “but this is certainly very strange. Perhaps it is the alligator or the fuzzy fox up in a tree trying to hurt us by throwing the little nuts.”
“Perhaps,” agreed Uncle Wiggily. “Well, we will hurry on, and get out of these woods.” So they hurried all they could, but as it happened the grasshopper got a big wooden splinter in his left front leg and it took him and Uncle Wiggily quite a while to get it out, and when at last they did so, it was almost night.
They were hopping along, looking for a place to sleep in the woods, when all of a sudden down came a big black walnut, and it hit Uncle Wiggily’s crutch, bouncing off with a bang.
“Who did that?” cried the rabbit looking up as well as he could in the darkness. “Who threw that nut?”
“Katy did!” cried a shrill voice up in a tree. “Katy did!”
“Oh, she did; eh?” exclaimed the old gentleman rabbit. “Well I always thought Katy was a nice little girl. I can’t believe she’d throw anything at me. It’s not possible!”
“Katy did–she did!” cried the voice in the tree again.
“Oh, would you ever think such a thing of her?” asked the grasshopper, who was quite excited.
“No, I wouldn’t,” declared Uncle Wiggily sad-like. “Where does Katy live?” he went on. “Perhaps if I speak to her, and tell her how unpleasant it is to have nuts thrown at one she won’t do it again. Where does she live?”
“Katy did! Katy did! Katy did!” was all the voice said.
“Of course! I know that by this time,” said Uncle Wiggily. “But where does she live? Whereabouts in these woods?”
“Katy did! Katy did!” cried the voice again.
“Ah, I see!” exclaimed the grasshopper, “That means she once did live here, but that she has moved away. That must be it.”
“Then I’m glad of it,” spoke the rabbit. “I hope she doesn’t come back to throw any more things at us. Do you think she will?” and he looked up in the tree to see who had been talking so about Katy.
“Katy did! Katy did!” was all the answer there was.
But all of a sudden there was a rustling in the bushes, and out into the moonlight, which was then shining in the forest, there came a little white cat, with four legs and a long tail.
“Oh, dear!” she cried. “I’m Katy, and I heard what you all said about me. But I didn’t do it at all. I didn’t throw a thing at you, Uncle Wiggily, or at the grasshopper either. I wouldn’t do such a thing. Oh, how can you believe it? I didn’t do it at all.”
“Katy did! Katy did!” cried the shrill voice up in the tree-top. “Katy did–she did!”
“Ha, hum!” cried the old gentleman rabbit. “This must be looked into. If Katy didn’t do it, we mustn’t have her talked about that way. Come, Mr. Grasshopper, we’ll see who’s calling out about Katy so much.”
But just as the rabbit was helping the grasshopper to climb up the tree, to see who it was that had been calling, all of a sudden out from behind a stump there sprang a savage fox, who wanted to eat up Uncle Wiggily and the pussy and the grasshopper also. But the rabbit happened to see a hole in the ground.
“Quick! Jump down here all of you!” he cried and he helped the pussy and the grasshopper to get into the hole where they would be safe from the fox. And, as they disappeared under ground the voice up in the tree-top cried once more:
“Katy did! Katy did!”
“Oh, ho! I’ll put a stop to that to-morrow!” declared Uncle Wiggily. “Don’t cry, Katy, dear. I’ll see that whoever is bothering you will stop.” Then the little white pussy dried her tears, and the three friends slept safely in the hole all night, and the fox did not bother them a bit.