“Uncle Wiggily, are you very busy to-day?” asked Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady housekeeper, who, with the old rabbit gentleman, was on a visit to the Bushytail family of squirrels in their hollow-tree home.
After staying a while with the Littletail rabbits, when his hollow-stump bungalow had burned down, the bunny uncle went to visit Johnnie and Billie Bushytail.
“Are you very busy, Uncle Wiggily?” asked the muskrat lady.
“Why, no, Nurse Jane, not so very,” answered the bunny uncle. “Is there something you would like me to do for you?” he asked, with a polite bow.
“Well, Mrs. Bushytail and I have just baked some pies,” said the muskrat lady, “and we thought perhaps you might like to take one to your friend, Grandfather Goosey Gander.” “Fine!” cried Uncle Wiggily, making his nose twinkle like a star on a Christmas tree in the dark. “Grandpa Goosey will be glad to get a pie. I’ll take him one.”
“We have it all ready for you,” said Mrs. Bushytail, the squirrel mother of Johnnie and Billie, as she came in the sitting-room. “It’s a nice hot pie, and it will keep your paws warm, Uncle Wiggily, as you go over the ice and snow through the woods and across the fields.”
“Fine!” cried the bunny uncle again. “I’ll get ready and go at once.”
Uncle Wiggily put on his warm fur coat, fastened his tall silk hat on his head, with his ears sticking up through holes cut in the brim, so it would not blow off, and then, taking his red, white and blue-striped rheumatism crutch, that Nurse Jane had gnawed for him out of a corn-stalk, away he started. He carried the hot apple pie in a basket over his paw.
“Grandpa Goosey will surely like this pie,” said Uncle Wiggily to himself, as he lifted the napkin that was over it to take a little sniff. “It makes me hungry myself. And how nice and warm it is,” he went on, as he put one cold paw in the basket to warm it; warm his paw I mean, not the basket.
Over the fields and through the woods hopped the bunny uncle. It began to snow a little, but Uncle Wiggily did not mind that, for he was well wrapped up.
When he was about halfway to Grandpa Goosey’s house Uncle Wiggily heard, from behind a pile of snow, a sad sort of crying voice.
“Hello!” exclaimed the bunny uncle, “that sounds like some one in trouble. I must see if I can help them.”
Uncle Wiggily looked over the top of the pile of snow, and, sitting on the ground, in front of a big icicle, was a boy all dressed in blue. Even his eyes were blue, but you could not very well see them, as they were filled with tears.
“Oh, dear! Oh, dear!” said Uncle Wiggily, kindly. “This is quite too bad! What is the matter, little fellow; and who are you?”
“I am Little Boy Blue, from the home of Mother Goose,” was the answer, “and the matter is that it’s lost!”
“What is lost?” asked Uncle. “If it’s a penny I will help you find it.”
“It isn’t a penny,” answered Boy Blue. “It’s the hay stack which I have to sleep under. I can’t find it, and I must see where it is or else things won’t be as they are in the Mother Goose book. Don’t you know what it says?”
And he sang:
“Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn,
There are sheep in the meadow and cows in the corn.
Where’s Little Boy Blue, who looks after the sheep?
Why he’s under the hay stack, fast asleep.”
“Only I can’t go to sleep under the hay stack, Uncle Wiggily, because I can’t find it. And, oh, dear! I don’t know what to do!” and Little Boy Blue cried harder than ever, so that some of his tears froze into little round marbles of ice, like hail stones.
“There, there, now!” said Uncle Wiggily, kindly. “Of course you can’t find a hay stack in the winter. They are all covered with snow.”
“Are they?” asked Boy Blue, real surprised like.
“Of course, they are!” cried Uncle Wiggily, in his most jolly voice. “Besides, you wouldn’t want to sleep under a hay stack, even if there was one here, in the winter. You would catch cold and have the sniffle-snuffles.”
“That’s so, I might,” Boy Blue said, and he did not cry so hard now. “But that isn’t all, Uncle Wiggily,” he went on, nodding at the rabbit gentleman. “It isn’t all my trouble.”
“What else is the matter?” asked the bunny uncle.
“It’s my horn,” spoke the little boy who looked after the cows and sheep. “I can’t make any music tunes on my horn. And I really have to blow my horn, you know, for it says in the Mother Goose book that I must. See, I can’t blow it a bit.” And Boy Blue put his horn to his lips, puffed out his cheeks and blew as hard as he could, but no sound came out.
“Let me try,” said Uncle Wiggily. The rabbit gentleman took the horn and he, also, tried to blow. He blew so hard he almost blew off his tall silk hat, but no sound came from the horn.
“Ah, I see what the trouble is!” cried the bunny uncle with a jolly laugh, looking down inside the “toot-tooter.” “It is so cold that the tunes are all frozen solid in your horn. But I have a hot apple pie here in my basket that I was taking to Grandpa Goosey Gander. I’ll hold the cold horn on the hot pie and the tunes will thaw out.”
“Oh, have you a pie in there?” asked Little Boy Blue. “Is it the Christmas pie into which Little Jack Horner put in his thumb and pulled out a plum?”
“Not quite, but nearly the same,” laughed Uncle Wiggily. “Now to thaw out the frozen horn.”
The bunny uncle put Little Boy Blue’s horn in the basket with the hot apple pie. Soon the ice was melted out of the horn, and Uncle Wiggily could blow on it, and play tunes, and so could Boy Blue. Tootity-toot-toot tunes they both played.
“Now you are all right!” cried the bunny uncle. “Come along with me and you may have a piece of this pie for yourself. And you may stay with Grandpa Goosey Gander until summer comes, and then blow your horn for the sheep in the meadow and the cows in the corn. There is no need, now, for you to stay out in the cold and look for a haystack under which to sleep.”
“No, I guess not,” said Boy Blue. “I’ll come with you, Uncle Wiggily. And thank you, so much, for helping me. I don’t know what would have happened only for you.”
“Do not mention it,” politely said Uncle Wiggily with a laugh. Then he and little Boy Blue hurried on through the snow, and soon they were at Grandpa Goosey’s house with the warm apple pie, and oh! how good it tasted! Oh, yum-yum!