“Weren’t you frightened when you were up in the tree and the bear was coming after you?” asked Buddy Pigg of the red monkey, as he and Uncle Wiggily were walking along, after the adventure that I told you about last night.
“Frightened? I should say I was!” exclaimed the monkey. “I thought I’d never get down again to help look for Uncle Wiggily’s fortune. I never can thank you enough for whistling and scaring that savage bear. How do you do it?”
“Oh, it is very simple,” said the guinea pig boy, as he modestly looked down at the ground. “It’s this way.”
Then he whistled through his teeth again, slowly and faster, just to show how it was done.
“I wish I could learn how to do that,” said the monkey. “If I ever get caught up a tree again by a bear I could whistle for myself, and make believe some hunter’s dogs were coming to help me.”
“I’ll show you,” said Buddy Pigg, and he told the monkey how to put his tongue against his teeth and how to blow through his lips. Well, the red monkey tried it, and he tried again, but he couldn’t seem to whistle.
“Perhaps if I stand on my head I could do better,” he said, and in a moment there he was standing on his head and trying to whistle upside down. But still he couldn’t do it.
“Try hanging by your tail,” suggested Buddy Pigg, and the little red chap did so, but still it was of no use. He hung there by his tail so long that Uncle Wiggily was afraid the monkey’s head might fall off, so he made him get down.
Then the red chap tried again and again, but he couldn’t whistle a bit, and at last the old gentleman rabbit said:
“I believe I know what the trouble is.”
“What?” asked Buddy.
“Why, you see you have no tail, Buddy, and you are a good whistler,” went on the rabbit, for you know it’s really so–guinea pigs have no tails–though I’m not allowed to tell you the reason just yet.
“You have no tail, and you are a good whistler,” said the rabbit again, “but the monkey has a long tail, and he can’t seem to whistle a bit. The tail must make all the difference. Just cut off your tail, red monkey, and you’ll whistle.”
“Yes, I guess I would!” exclaimed the monkey, surprised-like. “I’d cry too, and feel very badly. No, if I have to lose my tail to whistle I’ll never do it. I know what I can do instead.”
“What?” asked Buddy Pigg.
“I can hire a green parrot to whistle for me,” said the monkey. “Parrots can whistle for real or make-believe dogs as good as a man can. I’ll take a parrot with me, and he’ll scare the bears.”
“Very good,” said Uncle Wiggily, “for I would not like to see you lose your tail.”
So, the three friends traveled on for some distance until it was time for Buddy Pigg to go home. And with him Uncle Wiggily sent his love to all his friends and to Sammie and Susie Littletail also.
“Well, we don’t seem to be finding your fortune very fast,” spoke the red monkey after they had climbed up one hill, and part of another one, and had looked under a lot of stones and behind several stumps.
“No, I guess we won’t find it to-day,” said the rabbit. It was now getting on toward afternoon, and Uncle Wiggily began thinking of where he would spend the night.
“I know what to do,” said the red monkey. “I’ll make a little house here in the woods, and we’ll stay in that. We’ll build a fire, and make believe we are camping out. And, while I am making the house out of sticks and leaves, you can walk around and look for your fortune.”
“Very good,” said the old gentleman rabbit, and so he started off, leaving the monkey to make the house in the woods. Uncle Wiggily walked on and on, but he didn’t find his fortune, and it was getting rather late. He was just about to start back to where he had left the red monkey, when all of a sudden he heard a crying in the woods.
“Ha! I know what that is!” exclaimed the rabbit. “That is a baby fox, and near him is the old papa fox, who wants to catch and eat me. I’ll not go near him, but I’ll hurry home.”
So he started toward the monkey’s house, but the crying became louder, and the rabbit thought that perhaps, after all, it might not be a baby fox. And then, before he could twinkle his nose more than seven times, there was a rustling in the bushes, and out came a little boy squirrel. One of his legs was broken, and he was limping along on a piece of wood for a crutch.
“Oh, you poor little fellow!” cried the rabbit. “You look just like Billie or Johnny Bushytail after a football game. What has happened?”
“Oh, a boy threw a stone at me, and hurt me!” answered the little squirrel. “I’m lost and I can’t walk home, and I don’t know what to do.”
“I’ll help you,” spoke Uncle Wiggily, kindly, but when he tried to, he found that his own rheumatism was so bad that he could hardly move. And the little boy squirrel was so stiff that he could barely walk, and there they were, both in the woods, with night coming on, and no way to get home.
“Oh, what shall we do?” cried Uncle Wiggily, and he wished the monkey would come along. And just then, if you will believe me, there was another rustling in the bushes, and out galloped Munchie Trot, the strong pony boy.
“Ha! What is the trouble here?” he asked, switching his tail, just like a wooden horse on the merry-go-round.
“Oh, we are both so lame that we can’t walk,” said Uncle Wiggily, “and we are a long way from the monkey’s house. What shall we do?”
“Yes!” cried the little lame squirrel boy, “Boo-hoo! Hoo-boo what shall we do?”
“Don’t say another word!” cried Munchie. “I’ll take care of you. Just get on my back and I’ll soon take you to the monkey’s house in the woods.” Then the pony boy knelt down so that Uncle Wiggily and the squirrel could get up on his back.
And when they got there and the cupboard was bare–oh, please excuse me, that belongs in another story–when they got up on Munchie’s back and were holding tightly to the saddle, off the pony boy started through the woods, galloping to the monkey’s house.
Then a whole lot of mosquitoes swarmed out of the bushes and tried to bite Uncle Wiggily and the squirrel, but Munchie switched his tail at the stinging insects, and away they scattered.
Then a big owl flew down out of a tree and tried to grab the squirrel, but the pony trotted so fast that the owl was left behind. And next a wolf tried to pull the rabbit off the horse, but Munchie tickled the savage creature in the ribs with his hoof, and the wolf ran away, sneezing.
Then the pony came safely to the house that the monkey had built in the woods, and he and Uncle Wiggily and the squirrel stayed there in peace and quietness all night, and they put some salve and a bandage on the squirrel’s hurt leg to make it well.