“Uncle Wiggily, have you anything special to do this morning?” asked Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady housekeeper for the rabbit gentleman, as she saw him get up from the breakfast table in his hollow-stump bungalow.
“Anything special? Why, no, I guess not,” answered the bunny uncle. “I was going out for a walk, and perhaps I may meet with an adventure on the way, or I may help some friends of Mother Goose, as I sometimes do.”
“You are always being kind to some one,” said Nurse Jane, “and that is what I want you to do now. I have just made an orange cake, and——”
“An orange cake?” cried Uncle Wiggily, his pink nose twinkling. “How nice! Where did you get the oranges?”
“Up on the Orange Mountains, to be sure,” answered the muskrat lady, with a laugh. “I have made two orange cakes, to tell the exact truth, which I always do. There is one for us and I wanted to send one to Dr. Possum, who was so good to cure you of the rheumatism, when the cow with the crumpled horn pulled the hard cork out of the medicine bottle for us.”
“Send an orange cake to Dr. Possum? The very thing! Oh, fine!” cried the bunny uncle. “I’ll take it right over to him. Put it in a basket, so it will not take cold, Nurse Jane.”
The muskrat lady wrapped the orange cake in a clean napkin, and then put it in the basket for Uncle Wiggily to carry to Dr. Possum.
Off started the old rabbit gentleman, over the woods and through the fields—oh, excuse me just a minute. He did not go over the woods this time. He only did that when he had his airship, which he was not using to-day, for fear of spilling the oranges out of the cake. So he went over the fields and through the woods to Dr. Possum’s office.
“Well, I wonder if I will have any adventure to-day?” thought the old rabbit gentleman, as he hopped along. “I hope I do, for——”
And then he suddenly stopped thinking and listened, for he heard a dog barking, and a voice was sadly saying:
“Oh, dear! It’s too bad, I know it is, but I can’t help it. It’s that way in the book, so you’ll have to go hungry.”
Then the dog barked again and Uncle Wiggily said:
“More trouble for some one. I hope it isn’t the bad dog who used to bother me. I wonder if I can help any one?”
He looked around, and, nearby, he saw a little wooden house on the top of a hill. The barking and talking was coming from that house.
“I’ll go up and see what is the matter,” said the rabbit gentleman. “Perhaps I can help.”
He looked through a window of the house before going in, and he saw a lady, somewhat like Mother Goose, wearing a tall, peaked hat, like an ice cream cone turned upside down. And with her was a big dog, who was looking in an open cupboard and barking. And the lady was singing:
“Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard
To get her poor dog a bone.
But, when she got there,
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.”
“And isn’t there anything else in the house to eat, except a bone, Mother Hubbard?” the dog asked. “I’m so hungry!”
“There isn’t, I’m sorry to say,” she answered. “But I’ll go to the baker’s to get you some bread——”
“And when you come back you will think I am dead,” said the dog, quickly. “I’ll look so, anyhow,” he went on, “for I am so hungry. Isn’t there any way of getting me anything to eat without going to the baker’s? I don’t care much for bread, anyhow.”
“How would you like a piece of orange cake?” asked Uncle Wiggily, all of a sudden, as he walked in Mother Hubbard’s house. “Excuse me,” said the bunny uncle, “but I could not help hearing what your dog said. I know how hard it is to be hungry, and I have an orange cake in my basket. It is for Dr. Possum, but I am sure he would be glad to let your dog have some.”
“That is very kind of you,” said Mother Hubbard.
“And I certainly would like orange cake,” spoke the dog, making a bow and wagging his nose—I mean his tail.
“Then you shall have it,” said Uncle Wiggily, opening the basket. He set the orange cake on the table, and the dog began to eat it, and Mother Hubbard also ate some, for she was hungry, too, and, what do you think? Before Uncle Wiggily, or any one else knew it, the orange cake was all gone—eaten up—and there was none for Dr. Possum.
“Oh, see what we have done!” cried Mother Hubbard, sadly. “We have eaten all your cake, Uncle Wiggily. I’m sure we did not mean to, but with a hungry dog——”
“Do not mention it,” said the rabbit gentleman, politely. “I know just how it is. I have another orange cake of my own at home. I’ll go get that for Dr. Possum. He won’t mind which one he has.”
“No. I can’t let you do that,” spoke Mother Hubbard. “You were too kind to be put to all that trouble. Next door to me lives Paddy Kake, the baker-man. I’ll have him bake you a cake as fast as he can, and you can take that to Dr. Possum. How will that do?”
“Why, that will be just fine!” said Uncle Wiggily, twinkling his pink nose at the dog, who was licking up the last of the cake crumbs with his red tongue.
So Mother Hubbard went next door, where lived Paddy Kake, the baker. And she said to him:
“Paddy Kake, Paddy Kake, baker-man,
Bake me a cake as fast as you can.
Into it please put a raisin and plum,
And mark it with D. P. for Dr. Possum.”
“I will,” said Paddy Kake. “I’ll do it right away.”
And he did, and as soon as the cake was baked Uncle Wiggily put it in the basket where the orange one had been, and took it to Dr. Possum, who was very glad to get it. For the raisin and plum cake was as good as the orange one Mother Hubbard and her dog had eaten.