Once upon a time, about as many years ago as it takes a lollypop to slide down the back cellar door, there lived in a kennel, not far from Uncle Wiggily’s hollow stump bungalow, a bad dog. And the bunny rabbit gentleman, more than once, wished that this dog would always stay in his kennel, or remain chained in front of it so he couldn’t get loose.
“For that dog,” said Uncle Wiggily to Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, “is the pest of my life! Every time he sees me he chases me. He isn’t at all like Jackie and Peetie Bow Wow, or Old Dog Percival.”
“Why don’t you scratch sand and gravel in his eyes as you did in the face of the bad boy?” asked the muskrat lady housekeeper.
“You can’t treat dogs as you do boys,” replied Uncle Wiggily. “Though, of course, some boys and some dogs are great friends. But this dog seems always to want to chase me.”
“Then you must be very careful if you go off in the woods to-day, looking for an adventure,” said Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy.
“I will,” promised the bunny rabbit gentleman.
Away he hopped on his red, white and blue striped rheumatism crutch, and his tall, silk hat. And this time Uncle Wiggily took with him his glasses, which he sometimes wore in order to see better.
“And I want to see the very best I can to-day,” said Mr. Longears to himself, as he hopped along. “I want to see that bad, unpleasant dog before he sees me!”
Uncle Wiggily was skipping along, thinking perhaps that he had better pick a bunch of violets and take them to the lady mouse teacher in the hollow stump school, when, all of a sudden, there sounded through the woods a loud:
“That isn’t the Fox, nor yet the Wolf, nor even the Skillery Scallery Alligator,” said Uncle Wiggily, looking around the corner of the mulberry bush. “I think it must be that savage dog!”
And, surely enough it was. And a moment later the dog came bursting through the bushes, barking and growling and headed straight for Uncle Wiggily.
“I’ll make believe I’m playing baseball and try for a home run!” said the rabbit gentleman to himself, and through the bushes, turning and twisting this way and that, he ran for his hollow stump bungalow.
Uncle Wiggily reached it only just in time, too. For as he hopped up the steps, and closed the door, locking it, the dog jumped over the gate.
“My goodness me sakes alive and a basket of soap bubbles!” cried Nurse Jane. “What’s the matter, Wiggy? Is the house on fire?”
“It’s that dog—chasing—me!” panted the bunny, for he was quite out of breath.
“The idea! How impolite of him!” exclaimed the muskrat lady, and she shook her broom out of the window at the bad chap.
“Well, you got away from me this time, but the next time I’ll get you,” growled the dog, as he slunk away.
“Why is he so anxious to catch you?” asked Nurse Jane, as Uncle Wiggily sat down in an easy chair to rest.
“Oh, I guess he’d chase any of the animal folk he saw in the wood,” answered the bunny gentleman. “He’d chase Sammie or Susie Littletail the rabbits, Johnnie or Billie Bushytail the squirrels and I’m sure he would make Lulu, Alice and Jimmie Wibblewobble, the duck children, lose their feathers in trying to flutter away from him.”
“It’s too bad,” said Nurse Jane. “You ought to speak to Old Percival, the Policeman Dog about this bad chap.”
“I shall,” said Uncle Wiggily. He did, too, but the bad dog was so sly that Old Percival could not catch him. Uncle Wiggily also spoke to the little dog, whom he had saved from having a tin can tied on his tail by a bad boy.
“I’ll tell this savage dog to let you alone,” the little chap promised.
But all this did no good. Every time the bad dog saw Uncle Wiggily in the woods he chased the rabbit gentleman, and once nearly caught the bunny. I don’t know why this dog was so unpleasant and mean toward Uncle Wiggily. I guess maybe the dog didn’t know any better. Perhaps he thought Uncle Wiggily didn’t like dogs, but Mr. Longears did—especially Jackie and Peetie Bow Wow, the little puppy chaps.
Well, as it happened, one day the people who owned the big, savage dog, that always chased Uncle Wiggily, went away on a visit. And they went in such a hurry that they left the dog chained to his kennel, and they forgot to leave him any water to drink, or food to eat.
At first the dog was not hungry, but later in the day, when it was time for him to have had a meal, and some water, that dog began to feel very unhappy.
“Bow! Wow! Wow!” he barked, trying to call someone out to feed him, and pour water in the sun-dried pan. But no one came, and the dog grew more hungry, and so thirsty that his tongue hung down out of his mouth.
Just about this time Uncle Wiggily was going through the woods on his way to the six and seven cent store to get Nurse Jane a spool of thread. The bunny rabbit heard the barking of the dog, and started to run, for he knew that voice. But as he paused to listen, and find out from which direction the sound came, so he could run away from it, instead of toward it, Uncle Wiggily heard a voice saying:
“Bow wow! Oh, how hungry I am! How thirsty I am!”
It was the savage dog speaking, and Uncle Wiggily of course understood animal talk, even better than he had learned to know, as he had of late, what boys and girls said.
“Hum! So that dog is hungry and thirsty, is he?” said the bunny to himself. “Well, why doesn’t he go and dig up some of the bones he must have buried? And why doesn’t he go to the duck pond and get a drink, I wonder?”
Uncle Wiggily thought there was something strange about this, and as the barking and animal-talking voice of the dog did not come any nearer, the bunny hopped over to see what was the matter.
There he saw the savage dog, fastened by a heavy chain to his kennel, with nothing to eat, no water to drink and no one to bring him any.
“Oh, how hungry I am! How thirsty I am!” barked the dog.
“Oh, are you?” politely asked Uncle Wiggily, looking out from behind a stone. He was not afraid to be this near the bad dog, for the savage chap was chained, and could not get loose.
“Yes, I am very thirsty and hungry,” whined the dog. “But of course I don’t expect you to feed me or give me water. I’ve been too bad to you—I’ve chased you too often! I can’t ask you to help me!”
“I don’t see why not,” said Uncle Wiggily politely. “If I were ill in my bungalow, with rheumatism, and Nurse Jane wasn’t there to wait on me, and you came along, wouldn’t you get me a drink of water?”
The dog thought a moment before answering. Then he sort of drooped his tail, sorry-like and softly said:
“Yes, I believe I would.”
“Then,” said the bunny gentleman, “I’ll bring you a drink, and if you tell me where you have buried some bones, I’ll dig them up for you, since I can’t loosen your kennel chain to let you dig them yourself.”
“Oh, how kind you are!” said the dog. “I—I really don’t deserve this.”
“Stuff and nonsense!” laughed Uncle Wiggily. “We all make mistakes—that’s why they put rubbers on the end of lead pencils, as someone has said. I’ll help you when you’re in trouble.”
Then the bunny found a half a coconut shell, and dipping this in the nearby brook, brought water to the thirsty dog. And when he had taken a long drink, cooling his parched and hot tongue, the dog pointed to where he had buried some bones, behind the barn.
Uncle Wiggily dug up the bones with his paws, which were just made for such work, and carried them to the dog.
“Oh, I can’t thank you enough,” said Gurr-Rup, which was the dog’s name. “And I promise, Mr. Longears, that I’ll never chase you again.”
“Thank you!” laughed the bunny, as he hopped on to the three and four cent store. “I hoped you wouldn’t.”