Uncle Wiggily didn’t sleep very well at the hedgehog’s house that night, and the reason for it was this: You see they didn’t have many beds there, and first the rabbit gentleman lay down with the smallest little porcupine boy, in his bed.
But pretty soon, along about in the middle of the night, this little boy got to dreaming that he was a rubber ball. And he rolled over in the bed, and he rolled up against Uncle Wiggily, and the stickery-stickers from the little hedgehog chap stuck in the old gentleman rabbit.
“Oh, dear!” cried Uncle Wiggily, “I think I’ll have to go and sleep with your brother Jimmie.”
So he went over to the other hedgehog boy’s bed, but land sakes flopsy-dub and a basket of soap bubbles!
As soon as the rabbit got in there that other hedgehog chap began to dream that he was a jumping jack, and so he jumped up and down, and he jumped on top of Uncle Wiggily, and stuck more stickery-stickers in him, until at last the rabbit got up and said:
“Oh, dear, I guess I’ll have to go to sleep on the floor.”
So he did that, putting his head on his satchel for a pillow and pulling his red-white-and-blue-striped-barber-pole crutch over him for a cover. And, in the morning, he felt a little better.
“Well, I think I will travel on once more,” said Uncle Wiggily after a breakfast of strawberries, and mush and milk. “I may find my fortune to-day.”
The hedgehog boys wanted him to stay with them, and make more mud pies, or even a cherry one, but the rabbit gentleman said he had no time. So off he went over hills and down dales, and along through the woods.
Pretty soon, not so very long, just as Uncle Wiggily was walking behind a big rock, as large as a house, he heard some one crying. Oh, such a loud crying voice as it was, and the old rabbit gentleman was a bit frightened.
“For it sounds like a giant crying,” he said to himself. “And if it’s a giant he may be a bad one, who would hurt me. I guess I’ll run back the other way.”
Well, he started to run, but, just as he did so, he heard the voice crying again, and this time it said:
“Oh, dear me! Oh, if some one would only help me! Oh, I am in such trouble!”
“Come, I don’t believe that is a giant after all,” thought the rabbit. “It may be Sammie Littletail, who has grown to be such a big boy that I won’t know him any more.” So he took a careful look, but instead of seeing his little rabbit nephew, he saw a big elephant, sitting on the ground, crying as hard as he could cry.
Now, you know, when an elephant cries it isn’t like when you cry once in a great while, or when baby cries every day. No, indeed! An elephant cries so very many tears that if you don’t have a water pail near you, to catch them, you may get your feet wet; that is, if you don’t have on rubbers.
Well, that’s the way it was this time. The elephant was crying big, salty tears, about the size of rubber balls, and they were rolling down from his eyes and along his trunk, which was like a fire engine hose, until there was quite a little stream of water flowing down the hill toward the rabbit.
“Oh, please don’t cry any more!” called Uncle Wiggily.
“Why not?” asked the elephant, sadly-like, and he cried harder than before.
“Because if you do,” replied the rabbit, “I will have to get a pair of rubber boots, in which to wade out to see you.”
“I’ll try to stop,” said the big animal, but, instead, he cried harder than before, boo-hooing and hoo-booing, until you would have thought it was raining, and Uncle Wiggily wished he had an umbrella.
“Why, whatever is the matter?” asked the rabbit.
“Oh, I stepped on a tack,” answered the elephant, “and it is sticking in my foot. I can’t walk, and I can’t dance and I can’t get back to the circus. Oh, dear! Oh, dear me, suz-dud and a red balloon! Oh, how miserable I am!”
“Too bad,” said Uncle Wiggily. “Was it a large tack that you stepped on?”
“Was it?” asked the elephant, sort of painful-like. “Why, it feels as big as a dishpan in my foot. Here, you look, and perhaps you can pull it out.”
He raised up one of his big feet, which were about as large as a washtub full of clothes, on Monday morning, and he held it out to Uncle Wiggily.
“Why, I can’t see anything here,” said the rabbit, looking at the big foot through his spectacles.
“Oh, dear! It’s there all right!” cried the elephant. “It feels like two wash tubs now,” and he began to cry some more.
“Here! Hold on, if you please!” shouted Uncle Wiggily. “I’ll have to make a boat, if you keep on shedding so many tears, for there will be a lake here. Wait, I’ll look once more.”
So he looked again, and this time he saw just the little, tiniest, baby-tack you can imagine—about the size of a pinhead—sticking in the elephant’s foot.
“Wait! I have it! Was this it?” suddenly asked the rabbit, as he took hold of the tack in his paw and pulled it out.
“That’s it!” exclaimed the elephant, waving his trunk. “It’s out! Oh, how much better I feel. Whoop-de-doodle-do!” and then he felt so fine that he began to dance. Then, all of a sudden, he began to cry once more.
“Why, what in the world is the matter now?” asked Uncle Wiggily, wishing he had a pail, so that he might catch the elephant’s salty tears.
“Oh, I feel so happy that I can’t help crying, because my pain is gone!” exclaimed the big creature. Then he cried about forty-‘leven bushels of tears, and a milk bottle full besides, and there was a little pond around him, and Uncle Wiggily was in it up to his neck.
Then, all of a sudden, in came swimming the alligator, right toward the rabbit.
“Ah, now I’ll get you!” cried the skillery-scalery beast.
“No you won’t!” shouted the elephant, “Uncle Wiggily is my friend!” So he put his trunk down in the water, and sucked it all up, and then he squirted it over the trees. That left the alligator on dry land, and then the elephant grabbed the alligator up in his strong trunk, and tossed him into the briar bushes, scalery-ailery tail and all, and the alligator crawled away after a while.
So that’s how Uncle Wiggily was saved from the alligator by the crying elephant, and the rabbit and elephant traveled on together for some days. Now, as I see the sand man coming, I must stop.
But, in case I don’t fall into the washtub with my new suit on, and get it all colored sky-blue-pink, so I can’t go to the picnic, I’ll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the cherry tree.