Now what do you s’pose that bad giant had for supper the night after the ants helped Uncle Wiggily get away? You’d never guess, so I’ll tell you. It was beans—just baked beans, and that giant was so disappointed, and altogether so cut-up about not having rabbit stew, that he ate so many beans, that I’m almost afraid to tell you just how many.
But if all the boys in your school were to take their bean shooters, and shoot beans out of a bag for a million years, and Fourth of July also, that giant could eat all of them, and more too—that is, if he could get the beans after the boys shot them away.
“Well, I certainly must be more careful after this,” said Uncle Wiggily to the ants, as they crawled along down the hill with him, when he hopped away from the bad giant’s house.
“Oh, it wasn’t your fault,” said the second size big red ant, with black and yellow stripes on his stockings. “That bad giant changed the flags, and that’s what fooled you. But I guess the good giant will have his flag back by to-morrow, and then you can go to the right house. We’ll go along and show you, and you may get your fortune from him.”
So, surely enough, the next day, the good giant went over and took his flag away from the bad giant, and put it upon his own house.
“Now you’ll be all right,” said the pink ant, with purple spots on his necktie. “You won’t make any mistake now, Uncle Wiggily. I’m sure the good giant will give you a good fortune.”
“Yes, and he’ll give you lots to eat,” said the black ant with white rings around his nose.
Well, Uncle Wiggily took his valise and his crutch and up toward the good giant’s house he went, with the ants crawling along in the sand to show him the way.
Pretty soon they came to a big bridge, over a stream of water, and this was the beginning of the place where the good giant lived.
“We’ll all have to go back now,” said the purple ant, with the green patchwork squares on his checks. “If we crossed over the bridge we might fall off and be drowned. We’ll go back, but you go ahead, and we wish you good luck, Uncle Wiggily.”
“Indeed we do,” said a white ant with gold buckles on her shoes.
Well, after a little while Uncle Wiggily found himself right inside the good giant’s house. And oh! what a big place it was. Why, even the door mat was so big that it took the rabbit three hops to get to the top of it. And that front door! I wish you could have seen it! It was as large as one of your whole houses, and it was only a door, mind you.
“Hello! hello!” cried Uncle Wiggily, as he pounded with his crutch on the floor. “Is any one at home?”
“But no one answered, and there wasn’t a sound except the ticking of the clock, and that made as much noise as a railroad train going over a bridge, for the clock was a big as a church steeple.
“Hum! No one is home,” said Uncle Wiggily. “I’ll just sit down and make myself comfortable.” So he sat down on the floor by the table that was away over his head, and waited for the giant to come back.
And, all of a sudden, the rabbit heard a noise like a steam engine going, and he was quite surprised, until he happened to look up, and there stood a pussy cat as big as a cow, and the cat was purring, which made the noise like a steam engine.
“My, if that’s the size of the cat, what must the giant be,” thought the rabbit. “I do hope he’s good-natured when he comes home.”
Well, pretty soon, in a little while, as Uncle Wiggily was sitting there, listening to the big cat purr, he felt sleepy, and he was just going to sleep, when he heard a gentle voice singing:
“Oh, see the blackbird, sitting in the tree,
Hear him singing, jolly as can be.
Now he’ll whistle a pretty little tune,
Isn’t it delicious in the month of June?
“Hear the bees a-buzzing, hour by hour,
Gathering the honey from every little flower.
The katydid is singing by his own front door,
Now I’ll have to stop this song—I don’t know any more.”
“Well, whoever that is, he’s a jolly chap,” said the rabbit, and with that who should come in but the giant himself.
“Ho! Ho! Whom have we here?” the giant asked, looking at Uncle Wiggily. “What do you want, my little furry friend with the long ears? You must be able to hear very well with them.”
“I can hear pretty well,” said the rabbit. “But I came to seek my fortune.”
“Fine,” cried the good giant, for he it was. “I’ll do all I can for you,” and he laughed so long and hard that part of the ceiling and the gas chandelier fell down, but the giant caught them in his strong hands, and not even the cat was hurt. Then the giant sung another song, like the first, only different, and he fixed the broken ceiling, and said:
“Now for something to eat! Then we’ll talk about your fortune. I’ll get you some carrots.” So he went out, and pretty soon he came back, carrying ten barrels of carrots in one hand and seventeen bushels of cabbage in the other.
“Here’s a little light lunch for you,” he said to Uncle Wiggily. “Eat this, and I’ll get you some more, when we have a regular meal.”
“Oh, why this is more than I could eat in a year,” said the rabbit, “but I thank you very much,” so he nibbled at one carrot, while the good giant ate fifteen thousand seven hundred and eight loaves of bread, and two million bushels of jam. Then he felt better.
“So you want to find your fortune, eh?” the giant said to the rabbit. “Well, now I’ll help you all I can. How would you like to stay here and work for me? You have good ears, and you could listen for burglars in the night when I am asleep. Will you?”
“I think I will,” said Uncle Wiggily. And he was just reaching for another carrot, when suddenly from outside sounded a terrible racket.
“Where is he? Let me get at him! I want him right away—that rabbit I mean!” cried a voice, and Uncle Wiggily jumped up in great fright, and looked for some place to hide. The giant jumped up, too, and grabbed his big club.
But don’t be alarmed. Nothing bad is going to happen to our Uncle Wiggily—in fact he is going to have lots of fun soon.
So if my motorboat doesn’t turn upside down and spill out the pink lemonade, I’ll tell you in the next story about Uncle Wiggily and the giant’s little boy.