Uncle Wiggily, the nice old gentleman rabbit, was working away out in the yard fixing his airship. He had been riding around in it a great deal of late, sailing up among the clouds, taking it out in rain storms, and once he even sailed in it across the duck pond, coming right down into the water with it.
And in doing all these things one of the handles of the clothes basket, which was part of the airship, had become bent and twisted. And some of the toy circus balloons needed to be blown up with fresh air, and there was a hole in the Japanese umbrella, which formed the top part of the airship, to keep the sun off Uncle Wiggily.
“Yes, I must fix up my airship,” said the rabbit gentleman as he worked away, whistling and twinkling his nose at the same time, like a star on a frosty night.
And that is very hard to do—to whistle and twinkle your nose at the same time. If you do not believe me just try it yourself and see.
“Have you any more sofa cushions I could take for my airship, Nurse Jane?” asked Uncle Wiggily, going into the house where the muskrat lady housekeeper was boiling some carrots to make a lemon pie.
“Sofa cushions?” Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy cried. “What in the world do you want of more sofa cushions?”
“To make another seat in the clothes basket of my airship,” answered the rabbit gentleman. “You see, I have room for two persons in it, and perhaps even three more of my animal friends, if we squeezed up a bit, but I need more sofa cushions to make a soft place for my company to land on in case we fall.”
“Well, I guess we have a few cushions left,” said the muskrat lady. “But, please, don’t lose them.”
Uncle Wiggily said he wouldn’t and soon he had his airship all fixed up with two nicely cushioned seats in it. Then he went back in the house to get a turnip cookie, with cocoanut sprinkled on the bottom, and he asked of Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy, most politely:
“Won’t you come and take a ride in my airship, Nurse Jane?”
“Oh, my goodness me, sakes alive and some fried soap bubbles!” cried the muskrat lady, surprised like. “No, indeed, thank you! I should be dreadfully afraid.”
“There is no danger at all,” Uncle Wiggily said, but Nurse Jane would not come out in the airship with him, and the rabbit gentleman had to go sailing all alone by himself.
Up into the air he soared, looking down on the tree tops, and he wished he had some one with him, for he was lonesome, Uncle Wiggily was. But Charlie and Arabella Chick, the hen lady’s children, were at school, and so were Sammie and Susie Littletail, the rabbits, and Johnnie and Billie Bushytail, the squirrels. In fact Bully and Bawly No-Tail, the frog boys, and all the animal children were at school.
“I guess I can find no one to ride with me to-day,” sadly said Uncle Wiggily, after he had called on Grandfather Goosey Gander and found that the old goose gentleman had gone fishing after snails. Dr. Possum, on whom the old rabbit gentleman also called, was busy looking after the ill animals, so of course Dr. Possum could not go.
Well, Uncle Wiggily was getting more and more lonesome, and he was thinking of going back home, when, all of a sudden, down on the ground below him he heard some one saying:
“Oh, dear! Isn’t it too bad! Oh, such bad luck! and they want these things for the party, too! Oh, sorrow! Oh, unhappiness! Oh, woe is me!”
“My, some one must be having a whole bushel of trouble, and then some more,” said Uncle Wiggily, sort of surprised like. “I must see what this is.”
He made his airship go slowly down toward the ground, and then the rabbit gentleman saw the delivery boy grocery cat standing near an old stump, and looking down at a broken basket, that had been filled with things from the store. But the things were all spilled now.
“Ha! What is the matter, Tom?” asked Uncle Wiggily of the grocery cat. You see the cat’s name was Tom, and he worked at delivering groceries from the grocery store.
“Oh, I have such a lot of trouble,” said Tom. “As I was going along with the groceries just now, my basket handle broke, one of the sides slipped out, and the groceries spilled all over.”
“That is too bad,” said Uncle Wiggily kindly, as he made his airship go all the way down to the ground.
“And the worst of it is,” went on Tom, the grocery cat, “that the basket is so broken that I can’t use it again. I have no other and Mrs. Wibblewobble, the duck lady, is in a hurry for these things. She wants them for a party she is getting up for Lulu, Alice and Jimmie. Oh, isn’t it too bad!”
“Yes, but it might be worse,” said Uncle Wiggily, cheerfully. “Nothing is so bad but what it could be worse.”
“I don’t see how,” spoke Tom, the grocery cat. “I can’t deliver these things, and Mrs. Wibblewobble will be so disappointed, and so will Lulu and Alice and Jimmie.”
“Oh, it might easily be worse,” laughed Uncle Wiggily, as he twinkled his nose twice and once more. “I might not have come along in my airship to help you. But here I am, and I have just put a new cushioned seat in the clothes basket, on purpose to give some one a ride.
“Now you get right in with me, and pile in the groceries. Never mind the broken basket. I’ll take you to Mrs. Wibblewobble’s house as fast as anything, and then you can deliver the groceries.”
“Oh, how kind you are!” cried Tom. In a second he had his groceries packed in Uncle Wiggily’s clothes basket airship. Then he and the old rabbit gentleman took their seats, up went the airship, around went the electric fan and pretty soon they were over the home of Mrs. Wibblewobble, the duck lady.
“Groceries!” cried Tom the cat, just as if he were at the back door, and when Uncle Wiggily lowered his airship, the things for the party were put on the back stoop. And wasn’t the duck lady surprised to see the groceries from the store come in an airship? Well, I guess she was! But she was delighted, too!
Then Tom, the grocery cat, thanked Uncle Wiggily again for helping him, and the rabbit gentleman took Tom back to the store, where he got a new basket, and everybody was happy.