Uncle Wiggily Longears, the nice rabbit gentleman, stood in front of the looking glass trying on a new tall silk hat he had just bought ready for Easter Sunday, which would happen in about a week or two.
“Do you think it looks well on me, Nurse Jane?” asked the bunny uncle, of the muskrat lady housekeeper, who came in from the kitchen of the hollow stump bungalow, having just finished washing the dishes.
“Why, yes, I think your new hat is very nice,” she said.
“Do you think I ought to have the holes for my ears cut a little larger?” asked the bunny uncle. “I mean the holes cut, not my ears.”
“Well, just a little larger wouldn’t hurt any,” replied Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy. “I’ll cut them for you,” and she did, with her scissors. For Uncle Wiggily had to wear his tall silk hat with his ears sticking up through holes cut in it. His ears were too large to go under the hat, and he could not very well fold them down.
“There, now I guess I’m all right to go for a walk in the woods,” said the rabbit gentleman, taking another look at himself in the glass. It was not a proud look, you understand. Uncle Wiggily just wanted to look right and proper, and he wasn’t at all stuck up, even if his ears were, but he couldn’t help that.
So off he started, wondering what sort of an adventure he would have that day. He passed the place where the blue violets were growing in the green moss—the same violets he had used to make Nurse Jane’s blueing water for her clothes the other day, as I told you. And the violets were glad to see the bunny uncle.
Then Uncle Wiggily met Grandfather Goosey Gander, the nice old goose gentleman, and the two friends walked on together, talking about how much cornmeal you could buy with a lollypop, and all about the best way to eat fried ice cream carrots.
“That’s a very nice hat you have on, Uncle Wiggily,” said Grandpa Goosey, after a bit.
“Glad you like it,” answered the bunny uncle. “It’s for Easter.”
“I think I’ll get one for myself,” went on Mr. Gander. “Do you think I would look well in it?”
“Try on mine and see,” offered Uncle Wiggily most kindly. So he took his new, tall silk hat off his head, pulling his ears out of the holes Nurse Jane had cut for them, and handed it to Grandfather Goosey Gander—handed the hat, I mean, not his ears, though of course the holes went with the hat.
“There, how do I look?” asked the goose gentleman.
“Quite stylish and proper,” replied Mr. Longears.
“I’d like to see myself before I buy a hat like this,” went on Grandpa Goosey. “I hope it doesn’t make me look too tall.”
“Here’s a spring of water over by this old stump,” spoke Uncle Wiggily. “You can see yourself in that, for it is just like a looking glass.”
Grandpa Goosey leaned over to see how Uncle Wiggily’s tall, silk hat looked, when, all of a sudden, along came a puff of wind, caught the hat under the brim, and as Grandpa Goosey had no ears to hold it on his head (as the bunny uncle had) away sailed the hat up in the air, and it landed right in the top of a big, high tree.
“Oh, dear!” cried Uncle Wiggily.
“Oh, dear!” said Grandpa Goosey. “I’m very sorry that happened. Oh, dear!”
“It wasn’t your fault at all,” spoke Uncle Wiggily kindly. “It was the wind.”
“But with your nice, new tall silk hat up in that high tree, how are we ever going to get it down,” asked the goose gentleman.
“I don’t know,” answered Uncle Wiggily. “Let me think.”
So he thought for a minute or two, and then he said:
“There are three ways by which we may get the hat down. One is to ask the wind to blow it back to us, another is to climb up the tree and get the hat ourselves, and the third is to ask the tree to shake it down to us. We’ll try the wind first.”
So Uncle Wiggily and Grandpa Goosey asked the wind that had blown the hat up in the top of the high tree to kindly blow it back again. But the wind had gone far out to sea, and would not be back for a week. So that way of getting the hat was of no use.
“Mr. High Tree, will you kindly shake my hat down to me?” begged Uncle Wiggily next.
“I would like to, very much,” the tree answered politely, “but I cannot shake when there is no wind to blow me. We trees cannot shake ourselves, you know. We can only shake when the wind blows us, and until the wind comes back I cannot shake.”
“Too bad!” said Uncle Wiggily. “Then the only way left for us to do, Grandpa Goosey, is to climb the tree.”
But this was easier said than done, for neither a rabbit nor a goose gentleman is made for climbing up trees, though when he was a young chap Grandpa Goosey had flown up into little trees, and Uncle Wiggily had jumped over them. But that was long, long ago.
Try as they did, neither the rabbit gentleman nor the goose gentleman could climb up after the tall silk hat.
“What are we going to do?” asked Grandpa Goosey.
“I don’t know,” replied Mr. Longears. “I guess I’ll have to go get Billie or Johnnie Bushytail, the squirrel boys, to climb the tree for us. Yes, that’s what I’ll do; and then I can get my hat.”
Uncle Wiggily started off through the woods to look for one of the Bushytail chaps, while Grandpa Goosey stayed near the tree, to catch the hat in case it should happen to fall by itself.
All of a sudden Uncle Wiggily heard some one coming along whistling, and then he heard a loud pounding sound, and next he saw Toodle Flat-tail, the beaver boy, walking in the woods.
“Oh, Toodle! You’re the very one I want!” cried Uncle Wiggily. “My hat is in a high tree and I can’t get it. With your strong teeth, just made for cutting down trees, will you kindly cut down this one, and get my hat for me?”
“I will,” said the little beaver chap. But when he began to gnaw the tree, to make it fall, the tree cried:
“Oh, Mr. Wind, please come and blow on me so I can shake Uncle Wiggily’s hat to him, and then I won’t have to be gnawed down. Please blow, Mr. Wind.”
So the wind hurried back and blew the tree this way and that. Down toppled Uncle Wiggily’s hat, not in the least hurt, and so everything was all right again, and Uncle Wiggily and Grandpa Goosey and Toodle Flat-tail were happy. And the tree was extra glad as it did not have to be gnawed down.