“My, but it certainly is a warm day!” exclaimed Uncle Wiggily, the old gentleman rabbit, as he unbuttoned his fur coat and fanned his ears with a horse chestnut leaf. “I don’t know when I have been so warm!”
“It is very hot!” agreed Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady, as she peeled some eggs for dinner. “I think I would not go up in my airship today, if I were you, Mr. Longears.”
“Oh, the heat makes no difference to me if I want to take a ride,” the rabbit gentleman answered. “Besides, you forget that I have the big Japanese umbrella over the top of my airship to keep off the hot sun. Yes, I will take a ride, and perhaps I may have an adventure; who knows?”
“True enough—who knows?” repeated Nurse Jane. “Well, if you will go, Wiggy, I suppose you will. And, since you are going, would you mind stopping at the store and bringing me home some honey for supper?”
“It will give me the greatest pleasure in the world to bring you some honey, sweetness,” said Uncle Wiggily, politely. Sometimes he called Nurse Jane “sweetness” just for a joke.
Well off the old gentleman started in his clothes basket airship. It had been all mended since the time he and Lulu Wibblewobble, the duck girl, rode in it, when the bumble bee stung the balloons.
“And the sofa cushions, since Mrs. Wibblewobble put new feathers in them, are better than ever,” said Uncle Wiggily. He had the sofa cushions to fall on, you know.
Well, it kept on getting hotter and hotter that day, and, not long after Uncle Wiggily had set off to get the honey for Nurse Jane, Billie Bushytail, the little squirrel boy, said to his brother Johnnie:
“I’ll tell you what let’s do! Let’s set up a lemonade stand along the street and sell the nice, cold, sweet lemonade for five cents a glass.”
“All right!” cried Johnnie. “We’ll do it!”
So they got some old boxes—squirrel size, of course—and their mamma gave them an old tablecloth to spread over the top to make the stand look nice. Then she let the two squirrel boys take the proper things to make the lemonade—the lemons, the sugar, a pitcher, some glasses and a small piece of ice.
“We’ll make a lot of money, and buy ice cream cones!” cried Billie.
“That’s what we will!” shouted Johnnie, as he gnawed the shell off a hickory nut.
Then the squirrel boys squeezed the juice from the lemons, poured in the water and stirred it up in the pitcher.
“Say!” exclaimed Billie at that point, “we ought to have an umbrella over our stand to make it shady. There’s an old one in the house. Let’s put it up.”
“All right!” agreed Johnnie, “we will!” They both ran in the house to get the sun umbrella, and, while they were gone, a bad monkey chap, with a very large sweet tooth, sneaked up to the lemonade stand and took all the sugar. You see it had not yet been put into the lemonade pitcher. Yes, sir, the monkey took all the sugar.
And when Billie and Johnnie Bushytail had fastened the umbrella up over their stand, and went to look for the sugar to put in the cool lemonade, why, the sugar was not there! You know who had it, though Billie and Johnnie did not.
“Oh, what are we going to do?” cried Billie.
“We’ll have to get more sugar!” exclaimed Johnnie.
After giving the squirrel boys the things for the lemonade, Mrs. Bushytail had gone down to the ten and five cent store to buy a new dishpan, and had locked up the squirrel house. For she thought her boys would not want to go in again until she came back.
“We can’t get any sugar, and we can’t make any lemonade!” cried Billie, sadly.
“Oh, yes we can,” said his brother. “Let’s make it sour—without sugar. Perhaps the folks who buy it won’t mind.”
“All right,” agreed Billie. So they made sour lemonade.
Then Billie and Johnnie took their places behind the stand, and cried:
“Here you are! Nice, cold lemonade! Only five cents a glass!”
You notice they were very careful not to say “sweet lemonade,” for that would not have been true.
“Ha! Lemonade!” cried Grandfather Goosey Gander, coming along just then. “I’ll take a glass,” and he laid five cents down on the box. Billie filled a glass for him.
“Whew! Ha! Oh, mercy me! Why it’s sour!” cried Grandfather Goosey Gander, making a lot of funny faces as soon as he had sipped the lemonade.
“Yes,” said Billie sadly, “it is sour. Some one took our sugar.”
“Well, I can’t drink sour lemonade,” spoke the duck gentleman, and he took back his five cents.
“Oh, dear!” said Johnnie, sadly.
And that’s the way it was. All the animal folk who came along to drink the cold lemonade wouldn’t take it when they found it was sour. They just wrinkled up their noses and took back their money.
“Here comes Uncle Wiggily in his airship!” said Billie, after a while. “Maybe he likes sour lemonade.” So they called to him to come down and buy some. The rabbit gentleman, sailing down, laid his nickel on the box. He sipped the lemonade.
“Oh me! Oh my! And some soda crackers!” he cried, making his nose twinkle like a star on a frosty night. “That is too sour!”
“Yes,” said Billie, sadly. “Some one took our sugar, and we can’t sell any sweet lemonade, and get any money for ice cream cones, and our mamma isn’t home and——”
“Stop! Say no more! You have troubles enough!” cried Uncle Wiggily. “I will sweeten your lemonade for you,” and with that he put into the pitcher some of the nice sweet honey he had brought from the store in his airship.
“Oh, joy!” cried Billie and Johnnie, tasting the lemonade which now was sweet enough for even Grandfather Goosey Gander. And the squirrel boys sold one pitcherful and part of another one. The honey was better than sugar for sweetening.
They made enough money to buy several ice cream cones, and they sent Uncle Wiggily one for giving them the honey, which made their sour lemonade sweet.