Uncle Wiggily, the old gentleman rabbit, was out in the yard of his hollow stump bungalow one morning, putting a new hair ribbon on his airship, so that it might flutter in the wind and look pretty. All of a sudden Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the nice muskrat lady housekeeper, called to him.
“Oh, Uncle Wiggily, would you mind going to the store for me?” she asked.
“Not at all,” answered the rabbit gentleman politely. “What is it you wish?” And he took off his tall silk hat and bowed.
“I need a loaf of bread, some sugar and a bottle of milk,” answered the muskrat lady.
“Say no more!” Uncle Wiggily exclaimed, with another polite bow. “You shall have them at once. I will go to the store right away in my airship.”
“Here is the money,” went on Nurse Jane. “Be careful not to lose it.”
“I’ll try,” answered Uncle Wiggily with a laugh.
Off he started for the store, sailing above the tops of the trees in his airship, which was made from one of Nurse Jane’s old clothes baskets, some toy circus balloons to lift it in the air, a Japanese umbrella to keep off the rain, and an electric fan, that went around whizzie-izzie. The electric fan pushed the airship along through the air, you see.
Well, Uncle Wiggily had not gone very far before, all of a sudden, something happened to his airship. The electric fan became all twisted up in the balloons, and the sofa cushions, which were in the clothes basket, to make a soft place for Uncle Wiggily to fall out on, in case of accidents—these sofa cushions began turning somersaults, and the first thing the rabbit gentleman knew he himself, was falling down.
Down and down he went, faster and faster. The sofa cushions toppled out of the basket, by themselves, and Uncle Wiggily said:
“Well, I think I myself am to be bumped very hard this time!”
But he was not. Just then, down below on the ground, there came along a wagon with a lot of sheep’s fleeces in it. Sheep’s fleeces are wool, you know. Men cut the wool, or the long, fluffy hair, off the backs of sheep, and it is woven into cloth and made into clothes. It does not hurt the sheep to cut off the wool, any more than it hurts to cut your hair.
So Uncle Wiggily fell out of his airship on top of this load of wool, which was not yet woven into cloth, and he was not hurt a bit, for he bounced up and down (like the circus man in the net) on the fluffy wool.
“Ha! That was very kind of you to come along just when you did to catch me as I fell,” said Uncle Wiggily to the man who drove the wool wagon.
“Oh, do not thank me,” spoke the man. “Thank those sheep over there. The wool was sheared off their backs, and when the nicest sheep lady of them all saw you falling just now she told me to drive over here quickly as I could so that I might be ready for you to fall on.”
“Ah, then it is you I have to thank,” said Uncle Wiggily to the sheep, with a low, polite bow. “You have done me a great favor. Perhaps, some day, I may be able to do you one.”
“Do not mention it,” said the sheep, also politely.
Then Uncle Wiggily mended his airship, sailed on to the store in it, and bought the things Nurse Jane wanted. On his way home, as he was flying over a green field, he heard a sad voice down below crying:
“Oh, my little lamb is lost! Oh, where can he be! Oh, isn’t this too bad!”
“Ha! That is my friend, the sheep lady, on whose wool I fell,” said Uncle Wiggily. “Now is my chance to do her a favor.”
Down he went in his airship, and he asked:
“What has happened, Mrs. Sheep? You seem to be in trouble.”
“I am in trouble,” sadly answered the mamma sheep. “My little lamb baby has strayed away, and is lost, I fear. Oh, I am so sorry!”
“Never fear!” said Uncle Wiggily, bravely. “I will go look for your little lost lamb in my airship. You were kind to me, and I am only too glad to be kind to you.”
“That is very good of you,” said the mamma sheep.
Up in the air went Uncle Wiggily. He sailed around and around, looking down on the ground for the little lost lamb, but all the rabbit gentleman could see were trees, woods and green fields.
“I wonder if I can ever find that little lost lamb for the mamma sheep whose wool saved me from a bad fall?” thought Uncle Wiggily. “I must try my best.”
So he looked and he looked again, and, all of a sudden, he heard a little voice crying:
“Baa! Baa! Baa!”
“Ha! There is the little lost lamb crying for its mamma,” said Uncle Wiggily. He looked down over the side of his clothes basket airship, and there, on the earth below, he saw the little lamb, caught fast in a prickly briar bush. The thorns and stickers of the bush had become entangled in the lamb’s wool, and it could not get loose, no matter how it tried.
“Baa! Baa! Baa! I shall never see my mamma again!” cried the poor little lamb, who had wandered away and become lost in the bushes. “Oh, where is my mamma?”
“Ha! I will take you to her!” exclaimed Uncle Wiggily. Down, again, he went in his airship, and, with a pair of scissors he had in his pocket, Uncle Wiggily soon cut off the briars from the bramble bush so he could loosen the little lamb. Then, in his paws, Uncle Wiggily carried the lamb to the airship, and put it on the soft sofa cushions.
“Oh, I am so hungry!” bleated the little lamb.
“And I have just the things for you to eat!” cried Uncle Wiggily. Then he gave the little lamb some of the bread, milk and sugar, he had bought at the store, and soon they were at the field where the lamb lived with its mamma.
And, Oh! how glad the mamma sheep was to see her lamb again! She thanked Uncle Wiggily again and again, and Uncle Wiggily blushed behind his ears, he was so bashful-like. So you see it is sometimes a good thing to fall out of an airship upon a load of wool.