“Rat-a-tat!” came a knock on the door of the hollow stump bungalow, where Uncle Wiggily Longears, the rabbit gentleman, lived in the woods with Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, his muskrat lady housekeeper.
“My! Some one is calling early to-day!” said the bunny uncle.
“Sit still and eat your breakfast,” spoke Nurse Jane. “I’ll see who it is.”
When she opened the door there stood Jimmie Wibblewobble, the boy duck.
“Why where are you going so early this morning, Jimmie?” asked Uncle Wiggily.
“I’m going to school,” answered the Wibblewobble chap, who was named that because his tail did wibble and wobble from side to side when he walked.
“Aren’t you a bit early?” asked Mr. Longears.
“I came early to get you,” said Jimmie. “Will you come for a walk with me, Uncle Wiggily? We can walk toward the hollow stump school, where the lady mouse teaches us our lessons.”
“Why, it’s so very early,” Uncle Wiggily went on. “I have hardly had my breakfast. Why so early, Jimmie?”
The duck boy whispered in Uncle Wiggily’s ear:
“I want to go early so I can gather some May flowers for the teacher. This is the first day of May, you know, and the flowers that have been wet by the April showers ought to be blossoming now.”
“So they had!” cried Uncle Wiggily. “I’ll hurry with my breakfast, Jimmie, and we’ll go gathering May flowers in the woods.”
Soon the bunny uncle and the boy duck were walking along where the green trees grew up out of the carpet of soft green moss.
“Oh, here are some yellow violets!” cried Jimmie, as he saw some near an old stump.
“Yes, and I see some white ones!” cried the bunny uncle, as he picked them, while Jimmie plucked the yellow violets with his strong bill, which was also yellow in color.
Then they went on a little farther and saw some bluebells growing, and the bluebell flowers were tinkling a pretty little tinkle tune.
The bluebells even kept on tinkling after Jimmie had picked them for his bouquet. The boy duck waddled on a little farther and all of a sudden, he cried:
“Oh, what a funny flower this is, Uncle Wiggily. It’s just like the little ice cream cones that come on Christmas trees, only it’s covered with a flap, like a leaf, and under the flap is a little green thing, standing up. What is it?”
“That is a Jack-in-the-pulpit,” answered the bunny uncle, “and the Jack is the funny green thing. Jack preaches sermons to the other flowers, telling them how to be beautiful and make sweet perfume.”
“I’m going to put a Jack in the bouquet for the lady mouse teacher,” said Jimmie, and he did.
Then he and Uncle Wiggily went farther and farther on in the woods, picking May flowers, and they were almost at the hollow stump school when, all at once, from behind a big stone popped the bad ear-scratching cat.
“Ah, ha!” howled the cat. “I am just in time I see. I haven’t scratched any ears in ever and ever so long. And you have such nice, big ears, Uncle Wiggily, that it is a real pleasure to scratch them!”
“Do you mean it is a pleasure for me, or for you?” asked the bunny uncle, softly like.
“For me, of course!” meaouwed the cat. “Get ready now for the ear-scratching! Here I come!”
“Oh, please don’t scratch my ears!” begged Uncle Wiggily. “Please don’t!”
“Yes, I shall!” said the bad cat, stretching out his claws.
“Would you mind scratching my ears, instead of Uncle Wiggily’s?” asked Jimmie. “I’ll let you scratch mine all you want to.”
“I don’t want to,” spoke the cat. “Your ears are so small that it is no pleasure for me to scratch them—none at all.”
“It was very kind of you to offer your ears in place of mine,” said Uncle Wiggily to the duck boy. “But I can’t let you do that. Go on, bad cat, if you are going to scratch my ears, please do it and have it over with.”
“All right!” snarled the cat. “I’ll scratch your ears!” She was just going to do it, when Jimmie suddenly picked up a new flower, and holding it toward the cat cried:
“No, you can’t scratch Uncle Wiggily’s ears! This is a dog-tooth violet I have just picked, and if you harm Uncle Wiggily I’ll make the dog-tooth violet bite you!”
And then the big violet went: “Bow! Wow! Wow!” just like a dog, and the cat thinking a dog was after him, meaouwed:
“Oh, my! Oh, dear! This is no place for me!” and away he ran, not scratching Uncle Wiggily at all.
Then Jimmie put the dog-tooth violet (which did not bark any more) in his bouquet and the lady mouse teacher liked the May flowers very much. Uncle Wiggily took his flowers to Nurse Jane.