“Well, how is your garden coming on these days?” asked Uncle Wiggily Longears, the rabbit gentleman, of Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady, who kept house for him. “It isn’t drying up any more; is it?”
“Oh, no,” she answered, as she tied her long tail in a double knot to keep it from dragging in the dust. “Since you so kindly bought me the watering hose, I can wet the garden whether it rains or not. And that will make everything grow.”
“Strawberries too? Will it make them grow?” Uncle Wiggily wanted to know. He was thinking of strawberry shortcake, I guess, for he was very fond of it.
“Oh, yes, the strawberries are growing very nicely,” said Nurse Jane, as she looked for the red berries under the green leaves.
“And I think you will not have to water with the hose for several days now,” the muskrat lady went on, as she glanced up at the sky.
“Why not?” Uncle Wiggily wanted to know.
“Because we are going to have a thunder shower,” said the muskrat lady. “And I think it will be quite a hard one. But it is always cooler after a thunder shower and I like them very much.”
“So do I,” agreed Uncle Wiggily. “But if it is going to rain and thunder and lighten I had better go for a ride in my airship as soon as possible. Much as I like storms, I do not want to be caught out in one up in the sky, in my airship.”
“Yes, if you are going, you had better go, and hurry back,” advised Nurse Jane.
So the old gentleman rabbit went out in the woodshed where he kept his airship, and after shaking up the sofa cushions in the clothes basket, so they would be soft and fluffy for him to fall on, in case of any accident, Uncle Wiggily blew some hot air into the toy circus balloons that raised his airship from the ground and then, starting the electric fan, that went around whizzie-izzie, up he rose into the air.
“Yes, I really think there will be a thunder storm soon,” said the old rabbit to himself, as he looked at the clouds, which were getting more and more black. “I am glad I brought along an umbrella,” for he had one, you see, in addition to the Japanese sun parasol that was over the top of the red, white and blue toy circus balloons.
Well, Uncle Wiggily was sailing around and around, looking for an adventure, when all at once he saw, a little distance away, the spire of a church steeple.
“I’ll sail over as far as that steeple,” said the old gentleman rabbit to himself, “and then I’ll go back home. Nurse Jane may get nervous if I stay away too long, with a thunder storm coming up.”
Uncle Wiggily was almost at the church steeple, when he saw a big robin red-breast flying through the air. And, just as the bird was near the church spire, there came a strong blast of wind from the storm, dashing poor robin against the hard steeple, which had an arrow on top to tell the way the wind was blowing.
“Oh dear!” cried the robin. “My wing is broken and I cannot fly any more, I will fall to the ground, and die!”
“Oh, no you will not,” said Uncle Wiggily kindly. “I will catch you on the soft sofa cushions of my airship.” Then the rabbit gentleman sent his airship right under the falling birdie, and caught it just before it struck the ground.
“Oh, thank you!” cried robin red-breast. “You have saved my life, but my wing is broken!”
“Never mind. We will have Dr. Possum mend that,” said Uncle Wiggily. “I’ll take you to the animal doctor.” He started off in the airship again, but, before he had gone very far, there was a rumble in the sky. Then came a flash of lightning and a big boom, like that of a Fourth of July cannon. And then it began to rain very hard.
“Ha! Here is the thunder storm!” cried Uncle Wiggily, “and I am far from home and Nurse Jane. We had better go down and stay in one of these houses, until the storm is over, Mr. Bird.”
“Yes,” said the robin with a broken wing, “I think perhaps we had better do that.”
Down went Uncle Wiggily in his airship. It was raining very hard now, and the lightning flashed, and the thunder rolled and rumbled very loudly indeed.
“There is a good house near that pond and barn, for us to go in out of the storm!” cried the rabbit gentleman, pointing with one ear down below, for he needed both paws with which to steer. “It is the duck pen where my friends, the Wibblewobbles, live. I’ll go there,” Uncle Wiggily said.
Down went the airship, close to the barn, where Gup, the kind horse lived.
“You hurry right into the duck pen!” cried Gup to Uncle Wiggily. “I’ll take your airship in my stable until the storm is over.”
So Uncle Wiggily hurried into the duck pen, taking the poor robin with him, and, no sooner was the rabbit gentleman inside, than he heard Lulu and Alice, the duck girls, crying as hard as they could cry.
“What is the matter with them?” he asked of Mrs. Wibblewobble.
“They are afraid of the thunder storm,” said the duck lady. And Lulu and Alice were lying in a dark room, with pillows over their heads so as not to see the lightning, and hear the thunder. As for Jimmie, the boy duck, of course he was not afraid. Boys, whether they are ducks or not, are never afraid of thunder storms.
“You mustn’t mind the thunder storm,” said Uncle Wiggily, to Lulu and Alice. “It will not hurt you. Just pretend that the thunder is only the noise of a big circus wagon going over a bridge, and the lightning is only electric flashes from a trolley car. Then you will not mind it so much.”
So Lulu and Alice pretended that way, and the robin with the broken wing sang for them, and soon the thunder storm was over, and never after that were the duck girls frightened. For whenever it thundered, Lulu would say:
“Ha! That is only a circus wagon going over a bridge.”
And when it lightened, Alice would say:
“That is only a trolley car going up hill.”
Then, when the rain had stopped, Uncle Wiggily went sailing on in his airship, taking the poor robin to Dr. Possum, who soon mended the bird’s broken wing.