“Are you going to do very much to-day?” asked Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady, of Uncle Wiggily Longears, the rabbit gentleman, who was reading the fly paper out on the front porch one morning. He wanted to read the fly paper because it told about how to get rid of biting mosquitoes.
“Am I going to do very much?” Uncle Wiggily repeated after Nurse Jane. “Well, I was going out for a little trip in my airship, but if there is anything you would like me to do, why, I can just as well do it as not,” he said, most politely. “I can go airshipping later.”
“Then, if you will be so kind,” spoke Nurse Jane, “will you get a trunk for me out of the attic?”
“Certainly I’ll do that for you,” Uncle Wiggily promised. “Do you want an elephant’s trunk?” he asked with a funny little twinkle of his nose, “or will you have the trunk of a tree?”
“Oh, there you go! Joking again!” cried Nurse Jane. “What would I do with an elephant’s trunk?”
“Why, I didn’t know but what you might be going to give a circus,” said Uncle Wiggily with a laugh, “and they always have an elephant’s trunk in the circus.”
“Well, I’m not going to have a circus,” declared Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy. “And what would I want with the trunk of a tree?”
“Why, I thought perhaps you might want to have me split it up for kindling wood, for the fire,” went on Uncle Wiggily, as he stuck the sticky fly paper on the porch screen, so it would not blow away.
“Enough of your jokes!” cried Nurse Jane, as she put her long tail up in curl papers, so she would look nice if any one asked her to go to a party. “The trunk I want is an empty one from the attic. I need it to pack away some of your suits, to keep the moths from eating them this summer. Just get down one of the clothes trunks, Wiggy. Put it in your room, and I’ll pack away the things you will not need until next winter.”
“Very well, I’ll do that,” the rabbit gentleman said kindly, and then he went up in the attic of the hollow stump bungalow.
The attic was rather a dark and dusty place; and, as it was near the top of the house, where the sun shone on it as hard as it could, it was quite warm up there.
“Humph! Yes! Bring down a trunk,” said Uncle Wiggily to himself, looking around. “There are a lot of trunks here. I wonder which one Nurse Jane meant?”
He glanced at a pile of several trunks, and finally he decided that the one painted red, white and blue, as was his barber pole rheumatism crutch, would be the best.
“I’ll take that trunk down for Nurse Jane,” said Uncle Wiggily, as he lifted it off the pile of others. “My! But it’s heavy!” he exclaimed. “I must see what’s in it.”
He opened the trunk and in it the old gentleman rabbit saw a number of play toys he had had when he was a little boy rabbit. There were baseballs and bats, and toy bows and arrows, and fish poles, and pop guns, and many other things.
“My! This makes me remember the happy days when I was young!” sighed Uncle Wiggily. “I certainly used to have fun when I was a boy. I’ll just take these things out of my trunk, and save them for Sammie Littletail, the rabbit boy, and for Johnnie and Billie Bushytail, the squirrels. Then I’ll take the empty trunk down to Nurse Jane. Yes, those were happy days, when I was a young rabbit boy.”
The old gentleman rabbit began emptying the trunk, taking out his old play toys, and, when he had the trunk emptied he felt rather tired. It was hot up in the attic, and he felt sleepy, also.
“I think I’ll just lie down on the trunk and take a nap,” Uncle Wiggily said. “There is really no hurry about taking it downstairs.”
Into the empty trunk he hopped, and for a pillow he took a soft baseball, which had been batted about so much that it was quite mushy.
Soon, up in the trunk in the warm attic, Uncle Wiggily was fast asleep.
And then something dreadful happened. A big rat, who had had nothing to eat in a long time, crawled out of his hole, looking for a piece of cheese. The rat saw the trunk, with the lid up, and he thought to himself:
“Maybe there is cheese in there. I’ll take a look.”
He jumped up on the lid of the trunk, and the rat was so heavy that he accidentally slammed the cover down, shutting Uncle Wiggily inside the trunk.
“Oh, dear!” cried the rat. “Now I have done it! I’m so sorry!”
“And so am I!” cried Uncle Wiggily from inside the trunk. For the banging down of the lid had awakened him.
“Can’t you get out?” asked the rat. “Try to lift up the lid. I’ll help you.”
Uncle Wiggily tried, and so did the hungry rat, but the trunk cover had locked itself when it fell down, and Uncle Wiggily could not get out.
“Oh, I shall smother in here!” cried the rabbit gentleman. “Help! Help!”
“I’ll run downstairs and get the key from Nurse Jane,” the rat said. “Then I can let you out.” But Nurse Jane had gone to the store, and the rat could not find the key. Up to the attic he ran again, saying: “Oh, Uncle Wiggily, what shall I do? I can’t get the trunk key to let you out!”
“Oh, dear!” cried the rabbit gentleman. “I must get out! I am smothering in here.”
“Ha! I know what I can do!” suddenly cried the rat! “I can gnaw a hole in the trunk, and you can crawl out that way!”
So the hungry rat, with his strong teeth, quickly gnawed a hole in the side of the trunk, and Uncle Wiggily hopped out just before he smothered, so it was all right. Then he took the trunk downstairs, mended the rat hole in it and gave the kind rat something to eat, for the rat had not in the least meant to close down the trunk lid, you see.
Then Nurse Jane came back and packed away Uncle Wiggily’s clothes in the moth stuff, and the old rabbit gentleman tied up in bundles the toys he intended giving to the little animal boys, and that’s the end of this story.