Oh, it was hot in animal land! It was hot and dry and dusty, for there had been no rain in a long time, and the sun shone brightly, making the leaves on the trees curl up in the heat, and wilting the pretty flowers.
“Well, if we don’t get some rain pretty soon,” spoke Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady, “the garden will be spoiled, and we can have no strawberry shortcake.”
“No strawberry shortcake!” cried Uncle Wiggily Longears, the rabbit gentleman for whom Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy kept house. “That will be too bad! But, tell me, what has rain to do with strawberry shortcake, if you please, Nurse Jane?”
“Rain has everything to do with it, Uncle Wiggily,” said she. “For if it does not rain, the strawberries will not grow, and if we do not have strawberries we can have no shortcake. That is, unless I put in lemons instead of strawberries.”
“Oh, no! That would never do at all!” exclaimed Mr. Longears. “We must have strawberries. I will see what I can do about making it rain.”
“How can you?” asked Nurse Jane.
“I will go up near the clouds, in my airship,” spoke the old gentleman rabbit, “and I will see if there is in them any rain that is ready to fall down, and wet the thirsty ground. And, maybe, if there is rain in the clouds I can squeeze a little out, as you squeeze water from the sponge in the bath tub.”
“I hope you can,” said Nurse Jane, as she went out into the garden to pull up some weeds.
Off the old gentleman rabbit started in his clothes basket airship, on and on, up to the clouds. But when he got there he saw no rain in them. The clouds were as dry as a piece of cheese.
“No, there is no rain here,” said Uncle Wiggily, sadly. “I wonder what I can do? I would not like Nurse Jane’s garden to dry up, for I am very fond of strawberry shortcake. I wonder what I can do?”
Uncle Wiggily in his airship rode on a little farther, and pretty soon, looking down toward the earth, over the edge of the clothes basket, he saw, far below him, some water spurting and spraying in a beautiful shower.
“Ha! There is rain down there!” the rabbit gentleman cried. “I wonder why there is none over at our place? I must go down and see.”
So down he went, and there he saw Jackie and Peetie Bow Wow, the two puppy dog boys, squirting water with a hose, which was fastened to the faucet of the kitchen sink.
“Now it’s my turn to squirt!” cried Jackie, as Uncle Wiggily jumped out of his airship, which had reached the ground.
“No, let me squirt just a little bit more!” begged Peetie, and his brother very kindly did.
“Ha! What have you there?” asked the old gentleman rabbit, as he went toward the puppy dog boys.
“A watering hose,” said Jackie. “You see it hasn’t rained for so long that our garden is all dried up. So papa got this hose. See, this is how it squirts.”
And just then Peetie accidentally moved the end of the hose too much, and a shower of water went all over Uncle Wiggily.
“Oh!” cried Peetie, “I didn’t mean to do that.”
“I’ll forgive you!” laughed Uncle Wiggily. “It is so warm that it feels fine to have a hose squirted on you so I don’t care. I must get one for Nurse Jane.”
Then it was Jackie’s turn to squirt the hose, and when Peetie handed it to him, the end slipped again, and Grandfather Goosey Gander, who came along just then, was sprayed with a shower of water.
“Oh dear! I’m so sorry!” cried Jackie.
“It doesn’t matter at all!” cried the old gentleman goose. “I just love water!” And the drops rolled off his back, not wetting him at all, for a goose gentleman’s feathers are made to shed water, just as an umbrella does, you know.
“Let me try the hose,” begged Uncle Wiggily, and Jackie did so. “Yes, I really must get Nurse Jane one,” said the rabbit gentleman. “It is as good as a rain shower,” and he sprinkled water all over the dog-garden.
Then off he went in his airship to get a watering hose for his garden, leaving Peetie and Jackie to sprinkle theirs, sometimes wetting the sidewalk and sometimes spraying the animal people who went past, just as puppy dog boys will, you know.
“Ha! Now we won’t mind whether or not it rains!” cried Uncle Wiggily, when he reached his hollow stump bungalow again.
“Why not?” asked Nurse Jane, fanning herself with the dishpan. “It is hotter than ever. We need rain very badly.”
“And we shall have it!” exclaimed the old gentleman rabbit. “See, I have a watering hose,” and he took one from his airship. He had bought it at the rubber store.
Soon the hose was attached to the kitchen faucet, and Uncle Wiggily watered the garden. And how the flowers and the lima beans and the strawberry plants lifted up their tired, dusty hot leaves, and drank the cool water that was showered on them.
And then, when the garden was nicely watered, Uncle Wiggily heard a noise out in the street, and a tired voice said:
“Oh dear! How hot I am! Oh dear!”
“Ha! Some one in trouble!” remarked Uncle Wiggily. “I must see if I cannot help them.” He went out in front, and there he saw a poor, tired, dusty ice-wagon horse, who could hardly hold up his head.
“I will water you with the hose,” said the rabbit gentleman. “That will cool you off, and rest you.”
“Please do,” begged the ice-wagon horse, and Uncle Wiggily did. And when the cool water sprayed on the hot and tired horse he felt so much better that he laughed, and held up his head, and he gave Uncle Wiggily a big cake of ice, like the one Mr. Whitewash, the Polar bear gentleman, sits on, and the ice made the hollow stump bungalow so cool that Uncle Wiggily had a fine sleep that night.
And the next day it rained, so Uncle Wiggily did not have to water with the hose. And this shows that you should always be kind to an ice-wagon horse when you can.