Do you remember that boy who Uncle Wiggily saved after he fell out of the boat? Well, that boy’s father was so happy that Uncle Wiggily had helped save the little boy that he couldn’t do enough for the old gentleman rabbit.
“You can stay here forever, and have carrot ice cream every day if you like,” the man said.
“Oh, thank you very much, but I think I’ll travel on,” replied Uncle Wiggily. “I still have to seek my fortune.”
“I will give you a fortune!” said the boy’s father. “I will give you a thousand million dollars.”
“That would certainly be a fortune,” said the rabbit, “but I would rather find it myself. It is no fun when you get a thing given to you. It is better to earn it yourself, because then you love it more.”
“Yes, that’s true,” said the man. “Well, we’re sad to see you go.”
Uncle Wiggily started off the next day, to seek his fortune. The old gentleman rabbit traveled for several days, sleeping under hay stacks, or in empty hollow stumps, and sometimes he dug a burrow for himself in the soft ground. And one afternoon, just as the sun was getting ready to go to bed for the night, Uncle Wiggily came to an open place in the woods where there was a cave.
“I wonder who lives there?” thought the rabbit. “It is too small for a giant to live in, but there may be a bear or a fox in there. I guess I’d better get away from here.”
As Uncle Wiggily was leaving, a voice cried out: “Wait!” The rabbit looked back, and he saw a great big hedgehog. As soon as Uncle Wiggily saw that it was Mr. Hedgehog who was speaking he wasn’t afraid, because he knew him.
“Oh, it’s you, is it?” asked the rabbit. “I’m real glad to see you. I was going to travel on, but——”
“Don’t say another word!” said the hedgehog. “You can stay in my cave all night. I have two beds.”
“That’s great!” said Uncle Wiggily, with a laugh. “But it seems to me, Mr. Hedgehog, that you are not looking well.”
“I’m not,” answered the hedgehog, as he shivered so that several of his quills fell out on the grass. “I’m longing for some cherry pie. Oh, cherry pie! If I only had some I know I’d feel better at once. I just love it!”
“Why don’t you make some yourself?” asked Uncle Wiggily.
“I have tried,” replied the hedgehog. “I’ve tried and tried again, but, somehow, it never comes out right. Here, I’ll show you. I made a cherry pie just before I looked out of the door and saw you. I’ll show it to you.” He went into his little stone house, and Uncle Wiggily went with him.
“There’s the pie—it’s no good!” cried the hedgehog, as he pointed to something on the table. As soon as Uncle Wiggily saw it he laughed so hard that his ears waved back and forth.
“What’s the matter? I don’t see anything funny,” asked Mr. Hedgehog.
“You put the cherry pits into the pie instead of the cherries,” said the rabbit. “That’s not right. You must take out the pits from inside the cherries and put the outside part of them inside the pie, and throw the pits away.”
“Oh, hahaha!” laughed the hedgehog, “no wonder I couldn’t eat the pie. You see, I thought cherries were like peanuts. You throw away the outside part of the peanut, and eat the inside.”
“Yes, and cherries are just the opposite,” said the rabbit, laughing again. “For you eat the outside of a cherry and throw away the pit that is inside. Now, I’ll make you a cherry pie.”
“I wish you would,” said the hedgehog. “I’ll go get the cherries.”
He went out in the garden, and he shot his sharp quills, like little arrows at the cherries on the tree, and they fell down, so he could pick them up in a basket. While he was doing that Uncle Wiggily was making the pie crust. He took flour, lard and water, and mixed them together, and then he put in other things and soon the pie crust was ready. Then Uncle Wiggily built a hot fire in the stove, and he waited for Mr. Hedgehog to come in with the cherries.
And pretty soon the hedgehog came back with his basket full, and he and Uncle Wiggily worked together to get the pits out.
“Now I’ll put them in the pie, and put sugar on them, bake it in the oven, and soon it will be done, and we can eat it,” said the rabbit. So Uncle Wiggily put the cherries in the pie, and threw the pits away, and he put the pie in the oven, and then he and Mr. Hedgehog sat down to wait for it to bake. It smelled delicious!
After a while the pie was baked, and Uncle Wiggily took it from the oven.
“I can hardly wait to eat it!” cried the hedgehog, and just then there came a terribly loud knock on the door.
“Maybe it’s the bad fox trying to steal my pie!” exclaimed the hedgehog. “If it is, I’ll stick him full of stickery-stickers.” But when he went to the door there stood old Percival, the circus dog, and he was crying as hard as he could cry.
“Come in,” invited Uncle Wiggily. “Come in, and have some cherry pie, and you’ll feel better.” So Percival came in, and they all three sat down, and ate the cherry pie all up, and sure enough Percival did feel better, and stopped crying. Then the circus dog and Uncle Wiggily stayed all night with Mr. Hedgehog, and they had more cherry pie next day.