It didn’t take Uncle Wiggily and Grandfather Goosey Gander long to get away from the place where the bad snake was, let me tell you, even if the crawly creature had eaten three popcorn balls, and would sleep for six months.
“This is no place for us,” said the rabbit. “We must see if we can’t find our fortune somewhere else.”
“I believe you,” spoke Grandfather Goosey, rubbing his yellow legs, where the snake had wound tight around him like a clothesline. “We’ll look for a place in which to stay to-night, and we’ll see what we can find to-morrow.”
Well, they hurried on for some time, and pretty soon it began to get dark, and they couldn’t find any place to stay.
“I guess I’ll have to dig a hole in the ground, and make a burrow,” said the rabbit.
“Oh, but I couldn’t stay underground,” said the duck. “I’m used to sleeping in a wooden house.”
“That’s so,” said Uncle Wiggily. “Well, if I had some paper I could make you a paper house, but I haven’t any, so I don’t know what to do.”
And just then, away in the air, there sounded a voice saying:
“Caw! Caw! Caw!”
“Ha! That’s a crow,” exclaimed Uncle Wiggily. “There must be green corn that is ready to pull up somewhere around here.”
“There is,” said the black crow, flying down. “I know a nice field of corn that a farmer has planted, and to-morrow I am going to pick some.”
“But aren’t you afraid of the scarecrow?” asked the duck.
“No; I’m not,” said the crow. “The scarecrow is only some old clothes stuffed with straw, and it is set out in the field to drive us crows away. We’re not a bit afraid of it. Would you be?”
“No, of course not,” answered Grandfather Goosey Gander. “But then, you see, I’m not a crow—the scary figure wasn’t meant for me.”
“Then you can stay in one of the pockets of the scarecrow’s coat all night,” said the crow. “It will be a good place for you to sleep.”
“The very thing!” cried Uncle Wiggily. So that night he dug himself a little house under the ground, and the duck gentleman flew up, and got inside the pocket of the old coat which the scarecrow figure wore, and there the duck stayed all night, sleeping very soundly.
“Well, now we’ll travel on again,” said Uncle Wiggily, the next morning after breakfast. So he and Grandfather Goosey started off. Well, pretty soon it became hotter and hotter, for the sun was just beaming down as hard as it could, and Uncle Wiggily exclaimed:
“I know what would taste good! An ice cream cone for each of us. Wait here, grandfather, and I’ll get two of them.”
“Fine!” cried the grandfather duck. “But you seem to do all the hopping around, Uncle Wiggily. Why can’t I go, while you rest?”
“Oh, I don’t in the least mind going,” replied the kind rabbit. “Besides, while I do not say it to be proud, and far be it from me to boast, I can go a little faster than you can in one hop. So I’ll go.”
And go he did, leaving his valise in charge of Grandfather Goosey, who sat down with it, under a shady tree. Pretty soon the old gentleman rabbit came to a little ice cream store, that stood beside the road, right near a little pond of water, where the ice-cream-man could wash his dishes when he had to make them clean.
“I’ll have two, nice, big, cold strawberry ice cream cones, and please put plenty of ice cream in them,” said Uncle Wiggily to the man.
“Right you are!” cried the ice-cream-man in a jolly voice, and, say, I just wish you could have seen those cones! They were piled up heaping full of ice cream. Oh, my! It just makes me hungry to write about them.
Well, Uncle Wiggily, carefully carrying the cones, started to hop back to where he had left Grandfather Goosey. He hadn’t gone far before he heard a growling voice cry out:
“Hold on there a moment, Uncle Wiggily!”
“Why?” asked the rabbit.
“Because I want to see what you’ve got,” was the answer. “Ah, I see ice cream cones!” and with that a great, big, black bear jumped out of the bushes, and stood right in front of Uncle Wiggily.
“Let me pass!” cried the rabbit, holding the ice cream cones so that the bear couldn’t get them.
“Indeed I will not!” cried the furry creature. “Ice cream cones, indeed! If there is one thing that I’m fonder of than another, ice cream cones is it! Let me taste one!”
Then before the rabbit could do anything, that bad bear took one ice cream cone right away from him. And that bear did more than that, so he did. He stuck his long, red tongue down inside the cone, and he licked out every bit of cream, with one, long lick.
“My but that’s good!” he cried, smacking his lips. “I guess I’ll try the second one,” he said, and he dropped the empty cone, not eating it, mind you, and he took the other full cone away from poor Uncle Wiggily before the rabbit gentleman could stand on his head, or even wave his short tail.
“Oh, don’t eat that cone. It belongs to Grandfather Goosey,” cried the rabbit, sadly-like.
“Too late!” cried the bear, in a growlery voice. “Here it goes!” and with that he stuck his long, red tongue down inside the second cone, and with one lick he licked all the ice cream out and threw the empty cone on the ground.
“Now I feel good and hungry, and I guess I’ll eat you,” cried the bear. He made a grab for the poor gentleman rabbit, and folded him tight in his paws. But before that Uncle Wiggily had reached down and had picked up the two empty ice cream cones.
“Oh, let me go!” cried Uncle Wiggily to the bear.
“Indeed I’ll not!” shouted the savage creature. “I want you for supper.”
Well, he was just going to eat Uncle Wiggily up, when that brave rabbit just took the sharp points of those two empty ice cream cones, and he stuck them in the bear’s ticklish ribs, and Uncle Wiggily tickled the bear so that the furry, savage creature sneezed out loud, and laughed so hard that Uncle Wiggily easily slipped out of his paws, and hopped away before he could be caught again.
So that’s how the rabbit got safely away, and the empty ice cream cones were of some use after all. But Uncle Wiggily wondered how he could get a full one for Grandfather Goosey Gander, and how he did I’ll tell you pretty soon, when, in case a butterfly doesn’t bite a hole in my straw hat, the next story will be about Uncle Wiggily and the red ants.