Thomas Clark Hinkle.

Doctor Rabbit and Tom Wildcat online

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Text in italics is surrounded by underscores: _italics_.

Emboldened text is surrounded by equals signs: =bold=.

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

On page 9, there is a word missing between "truly" and "dinner." The
transcriber was unable to ascertain what this word should be, thus
the error is retained.












_Copyright, 1918_



=To all children=
_who love
the Big Green Woods
and the little creatures
who make their homes there_




























“What do you want at my house this time o’ night?” 1

Mr. Jack Rabbit ... came very near being caught 12

Crash! he went right through ... into that deep hole! 24

“Mr. Possum, what have you eaten lately?” 44

“I have a plan, Mrs. Woodchuck” 64

All the little creatures hurried out to watch him 94


[Illustration: “What do you want at my house this time o’ night?”]



Rap! rap! rap! It was past midnight and some one was knocking on Doctor
Rabbit’s door. Doctor Rabbit growled a little, for he did not like to
be wakened that time of night even if he was a doctor. But he got up
anyway and opened the upstairs window in his big tree.

The big round moon was shining very bright. It shone quite clear on
the one who was knocking at the door. Now, who do you suppose it was?
Well, it was some one Doctor Rabbit didn’t want to see. I should say
he didn’t! For it was Tom Wildcat knocking! And he was about the worst
enemy Doctor Rabbit had in the Big Green Woods. So it was a mighty good
thing he didn’t go down and open his front door.

“What do you want at my house this time o’ night?” Doctor Rabbit called
down sharply.

Tom Wildcat jumped back a little, he was so surprised to hear some one
talking above him. “Oh!” he exclaimed, looking up. “How do you do,
Doctor Rabbit? I just came over to have you put some salve on my hind
foot. I hurt it pretty bad a while ago.”

Now Doctor Rabbit didn’t believe old Tom. So he said, “Well, that
doesn’t interest me, but how did you hurt it?”

“Well,” said Tom Wildcat, “I stepped on something in the dark - a
sticker or something. Then all of a sudden I found my foot bleeding and
mighty sore.”

Doctor Rabbit knew very well how very cunning Tom was, so he spoke
right up and said, “If you don’t tell me the real truth I won’t look at
your foot at all.”

That was pretty plain and Tom Wildcat saw there was no other way but
to tell the truth. “Well,” he said, “the fact is I was borrowing a hen
from Farmer Roe’s chicken house, and his big dog and I had a little
trouble before I could get away.”

“Aha, I see,” said Doctor Rabbit, peering slyly down at Tom and looking
very wise. “Well, I’ll just shut my window and you can come up. You’ll
find a small hole under the window. Put your foot through it and I’ll
look at it.” Then Doctor Rabbit shut the window, locked it, and sat
down to wait.

Tom grumbled more than a little about having to climb the tree with his
sore foot, but as there was no other way he began pulling and clawing
into the bark, and up he went. Every now and then he hurt his foot
against the tree and would have to stop. This made him pretty mad. But
by and by he got up to the window and there he stopped to rest a bit
and get his breath.

Then he looked at the hole under the window and called out, “What are
you going to do with my foot?”

“Why, how can I tell till I see it?” Doctor Rabbit called back. And all
the while he was chuckling so much he was afraid Tom might hear.

After thinking it over Tom had decided that perhaps he could put his
foot through the hole and at the same time look through the window and
see what Doctor Rabbit was doing. But there was no way he could do
this. So he turned round with his head down and held on to the bark of
the tree while he put his foot through the hole under the window.

Doctor Rabbit saw right away that Tom Wildcat’s foot really was sore,
but it wasn’t very bad. So chuckling more than ever, he went to his
medicine closet and got out a box of salve. It was what Doctor Rabbit
called his hot medicine, and it certainly was hot. It would cure a sore
foot all right, but Doctor Rabbit didn’t use it very often. He kept it
only for some one like his present patient.

“Hurry up!” Tom called out most impatiently.

Doctor Rabbit was all ready, so he called back, “All right there, Tom;
hold right still!” and slapped a lot of that hot salve right on the
sore foot, just where it hurt the most.

Old Tom gave a yell loud enough to be heard all over the Big Green
Woods, and down the tree he went.


When Tom Wildcat reached the ground he was pretty mad. Doctor Rabbit
opened his window again and called down to him. “That salve is pretty
hot, I’m afraid, but I’m quite sure it’ll cure your foot. Yes, sir,
it’s pretty hot, but it’s just the right kind of salve for a wildcat!”

“Well, maybe it is,” growled Tom Wildcat between his teeth. Then,
thinking perhaps the salve would cure his foot and that by and by he
might deceive Doctor Rabbit, he added, in a very pleasant tone, “I’m
very much obliged to you, Doctor Rabbit. Good night!”

“Good night to you, Tom,” Doctor Rabbit said, still chuckling to
himself as he closed his window and locked it.

Doctor Rabbit was wide awake now and did not care to go back to bed.
So he put on his light coat and soft slippers and sat down in his big
rocking chair. Then he had a good laugh when he thought of the way Tom
Wildcat yelped as he went down the tree.

But pretty soon Doctor Rabbit stopped rocking and sat up very straight
and listened. Yes, sir! There was some one mumbling in the little
thicket near his back door. Doctor Rabbit got up and quietly slipped
down his stairway. He crept close to his kitchen door and listened. It
was just as he thought. Tom Wildcat was out there, talking and laughing
to himself.

He was saying, “My foot surely does burn but I know it’s going to be
better.” After a minute he went on, “I believe I’ll rest here a
little. I might just as well. Ha, ha, ha! That fat old Doctor Rabbit is
in bed sleeping his head off. He thinks he’s pretty cunning, but he’s
not half as cunning as I am. Ha! ha! ha! I should say not. Yes, I’ll
just rest here for a bit and think about the really, truly dinner I’m
going to have. Jack Rabbit surely will make a fine one. Indeed he will!”


When Doctor Rabbit heard Tom Wildcat say he was going to have his
friend Jack Rabbit for dinner, he listened with all his ears to hear,
if possible, how Tom expected to catch poor innocent Jack Rabbit. The
wily Tom, thinking Doctor Rabbit was asleep, kept right on talking.

“It’s mighty lucky,” he said, “that I found where Jack Rabbit takes
his nap. Ha! ha! ha! Right under the big sycamore tree. It will be as
easy as anything to catch him. Along about noon he’ll be asleep there,
and I’ll just creep up behind that big tree. Then I’ll slip up into
the tree and walk out on that long limb, right over him; and then,
kerplunk! I’ll pounce down on him. Yum! yum! yum! I can almost taste
him now! I’ll hurry home this minute and see that Kit Wildcat has the
water boiling and everything ready. By dinner time I’ll be as hungry as
a bear!”

“Ouch!” Tom Wildcat suddenly cried out, and then he said, “Whew!”
softly. You see, he had licked his sore foot and the salve burned his
tongue. “That salve is certainly hot,” he said; but as he was thinking
about fat Jack Rabbit he didn’t even complain. He was feeling pretty
good again, and he went slipping along through the moonlit woods toward
his home. Every now and then a twig or a vine brushed against his long
whiskers and he turned aside quickly. Tom Wildcat’s whiskers help him
a great deal after dark. They often protect his eyes from sticks and
briars and tell him when a hole is big enough to go through.

When slinky Tom had got a little distance away, Doctor Rabbit opened
the door just enough so that he could peek out. Tom Wildcat would creep
along a little distance, then stop and listen and look all around. Once
he crawled close to the ground and made a sudden spring. Jack Rabbit
gave a great jump and came very near being caught, but he darted away
just in the nick of time. Tom stood for a moment jerking his tail from
side to side and muttering his disappointment; then trotted out of
sight among the shadows.

[Illustration: Mr. Jack Rabbit ... came very near being caught]

Doctor Rabbit closed the door and went back to his big rocking chair.
He could scarcely wait until daylight to run over and warn his friend
Jack Rabbit. Doctor Rabbit knew well enough that there was a nice sunny
spot under the big sycamore tree at the edge of the Big Green Woods,
and he knew Jack Rabbit often stretched out to sun himself there after
he had eaten some of the tender blue grass. The fact was, Doctor Rabbit
himself had stretched out there a number of times.

Doctor Rabbit didn’t even wait to get breakfast. Just as soon as it
began to be daylight he started through the woods to see Jack Rabbit,
out on the Wide Prairie. “I certainly hope I shall find Friend Jack at
home,” Doctor Rabbit said as he hurried along.


It was a pretty long distance from Doctor Rabbit’s home in the big tree
to Jack Rabbit’s home out in the Wide Prairie. As Doctor Rabbit went
along through the Big Green Woods, he moved watchful-like, because he
thought Tom Wildcat might be prowling around almost anywhere. When
there was a nice open glade in the woods, Doctor Rabbit went hoppity,
hoppity, hoppity, as fast as his legs would carry him, and he held his
ears flat to his head, too, for that’s the way Doctor Rabbit and all
other rabbits hold their ears when they run very fast. Then he would
stop and prick up his ears and listen for the least sound.

Presently he met Blue Jay.

“Good morning, Doctor Rabbit!” Blue Jay cried out, a great deal louder
than Doctor Rabbit wished him to.

Doctor Rabbit said softly, “Sh! Good morning, Blue Jay. But not so
loud! Tom Wildcat might - ”

“Where is he?” Blue Jay asked, and his voice trembled with fear and

“Sh!” Doctor Rabbit warned again. “I don’t know just exactly _where_ he
is now but he was prowling around my house last night, and - ”

“And yesterday,” poor Blue Jay interrupted, “he was prowling around
_my_ house. I came home just in time to hear Jenny Jay screaming her
loudest because he had nearly caught her. And then what do you suppose
he did? He ate every egg we had in our nest! We wanted to peck his eyes
out, but we didn’t dare to get close enough. We’re building a new nest
in another tree now, and I’m watching for Tom Wildcat every minute. I
just want to tell him what I think of him!”

“Don’t talk so loud, please, Blue Jay,” Doctor Rabbit said again, in a
low voice. “He might be around close, and I don’t want him to see me,
especially just at this time. I’m on my way to see Jack Rabbit on very
important business. Now, Blue Jay, slip around as quick as you can and
tell Stubby Woodchuck and Cheepy Chipmunk, and our other friends, that
Tom Wildcat is in the Big Green Woods again, and very hungry, too. I
have thought of a way to get rid of him, _perhaps_; but first I shall
have to see whether my plan works out.” And without taking time to say
another word, Doctor Rabbit hurried away through the woods toward Jack
Rabbit’s home.

Blue Jay flew straight to the stump where Stubby Woodchuck lived and
told him to look out for Tom Wildcat; then he went around and told
Cheepy Chipmunk, and Robin-the-Red, and Chatty Red Squirrel. They told
_their_ neighbors, so that in a little time they all were talking and
thinking about Tom Wildcat. You see, all the little creatures of the
Big Green Woods are dreadfully afraid of old Tom Wildcat, because not
only can he spring quickly on the ground, but he can climb trees very

Tom Wildcat lived in a very large cottonwood tree over by the Deep
River. He prowled around over there, eating whatever he could find.
Sometimes he caught a fish at the edge of Deep River, and now and then
he caught a hen that wandered down along the bank. He was satisfied
with such things for a time, but every now and then he slipped into
the Big Green Woods. All the little woods creatures said they surely
hoped that plan of Doctor Rabbit’s, whatever it was, would get rid of
Tom Wildcat, for they both feared and hated him.


Now it so happened that Jack Rabbit came over for an early breakfast
of tender blue grass, and he met Doctor Rabbit just at the edge of the
woods. Doctor Rabbit was certainly glad of this, because it was pretty
dangerous for him to go far out on the Wide Prairie.

Of course Jack Rabbit was very much alarmed when Doctor Rabbit told him
Tom Wildcat had planned to eat him.

“My goodness!” was all poor Jack Rabbit could say.

“Now listen!” Doctor Rabbit said. “I’ve a little scheme.” And then to
make very sure that no one else heard, he went up close to Jack Rabbit
and whispered in his ear for a time. Then they both laughed and danced
a jig.

“Doctor Rabbit, you’re surely the smartest rabbit that ever was!” Jack
Rabbit complimented his good friend.

Doctor Rabbit said they would have to hurry now, and they went straight
to the big sycamore tree where Jack Rabbit generally lay down to sun

There was a deep, wide hole under this tree, that Farmer Roe’s boy had
dug for a playhouse a good while ago. Doctor Rabbit and his friend Jack
Rabbit began gathering long, slim, dead sticks and laying them across
this hole. All the time they kept laughing to themselves. The sticks
were pretty rotten, and when they had a whole lot of them laid across
the hole they covered them all over with dead leaves and grass. When
they had finished, it looked as if there never had been any hole at all.

They then went to several rabbit nests Jack Rabbit knew about, and got
a lot of rabbit fur. They took this fur and made it into a good-sized,
long body. This done, they went up near Farmer Roe’s house and got a
pair of jack rabbit’s ears that the farmer’s boy had thrown away. They
belonged to a rabbit that had been unfortunate. They brought these ears
down to the big tree and fixed them on the fur body they had made. Then
Doctor Rabbit - because he was lighter than big Jack Rabbit - walked
very, very carefully out on the leaves and sticks over the hole and
laid down that make-believe jack rabbit.

Well, sir, you would have been surprised to see how much that _did_
look like the real Jack Rabbit lying there. Doctor Rabbit said he
really had to look at Jack Rabbit to make sure it wasn’t he. Then they
both laughed a great deal, they were so glad they had thought of this
plan. But it was getting close to noon, and they hurried away and hid
in a briar patch, where they could watch.

Doctor Rabbit and his friend Jack did not have to wait long. Suddenly
Doctor Rabbit poked Jack Rabbit and told him to keep very still. They
both looked. There was Tom Wildcat, creeping through the woods. He was
coming very, very cautiously and looking straight toward the tree where
Jack Rabbit took his nap. When he got a little closer he crouched down
almost flat to the ground. He jerked his tail from side to side and
began creeping up more cautiously than ever, because he thought he saw
Jack Rabbit lying there sound asleep.

Well, it surely was funny to see how badly slinky Tom was being fooled,
and Doctor Rabbit and cheery Jack Rabbit could scarcely keep from
laughing; but of course they didn’t dare make a sound. Tom Wildcat
would creep and crawl and stop and watch, then creep and crawl and stop
and watch again, until finally he got right behind the tree. Then he
crawled up the tree ever so carefully, from behind. Presently he was
up to the long limb. Here he stopped and looked down and grinned, and
looked as pleased as could be, and then he went crawling out on that
limb, slowly and cautiously, until he was right over what he thought
was Jack Rabbit.


When Tom Wildcat had crawled out on the limb and got to the place from
which he thought it would be best to jump, he stood up and grinned ever
so broadly at what he considered his good fortune. Then down he jumped,
and crash! he went right through those rotten sticks and into that deep

Then Doctor Rabbit and Jack Rabbit ran out of the briar patch, and
shouted and laughed and laughed. By and by Doctor Rabbit crept up to
the hole and looked down on Tom Wildcat.

“Why, how do you do, Friend Tom? You must be digging a well to-day!”
Doctor Rabbit said, as if he meant it.

[Illustration: Crash! he went right through ... into that deep hole!]

Then Jack Rabbit came up to the hole and looked down, and said,
“Well, well, our friend, Tom Wildcat! This is a pleasant day, isn’t it,
Tom? You seem to be making a dinner of rabbit fur; I notice you have a
good deal down there!”

Tom ground his sharp teeth in anger and glared up at Doctor Rabbit and
Jack Rabbit. Then suddenly he thought that if he acted pleasant, he
might deceive them, and get out. He smiled up as politely as anybody,
and said, “Oh, I can get out easily, if I want to, but I’ll always be
the best of friends with you if you will just drop down that small
log that I noticed up there by the tree. The fact is, I rather enjoy
the joke; but now that we’ve had a good time, I know you won’t mind
slipping that log down end first. Then we can fix this hole up again,
and play a good joke on some of our other friends.” And Tom Wildcat
smiled and looked so pleasant that it seemed as if he were as kind and
good as anybody.

But Doctor Rabbit and Jack Rabbit just chuckled to themselves, and
Doctor Rabbit said, “Oh, we won’t trouble ourselves with getting you
the log, Smarty Wildcat. You can get out easily, if you _want_ to!”

Then Doctor Rabbit and jolly Jack Rabbit both laughed right out loud,
and Jack Rabbit said cheerfully, “No, Tom, we won’t bother about that
log, because you can get out so easily if you _want_ to!”

“Yes, of course he can!” laughed Doctor Rabbit. “Well, I hope you
enjoy your juicy dinner of rabbit fur, Tom. You have a lot of it down
there. Ha, ha, ha! Good day, Thomas!” And away went Doctor Rabbit and
his friend Jack Rabbit to tell all their little woods neighbors about
getting Tom Wildcat into a deep hole where he could not get out.

In a short time everyone knew what had happened, and that afternoon Tom
Wildcat found out what all the little creatures of the Big Green Woods
thought of him. When Blue Jay and Jenny Jay heard of it, they flew
straight to the limb over Tom’s head and scolded him to their hearts’
content. “He’s a thief and a robber. He ate my eggs, and I hate him!
I’ll peck his eyes out!” Jenny Jay shouted.

“I hate him, too!” Chatty Red Squirrel barked out angrily from a limb
overhead. “He’s as mean as he can be! I hate him! I hate him!”

Cheepy Chipmunk frisked up to the hole and away again, because he was
afraid even to look at Tom Wildcat. But all the time he was frisking
back and forth, saucy Cheepy scolded as hard as he could. Stubby
Woodchuck sat on a near-by stump and poured forth his scorn for Tom
Wildcat. Jim Crow and Robin-the-Red threatened from the tree where they
were perched, and all afternoon the little creatures of the Big Green
Woods nagged old Tom and told him he was the ugliest and meanest person
that ever lived.

After a while there were so many little creatures around the hole and
in the tree over it, all scolding at the same time, that Tom Wildcat
was about deafened with the noise. He put his paws over his ears and
ground his teeth in rage. Now and then Stubby Woodchuck slipped up to
the hole and pushed a clod in on Tom’s head, and then everyone shouted
for joy. But once or twice Tom Wildcat jumped so high he nearly jumped
out, and that scared everyone dreadfully.

After he sprang as high as he could and found he could not get out,
he sat down in that hole and just growled and growled. The little
creatures thought they had better be going then. For, even if Tom
Wildcat _was_ down in that hole, he _might_ get out. And his growls!
They were terrible; so they all scampered away.


All the little creatures surely were glad that Tom Wildcat had fallen
down into the deep hole. They held a big meeting that night in Doctor
Rabbit’s front yard, and talked the matter over. While they talked,
however, Doctor Rabbit sent Jack Rabbit to a place near the hole,
“because,” Doctor Rabbit said to his friends, “old Thomas is mighty
cunning, and he might manage somehow to get out. And if he _should_
happen to scramble out - well, he’d be pretty angry, and pretty hungry,

“Indeed he would!” gasped Stubby Woodchuck in a frightened whisper.
“I believe I’ll go home this very minute!” And he did, as fast as his
short legs would carry him.

“I think it’s about time I was in bed,” Cheepy Chipmunk said, and away
he scampered to his stump.

That broke up the meeting, and every one of them hurried to his home.
Pretty soon Jack Rabbit came hopping back to report to Doctor Rabbit.
“He’s still in the hole,” Jack Rabbit said. “I don’t think he can get
out. I have a long way to go before I reach home, and I guess I’d
better be going. I told Mrs. Jack Rabbit I wouldn’t be out late. I’ll
see you in the morning, Doctor.” And with that Jack Rabbit started off
on a run, and went like a streak through the woods toward the Wide

The next morning, a little after daylight, Doctor Rabbit was awakened
by the loud, harsh cries of Blue Jay, just outside the upstairs window.

Doctor Rabbit hurried out.

“He’s out and he’s gone!” Blue Jay shouted. “Tom Wildcat is out of that
hole! I just came from there this minute!”

“He is?” Doctor Rabbit exclaimed in a frightened voice.

“Yes, sir, he is!” Blue Jay replied, all in a flutter of excitement.

Doctor Rabbit scratched his head in wonder. “I was just a little afraid
of that,” he said half to himself, “because old Tom is certainly
cunning; but I wonder how he got out.”

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Online LibraryThomas Clark HinkleDoctor Rabbit and Tom Wildcat → online text (page 1 of 3)