Howard R. Garis.

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They had slept that night in a hole where an old fox used to live, but
just then he was away on his summer vacation at Asbury Park, and so he
wasn't home.

"Was I frightened?" repeated the old gentleman rabbit, as he looked to see
if there was any mud on his crutch, "why I was so scared that my heart
almost stopped beating. But I'm glad you happened to come along, and that
you stuck your stickery-ickery quills into the bear's nose. It was very
lucky that you chanced to come past the den."

"Oh, I did it on purpose," said the porcupine. "After you got me out of
the trap, and I scurried away, I happened to think that you might go past
the bear's house, so I hurried after you, and - well, I'm glad that I
did."

[Illustration]

"So am I," said the rabbit. "Will you have a bit of my carrot sandwich?"

"I don't mind if I do," said the porcupine, polite-like, so he and the
rabbit traveler ate the carrot sandwiches as they walked along.

"Well, I don't believe I'm ever going to find my fortune," said Uncle
Wiggily sadly. "I began to have hopes, when I picked up the
twenty-five-cent piece, but now the bear has that and I have nothing. Oh,
I certainly am very unlucky."

"Never mind," said the porcupine, "I'll help you look." But even with the
sharp eyes, and the sharp, stickery-ickery quills of the hedgehog, Uncle
Wiggily couldn't find his fortune.

But it is a good thing the old gentleman rabbit had company, for as they
were walking along under some trees, all of a sudden a big snake hissed at
them, like a coffee-pot boiling over. And then the snake uncoiled himself
and tried to grab the rabbit by the ears.

"Here! That will never do!" cried the porcupine, and then and there,
without even stopping to take off his necktie, that brave creature stuck
twenty-seven and a half stickery-stockery-stackery quills into the snake,
and then that snake was glad enough to crawl away. Oh, my, yes, and a
basketful of soap bubbles besides!

Well, it wasn't long after that before it was dinner time, and the two
friends sat down in a place where there were a lot of toadstools to eat
their lunch. They sat on the low toadstools, and the higher ones they used
for tables, each one having a toadstool table for himself, just like in a
restaurant.

"Now, this is what I call real jolly," said the porcupine, as he ate his
third piece of hickory-nut pie with carrot sauce on it.

"Yes, it is real nice," said the rabbit. "After all, it isn't so bad to go
hunting for your fortune when you have company, but it's not so much fun
all alone."

Well, the two friends were just finishing their meal, and they were
getting ready to travel on, when, all at once, there was a terrible
crashing sound in the bushes, just as if some one was breaking them all to
pieces.

"My! What's that?" asked the porcupine, preparing to pull out some more of
his stickery-ickery quills.

"It sounds like the elephant," said the rabbit, as he looked around for a
safe place in which to hide in case it should happen to be the bear coming
after him.

"Oh, if it's the elephant, we don't have to worry. He is a friend of
ours," said the porcupine.

Well, the crashing in the bushes still kept up, and then before you could
tickle your pussy cat under the chin-chopper, there burst out of the
middle of a prickly briar bush a great big alligator - the same one who
once before had tried to catch Uncle Wiggily.

"Oh, look!" cried the porcupine. "He's after us."

"Indeed, I am!" exclaimed the 'gator. "I'll have a fine meal in about a
minute. I'll pull all your quills out, and eat you with strawberry sauce
on; prickly porcupine."

"Oh, don't you let him do it!" cried Uncle Wiggily. "Stick some of your
quills in him, and make him go away, Mr. Porcupine."

"It wouldn't do any good," said the porcupine. "You see, the alligator has
such a thick skin on him that even a bullet will hardly go through, so my
quills won't hurt him. I guess we had better run away."

Well, they started to run away, but the 'gator, with his skillery-scalery
tail, chased after them, and he could go very quickly, too, let me tell
you. Right after Uncle Wiggily and the porcupine the alligator raced, and
he almost caught both of them. Then the porcupine saw a hole just big
enough for him to squeeze down, but not big enough for the alligator to
come after.

Down into this hole jumped the prickly porcupine, and he was safe, but
there was no hole for Uncle Wiggily to hide in, and the alligator was
close after him.

"Jump up on a toadstool, and maybe he can't get you!" called the
porcupine, sticking the end of his nose out of the hole.

"I will!" cried the rabbit, and up on top of the biggest toadstool he
landed with a jump.

"Oh, I can easily get you off there!" yelled the alligator, savage-like.
"I'll have you down in a minute."

He reached up with his claws to get the rabbit, and Uncle Wiggily got
right in the middle of the toadstool, as far away as he could, but it
wasn't very far. The alligator's claws almost had him, when all of a
sudden that toadstool quickly began to grow up tall. Taller and taller it
grew, for toadstools grow very fast you know. Higher and higher it went,
like an elevator, taking Uncle Wiggily up with it.

"Oh, now I'm safe!" cried the rabbit, for he was quite high in the air by
this time.

"No, you're not. I'll get you yet!" cried the alligator, as he reared up
on the end of his skillery-scalery tail. He made a grab for the rabbit,
but the kind toadstool at once grew itself up as tall as the church
steeple, with Uncle Wiggily still on top, and then, of course, the
alligator couldn't reach him.

"Oh, now I'm safe, but how ever am I going to get down?" thought the
rabbit, for the alligator was still there. But, in another minute, along
came a policeman dog, and with his club he made that alligator run away
back to the swamp where he belonged. Then the toadstool began to get
smaller and smaller, and it sank down close to the ground again and
lowered the rabbit just like on an elevator in a store, and Uncle Wiggily
was safe on earth once more. And he was very thankful to the toadstool,
which grew up so quickly just in time.

"Well, we'd better get along once more," said Uncle Wiggily to the prickly
porcupine, after he had thanked the dog-policeman. So the two friends set
off together through the woods, and the next day something else happened
to them.

I'll tell you what it was on the next page, when, in case the iceman
brings me some hot chocolate to put on my bread and butter, the bedtime
story will be about Uncle Wiggily and the chickie.




STORY XXIV

UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE CHICKIE


"Well, what shall we do to-day?" asked the second cousin to Grandfather
Prickly Porcupine, as he crawled out of his bed of dried leaves, and
looked over to where Uncle Wiggily was washing his whiskers. "Are we going
to travel some more?"

"Oh, yes," answered the old gentleman rabbit, "we must still keep on, for
I have yet to find my fortune."

"What are you going to do with your fortune when you find it?" asked the
porcupine. "Will you buy a million ice cream cones with the money?"

"Oh, my goodness sakes alive, and a pot of mustard, no!" replied Uncle
Wiggily. "If I ate as many cones as that I would have indigestion, as well
as rheumatism. When I find my fortune I am going back home, and I'll buy
something for Sammie and Susie Littletail, and for Johnnie and Billie
Bushytail, and for all my other animal friends, including Grandfather
Goosey Gander. That's what I'll do when I find my fortune."

"Very good," said the porcupine, and then he got up and washed his face
and paws. And he wiped them on the towel after the old gentleman rabbit,
instead of before him, for you see when the porcupine soaked up the water
off his face he left some of his stickery-stockery quills sticking in the
towel, and if Uncle Wiggily had used it then he might have been scratched.
But, as it was, the rabbit didn't even get tickled, and very glad of it he
was, too. Oh, my, yes, and some pepper hash in addition.

Well, Uncle Wiggily and the porcupine had their breakfast and then they
started off. They hadn't gone very far before they met a locust sitting on
the low limb of a tree. And this locust was buzzing his wings like an
electric fan, and making more noise than you could shake your handkerchief
at on a Tuesday morning.

"Why do you do that?" asked the rabbit.

"To keep myself cool," said the locust. "I am fanning myself with my buzzy
wings for it is going to be a very hot day."

"Then we must keep in the shade as we travel along," said the porcupine,
and that is what he and the old gentleman rabbit did. And it is a good
thing they did so, for, as they walked along where it was cool and dark,
beneath clumps of ferns, and under big, tall trees, they passed by a place
where a bad snake lived.

"Look out! There's the snake's hole!" cried Uncle Wiggily, and he jumped
to one side.

"Ha! I'm ready for him!" called the porcupine, and he got some of his
stickery quills ready to jab into the snake. But the snake was out on a
big rock, sunning himself in the hot sun, though when he heard the rabbit
and porcupine talking he made a jump for them and tried to catch them.

But you see they were in the cool shadows, and the snake's eyes were
blinded by the sun, so he could not see very well, and thus the rabbit and
his friend escaped.

"I tell you it is a good thing we heard the locust sing, and that we kept
in the shade, or else we might have stepped right on that snake and he'd
have bitten and killed us," said the porcupine, and Uncle Wiggily said
that this was true.

Well, they kept on and on, and pretty soon they sat down in the shade of a
mulberry tree and ate their lunch. Then they rested a bit, and in the
afternoon they traveled on farther.

And, just as they were passing by a large, gray rock, that had nice, green
moss on it, all of a sudden they heard something calling like this:

"Cheep! Cheep! Chip-cheep-cheep! Oh, cheep! Peep! Peep!"

"What's that?" asked Uncle Wiggily in a whisper.

"I don't know. Maybe a burglar fox," answered the porcupine also, in a
whisper. "But I'm all ready for him."

So he got out some of his sharpest stickery quills to jab into the burglar
fox, and the noise still kept up:

"Cheep! Cheep! Yip! Yip! Yap! Yap! Cheep-chap!"

"That doesn't sound like a fox," said the rabbit, listening with his two
ears.

"No, it doesn't," admitted the porcupine, and he stuck his quills back
again like pins in a cushion. "Perhaps it is the skillery-scalery
alligator, and my quills would be of no use against him," he went on.

Then, all at once, before Uncle Wiggily could make his nose twinkle like a
star of a frosty night more than two times, there was a rustling in the
bushes, and out popped a poor, little white chickie - only she wasn't so
very white now, for her feathers were all wet and muddy.

"Cheep-chap! Yip-yap!" cried the little chickie.

"Why, what in the world are you doing away off here?" asked Uncle
Wiggily. "You poor little dear! Where is your mother?"

"Oh, me! Oh, my!" cried the little chickie. "I only wish I knew. I'm lost!
I wandered away from my mamma, and my brothers, and sisters, and I'm lost
in these woods. Oh chip! Oh chap! Oh yip! Oh yap!" Then she cried real
hard and the tears washed some of the dirt off her white feathers.

"Don't cry," said Uncle Wiggily, kindly. "We'll help you find your mamma,
won't we, Mr. Porcupine?"

"Of course we will," said the stickery-stockery creature. "You go one way,
Uncle Wiggily, and I'll go the other, and the chickie can stay on this big
rock until one of us comes back with her mamma."

"Yes, and here is a piece of cherry pie for you to eat while we are gone,"
said the rabbit, giving the lost chickie a nice piece of the pie.

So off the rabbit and the porcupine started to find the chickie's mamma.
They looked everywhere for her, but the porcupine couldn't find the old
lady hen, so he went back to the rock to wait there with the lost chickie
so she wouldn't be lonesome. But Uncle Wiggily wouldn't stop looking.
Pretty soon he heard something going "cluck-cluck" in the bushes, and he
knew that it was the mamma hen. Then he went up to her and said:

"Oh, I know where your little lost chickie is."

Well, at first, that mamma hen didn't know who the rabbit was, and she
ruffled up her feathers, and puffed them out, and let down her wings, and
she was going to fly right at Uncle Wiggily, but she happened to see who
he was just in time and she said:

"Oh, thank you ever so much, Uncle Wiggily. I was so worried that I was
just going down to the police station to see if a policeman had found her.
Now I won't have to go. Come along, children, little lost Clarabella is
found. Uncle Wiggily found her."

So she clucked to all the other children, and the rabbit led them toward
where Clarabella was sitting on the rock with the porcupine.

And on the way a big, ugly fox leaped out of the bushes and tried to eat
up all the chickens, and Uncle Wiggily also. But the old mother hen just
ruffled up her feathers and puffed herself all out big again, and she flew
at that fox and picked him in the eyes, and he was glad enough to slink
away through the bushes, taking his fuzzy tail with him.

Then the rabbit hopped on and took the mamma hen to her little lost
chickie on the rock, and the rabbit and the porcupine had supper that
night with the chicken family and slept in a big basket full of straw next
door to the chicken coop.

Then they traveled on the next day and something else happened. What it
was I'll tell you right soon, when, in case a little boy named Willie
doesn't crawl up in my lap when I'm writing and pull my ears, as the
conductor does the trolley car bell-rope, the story will be about Uncle
Wiggily and the wasp.




STORY XXV

UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE WASP


"What would you like for breakfast this morning?" asked Mrs. Hen, as Uncle
Wiggily and the porcupine got up out of their bed in the clean straw by
the chickens' coop. This was the day after the rabbit found the little
white chickie.

"Ha, hum! Let me see," exclaimed the rabbit, as he waved his whiskers
around in the air to get all the straw seeds out of them: "what would I
like? Why, I think some fried oranges with carrot gravy on them would be
nice, don't you, Mr. Porcupine?"

"No," said the stickery-stockery creature. "I think I would like to have
some bread with banana butter on and a glass of milk with vanilla
flavoring."

"You may both have what you like, because you were so kind to my little
lost Clarabella," said Mrs. Hen. Then she spoke to her children.

"Scurry around now, little ones, and get Uncle Wiggily and his friend the
nice things for breakfast. Hurry now, for they will be wanting to travel
on before the sun gets too hot," the mamma hen said.

So one little chickie got the oranges, and another chickie got the
bananas, and still another chickery-chicken, with a spotted tail, got the
carrots, and then Clarabella went to where Mrs. Cow lived, and got the
milk for the prickly porcupine. Then Mrs. Hen cooked the breakfast, and
very good it was, too, if I may be allowed to say so.

"Well, I guess we'll be getting along now," said Uncle Wiggily. "Are you
still going to travel with me, Mr. Porcupine?"

"Oh, yes, I'll come with you for a couple days more, and then if you don't
find your fortune I'll start out by myself, and perhaps I can find it for
you."

So the two friends went on together. They traveled over hills and down
dales, and once they met a lame rabbit, who had the epizootic very bad.
Uncle Wiggily showed him how to make a crutch out of a cornstalk, just as
Nurse Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy, the muskrat, had done, and the lame rabbit made
himself one and was much obliged.

Then, a little later they met a duck with only one good leg, and the
other one was made of wood, and this duck wanted to get over a fence but
she couldn't, on account of her wooden leg.

"Pray, how did you lose your leg?" asked Uncle Wiggily, as he and the
porcupine kindly helped her over the rails.

"Oh, a bad rat bit it off," said the duck. "I was asleep in the pond one
morning and before I knew it a rat swam up under water, and nipped off my
leg."

"Oh, I'm so sorry," said the rabbit. "I'll tell Alice and Lulu and Jimmie
Wibblewobble, my duck friends, to be careful of bad rats in their pond."

"That's a good idea," spoke the duck with the wooden leg, and then she
said good-by and waddled away.

After that Uncle Wiggily and the porcupine traveled on some more, and, as
it got to be very warm they thought they would lie down in a shady place
and take a little sleep.

Well, they picked out a nice place under a clump of ferns, that leaned
over a little babbling brook, and touched the tips of their green leaves
into the cool water. And, before he knew it, dear old Uncle Wiggily was
fast, fast asleep, and he snored the least little bit, but please don't
tell any one about it.

Then pretty soon the porcupine was asleep too, only he didn't snore any,
though I'm not allowed to tell you why just now. I may later, however.

Well, in a little while, something is going to happen. In fact, it's now
time for it to begin. Yes, here comes the stingery wasp. Listen, and you
can hear him buzz.

"Buzz! Buzz! Bizzy-buzzy-buzzy!" went the stingery wasp, as he flew over
the place where the rabbit and porcupine were sleeping. And the wasp
flitted and flapped his bluish wings and lifted up the sharp end of his
body where be carries his stingery-sting.

"Ah, ha! I see something to sting!" thought the wasp. "Now, I wonder which
one I shall sting first? I think I will try the porcupine, and then I will
sting the rabbit." Oh, but he was a bad wasp, though; wasn't he, eh?

Well, he was all ready to sting the porcupine, when suddenly the wasp
heard a voice calling to him from the bushes.

"Don't sting the porcupine, Mr. Wasp, sting the rabbit," said the rasping
voice.

"Why should I do that?" asked the wasp, as he looked to see if his sting
needed sharpening.

"Oh, because if you sting the porcupine you might get stuck with his
stickery-stockery quills," said the voice. "But the rabbit can't hurt you.
Besides, if you sting him for me I will give you a popcorn ball."

[Illustration]

"Why are you so anxious for me to sting the rabbit?" asked the wasp, as he
flittered his steely-blue wings.

"Oh, if you do that it will scare him so that he won't know which way to
run, and then, when he is all puzzled up, I can jump out on him and eat
him up!" said the voice. "I have been wanting a rabbit dinner this long
time," and with that out from the bushes crawled the bad fox.

"Very well," said the wasp, "I'll sting the rabbit on the end of his
twinkling nose for you, and then you must give me a popcorn ball," for you
know wasps like sweet things.

So the wasp got ready to sting poor Uncle Wiggily, and all this while the
rabbit and the porcupine were peacefully sleeping there under the ferns,
and they didn't know what was going to happen.

"Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!" went the wasp, as he flew closer to Uncle Wiggily. He
was all ready to sting him, when a piece of bark happened to fall off a
tree and hit the porcupine on his left ear, waking him up. He opened his
eyes very quickly, thinking that a fairy was throwing snowballs at him,
and then the porcupine heard the wasp buzzing, and he saw the wasp flying
straight toward Uncle Wiggily to sting him, and next the porcupine saw
the bad fox.

"Ha! So that is how things are, eh?" cried the porcupine, as he jumped up.
"Well, I'll soon put a stop to that!"

So, before you could fan yourself with a feather, the porcupine took out
one of his stickers, and he stuck the wasp with it so hard that the bad
wasp was glad enough to fly away, taking his stinger with him.

"Now, it's your turn!" cried the porcupine to the fox, and with that he
threw a whole lot of his sharp quills at the fox, and that bad creature
ran away howling. And then Uncle Wiggily woke up and wanted to know what
it was all about, and what made the buzzing and howling noises.

"You had a narrow escape," said the porcupine as he told the rabbit about
the wasp and the fox.

"I guess I did," admitted Uncle Wiggily. "I'm much obliged to you. Now
let's have supper."

So they ate their supper, and that's all I can tell you for the present,
if you please. But, in case I see a little pig with a pink ribbon tied in
his curly tail, I'll make the next bedtime story, about Uncle Wiggily and
the bluebell.




STORY XXVI

UNCLE WIGGLY AND THE BLUEBELL


Well, I didn't see any little pig with a pink ribbon tied in his kinky,
curly tail, but I'll tell you a story just the same if you'd like to hear
it.

Once upon a time, a good many years ago, when - Oh, there I go again! I'm
always making mistakes like that, of late. That's a story about a giant
that I was thinking of, whereas I meant to tell you one about Uncle
Wiggily, and what happened to him.

It was the day after the wasp had nearly stung him, and the old gentleman
rabbit was traveling on alone, for the second cousin to Grandfather
Prickly Porcupine had to go home, and so he couldn't help Uncle Wiggily
hunt for his fortune any longer.

"Now take care of yourself," the porcupine had said to the rabbit, as they
bade each other good-by, "and don't let any wasps sting you."

"What should I do, in case I happened to be stung?" asked Uncle Wiggily.

"Put some mud on the place," said the porcupine. "Mud is good for stings."

"I will," said the rabbit, and then he hopped on with his valise and his
red-white-and-blue-striped-barber-pole crutch. Uncle Wiggily hoped he
would soon find his fortune, for he wanted to get back home and see Sammie
and Susie Littletail, and all the other animal friends. So he looked
around very carefully for any signs of gold. He also asked all the animals
and flowers whom he met if they could tell him where his fortune was.

"No," said a warty-spotted toad, "I can't tell you, but I should think you
would dig in the ground for gold."

So Uncle Wiggily dug in the dirt in many places, but no gold did he find.

"Perhaps you can tell me where my fortune is?" he said to a tailor-bird
who was sewing some leaves together to make a nest.

"It might be up in the air," said the tailor-bird. "If I were you I should
hop up into the air and look for it."

Well, Uncle Wiggily hopped up, but you know how it is with rabbits.
They're not made to fly, and he couldn't stay up in the air long enough to
do any good, so he couldn't find any gold that way.

"Oh, dear! I guess I'll never find my fortune," said the rabbit
sadly-like. Then he saw a little blue flower, shaped just like a bell,
hanging on a stem over a small babbling brook of water.

"Ah, there is a bluebell!" said the rabbit. "Perhaps she knows where my
fortune is. I'll ask her, for flowers are very wise."

"No, I can't tell you where there is any gold," said the bluebell when
Uncle Wiggily had asked her most politely. "All I do is to swing backward
and forward here all day long, and I ring my bell and I am happy. I do not
need gold."

"I wish I didn't have to have it, but I do. I need it to make my fortune,
and then I can go home," said the rabbit.

"Very well," spoke the blue flower, as she rang her bell, oh so sweetly!
so that it seemed to the rabbit as if she played a song about the blue
skies, and birds singing and fountains spouting upward in the sun while
pretty blossoms grew all around. "Go on, Uncle Wiggily, but if you don't
find your fortune come back here, and I will sing you to sleep," she
added.

"I will," spoke the rabbit, as he hopped away.

Well, pretty soon, not so very long, as he was walking on a path through
the woods, Uncle Wiggily heard a voice speaking.

"I can tell you where to find your fortune," said the voice. "I know where
there is a big pile of yellow stones, and I think they are gold. Follow me
and I will show you."

"But who are you?" asked the rabbit, for he could see no one. "You may be
the alligator for all I know."

"Oh, I'm not the alligator," was the answer. "I am a friend of yours, and
I like you very much," and the unseen one smacked his lips. "But I can't
come out and let you see me, for I dare not go out in the sun as I am
afraid of getting too hot," the voice answered, "so I will just creep
along through the bushes and I will wiggle my tail, and you can see it
moving in the grass, and you can follow that without seeing me, and I will
lead you to the pile of yellow stones."


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