Just before dinner time Uncle Wiggily Longears came limping back to the burrow. He was running as hard as he could, but that was not very fast.
“Why, Wiggily, whatever has happened?” asked Mrs. Littletail, who had come to the front door to see if her children were all right. “Is your rheumatism worse? Why do you limp so?”
“Because,” answered Uncle Wiggily Longears, “I have been shot.”
“Shot?” cried Mrs. Littletail.
“In the left hind leg,” went on Uncle Wiggily. “The same leg that has the rheumatism so bad. Oh, dear! I wish you would send for Dr. Possum.”
“I will, right away. Sammie!” she called, “come and go for Dr. Possum, for your uncle. He has been shot. How did it happen, Wiggily?”
“Well, I was down in the swamp, looking for some snakeroot, which Mr. Drake said was good for rheumatism, when a man fired at me. I jumped, but not in time, and several pieces of lead are in my leg.”
“Oh, how dreadful!” cried Mamma Littletail.
In a little while Sammie came back with Dr. Possum.
“Ha! This is bad business,” spoke the long-tailed doctor, when he looked at Uncle Wiggily Longears’s leg. “I fear I shall have to operate.”
“Anything, so you get the shot out,” said the old rabbit.
So Dr. Possum tried to get the leaden pellets out, but he could not, they were in so deep.
“This is very bad business, indeed,” he went on. “I fear I shall have to take your leg off.”
“Will it hurt?” asked Uncle Wiggily Longears.
“Um-er-well, not very much,” said the doctor, as he twirled his glasses on his tail.
Just then, who should come into the burrow but Mrs. Wren. She was very much surprised to see Uncle Wiggily lying on a bed of soft grass, with the doctor bending over him.
“What is the matter?” she asked.
“I have been shot,” said Uncle Wiggily, “and the doctor cannot get the bullets out.”
“Suppose you let me try,” said Mrs. Wren. “I have a very sharp bill, and I think I can pull them out.”
“Then you are a sort of a doctor,” said Uncle Wiggily. “Go ahead, and see what you can do.”
“Yes, do,” urged Dr. Possum.
So the little brown bird put her beak in the holes in Uncle Wiggily’s leg, where the bullets had gone in, and she pulled every one out. It hurt a little, but Uncle Wiggily did not make a fuss.
“There,” said Mrs. Wren, “that is done.”
Then Dr. Possum put some salve on the leg and bound it up, promising to come in next day to see how Uncle Wiggily was getting on.
“Did you find a nest-house?” asked Mamma Littletail of the bird.
“No,” was the answer, “I think I shall have to stay with you another night, if you will let me. Perhaps I shall find a nest to-morrow.”
So she stayed with the Littletail family another night, and to-morrow night I will tell you how she found a nest.