SAMMIE AND THE BLACK DOGGIE
One day, when Sammie Littletail was on his way home from Dr. Possum’s house, where he had gone to get some sweet-flag root, for Uncle Wiggily Longear’s rheumatism, something happened to the little boy rabbit. He was coming through a big field, where the grass was quite high, when he heard a little bark. He knew at once that it was a dog, and Sammie was afraid of dogs, as all rabbits are, so he started to run. But the dog called out:
“Don’t run, little rabbit.”
“Why not?” asked Sammie. “I’m afraid of you.”
“But I won’t hurt you,” went on the dog.
“You might,” answered Sammie. “Dogs always hurt rabbits.”
“Not all dogs,” continued the little black one. “Besides, I am what they call a doggie. A doggie is a small dog, you know, and small dogs won’t hurt rabbits.”
“Are you sure?” asked Sammie.
“Perfectly sure. Besides, I am a trick dog, and trick dogs are so well fed at home that they do not have to hunt rabbits to eat.”
“Are you sure?” asked Sammie again.
“Perfectly sure. You just watch me, and you will see that I do not eat you. Watch me carefully.”
“Oh, I meant are you sure that you are a trick dog,” went on Sammie.
“Of course, I am sure. I can do lots of tricks. I can play dead. I can turn a back somersault, and I can walk on my hind legs—”
“Oh, I can do that, too,” interrupted Sammie.
“Yes, I know. I saw you do that a little while ago. But can you walk on your front legs, with your hind ones up in the air? Now, can you do that?” and the black doggie looked straight at Sammie.
“I never tried that,” replied Sammie.
“No; and I guess you’d better not, unless you want to fall. I fell lots of times before I learned it. But I can do it now, and every time I do my master gives me a sweet cracker.”
“What’s a sweet cracker?” asked Sammie, who thought it sounded very nice.
“Don’t you know what a sweet cracker is?” asked the doggie, who was much surprised.
“No, I don’t,” declared Sammie.
“Well, you ought to. I’m astonished at you. It’s sweet, and it’s a cracker, that’s all I can tell you. You ought to know such things yourself.”
“Look here!” cried Sammie, who thought the doggie was trying to show how smart it was, “do you know what molasses carrots are?”
“No,” said the doggie. “I don’t believe there are any such things.”
“Yes, there are,” declared Sammie. “I have had them to eat. So, you see, if I don’t know what a sweet cracker is, you don’t know what molasses carrots are. We’re even now.”
“Oh, let’s talk about something else,” said the doggie quickly. “I will show you some of my tricks, if you like.”
“I would like to see them very much,” answered Sammie politely.