“But I have no rope,” objected Susie, though she felt a little more happy. “I can’t jump without a rope.”
“Tut! tut! Do not think about such a little thing as that,” went on her uncle. “I will have a rope for you in a few minutes. Come with me.”
Just then Sammie came along, and, after he had had some corn bread with preserved sweet cabbage leaves on, he went with his sister and uncle in the woods.
“I am going to learn to jump rope,” said Susie, quite proudly. “Don’t you want to learn, Sammie?”
“No,” he said, “that’s only for girls. I’d rather play marbles and fly a kite, but I’ll turn for you, if we can find a rope,” for, you see, Sammie was always kind to his sister.
“We will have a rope in a minute,” remarked Uncle Wiggily. “I know where to find it.”
Just then who should come walking along but Possum Pinktoes, and, as soon as he saw the rabbits, he pretended to go to sleep.
“Oh, you do not need to go to sleep, and make believe that you are dead,” spoke Sammie. “We would not hurt you for the world.”
Then Possum Pinktoes, who was only pretending to sleep, as he always did when he thought he was in danger, opened first one eye, then the other.
“I am going to learn to jump rope,” said Susie to him.
“Ha! Jump rope, eh?” exclaimed Possum Pinktoes. “I know the very thing for you. A wild grapevine! It will make a fine rope.”
“That’s just what I was going to say,” called out Uncle Wiggily.
“Come with me, and I’ll show you where there are plenty of vines,” went on the possum, so they followed him, and pretty soon they came to the place. Sammie and Uncle Wiggily cut a long piece, and then they took hold of each end and began to turn the rope for Susie. At first she could not do very well, even though there was a nice, smooth, grassy place to learn on. Then out of a pond jumped Bully, the frog, and, as he was one of the best jumpers in the woods, or, for that matter, on Orange Mountain, he showed Susie just how to do it.
So she learned to jump “salt,” which is slow, and “pepper,” which is fast, and “double pepper,” which is very fast indeed. Then she learned to jump with two ropes, one going one way and one the other, and finally she could skip as well as any little rabbit girl in the owl’s school. Uncle Wiggily tried to jump, but he was so stiff and his rheumatism hurt him so that he couldn’t do it.
Then they all started for home, and what do you think happened? Something quite serious, I do assure you, and I’m not fooling. A big hawk, not the kind, good fish-hawk, but another kind, who was out looking for early spring chickens, swooped down and tried to carry Susie Littletail off to his nest. Now Uncle Wiggily was so old he couldn’t do much, but Sammie was not going to see his little sister harmed, so what did he do but jump at that hawk with his sharp little feet, and kick him until the bad bird let go of poor Susie. She was quite frightened, but not much hurt, and maybe she didn’t hug and kiss Sammie for saving her. Then they all hurried home to the burrow, and if there is nothing to prevent it, to-morrow night’s story will be about Sammie turning sky-blue-pink.