“Would you like a nice, juicy cabbage leaf?” asked Susie.
“Wouldn’t I, though!” cried Sammie, “But there isn’t any in the pantry. I heard Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy tell mother so.”
“I’ll go to the store and get you some,” offered his sister. “I know where it is.”
The cabbage store was a big field where Farmer Tooker kept his cabbage covered with straw during the winter. It was not far from the burrow, and, though it was not really a store, the rabbits always called it that. So that was where Susie Littletail went. She scraped the snow off the straw with her hind feet and kicked the straw away so she could get at the cabbage. Then she began to gnaw off the sweetest leaves she could find for her little sick brother. She had broken off quite a number and was thinking how nice they would be for him, when she suddenly smelled something strange.
It was not cabbage nor turnips nor carrots that she smelled. Nor was it sweet clover, nor any smell like that. It was the smell of danger, and Susie, like all her family, could smell danger quite a distance. This time she knew it was a man with a dog and a gun who was coming toward her. For Uncle Wiggily Longears had told her how to know when such a thing happened.
“Oh, it’s some of those horrid hunters; I know it is!” exclaimed Susie. “I must run home, though I haven’t half enough cabbage.”
She took the leaves she had gnawed off in her mouth and bounded off toward the underground house. All at once a dog sprang out of the bushes at her and the man with the gun shot at her, but he did not hit her. She was so frightened, however, that she dropped the cabbage leaves and ran for her life.
Oh, how Susie Littletail did run! She never ran so fast before in all her life, and, just as the dog was going to grab her, she saw the back door of her house, and into it she popped like a cork going into a bottle.
“Oh! Oh! Oh!” she cried three times, just like that. “I am safe!” and she ran to where her brother was, on a bed of leaves.
“Why, Susie!” he called to her. “Whatever is the matter?”
“Yes. Why have you been running so?” asked Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy. “What happened?”
“A big dog chased me,” answered Susie. “But I got away.”
“Where is my cabbage?” Sammie wanted to know. “I am so hungry for it.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry, but I had to drop it,” went on Susie. “Oh, Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy, is papa home safe. Where is Uncle Wiggily Longears? I hope neither of them is out, for I’m afraid that hunter and his dog will see them.”
“Your uncle is asleep in his room,” said the muskrat nurse. “His rheumatism hurts him this weather. As for your papa, he has not come home yet, but I guess he is wise enough to keep out of the way of dogs. Now don’t make any noise, for your mamma is lying down with a headache. I have a little preserved clover, done up in sugar, put away in the cupboard, and I will give you some.”