“Are you talking about Easter eggs or something else?” inquired Billie Bushytail.
“Fairies, of course.”
“Oh, get out! Oh, ho! Don’t tell me that! Why, how superfluous!” cried Billie, for that last was a new word he had just learned. “Don’t mention fairies to me!” he continued.
“Why not?” Sammie wanted to know.
“Because I don’t believe there are such things!” cried Billie, frisking his big tail until it looked like a dusting brush that they use after sweeping to knock the dust from the furniture onto the floor again. “Don’t talk to me like that, Sammie.”
“Well,” remarked the little boy rabbit, “all I’ve got to say is that there are fairies! But where’s Johnnie? Maybe he believes in ’em.”
“No, he doesn’t. Besides he’s gone out walking with Sister Sallie. Come on, let’s have a catch. Where’s your ball?”
“I didn’t bring it,” replied Sammie. “But we can have some fun playing in this hole I’ve dug.” So they played for some time, and pretty soon, oh, in about two and a half frisks of Billie’s tail, what should happen, but that, all of a sudden, a great big hawk swooped down from the sky and grabbed that little boy squirrel up in its claws, and flew off with him. Well, you can just imagine how scared Sammie was. His nose wiggled so he sneezed three times. Then he looked up, and there was the hawk, flying away, and away, and away with poor Billie. Oh, wasn’t it dreadful!
“Save me! Save me!” Billie cried from up there among the clouds.
“I will! I will!” shouted Sammie, and then he got so excited that he ran around in a circle, and tried to catch his tail, but it was so short that he couldn’t even see it, no matter how fast he went around. Then he grabbed up a stone, and he threw it at that hawk, but of course he couldn’t hit him, for the big, bad bird was too far away. “Oh, whatever shall I do?” exclaimed Sammie. “If I could only fly now, I’d go up after that hawk. Oh, why didn’t Susie wish for wings for me and her instead of for a golden chariot and ten boxes of chocolate-covered carrots the time she saw the blue fairy? Oh, why didn’t she? Wings would have been of some use!”
Then he ran around after his tail some more, but he couldn’t catch it, and the hawk kept taking Billie farther and farther away, and then Sammie cried out: “Oh, dear! Oh, dear! Oh, dear!” three times, just like that. Then, all at once, if the little green man didn’t suddenly appear. He always appears when any one says “Oh, dear!” three times in exactly the right way, but it’s hard to know just what is the right way.
“Well,” said the little green man, “you seem to be in trouble.”
“I am,” cried Sammie. “A hawk has Billie Bushytail, and I want to save him.”
“Very well,” said the little green man, “since you are so kind, you shall save him. Shut your eyes, cross your front paws, and wrinkle your nose three times and a half.” So Sammie did this, and, would you believe me? if, in another instant, the little green man hadn’t changed into a big, kind, good-natured eagle. “Get up on my back,” the eagle said to Sammie, “and we will save Billie.”