So Sammie Littletail, frightened as he as at the dreadful animal, had to jump out of the burrow to get ready to run down it again, and, just as he did so, the big animal cried out to him:
“Hold on there!”
Sammie shook with fright, and did not dare move. But, after all, the big animal did not intend to harm him. And what happened, and who the big animal was I will tell you to-morrow night.
SAMMIE AND SUSIE HELP MRS. WREN
The big animal with the horns came close to Sammie.
“What are you doing here?” he asked.
“I—I don’t know,” replied the little rabbit boy.
“How did you get here?”
“I was digging a new burrow, and I—I just happened to come out here. But I’ll go right away again, if you’ll let me.”
“Of course I’ll let you. Don’t you know it’s against the rules of the park to be here? What do you suppose they have different parts of the park for, if it isn’t to keep you rabbits out of certain places?”
“I’m sure I don’t know,” was all Sammie could say.
“Do you know who I am?” asked the horned creature.
“Well, I’m a deer.”
“My—my mother calls me that, sometimes, when I’ve been real good,” said Sammie.
“No, I don’t mean that kind at all,” and the deer tried to smile. “My name is spelled differently. I’m a cousin of the Santa Claus reindeer. But you must go now. No rabbits are allowed in the part of the park where we live. You should not have come,” and the deer shook his horns at Sammie.
“I—I never will again,” said the little rabbit boy, and then, before the deer knew it, Sammie jumped down his new burrow, ran along to the front door, and darted off toward home.
When he was almost there he saw a little brown bird sitting on a bush, and the bird seemed calling to him.
“Wait a minute, rabbit,” said the bird. “Why are you in such a hurry?”
“Because I saw such a dreadful animal,” was Sammie’s reply, and he told about the deer.
“Pooh! Deer are very nice creatures indeed,” said the bird. “I used to know one, and I used to perch on his horns. But what I stopped to ask you about was whether you know of a nice nest which I could rent for this spring. You see, I have come up from the South a little earlier than usual, and I can’t find the nest I had last year. It was in a little wooden house that a nice man built for me, but the wind has blown it down. I didn’t know but what you might have seen a little nest somewhere.”
“No,” said Sammie, “I haven’t. I am very sorry.”
“So am I,” went on the little brown bird. “But I must tell you my name. I am Mrs. Wren.”
“Oh, I have heard about you,” said the little rabbit.
“Are you sure you don’t know of a nest about here?” she asked anxiously. “I don’t want to fly all the way back down South. Suppose you go home and ask your mother.”