Right at the top of a little hill the cabbage got away from them. Down it started, rolling and bounding along, with Peter Rabbit and Jumper the Hare frantically trying to catch it. Just ahead was Johnny Chuck with a big bundle of sweet clover, which he was bringing to Peter Rabbit’s party. He didn’t see the big cabbage coming. It knocked his feet from under him, and down he went with a thump, flat on his back. Right on top of him fell Jumper the Hare, who was close behind the runaway cabbage and had no time to turn aside. Over the two of them fell Peter Rabbit. Such a mix-up!
And the big cabbage kept right on running away. Jimmy Skunk, who never hurries, heard the noise behind him and turned to see what it all meant. But he didn’t have time to more than blink his eyes before the runaway cabbage hit him full in the stomach. Down went Jimmy Skunk with a grunt. One big egg flew over against a tree and broke. Jimmy landed on the other, and this broke, too.
Such a sight as Jimmy Skunk was! Egg dripped from every part of his handsome black and white coat. It was in his eyes and all over his face and dripped from his whiskers. Shadow the Weasel and Reddy Fox, hiding in the hollow log, laughed until the tears rolled down their cheeks, though down in the heart of Shadow was bitter disappointment, for he had planned to steal those very eggs.
Just a little way beyond Jimmy Skunk the runaway cabbage brought up with a thump against a stump on which sat Striped Chipmunk, with the pockets in his cheeks filled full of yellow corn. The sudden bump of the big cabbage made Striped Chipmunk lose his balance, and off he tumbled, right down on to old Mr. Toad, who had just sat down behind the stump for a few minutes of rest. It knocked all the wind out of Mr. Toad, and of course Striped Chipmunk spilled all his corn.
Prickly Porky the Porcupine heard the noise. He looked up to see a strange thing bounding down the Lone Little Path. Prickly Porky didn’t wait to see what it was. He did just what he always does when he thinks there may be danger; he rolled himself up with his face hidden in his waistcoat, and when he did that, the thousand little spears hidden in his coat stood out until he looked like a giant chestnut burr.
The runaway cabbage bounced off the stump and hit Prickly Porky. Then it stopped. Where it had touched Prickly Porky, the sharp little spears had stuck into it, so that when Peter Rabbit and Jumper the Hare hurried up, there lay the runaway cabbage, looking for all the world like a great green pincushion.
REDDY FOX GOES HUNGRY
Like a great green pincushion lay the runaway cabbage of Peter Rabbit and Jumper the Hare. Every one thought it was the very best joke ever. Jimmy Skunk had gone off to take a bath and get two more eggs for Peter Rabbit’s party. Reddy Fox and Shadow the Weasel, peeping out from the hollow log where they were hiding, could see Jimmy on his way back with a big goose egg under each arm. Shadow smacked his lips. He meant to have those eggs himself.