“Why, foolish dogs, the water’s all running out the back way!” And, surely enough, it was. Then they knew Uncle Wiggily had escaped, and they were as angry as anything, but it served them right, I think.
“My! I wonder what will happen next?” thought the old gentleman rabbit, as he hopped along. “That was a narrow escape.”
So, having nothing else to do, Uncle Wiggily sat down on a nice, smooth stump, and he ate some lunch out of his valise. And a red ant came up, and very politely asked if she might not pick up the crumbs which the old rabbit dropped.
“Of course you may,” said Uncle Wiggily kindly. “And I’ll give you a whole slice of bread and butter, also.”
“Oh, you are too generous,” spoke the red ant. “I never could carry a slice of bread and butter. But if you will leave it on the stump I’ll get some of my friends, and we’ll bite off little crumbs, a few at a time, and in that way carry it to our houses.”
So that’s what Uncle Wiggily did, and the ants had a fine feast, and they were very thankful. Uncle Wiggily asked them if they knew where he could find his fortune.
“Why don’t you go to work, instead of traveling around so much?” asked the biggest red ant. “The best fortune is the one you work for.”
“Is it? I never thought of that,” said Uncle Wiggily. “I will look for work at once. I wonder if you ants have any for me.”
“We’d like to help you,” they said, “but you see you are so large that you couldn’t get into our houses to do any work. You had much better travel along, and work for some one larger than we are.”
“I will,” decided the old gentleman rabbit. “I’ll ask every one I meet if they want me to work for them.”
So he started off once more, and the first place he came to was a house where a mouse lady lived.
“Have you any work I can do?” asked Uncle Wiggily politely.
“What work can you do?” asked the mouse lady.
“Well, I can peel carrots or turnips with my teeth,” said Uncle Wiggily, “and I can look after children, and tell them stories, and I can do some funny tricks——”
“Then you had better go join a circus,” interrupted the mouse lady. “I have no children, and I can peel my own carrots, thank you. As for turnips, I never eat them.”
“Then I must go on a little further,” said Uncle Wiggily, as he picked up his valise, and walked off on his crutch. So he went on, until he came to another house in the woods, and he knocked on the door.
“Have you any work I can do?” inquired Uncle Wiggily politely.
“No! Get away and don’t bother me!” growled a most unpleasant voice, and the rabbit was just going down the steps, when the door opened a crack, and a long, sharp nose and a mouth full of sharp teeth, and some long legs with sharp claws on them, were stuck out.
“Oh, hold on!” cried the voice. “I guess I can find some work for you after all. You can get up a dinner for me!” and then the savage creature, who had opened the door, made a grab for the rabbit and nearly caught him. Only Uncle Wiggily jumped away, just in time, and the wolf, for he it was who had called out, caught his own tail in the crack of the door and howled most frightfully.