“Come back! Come back!” cried the wolf, but, of course, Uncle Wiggily wouldn’t do such a foolish thing as that, and the wolf couldn’t chase after him, for his tail was fast in the door hinge.
“My, I must be more careful after this how I knock at doors, and ask for work,” the old gentleman rabbit thought. “I was nearly caught that time. I’ll try again, and I may have better luck.”
So he walked along through the woods, and pretty soon he heard a voice singing, and this is the song, as nearly as I can remember it:
Here I sit and wonder
What I’m going to do.
I’ve no one to help me,
I think it’s sad; don’t you?
I have to play the fiddle,
But still I’d give a cent
To any one who’d keep the boys
From crawling in the tent.
“Well, I wonder who that can be?” thought Uncle Wiggily. “He’ll give a cent, eh? to any one who keeps the boys from crawling in the tent. Now, if that isn’t a bear or a fox or a wolf maybe I can work for him, and earn that money. I’ll try.”
So he peeped out of the bushes, and there he saw a nice monkey, all dressed up in a clown’s suit, spotted red, white and blue. And the monkey was playing a tune on a fiddle. Then, all of a sudden, he laid aside the fiddle, and began to beat the bass drum. Then he blew on a horn, next he jumped up and down, and turned a somersault, and then, finally, he grabbed up a whip with a whistle in the tail—I mean in the end—and that monkey began to pretend he was chasing make-believe boys from around a real tent that was in a little place under the trees.
“Oh, I guess that monkey won’t hurt me,” said Uncle Wiggily as he stepped boldly out, and as soon as the monkey saw the rabbit, he called most politely:
“Well, what do you want?”
“I want to earn a cent, by chasing boys from out the tent,” replied Uncle Wiggily.
“Good!” cried the monkey. “So you heard me sing? I’m tired of being the whole show. I need some one to help me. Come over here and I’ll explain all about it. If you like it, you can go to work for me, and if you do, your fortune is as good as made.”
“That’s fine!” cried Uncle Wiggily. “And I can do tricks in the show, too.”
“Fine!” exclaimed the monkey, hanging by his tail from a green apple tree. “Now, I’ll explain.”
But, just as he was going to do so, out jumped a big black bear from the bushes, making a grab for Uncle Wiggily. He might have caught him, too, only the monkey picked up a cocoanut pie off the ground and hit the bear so hard on the head, that the savage creature was frightened, and ran away, sneezing, leaving the monkey and the rabbit alone by the show-tent.
“Now, we’ll get ready to have some fun,” said the monkey, and what he and Uncle Wiggily did I’ll tell you in the following story which will be about the old gentleman rabbit and the boys—that is, if the molasses jug doesn’t tip over on my plate, and spoil my bread and butter peanut sandwich.