“Yes, but who can I get to go up in a balloon?” asked the man.
“I will!” cried Uncle Wiggily bravely. “Perhaps I may find my fortune up in the sky, so I’ll go in a balloon.”
Well, the man thought that was fine. So he made a little basket for the rabbit to sit in, and he fastened the basket to a big red balloon, and then he took care of the rabbit’s valise for him, while Uncle Wiggily got ready to go toward the clouds, taking only his crutch with him.
When the man had everything fixed and when the rabbit was sitting in the basket as easily as in a soft chair at home, the man cried:
“Over here! Over here, everybody! Over here, people! A rabbit is going up in a balloon! A most wonderful sight! Over here!”
And then the man let go of the balloon, and Uncle Wiggily shot right up toward the sky, only, of course, the man had a string fast to the balloon to pull it down again. Up and up went the balloon carrying Uncle Wiggily. Up and up!
And my! how surprised the people were. They rushed over and bought so many balloons that the man couldn’t take in the money fast enough. And Uncle Wiggily stayed up there, high in the air, looking for his fortune.
And then, all of a sudden, a bad boy, with a bean shooter, shot at the balloon, and “bang!” it burst, with a big hole in it. Down came Uncle Wiggily, head over heels, bursted balloon, basket, crutch and all.
“Oh, he’ll be killed! He’ll be killed!” cried all the people.
“No, he’ll not! We’ll save him!” cried Dickie and Nellie Chip-Chip, the boy and girl sparrow, who happened to be at the circus. “We’ll save Uncle Wiggily!”
So up into the air they flew, and before Uncle Wiggily could fall to the ground Dickie and Nellie grabbed the basket in their bills, and, by fluttering their wings, they let it come very gently to earth just like a feather falling, and the rabbit wasn’t hurt a bit. But, of course, the balloon was broken.
So that’s how Uncle Wiggily went up in a balloon and came down again, but he hadn’t yet found his fortune. And now in the next story, if our fire shovel doesn’t go out to play in the sand pile, and get its ears full of dirt, I’ll tell you about Uncle Wiggily in an automobile.
UNCLE WIGGILY IN AN AUTO
Well, after Uncle Wiggily had been saved from the falling balloon by Dickie and Nellie Chip-Chip, the sparrow children, the people were so excited that they wanted the bad boy arrested for making a hole in the balloon with his bean-shooter.
“No, let him go,” said the rabbit gentleman, kindly. “I’m sure he won’t do it again.” And do you know, that boy never did. It was a good lesson to him.
Then the people bought all the balloons, until the man had none left, and I guess if he could have sent for forty-’leven more he would have sold them also.