UNCLE WIGGILY GOES FISHING
At first, after he found himself shut up in the bear’s dark closet, where we left him in the story before this, poor Uncle Wiggily didn’t know what to think. He just sat there, on the edge of a chair, and he tried to look around, and see something, but it was too black, so he couldn’t.
“Perhaps this is only a joke,” thought the old gentleman rabbit, “though I never knew a black bear to joke before. But perhaps it is. I’ll ask him.”
So Uncle Wiggily called out:
“Is this a joke, Mr. Bear?”
“Not a bit of it!” was the growling answer. “You’ll soon see what’s going to happen to you! I’m getting the fire ready now.”
“Getting the fire ready for what; the adventure, or for my fortune?” asked the rabbit, for he still hoped the bear was only joking with him.
“Ready to cook you!” was the reply. “That’s what the fire is for!” and the bear gnashed his teeth together something terrible, and, with his sharp claws, he clawed big splinters off the stump, and with them he started the fire in the stove, with the splinters, I mean, not his claws.
The blazing fire made it a little brighter in the hollow stump, which was the black bear’s den, and Uncle Wiggily could look out of a crack in the door, and see what a savage fellow the shaggy bear was. You see, that bear just hid in the stump, waiting for helpless animals to come along, and then he’d trick them into jumping down inside of it, and there wasn’t a word of truth about him having sore eyes, or about him having to wear dark spectacles, either.
“Oh, my! I guess this is the end of my adventures,” thought the rabbit. “I should have been more careful. Well, I wish I could see Sammie and Susie before he eats me, but I’m afraid I can’t. I shouldn’t have jumped down here.”
But as Uncle Wiggily happened to think of Sammie Littletail, the boy rabbit, he also thought of something else. And this was that Sammie had put something in the old gentleman rabbit’s valise that morning, before his uncle had started off.
“If you ever get into trouble, Uncle Wiggily,” Sammie had said, “this may come in useful for you.” Uncle Wiggily didn’t look at the time to see what it was that his nephew put in the valise, but he made up his mind he would do so now. So he opened his satchel, and there, among other things, was a long piece of thin, but strong rope. And pinned to it was a note which read:
“Dear Uncle Wiggily. This is good to help you get out of a window, in case of fire.”
“My goodness!” exclaimed Uncle Wiggily, “that’s fine. There the bear is making a fire to cook me, and with this rope I can get away from it. Now if there’s only a window in this closet I’m all right.”
So he looked, and sure enough there was a window. And with his crutch Uncle Wiggily raised it. Then he threw out his satchel, and he tied the rope to a hook on the window sill, and, being a strong old gentleman, he crawled out of the window, and slid down the cord.