“Oh, but I don’t want to,” objected the rabbit.
“You’ll have to, whether you want to or not,” went on the alligator. “If you don’t come down, I’ll take my scaly, naily tail, and I’ll saw down the tree, and then you’ll fall.”
“Oh, dear!” exclaimed Uncle Wiggily. “What shall I do?”
Then he happened to think of the bottle of toothache medicine that he held in his hand, and, taking out the cork, he dropped the bottle, medicine and all, right into the open mouth of the alligator, who was again up on his tail.
And the alligator thought it was Uncle Wiggily falling into his jaws, and he shut them quickly like a steel trap and chewed on that bottle of hot toothache drops before he knew what it was.
Well, you can just imagine what happened. The medicine was as hot as pepper and mustard and vinegar and cloves and horse radish all made into one! My! how it did burn that alligator’s mouth.
“Oh my! I’m shot! I’m poisoned! I’m bitten by a mosquito! I’m stabbed! I’m all scrambled up” cried the alligator. “Water, water, quick! I must have water!”
Then he gave a big jump, and, with his kinkery-scalery tail, he leaped into a big puddle of water, and went away down in under, out of sight, to cool off his mouth.
“Oh, now is my chance! If I could only get down out of the tree!” exclaimed Uncle Wiggily. “But with my rheumatism I’m afraid I’ll fall. Oh dear! What shall I do?”
“Don’t be afraid, I’ll help you!” exclaimed a kind voice, and then the voice went on: “Caw! Caw! Caw!” and Uncle Wiggily, looking up, saw a big black crow perched on a limb over his head.
“Oh, how do you do!” spoke Uncle Wiggily, making a bow as well as he could. “Can you really help me down?’
“Yes,” said the crow, “I can. Wait until I get my market basket. I was just going to the grocery, but I’m in no hurry. I’ll save you first.”
So that crow flew off, and in a moment he came back with a big basket in its bill.
“Hop in!” the black crow called to Uncle Wiggily, “and I’ll fly down to the ground with you, and you can run off before the alligator comes out of the water. I saw what you did to him with those toothache drops, and it served him right. Come on, hop in the basket.”
So Uncle Wiggily got in the basket, and the crow, taking the handle in his strong beak, flew safely to the ground with him. And that’s how the old gentleman rabbit got down out of the tree, just as I told you he would.
So he and the crow walked on some distance through the woods together, after Uncle Wiggily had picked up his crutch and valise, which had fallen out of the basket, and they got safely away before the alligator came out of the water. And wasn’t he the provoked old beastie, though, when he saw that his rabbit supper was gone?
“Where are you going?” asked the crow of Uncle Wiggily, after a bit, when they got to a nice big stone, and sat down for a rest.