“I am seeking my fortune,” replied the old gentleman rabbit, “and trying to get better of my rheumatism. Dr. Possum told me to travel, and have adventures, and I’ve had quite a few already.”
“Well, I hope you find your fortune and that it turns out to be a very good one,” said the kind crow. “But it is coming on night now. Have you any place to stay?”
“No,” replied the rabbit, “I haven’t. I never thought about that. What shall I do?”
“Oh, don’t worry,” said the crow. “I’d let you stay in my nest, but it is up a high tree, and you would have trouble climbing in and out. But near my nest-house is an old hollow stump, and you can stay in that very nicely.”
“Are there any bears in it?” asked Uncle Wiggily, careful-like.
“Oh, no; not a one. It is very safe.”
So the crow showed Uncle Wiggily where the hollow stump was, and he slept there all night, on a soft bed of leaves. And when he awakened in the morning he had breakfast with the crow and once more started off to seek his fortune.
Well, pretty soon, in a short while, not so very long, he came to a little house made of bark, standing in the middle of a deep, dark, dismal woods. And on the door of the house was a sign which read:
“If you want to be surprised, open this door and come in.”
“Perhaps I can find my fortune in there, and get rid of the rheumatism,” thought Uncle Wiggily, so he hopped forward. And just as he did so he heard a voice calling to him:
“Don’t go in! Don’t go in there, Uncle Wiggily!”
The rabbit looked up, and saw Johnnie Bushytail, the squirrel boy, waving his paws at him. Well, Uncle Wiggily started to jump back away from the door of the little house, but it was too late. Out came a scraggily-raggily claw, which grabbed him, while a voice cried out:
“Ah, ha! Now I have you! Come right in!”
And then, before you could shake a stick at a bad dog, the door was slammed shut and locked, and there Uncle Wiggily was inside the house, and Johnnie Bushytail was crying outside.
“That’s the end of poor Uncle Wiggily!” said Johnnie. But it wasn’t. For I’ll not leave the old gentleman rabbit alone in the house with that clawy creature. And in the next story, providing our wash lady doesn’t put my new straw hat in the soap suds, and take all the color out of the ribbon, I’ll tell you about Uncle Wiggily and Fido Flip-Flop.
UNCLE WIGGILY AND FIDO FLIP-FLOP
Well, as soon as Uncle Wiggily found himself inside the bear’s den—oh, just listen to me! That was in the other story, wasn’t it? Yes, we left him in the funny little house in the woods, with the clawy creature grabbing him.
Now, what do you suppose that clawy creature was? Why, a great, big owl, to be sure, with round, staring, yellow eyes, and he had grabbed Uncle Wiggily in his claws, and pulled him inside the house.