Now, as true as I’m telling you, a moment after that, just as Uncle Wiggily was going past a big stone, he saw something bright and shining in the leaves.
“Oh, good luck!” he cried. “I’ve found ten cents, and that will buy two bags of peanuts. Now I’ll get rich!”
So he picked up the shining thing, and oh! how disappointed he was, for it was only a round piece of tin, such as they make penny whistles of.
“Oh, dear!” cried Uncle Wiggily. “Fooled again! Well, all I can do is to keep on.”
He went on a little farther, until he came to a place where there were a whole lot of prickly briar bushes, with red berries growing on them.
“Oh, ho!” exclaimed the rabbit. “Some of those berries will do for my dinner, as I’m getting hungry. I’ll pick a few.”
He was just going to pick some of the berries, when he happened to notice a big, red thing, like a red flannel bag, standing wide open near a hole in the bushes. And in front of the red place was a sign, which said:
“Come in, one and all. Everybody welcome.”
“It looks very nice in there,” thought the rabbit. “Perhaps it is the opening of a circus tent. I’m going in, for I haven’t seen a show in some time. And, maybe, my friend, the elephant, will be in there.”
Uncle Wiggily was just going to hop into the funny red opening that had the sign on it, when a little ant came crawling along, carrying a small loaf of bread.
“Hello, Uncle Wiggily,” said the ant. “Where are you going?”
“I am going inside this red circus tent,” said the rabbit. “Won’t you come in with me? I’ll buy you a ticket.”
“Oh, never go in there—don’t you do it!” cried the ant, and she got so excited that she nearly dropped her loaf of bread. “That is not a circus tent; it is only the skillery-scalery-tailery alligator, and he has opened his mouth wide hoping some one will come in, so he can have a meal. Don’t go in.”
“I won’t,” said Uncle Wiggily, quickly as he hopped away, and then he took up a stone and tossed it into the red mouth of the scalery-tailery-wailery alligator. The alligator shut his jaws very quickly, thinking he had something good to eat, but he only bit on the stone, and he was so angry that he lashed out with his tail and nearly knocked over a hickory-nut tree.
Then the ant crawled home, and Uncle Wiggily hopped on out of danger and the alligator opened his mouth again, hoping some foolish animal would walk into the trap he had all ready for them.
Well, in a little while after that, as the old gentleman rabbit was going along under the big tree, all of a sudden he heard a voice calling, rather sadly and sweetly:
“My goodness, that must be some little lost girl named Phoebe, and her sister is calling for her,” he thought. “I wonder if I could help find her?” For, you know, Uncle Wiggily was just as kind as he could be, and always wanting to help some one.