Pretty soon, not so very long, they came to a pond of water, and as soon as Towser saw it, he cried out:
“Oh, it is such a hot day I think I’ll jump in and have a swim. Come on, Uncle Wiggily, have a swim with me.”
“Oh, no, I can’t swim,” said the old gentleman rabbit.
“What! You can’t swim?” cried the dog. “Well, every one ought to swim, for when they go on their vacation if they fall in the water they won’t drown if they know how to keep themselves up. Watch me and see how easy it is.”
So Towser set the satchel down on the bank and, taking off some of his clothes, into the water he jumped with a big splashy dive. Right down under the water he disappeared.
“Oh, he’ll be drowned, sure!” cried Uncle Wiggily, who was much frightened. But, no. In a second up came Towser, shaking the water from his hair and eyes, and then he began swimming around as easily as a chicken can pick up corn.
“Come on in, Uncle Wiggily,” he called. “The water is fine.”
“Oh, I’m afraid!” said the rabbit.
“Then the first thing to do is to get so you are not afraid of the water,” said the dog. “You needn’t be. Just see; it will hold you up easily if you go at it right. Just keep your nose out, and don’t splutter and splash too much and you can swim. Come in and I will give you a lesson.”
So Uncle Wiggily got in the water. At first it took his breath away, but after a bit he got used to it, and he found that he could wade away far out. Then he tried holding his breath and ducking his head away under, and he found that he could do that and not be harmed in the least, and at last he got so he wasn’t afraid at all in the water.
“Now for a lesson,” said the puppy dog. “You must wade out so that the water is up to your neck, and then you face toward shore, so you won’t be frightened. Then you just lean forward, gently and easily, and you kick out with your legs like a frog, and you wave your hands around from in front of you to your sides, and keep on doing that and you’ll swim.”
“I’ll try it,” said the rabbit.
So he tried it, but, all of a sudden, he cried out:
“Ouch! Oh, my! Oh, dear me! Oh, hum, suz dud!”
“What’s the matter,” asked the dog, looking around.
“A fish bit my toe,” exclaimed the rabbit.
“Oh, I guess you only hit it on a stone,” said Towser. “Fish are too frightened to bite any one. Come on, strike out and swim as I do.”
Then Uncle Wiggily wasn’t afraid, and soon he was swimming as nicely as could be. For you know to swim you must first not be a bit afraid of the water, for it can’t hurt you. If ever you fall in, don’t breathe—just hold your breath as long as you can. Then, pretty soon you’ll come up, and if some one doesn’t grab you, and you go under again, hold your breath until you come up once more and then some one will surely grab you.