“You must never breathe under water—just hold your breath,” said Towser to Uncle Wiggily, and the rabbit did it that way, and soon he could even swim under water.
“Well, I’m much obliged to you,” he said to Towser, “but now I must be on my way to seek my fortune.”
So he said good-by to Towser and hopped on. And he hadn’t gone very far before a big bear saw him and chased after him.
“Oh, I’ll catch you!” cried the bear to the rabbit. Well, I just wish you could have seen Uncle Wiggily run! He ran until he came to a big river, and the bear was right after him.
“Now I have you!” cried the bear. “You can’t get across the river.”
“Oh, can’t I?” asked the rabbit. “Just you watch and see!”
So Uncle Wiggily threw his crutch and valise across the stream, and then into it he jumped, and he swam just as Towser had taught him and he got safely on the other side and so saved his life, for the bear couldn’t swim and Uncle Wiggily could. So you see it’s a good thing to know how to swim, and I hope all of you, who are big enough, know how to keep up in the water.
Well, Uncle Wiggily got across to the other shore, and he looked back and there that bear was raging and tearing around as mad as mad could be, because the rabbit had gotten away from him. But I’m glad of it; aren’t you?
Now I have another story for you, and, in case my typewriter doesn’t fall in the lake and the fishes don’t eat up the hair ribbon on it, I’ll tell you about Uncle Wiggily in the bear’s den.
UNCLE WIGGILY IN THE BEAR’S DEN
Well, here we are again, all ready for a story, I suppose, and I hope you had a nice time at the surprise party. Let me see now, what shall I tell you about? How would you like to hear about the old gentleman rabbit and the toadstool?
Oh, my! I just happened to remember that I promised to write about Uncle Wiggily getting into the bear’s den, so of course I’ll have to tell about that first, and afterward I’ll write the story about the toadstool. I’ll tell you this much, however, the toadstool story is very curious, if I do say so myself.
Anyhow, Uncle Wiggily was hopping along one fine morning, following a stormy night, and he was thinking about the swimming lesson he had had a few days before.
“I wonder if I have forgotten how to move my legs, and go skimming through the water?” he said to himself as he set down his valise, and leaned his crutch against a prickly briar bush. “I must practice a little.”
And the old gentleman rabbit did practice then and there, going through all the motions of swimming, only he was on dry land, of course. Next he twinkled his nose, like a star on a very hot night, when you drink iced lemonade to keep cool, and then Uncle Wiggily hopped forward once more.
He hadn’t gone very far before he noticed a grasshopper moving along so swiftly that the old gentleman rabbit could hardly see the legs go flip-flap. My, but that grasshopper did hippity-hop!