“Ah, ha! I must be up and doing,” he cried. “Perhaps I shall find my fortune to-day.”
Well, no sooner had he crawled out of the burrow than he heard a most beautiful song. It was one Mrs. Wren was singing, and it went “tra-la-la tra-la-la! tum-tee-tee-tum-tum-tee-tee!” too pretty for anything. And then, afterward, there was a sort of an echo like “cheep-cheep cheep-cheep!”
“Why, you must be very happy this morning, Mrs. Wren!” called Uncle Wiggily to her as she sat in her new nest which the rabbit had made for her on the mossy stump.
“I am,” she answered, “very happy. What do you think happened in the night?”
“I can’t guess,” he answered. “A burglar crow didn’t come and steal your eggs, I hope!”
“Oh, nothing sad or bad like that,” she answered. “But something very nice. Just hop up here and look.”
So Uncle Wiggily hopped up on the stump, and Mrs. Wren got off her nest, and there, on the bottom, in among some egg-shells, were a lot of tiny, weeny little birdies, about as big as a spool of silk thread or even smaller.
“Why, where in the world did they come from?” asked the old gentleman rabbit, rubbing his eyes.
“Out of the eggs to be sure,” answered Mrs. Wren. “And I do declare, the last of my family is hatched now. There is little Wiggily out of the shell at last. I think I’ll name him after you, as he never could keep still when he was being hatched. Now I must take out all the broken shells so the birdies won’t cut themselves on them.” And she began to throw them out with her bill, just as the mother hen does, and then one of the new little birdies called out:
“Yes, I know you’re hungry,” answered their mamma, who understood their bird talk. “Well, I’ll fly away and get you something to eat just as soon as your papa comes home to stay in the house. You know Mr. Wren went away last night to see about getting a new position in a feather pillow factory,” said Mrs. Wren to Uncle Wiggily, “and he doesn’t yet know about the birdies. I hope he’ll come back soon, as they are very hungry, and I don’t like to leave them alone to go shopping.”
“Oh, I’ll stay and take care of them for you while you go to the store,” said the old gentleman rabbit, kindly.
“That will do very well,” said Mrs. Wren. So she put on her bonnet and shawl and took her market basket and off she flew to the store, while Uncle Wiggily stayed with the new birdies, and they snuggled down under his warm fur, and were as cozy as in their own mother’s feathers.
Well, Mrs. Wren was gone some time, as the store was crowded and she couldn’t get waited on right away, and Uncle Wiggily stayed with the birdies. And they got hungrier and hungrier, and they cried real hard. Yes, indeed, as hard as some babies.
“Hum! I don’t know what to do,” said the old gentleman rabbit. “I can’t feed them. I guess I’ll sing to them.” So he sang this song: