But, very luckily for Uncle Wiggily, his crutch happened to catch across the hole, and so he didn’t go all the way down, but hung on. But his valise fell to the bottom. However, he managed to pull himself up on the ground, though his rheumatism hurt him, and soon he was safe once more.
“Oh, my valise, with all my clothes in it!” he cried, as he looked down into the hole, which had been covered over with loose leaves and dirt so he couldn’t see it before falling in. “I wonder how I can get my things back again?” he went on.
Then he looked up, and in a tree, not far from him, he saw something bright and yellow, shining like gold.
“Ah, ha!” cried Uncle Wiggily. “At last I have found the pot of gold, even if the rainbow isn’t here. That is yellow, and yellow is the color of gold. Now my fortune is made. I will get that gold and go back home.”
So, not worrying any more about his valise down the trap-hole, Uncle Wiggily hopped over to the tree to get what he thought was a big bunch of yellow gold. But as he came closer, he saw that the gold was moving about and fluttering, though not going very far away.
“That is queer gold,” thought the old gentleman rabbit. “I never saw moving gold before. I wonder if it is a good kind.”
Then he went a little closer and he heard a voice crying.
“Why, that is crying gold, too,” he said. “This is very strange.”
Then he heard some one calling:
“Oh, help! Will some one please help me?”
“Why, this is most strange of all!” the rabbit cried. “It is talking gold. Perhaps there is a fairy about.”
“Oh, I only wish there was one!” cried the yellow object in the tree. “If I saw a fairy I’d ask her to set me free.”
“What’s that? Who are you?” asked the rabbit.
“Oh, I’m a poor little yellow bird,” was the answer, “and I’m caught in a string-trap that some boys set in this tree. There is a string around my legs and I can’t fly home to see my little ones. I got into the trap by mistake. Oh! can’t you help me? Climb up into the tree, Uncle Wiggily, and help me!”
“How did you know my name was Uncle Wiggily?” asked the rabbit.
“I could tell it by your ears—your wiggling ears,” was the answer. “But please climb up and help me.”
“Rabbits can’t climb trees,” said Uncle Wiggily. “But I will tell you what I’ll do. I’ll gnaw the tree down with my sharp teeth, for they are sharp, even if I am a little old. Then, when it falls, I can reach the string, untie it, and you will be free.”
So Uncle Wiggily did this, and soon the tree fell down, but the golden yellow bird was on a top branch and didn’t get hurt. Then the old gentleman rabbit quickly untied the string and the bird was out of the trap.
“I cannot thank you enough!” she said to the rabbit. “Is there anything I can do for you to pay you?”