“Oh, dear, I’m all out of breath,” panted Peter, as he threw himself flat on the ground. “That was the funniest thing I ever saw. I wonder who we—”
Peter didn’t finish. No, Sir, Peter didn’t finish. Instead, he gave a frightened shriek as something red flashed out from under a low-growing hemlock-tree close behind him, and two black paws pinned him down, and sharp teeth caught him by the back of the neck. Old Granny Fox had caught Peter Rabbit at last!
A FRIEND IN NEED IS A FRIEND INDEED
The friendship which is truest,
Is that which meets the trouble test.
No one really knows who his best friends are until he gets in trouble. When everything is lovely and there is no sign of trouble anywhere, one may have ever and ever so many friends. At least, it may seem so. But let trouble come, and all too often these seeming friends disappear as if by magic, until only a few, sometimes a very few, are left. These are the real friends, the true friends, and they are worth more than all the others put together. Remember that if you are a true friend to any one, you will stand by him and help him, no matter what happens. Sometimes it is almost worth while getting into trouble just to find out who your real friends are.
Peter Rabbit found out who some of his truest friends are when, because of his own carelessness, old Granny Fox caught him. Peter has been in many tight places and had many terrible frights in his life, but never did he feel quite so helpless and hopeless as when he felt the black paws of old Granny Fox pinning him down and Granny’s sharp teeth in the loose skin on the back of his neck. All he could do was to kick with all his might, and kicking was quite useless, for Granny took great care to keep out of the way of those stout hind legs of his.
Many, many times Granny Fox had tried to catch Peter, and always before Peter had been too smart for her, and had just made fun of her and laughed at her. Now it was her turn to laugh, all because he had been careless and foolish. You see, Peter had been so sure that Granny had had such a fright when she ran away from the strange creature that rolled down Prickly Porky’s hill at her that she wouldn’t think of coming back, and so he had just given himself up to enjoying Granny’s fright. At Peter’s scream of fright, Unc’ Billy Possum scampered for the nearest tree, and Jimmy Skunk dodged behind a big stump. You see, it was so sudden that they really didn’t know what had happened. But Prickly Porky, whom some people call stupid, made no move to run away. He happened to be looking at Peter when Granny caught him, and so he knew just what it meant. A spark of anger flashed in his usually dull eyes and for once in his life Prickly Porky moved quickly. The thousand little spears hidden in his coat suddenly stood on end and Prickly Porky made a fierce little rush forward.