“No-o,” replied little Mrs. Peter slowly. “No-o, you don’t look sick, but you talk as if there were something the matter with your head. I think you must be just a little light-headed, Peter, or else you have taken a nap somewhere and had a bad dream. Did I understand you to say that this dreadful creature has no legs, and yet that it chased you?”
“That’s what I said!” snapped Peter a wee bit crossly, for he saw that Mrs. Peter didn’t believe a word of his story.
“Will you please tell me how any creature in the Green Forest or out of it, for that matter, can possibly chase any one unless it has legs or wings, and you didn’t say anything about its having wings,” demanded Mrs. Peter.
Peter scratched his head in great perplexity. Suddenly he had a happy thought. “Mr. Blacksnake runs fast enough, but he doesn’t have legs, does he?” he asked in triumph.
Little Mrs. Peter looked a bit discomfited. “No-o,” she admitted slowly, “he doesn’t have legs; but I never could understand how he runs without them.”
“Well, then,” snapped Peter, “if he can run without legs, why can’t other creatures? Besides, this one didn’t run exactly; it rolled. Now I’ve told you all I’m going to. I need a long nap, after all I’ve been through, so don’t let any one disturb me.”
“I won’t,” replied Mrs. Peter meekly. “But, Peter, if I were you, I wouldn’t tell that story to any one else.”
PETER HAS TO TELL HIS STORY MANY TIMES
Once you start a story you
cannot call it back;
It travels on and on and on and ever on, alack!
That is the reason why you should always be sure that a story you repeat is a good story. Then you will be glad to have it travel on and on and on, and will never want to call it back. But if you tell a story that isn’t true or nice, the time is almost sure to come when you will want to call it back and cannot. You see stories are just like rivers,—they run on and on forever. Little Mrs. Peter Rabbit knew this, and that is why she advised Peter not to tell any one else the strange story he had told her of the dreadful creature without legs or head or tail that had chased him in the Green Forest. Peter knew by that that she didn’t believe a word of it, but he was too tired and sleepy to argue with her then, so he settled himself comfortably for a nice long nap.
When Peter awoke, the first thing he thought of was the terrible creature he had seen in the Green Forest. The more he thought about it, the more impossible it seemed, and he didn’t wonder that Mrs. Peter had advised him not to repeat it.
“I won’t,” said Peter to himself. “I won’t repeat it to a soul. No one will believe it. The truth is, I can hardly believe it myself. I’ll just keep my tongue still.”