“Oh, dear!” cried Nurse Jane. “And all the nice cakes I have baked. I know what I’ll do,” she said to herself. “I’ll call in Dr. Possum. Perhaps Uncle Wiggily needs some of the roots and herbs that grow in the woods—wintergreen, slippery elm or something like that. I’ll call Dr. Possum.”
And when the animal doctor came he looked at the bunny uncle’s tongue, felt of his ears, and said:
“Ha! Hum! You have the Spring fever, Uncle Wiggily. What you need is sassafras.”
“Nurse Jane has some in the bungalow,” spoke Mr. Longears. “Tell her to make me some tea from that.”
“No, what is needed is fresh sassafras,” said Dr. Possum. “And, what is more, you must go out in the woods and dig it yourself. That will be almost as good for your Spring fever as the sassafras itself. So hop out, and dig some of the roots.”
“Oh, dear!” cried Uncle Wiggily, fussy like. “I don’t want to. I’d rather stay here in bed.”
“But you can’t!” cried Dr. Possum in his jolly voice. “Out with you!” and he pulled the bed clothes off the bunny uncle so he had to get up to keep warm.
“Well, I’ll just go out and dig a little sassafras root to please him,” thought Uncle Wiggily to himself, “and then I’ll come back and stay in bed as long as I please. It’s all nonsense thinking I have to have fresh root—the old is good enough.”
“I do feel quite wretched and lazy like,” said Uncle Wiggily to himself, as he limped along on his red, white and blue-striped barber-pole rheumatism crutch, that Nurse Jane had gnawed for him out of a cornstalk. “As soon as I find some sassafras I’ll pull up a bit of the root and hurry back home and to bed.”
Pretty soon the bunny uncle saw where some of the sassafras roots were growing, with their queer three-pointed leaves, like a mitten, with a place for your finger and thumb.
“Now to pull up the root,” said the bunny uncle, as he dug down in the ground a little way with his paws, to get a better hold.
But pulling up sassafras roots is not as easy as it sounds, as you know if you have ever tried it. The roots go away down in the earth, and they are very strong.
Uncle Wiggily pulled and tugged and twisted and turned, but he could break off only little bits of the underground stalk.
“This won’t do!” he said to himself. “If I don’t get a big root Dr. Possum will, perhaps, send me hack for more. I’ll try again.”
He got his paws under a nice, big root, and he was straining his back to pull it up, when, all of a sudden, he heard a voice saying:
“How do you do?”
“Oh, hello!” exclaimed the bunny, looking up quickly, and expecting to see some friend of his, like Grandpa Goosey Gander, or Sammie Littletail, the rabbit boy. But, instead, he saw the bad old fox, who had, so many times, tried to catch the rabbit gentleman.
“Oh!” said Uncle Wiggily, astonished like. And again he said: “Oh!”