“Surprised, are you?” asked the fox, sort of curling his whiskers around his tongue, sarcastic fashion.
“A little—yes,” answered Uncle Wiggily. “I didn’t expect to see you.”
“But I’ve been expecting you a long time,” said the fox, grinning most impolitely. “In fact, I’ve been waiting for you. Just as soon as you have pulled up that sassafras root you may come with me. I’ll take you off to my den, to my dear little foxes Eight, Nine and Ten. Those are their numbers. It’s easier to number them than name them.”
“Oh, indeed?” asked Uncle Wiggily, as politely as he could, considering everything. “And so you won’t take me until I pull this sassafras root?”
“No, I’ll wait until you have finished,” spoke the fox. “I like you better, anyhow, flavored with sassafras. So pull away.”
Uncle Wiggily tried to pull up the root, but he did not pull very hard.
“For,” he thought, “as soon as I pull it up then the fox will take me, but if I don’t pull it he may not.”
“What’s the matter? Can’t you get that root up?” asked the fox, after a while. “I can’t wait all day.”
“Then perhaps you will kindly pull it up for me,” said the bunny uncle. “I can’t seem to do it.”
“All right, I will,” the fox said. Uncle Wiggily hopped to one side. The fox put his paws under the sassafras root. And he pulled and he pulled and he pulled, and finally, with a double extra strong pull, he pulled up the root. But it came up so suddenly, just as when you break the point off your pencil, that the fox keeled over backward in a peppersault and somersault also.
“Oh, wow!” cried the fox, as he bumped his nose. “What happened?” But Uncle Wiggily did not stay to tell. Away ran the bunny through the woods, as fast as he could go, forgetting all about his Spring fever. He was all over it.
“I thought the sassafras would cure you,” said Dr. Possum, when Uncle Wiggily was safely home once more.
“The fox helped some,” said the bunny uncle, with a laugh.
And if the black cat doesn’t cover himself with talcum powder and make believe he’s a white kid glove going to a dance, I’ll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and Jack-in-the-Pulpit.
UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE PULPIT-JACK
“Well, how are you feeling today, Uncle Wiggily?” asked Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady housekeeper, as she saw the rabbit gentleman taking his tall silk hat down off the china closet, getting ready to go for a walk in the woods one morning.
“Why, I’m feeling pretty fine, Nurse Jane,” answered the bunny uncle. “Since I ran home to get away from the fox, after he turned a peppersault from pulling too strong to get up the sassafras root, I feel much better, thank you.”
“Good!” cried Nurse Jane. “Then perhaps you would not mind going to the store for me.”