“I’m going to hug you, too,” said the bear. Bears always hug, you know.
“Well, this is, indeed, a sorry day for me,” said Uncle Wiggily, sadly. “Still, if you are going to hug, bite and scratch me, I suppose it can’t be helped.”
“Not the least in the world can it be helped,” said the bear, cross-like and unpleasant. “So don’t try!”
“Well, if you are going to hug me I had better take this bottle out of my pocket, so when you squeeze me the glass won’t break,” Uncle Wiggily said. “Here, when you are through being so mean to me perhaps you will be good enough to take this to Nurse Jane for her indigestion, but don’t hug her.”
“I won’t,” promised the bear, taking the bottle which Uncle Wiggily handed him. “What’s in it?”
Before Uncle Wiggily could answer, the bear opened the bottle, and, seeing something in it, cried:
“I guess I’ll taste this. Maybe it’s good to eat.” Down his big, red throat he poured the strong peppermint juice, and then—well, I guess you know what happened.
“Oh, wow! Oh, me! Oh, my! Wow! Ouch! Ouchie! Itchie!” roared the bear. “My throat is on fire! I must have some water!” And, dropping the bottle, away he ran to the spring, leaving Uncle Wiggily safe, and not hurt a bit.
Then the rabbit gentleman hurried back and squeezed out more peppermint juice for Nurse Jane, whose indigestion was soon cured. And as for the bear, he had a sore throat for a week and a day.
So this teaches us that peppermint is good for scaring bears, as well as for putting in candy. And if the snow man doesn’t come in our house and sit by the gas stove until he melts into a puddle of molasses, I’ll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the birch tree.
UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE BIRCH TREE
Uncle Wiggily Longears, the nice old rabbit gentleman, was walking along through the woods one afternoon, when he came to the hollow stump school, where the lady mouse teacher taught the animal boys and girls how to jump, crack nuts, dig homes under ground, and do all manner of things that animal folk have to do.
And just as the rabbit gentleman was wondering whether or not school was out, he heard a voice inside the hollow stump, saying:
“Oh, dear! I wish I had some one to help me. I’ll never get them clean all by myself. Oh, dear!”
“Ha! That sounds like trouble!” thought Mr. Longears to himself. “I wonder who it is, and if I can help? I guess I’d better see.”
He looked in through a window, and there he saw the lady mouse teacher cleaning off the school black-boards. The boards were all covered with white chalk marks, you see.
“What’s the matter, lady mouse teacher?” asked Uncle Wiggily, making a polite, low bow.
“Oh, I told Johnnie and Billy Bushytail, the two squirrel boys, to stay in and clean off the black-boards, so they would be all ready for tomorrow’s lesson,” said the lady mouse. “But they forgot, and ran off to play ball with Jackie and Peetie Bow Wow, the puppy dog boys. So I have to clean the boards myself. And I really ought to be home now, for I am very tired.”