“Then you trot right along,” said Uncle Wiggily, kindly. “Tie a knot in your tail, so you won’t step on it, and hurry along.”
“But what about the black-boards?” asked the lady mouse. “They must be cleaned off.”
“I’ll attend to that,” promised the bunny uncle. “I will clean them myself. Run along, Miss Mouse.”
So Miss Mouse thanked the bunny uncle, and ran along, and the rabbit gentleman began brushing the chalk marks off the black-boards, at the same time humming a little tune that went this way:
“I’d love to be a teacher,
Within a hollow stump.
I’d teach the children how to fall,
And never get a bump.
I’d let them out at recess,
A game of tag to play;
I’d give them all fresh lollypops
’Most every other day!”
“Oh, my! Wouldn’t we just love to come to school to you!” cried a voice at the window, and, looking up. Uncle Wiggily saw Billie Bushytail, the boy squirrel, and brother Johnnie with him.
“Ha! What happened you two chaps?” asked the bunny uncle. “Why did you run off without cleaning the black-boards for the lady mouse teacher?”
“We forgot,” said Johnnie, sort of ashamed-like and sorry. “That’s what we came back to do—clean the boards.”
“Well, that was good of you,” spoke Uncle Wiggily. “But I have the boards nearly cleaned now.”
“Then we will give them a dusting with our tails, and that will finish them,” said Billie, and the squirrel boys did, so the black-boards were very clean.
“Now it’s time to go home,” said Uncle Wiggily. So he locked the school, putting the key under the doormat, where the lady mouse could find it in the morning, and, with the Bushytail squirrel boys, he started off through the woods.
“You and Billie can go back to your play, now, Johnnie,” said the bunny uncle. “It was good of you to leave it to come back to do what you were told.”
The three animal friends hopped and scrambled on together, until, all of a sudden, the bad old fox, who so often had made trouble for Uncle Wiggily, jumped out from behind a bush, crying:
“Ah, ha! Now I have you, Mr. Longears—and two squirrels besides. Good luck!”
“Bad luck!” whispered Billie.
The fox made a grab for the rabbit gentleman, but, all of a sudden, the paw of the bad creature slipped in some mud and down he went, head first, into a puddle of water, coughing and sneezing.
“Come on, Uncle Wiggily!” quickly cried Billie and Johnnie. “This is our chance. We’ll run away before the fox gets the water out of his eyes. He can’t see us now.”
So away ran the rabbit gentleman and the squirrel boys, but soon the fox had dried his eyes on his big brush of a tail, and on he came after them.
“Oh, I’ll get you! I’ll get you!” he cried, running very fast. But Uncle Wiggily and Billie and Johnnie ran fast, too. The fox was coming closer, however, and Billie, looking back, said: