“Oh, I know what let’s do, Uncle Wiggily. Let’s take the path that leads over the duck pond ocean. That’s shorter, and we can get to your bungalow before the fox can catch us. He won’t dare come across the bridge over the duck pond, for Old Dog Percival will come out and bite him if he does.”
“Very well,” said Uncle Wiggily, “over the bridge we will go.”
But alas! Also sorrowfulness and sadness! When the three friends got to the bridge it wasn’t there. The wind had blown the bridge down, and there was no way of getting across the duck pond ocean, for neither Uncle Wiggily nor the squirrel boys could swim very well.
“Oh, what are we going to do?” cried Billie, sadly.
“We must get across somehow!” chattered Johnnie, “for here comes the fox!”
And, surely enough the fox was coming, having by this time gotten all the water out of his eyes, so he could see very well.
“Oh, if we only had a boat!” exclaimed Uncle Wiggily, looking along the shore of the pond, but there was no boat to be seen.
Nearer and nearer came the fox! Uncle Wiggily and the squirrel boys were just going to jump in the water, whether or not they could swim, when, all at once, a big white birch tree on the edge of the woods near the pond, said:
“Listen, Uncle Wiggily and I will save you. Strip off some of my bark. It will not hurt me, and you can make a little canoe boat of it, as the Indians used to do. Then, in the birch bark boat you can sail across the water and the fox can’t get you.”
“Good! Thank you!” cried the bunny uncle. With their sharp teeth he, Billie and Johnnie peeled off long strips of birch bark. They quickly bent them in the shape of a boat and sewed up the ends with long thorns for needles and ribbon grass for thread.
“Quick! Into the birch bark boat!” cried Uncle Wiggily, and they all jumped in, just as the fox came along. Billie and Johnnie held up their bushy tails, and Uncle Wiggily held up his tall silk hat for sails, and soon they were safe on the other shore and the fox, not being able to swim, could not get them.
So that’s how the birch tree of the woods saved the bunny uncle and the squirrels, for which, I am very glad, as I want to write more stories about them. And if the gold fish doesn’t tickle the wax doll’s nose with his tail when she looks in the tank to see what he has for breakfast, I’ll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the butternut tree.
UNCLE WIGGILY AND THE BUTTERNUT TREE
“Well, I declare!” exclaimed Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the muskrat lady housekeeper of Uncle Wiggily Longears, the rabbit, as she looked in the pantry of the hollow stump bungalow one day. “Well, I do declare!”
“What’s the matter?” asked Mr. Longears, peeping over the top of his spectacles. “I hope that the chimney hasn’t fallen down, or the egg beater run away with the potato masher.”