“Well, yes, I guess I did,” Billie said, sort of bashful like and shy as he wiggled his horns. “I was seeing how fast I could run, and I ran down hill and got going so lickity-split like that I couldn’t stop. I fell right up your front steps, rattle-te-bang!”
“I should say it was rattle-te-bang!”
Uncle Wiggily. “But please don’t do it again, Billie.”
“I won’t,” promised the goat boy. “Grandpa Goosey Gander gave me that note to leave for you on my way to the store for my mother. And now I must hurry on,” and Billie jumped off the porch and skipped along through the Woodland trees as happy as a huckleberry pie and a piece of cheese.
“What was it all about?” asked Nurse Jane, when Uncle Wiggily came in.
“Oh, just Billie Wagtail,” answered the bunny uncle. “He brought a note from Grandpa Goosey, who wants me to come over and see him. I’ll go. He has the epizootic, and can’t get out, so he wants some one to talk to and to play checkers with him.”
Off through the woods went Uncle Wiggily and he was almost at Grandpa Goosey’s house when he heard some voices talking. One voice said:
“Oh, dear! How thirsty I am!”
“And so am I!” said another.
“Well, children, I am sorry,” spoke a third voice, “but I cannot give you any water. I am thirsty myself, but we cannot drink until it rains, and it has not rained in a long, long time.”
“Oh, dear! Oh, dear! Oh, dear!” cried the other voices again. “How thirsty we are!”
“That’s too bad,” thought Uncle
“I would not wish even the bad fox to be thirsty.
I must see if I can not be of some help.”
So he peeked through the bushes and saw some trees.
“Was it you who were talking about being
thirsty?” asked the rabbit gentleman, curious like.
“Yes,” answered the big voice. “I am a horse chestnut tree, and these are my children,” and the large tree waved some branches, like fingers, at some small trees growing under her.
“And they, I suppose, are pony chestnut
trees,” said Uncle Wiggily.
“That’s what we are!” cried the little trees, “and we are very thirsty.”
“Indeed they are,” said the mother tree. “You see we are not like you animals. We cannot walk to a spring or well to get a drink when we are thirsty. We have to stay, rooted in one place, and wait for the rain, or until some one waters us.”
“Well, some one is going to water you right away!” cried Uncle Wiggily in his jolly voice. “I’ll bring you some water from the duck pond, which is near by.”
Then, borrowing a pail from Mrs. Wibblewobble, the duck lady, Uncle Wiggily poured water all around the dry earth, in which grew the horse chestnut tree and the little pony trees.
“Oh! How fine that is!” cried the thirsty trees. “It is almost as nice as rain. You are very good, Uncle Wiggily,” said the mother tree, “and if ever we can do you a favor we will.”