“Well,” said the double-jointed tail alligator after a while, “we must settle this one way or the other. Am I to carry him to our den, or you?”
“Me! I’ll do it. If you took him you’d keep him all for yourself. I know you!”
“No, I wouldn’t! But that’s just what you’d do. I know you only too well. No, if I can’t carry this rabbit home myself, you shan’t!”
“I say the same thing. I’m going to have my rights.”
Now, while the two bad alligators were talking this way they did not pay much attention to Uncle Wiggily. They held him so tightly in their claws that he could not get away, but he could use his own paws, and, when the two bad creatures were talking right in each other’s face, and using big words, Uncle Wiggily reached up and cut off a piece of willow wood with the bark on.
And then, still when the ’gators were disputing, and not looking, the bunny uncle made himself a whistle out of the willow tree stick. He loosened the bark, which came off like a kid glove, and then he cut a place to blow his breath in, and another place to let the air out and so on, until he had a very fine whistle indeed, almost as loud-blowing as those the policemen have to stop the automobiles from splashing mud on you so a trolley car can bump into you.
“I’ll tell you what we’ll do,” said the hump-tail alligator at last. “Since you won’t let me carry him home, and I won’t let you, let’s both carry him together. You take hold of him on one side, and I’ll take the other.”
“Good!” cried the second alligator.
“Oh, ho! I guess not!” cried the bunny uncle suddenly. “I guess you won’t either, or both of you take me off to your den. No, indeed!”
“Why not?” asked the hump-tailed ’gator, sort of impolite like and sarcastic.
“Because I’m going to blow my whistle and call the police!” went on the bunny uncle. “Toot! Toot! Tootity-ti-toot-toot!”
And then and there he blew such a loud, shrill blast on his willow tree whistle that the alligators had to put their paws over their ears. And when they did that they had to let go of bunny uncle. He had his tall silk hat down over his ears, so it didn’t matter how loudly he blew the whistle. He couldn’t hear it.
“Toot! Toot! Tootity-toot-toot!” he blew on the willow whistle.
“Oh, stop! Stop!” cried the hump-tailed ’gator.
“Come on, run away before the police come!” said his brother. And out from under the willow tree they both ran, leaving Uncle Wiggily safely behind.
“Well,” said the bunny gentleman as he hopped along home to his bungalow, “it is a good thing I learned, when a boy rabbit, how to make whistles.” And I think so myself.
So if the vinegar jug doesn’t jump into the molasses barrel and turn its face sour like a lemon pudding, I’ll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and the winter green.