He was just going to shoot again when a growling voice over behind a bush said:
“Well, you will not have it much longer.”
“Have what much longer?” asked Uncle Wiggily, and glancing up, there he saw a big bear, not at all polite looking.
“You won’t have the rheumatism much longer,” the bear said.
“Why not?” Uncle Wiggily wanted to know.
“Because,” answered the bear, “I am going to eat you up and the rheumatism, too. Here I come!” and he made a jump for the bunny uncle. But did he catch him?
That bear did not, for he stepped on one of the round marbles, which rolled under his paw and he fell down ker-punko! on his nose-o!
Uncle Wiggily started to run away, but he did not like to go and leave Johnnie’s marbles on the ground, so he stayed to pick them up, and by then the bear stood up on his hind legs again, and grabbed the bunny uncle in his sharp claws.
“Ah ha! Now I have you!” said the bear, grillery and growlery like.
“Yes, I see you have,” sadly spoke Uncle Wiggily. “But before you take me off to your den, which I suppose you will do, will you grant me one favor?”
“Yes, and only one,” growled the bear. “Be quick about it! What is it?”
“Will you let me have one more shot?” asked the bunny uncle. “I want to see if I can knock the other marbles out of the ring.”
“Well, I see no harm in that,” slowly grumbled the bear. “Go ahead. Shoot!”
Uncle Wiggily picked out the biggest shooter in Johnnie’s bag. Then he took careful aim, but, instead of aiming at the marbles in the ring he aimed at the soft and tender nose of the bear.
“Bing!” went the marble which Uncle Wiggily shot, right on the bear’s nose. “Bing!” And the bear was so surprised and kerslostrated that he cried:
“Wow! Ouch! Oh, lollypops! Oh, sweet spirits of nitre!” And away he ran through the woods to hold his nose in a soft bank of mud, for he thought a bee had stung him. And so he didn’t bite Uncle Wiggily after all.
“Well, I guess I can play marbles nearly as well as I used to,” laughed the bunny uncle when Johnnie came back with the tall silk hat.
And when Mr. Longears told the boy squirrel about shooting the bear on the nose, Johnnie laughed and said he could have done no better himself.
So everything came out all right, you see, and if the butterfly doesn’t try to stand on its head and tickle the June bug under the chin, I’ll tell you next about Uncle Wiggily and Billie’s top.
UNCLE WIGGILY AND BILLIE’S TOP
Uncle Wiggily Longears, the nice rabbit gentleman, was sitting on the front porch of his hollow stump bungalow one day, when along came Billie Bushytail, the little squirrel boy.
“Hello, Billie!” called the bunny gentleman, cheerful-like and happy, for his rheumatism did not hurt him much that day. “Hello, Billie.”