“I’m going to dance at the party, Uncle Wiggily!” she said.
“I should think you would, Nannie, with those nice new shoes,” spoke Mr. Longears. “What dance are you going to do?”
“Oh, the four-step and the fish hornpipe, I guess,” answered Nannie, and then she suddenly cried:
“What’s the matter now?” asked Uncle Wiggily. “Did you lose one of your new shoes?”
“No, but I splashed some mud on it,” the little goat girl said. “I stepped in a mud puddle.”
“Never mind, I’ll wipe it off with a bit of soft green moss,” answered Uncle Wiggily; and he did. So Nannie’s shoes were all clean again.
On and on went the rabbit gentleman and the little goat girl, and they talked of what games the animal children would play at the Longtail mouse party, and what good things they would eat, and all like that.
All of a sudden, as Nannie was jumping over another little puddle of water, she cried out again:
“What’s the matter now?” asked Uncle Wiggily. “Did some more mud splash on your new shoes, Nannie?”
“No, Uncle Wiggily, but a lot of the buttons came off. I guess they don’t fasten buttons on new shoes very tight.”
“I guess they don’t,” Uncle Wiggily said. “But still you have enough buttons left to keep the shoes on your feet. I guess you will be all right.”
So Nannie walked on a little farther, with Uncle Wiggily resting his rheumatism, now and then, on the red, white and blue striped barber pole crutch that Nurse Jane had gnawed for him out of a cornstalk.
All of a sudden Nannie cried out again:
“Oh, dear! Oh, this is too bad!”
“What is?” asked Uncle Wiggily.
“Now all the buttons have come off my shoes!” said the little goat girl, sadly. “I don’t see how I can go on to the party and dance, with no buttons on my shoes. They’ll be slipping off all the while.”
“So they will,” spoke Uncle Wiggily. “Shoes without buttons are like lollypops without sticks, you can’t do anything with them.”
“But what am I going to do?” asked Nannie, while tears came into her eyes and splashed up on her horns. “I do want so much to go to that party.”
“And I want you to,” said Uncle Wiggily. “Let me think a minute.”
So he thought and thought, and then he looked off through the woods and he saw a queer tree not far away. It was a sycamore tree, with broad white patches on the smooth bark, and hanging down from the branches were lots of round balls, just like shoe buttons, only they were a sort of brown instead of black. The balls were the seeds of the tree.
“Ha! The very thing!” cried the bunny uncle.
“What is?” asked Nannie.
“That sycamore, or button-ball tree,” answered the rabbit gentleman. “I can get you some new shoe buttons off that, Nannie, and sew them on your shoes.”