“It’s lucky for me that Mrs. Peter wasn’t here to hear her say that,” said Peter, as he and Jerry Muskrat watched Mrs. Quack fly swiftly towards the Big River. “Mrs. Peter is forever worrying and scolding because I don’t stay in the dear Old Briar-patch. If she had heard Mrs. Quack say that, I never would have heard the last of it. I wish there was something we could do for Mrs. Quack. I’m going back to the dear Old Briar-patch to think it over, and I guess the sooner I start the better, for that looks to me like Reddy Fox over there, and he’s headed this way.”
So off for home started Peter, lipperty-lipperty-lip, as fast as he could go, and all the way there he was turning over in his mind what Mrs. Quack had told him and trying to think of some way to help her.
PETER TELLS ABOUT MRS. QUACK
To get things done, if you’ll but try, You’ll always find there is a way. What you yourself can’t do alone The chances are another may.
When Peter Rabbit was once more safely back in the dear Old Briar-patch, he told Mrs. Peter all about poor Mrs. Quack and her troubles. Then for a long, long time he sat in a brown study. A brown study, you know, is sitting perfectly still and thinking very hard. That was what Peter did. He sat so still that if you had happened along, you probably would have thought him asleep. But he wasn’t asleep. No, indeed! He was just thinking and thinking. He was trying to think of some way to help Mrs. Quack. At last he gave a little sigh of disappointment.
[Illustration with caption: “Just tuck that fact away in that empty head of yours and never say can’t.”]
“It can’t be done,” said he. “There isn’t any way.”
“What can’t be done?” demanded a voice right over his head.
Peter looked up. There sat Sammy Jay. Peter had been thinking so hard that he hadn’t seen Sammy arrive.
“What can’t be done?” repeated Sammy. “There isn’t anything that can’t be done. There are plenty of things that you can’t do, but what you can’t do some one else can. Just tuck that fact away in that empty head of yours and never say can’t.” You know Sammy dearly loves to tease Peter.
Peter made a good-natured face at Sammy. “Which means, I suppose, that what I can’t do you can. You always did have a pretty good opinion of yourself, Sammy,” said he.
“Nothing of the kind,” retorted Sammy. “I simply mean that nobody can do everything, and that very often two heads are better than one. It struck me that you had something on your mind, and I thought I might be able to help you get rid of it. But of course, if you don’t want my help, supposing I could and would give it to you, that is an end of the matter, and I guess I’ll be on my way. The Old Briar-patch is rather a dull place anyway.”
Peter started to make a sharp retort, but thought better of it. Instead he replied mildly: “I was just trying to think of some way to help poor Mrs. Quack.”