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Title: Mr. Rabbit's Wedding - Hollow Tree Stories
Author: Paine, Albert Bigelow, 1861-1937
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: [See page 18

"I USED TO RUN OUT AND GET BEHIND, WITH BUNTY, AND TAKE HER BOOKS"]



MR. RABBIT'S WEDDING


[Illustration: HOLLOW TREE STORIES


BY ALBERT BIGELOW PAINE

ILLUSTRATED BY J. M. CONDÉ]

          HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS
          NEW YORK AND LONDON



HOLLOW TREE STORIES

BY

ALBERT BIGELOW PAINE

          12mo, Cloth. Fully Illustrated

          MR. TURTLE'S FLYING ADVENTURE
          MR. CROW AND THE WHITEWASH
          MR. RABBIT'S WEDDING
          HOW MR. DOG GOT EVEN
          HOW MR. RABBIT LOST HIS TAIL
          MR. RABBIT'S BIG DINNER
          MAKING UP WITH MR. DOG
          MR. 'POSSUM'S GREAT BALLOON TRIP
          WHEN JACK RABBIT WAS A LITTLE BOY

       *       *       *       *       *

          HOLLOW TREE AND DEEP WOODS BOOK
          Illustrated. 8vo.

          HOLLOW TREE SNOWED-IN BOOK
          Illustrated. 8vo.

       *       *       *       *       *

          HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK

MR. RABBIT'S WEDDING

          Copyright, 1915, 1916, 1917, by Harper & Brothers
          Printed in the United States of America
          Published October, 1917



CONTENTS.


                                                       PAGE

          LITTLE JACK RABBIT AND BUNTY BUN               11
          COUSIN REDFIELD AND THE MOLASSES               31
          MR. BEAR'S EARLY SPRING CALL                   51
          MR. JACK RABBIT BRINGS A FRIEND                71
          MR. RABBIT'S WEDDING                           95



LITTLE JACK RABBIT AND BUNTY BUN

JACK RABBIT TELLS ABOUT HIS SCHOOL-DAYS, AND WHY HE HAS ALWAYS THOUGHT
IT BEST TO LIVE ALONE


THE Little Lady has been poring over a first reader, because she has
started to school now, and there are lessons almost every evening. Then
by and by she closes the book and comes over to where the Story Teller
is looking into the big open fire.

The Little Lady looks into the fire, too, and thinks. Then pretty soon
she climbs into the Story Teller's lap and leans back, and looks into
the fire and thinks some more.

"Did the Hollow Tree people ever go to school?" she says. "I s'pose they
did, though, or they wouldn't know how to read and write, and send
invitations and things."

The Story Teller knocks the ashes out of his pipe and lays it on the
little stand beside him.

"Why, yes indeed, they went to school," he says. "Didn't I ever tell you
about that?"

"You couldn't have," says the Little Lady, "because I never thought
about its happening, myself, until just now."

"Well, then," says the Story Teller, "I'll tell you something that Mr.
Jack Rabbit told about, one night in the Hollow Tree, when he had been
having supper with the 'Coon and 'Possum and the Old Black Crow, and
they were all sitting before the fire, just as we are sitting now. It
isn't really much about school, but it shows that Jack Rabbit went to
one, and explains something else, too."

Mr. Crow had cooked all his best things that evening, and everything had
tasted even better than usual. Mr. 'Possum said he didn't really feel as
if he could move from his chair when supper was over, but that he wanted
to do the right thing, and would watch the fire and poke it while the
others were clearing the table, so that it would be nice and bright for
them when they were ready to enjoy it. So then the Crow and the 'Coon
and Jack Rabbit flew about and did up the work, while Mr. 'Possum put on
a fresh stick, then lit his pipe, and leaned back and stretched out his
feet, and said it surely was nice to have a fine, cozy home like theirs,
and that he was always happy when he was doing things for people who
appreciated it, like those present.

[Illustration: MR. RABBIT SAID HE CERTAINLY DID APPRECIATE BEING INVITED
TO THE HOLLOW TREE]

Mr. Rabbit said he certainly did appreciate being invited to the Hollow
Tree, living, as he did, alone, an old bachelor, with nobody to share
his home; and then pretty soon the work was all done up, and Jack Rabbit
and the others drew up their chairs, too, and lit their pipes, and for
a while nobody said anything, but just smoked and felt happy.

Mr. 'Possum was first to say something. He leaned over and knocked the
ashes out of his pipe, then leaned back and crossed his feet, and said
he'd been thinking about Mr. Rabbit's lonely life, and wondering why it
was that, with his fondness for society and such a good home, he had
stayed a bachelor so long. Then the Crow and the 'Coon said so, too, and
asked Jack Rabbit why it was.

Mr. Rabbit said it was quite a sad story, and perhaps not very
interesting, as it had all happened so long ago, when he was quite
small.

"My folks lived then in the Heavy Thickets, over beyond the Wide
Grasslands," he said; "it was a very nice place, with a good school,
kept by a stiff-kneed rabbit named Whack--J. Hickory Whack--which seemed
to fit him. I was the only child in our family that year, and I suppose
I was spoiled. I remember my folks let me run and play a good deal,
instead of making me study my lessons, so that Hickory Whack did not
like me much, though he was afraid to be as severe as he was with most
of the others, my folks being quite well off and I an only child. Of
course, the other scholars didn't like that, and I don't blame them now,
though I didn't care then whether they liked it or not. I didn't care
for anything, except to go capering about the woods, gathering flowers
and trying to make up poetry, when I should have been doing my examples.
I didn't like school or J. Hickory Whack, and every morning I hated to
start, until, one day, a new family moved into our neighborhood. They
were named Bun, and one of them was a little girl named Bunty--Bunty
Bun."

When Mr. Rabbit got that far in his story he stopped a minute and
sighed, and filled his pipe again, and took out his handkerchief, and
said he guessed a little speck of ashes had got into his eye. Then he
said:

"The Buns lived close to us, and the children went the same way to
school as I did. Bunty was little and fat, and was generally behind,
and I stayed behind with her, after the first morning. She seemed a very
well-behaved little Miss Rabbit, and was quite plump, as I say, and used
to have plump little books, which I used to carry for her and think how
nice it would be if I could always go on carrying them and helping Bunty
Bun over the mud-holes and ditches."

Mr. Rabbit got another speck of ashes in his eye, and had to wipe it
several times and blow his nose hard. Then he said:

"She wore a little red cape and a pretty linsey dress, and her ears were
quite slim and silky, and used to stand straight up, except when she was
sad over anything. Then they used to lop down quite flat; when I saw
them that way it made me sad, too. But when she was pleased and happy,
they set straight up and she seemed to laugh all over.

"I forgot all about not liking school. I used to watch until I saw the
Bun children coming, and then run out and get behind, with Bunty, and
take her books, and wish there was a good deal farther to go. When it
got to be spring and flowers began to bloom, I would gather every one I
saw for Bunty Bun, and once I made up a poem for her. I remember it
still. It said:

          "Oh, Bunty Bun,
           The spring's begun,
             The violet's are in bloom.
           Oh, Bunty Bun,
           I'll pick you one,
             All full of sweet perfume.

          "The sun is bright,
           Our hearts are light,
             And we will skip and run.
           Prick up your ears,
           And dry your tears,
             Dear bunny, Bunty Bun."

Mr. Rabbit said he didn't suppose it was the best poetry, but that it
had meant so much to him then that he couldn't judge it now, and,
anyway, it was no matter any more. The other children used to tease
them a good deal, Mr. Rabbit said, but that he and Bunty had not minded
it so very much, only, of course, he wouldn't have had them see his poem
for anything. The trouble began when Bunty Bun decided to have a
flower-garden.

[Illustration: "FLOWERS THAT SHE WANTED ME TO DIG UP FOR HER"]

"She used to see new flowers along the way to and from school that she
wanted me to dig up for her so she could set them out in her garden. I
liked to do it better than anything, too, only not _going_ to school,
because the ground was pretty soft and sticky, and it made my hands so
dirty, and Hickory Whack was particular about the children having clean
hands. I used to hide the flower plants under the corner of the
school-house every morning, and hurry in and wash my hands before school
took up, and the others used to watch me and giggle, for they knew what
all that dirt came from. Our school was just one room, and there were
rows of nails by the door to hang our things on, and there was a bench
with the washbasin and the water-pail on it, the basin and the pail
side by side. It was a misfortune for me that they were put so close
together that way. But never mind--it is a long time ago.

"One morning in April when it was quite chilly Bunty Bun saw several
pretty plants on the way to school that she wanted me to dig up for her,
root and all, for her garden. I said it would be better to get them on
the way home that night, but Bunty said some one might come along and
take them and that she wouldn't lose those nice plants for anything. So
I got down on my knees and dug and dug with my hands in the cold, sticky
dirt, until I got the roots all up for her, and my hands were quite numb
and a sight to look at. Then we hurried on to school, for it was getting
late.

"When we got to the door I pushed the flower plants under the edge of
the house, and we went in, Bunty ahead of me. School had just taken up,
and all the scholars were in their seats except us. Bunty Bun went over
to the girls' side to hang up her things, and I stuck my hat on a nail
on our side, and stepped as quick as I could to the bench where the
water was, to wash my hands.

[Illustration: "I HAD MADE A MISS-DIP, AND EVERYBODY WAS LOOKING AT ME"]

"There was some water in the basin, and I was just about to dip my hands
in when I looked over toward Bunty Bun and saw her little ears all
lopped down flat, for the other little girl rabbits were giggling at her
for coming in with me and being late. The boy rabbits were giggling at
me, too, which I did not mind so much. But I forgot all about the basin,
for a minute, looking at Bunty Bun's ears, and when I started to wash my
hands I kept looking at Bunty, and in that way made an awful mistake;
for just when the water was feeling so good to my poor chilled hands,
and I was waving them about in it, all the time looking at Bunty's
droopy ears, somebody suddenly called out, 'Oh, teacher, Jacky Rabbit's
washing his hands in the water-pail! Jacky Rabbit's washing his hands in
the water-pail, teacher!'

"And sure enough, I was! Looking at Bunty Bun and pitying her, I had
made a miss-dip, and everybody was looking at me; and J. Hickory Whack
said, in the most awful voice, 'Jack Rabbit, you come here, at once!'"

[Illustration: MR. RABBIT SAID HE COULD HARDLY GET TO HICKORY WHACK'S
DESK]

Mr. Rabbit said he could hardly get to Hickory Whack's desk, he was so
weak in the knees, and when Mr. Whack had asked him what he had meant by
such actions he had been almost too feeble to speak.

"I couldn't think of a word," he said, "for, of course, the only thing I
could say was that I had been looking at Bunty Bun's little droopy ears,
and that would have made everybody laugh, and been much worse. Then the
teacher said he didn't see how he was going to keep himself from
whipping me soundly, he felt so much that way, and he said it in such an
awful tone that all the others were pretty scared, too, and quite still,
all of them but just one--one scholar on the girls' side, who giggled
right out loud--and I know you will hardly believe it when I tell you
that it was Bunty Bun! I was sure I knew her laugh, but I couldn't
believe it and, scared as I was, I turned to look, and there she sat,
looking really amused, her slim little ears sticking straight up as they
always did when she enjoyed anything."

Mr. Rabbit rose and walked across the room and back, and sat down again,
quite excitedly.

"Think of it, after all I had done for her! I saw at once that there
would be no pleasure in carrying her books and helping her over the
mud-puddles in the way I had planned. And just then Hickory Whack
grabbed a stick and reached for me. But he didn't reach quite far
enough, for I was always rather spry, and I was half-way to the door
with one spring, and out of it and on the way home, the next. Of course
he couldn't catch me, with his stiff leg, and he didn't try. When I got
home I told my folks that I didn't feel well, and needed a change of
scene. So they said I could visit some relatives in the Big Deep
Woods--an old aunt and uncle, and I set out on the trip within less than
five minutes, for I was tired of the Thickets. My aunt and uncle were
so glad to see me that I stayed with them, and when they died they left
me their property. So I've always stayed over this way, and live in it
still. Sometimes I go over to the Heavy Thickets, and once I saw Bunty
Bun. She is married, and shows her age. She used to be fat and pretty
and silly. Now she is just fat and silly, though I don't suppose she can
help those things. Still, I had a narrow escape, and I've never thought
of doing garden work since then for anybody but myself and my good
friends, like those of the Hollow Tree."



COUSIN REDFIELD AND THE MOLASSES

COUSIN REDFIELD BEAR MISBEHAVES AND IS CURED OF HIS TASTE FOR MOLASSES


THE Little Lady has been to the circus during the afternoon and has come
home full of it. There were ever so many things to see there, but nicest
of all were some little bears--three of them--who rolled over one
another in their cage and seemed to be having the best time in the
world. She tells the Story Teller all about them after supper; then she
says:

"Do you know any story about little bears? Did the Bear family in the
Big Deep Woods ever come visiting to the Hollow Tree?"

The Story Teller thinks.

"Yes," he said; "or rather, Mr. Bear came once alone, but that is
another story. I know one story, though, about a little bear, a story
that Mr. Crow told one night when he had been over to spend the
afternoon with Mr. Bear, they bring very good friends."

"Mr. Bear told me this afternoon," Mr. Crow said, "about something that
happened in his uncle's family some years ago. His uncle's name was
Brownwood--Brownwood Bear--and he had a little boy named Redfield, but
they called him Reddie, for short. Uncle Brownwood lost his wife one
night when she went over to get one of Mr. Man's pigs, and he and little
Redfield used to live together in a nice cave over near the Wide Blue
Water, not far from the place where Mr. Turtle lives now. Uncle
Brownwood used to be gone a good deal to get food and whatever they
needed, and Reddie would stay at home or sleep in the cave, or play
outside and roll and tumble about in the sun and have a very good time.
He had a number of playthings, too, and plenty of nice things to eat,
and every morning, before Uncle Brownwood Bear started out, he would put
out enough to last Cousin Redfield all day--some ripe berries, and
apples, with doughnuts, and such things, and always some bread and
butter and molasses to finish up on.

[Illustration: "HE DIDN'T EAT THE BREAD AT ALL BUT JUST ATE UP THE
MOLASSES"]

"Little Reddie Bear liked all these things very much, but best of all he
liked the molasses. Not bread and molasses, but just molasses; and he
used to beg Uncle Brownwood to give him a whole saucer of molasses to
dip his bread in; but once when his father did that he didn't eat the
bread at all, but just ate up the molasses, and was sick that night,
though he said it wasn't the molasses that did it, but carrying in some
wood and washing the dishes, which he had to do every evening.

"But Uncle Brownwood didn't give Cousin Redfield any more molasses in a
saucer; he spread his bread for him every morning, and set the
molasses-jug on a high shelf, out of reach, and Reddie used to stand
and look at it, when his father was gone, and wander how long it would
be before he would be tall enough to get it down and enjoy himself with
the contents.

"One day when Cousin Redfield was looking at the jug he had an idea.
Just outside of the cave his father had made a bear-ladder for Reddie to
learn to climb on. A bear-ladder is a piece of a tree set up straight in
the ground. It has short, broken-off limbs, and little bears like to run
up and down on it, and big bears, too, for it gives them exercise and
keeps them in practice for climbing real trees.

"When Reddie had the idea, he ran out and looked at his bear-ladder;
then he ran back and looked at the jug. If only that bear-ladder was in
the cave, he thought, he could walk right up it and get the jug and have
the best time in the world. The bear-ladder would go in the cave, for it
was a very high cave, and the ladder was not a very tall one.

"But the bear-ladder was fast to the ground, and at first Reddie
couldn't budge it. He worked and pushed and tugged, but it would not
move. Then he happened to think that perhaps if he climbed up to the top
of it, and swung his weight back and forth as hard as he could, he might
loosen it that way. So he ran up to the top limbs and caught hold tight,
and rocked this way and that with all his might, and pretty soon he felt
his bear-ladder begin to rock, too. Then he rocked a good deal harder,
and all of a sudden down it went and little Cousin Redfield Bear flew
over into a pile of stove-wood, and for ten minutes didn't know whether
he was killed or not, he felt so poorly. Then he crawled over to a flat
stone and sat down on it, and cried, and felt of himself to see if he
was injured anywhere; and he did not feel at all like bothering with his
bear-ladder any more, or eating molasses, either.

"But that was quite early in the day, and after Cousin Redfield had sat
there awhile he didn't feel so discouraged. His pains nearly all went
away, and he began to feel that if he had some molasses now it would
cure him. So then he got up and went over to look at the ladder, and
took hold of it, and found that it wasn't very heavy, as it was pine,
and very dead and dry. He could drag it to the cave easy enough, but
when he got it there he couldn't set it up straight. He was too short,
and not strong enough, either.

[Illustration: "SAT DOWN ON THE STONE TO THINK AGAIN AND CRY SOME MORE"]

"So little Cousin Redfield went back and sat down on his stone to think
again and cry some more, because he found several new hurting places
that were not quite cured yet. Then, he noticed the clothes-line, and
thought he might do something with that. He could get that down easy
enough, for it was not very high. Cousin Redfield had often hung out the
clothes on it himself. So he untied the ends of the clothes-line and
tied one end of it to the top of his bear-ladder, but didn't know what
to do with the other end, until he happened to see the big hooks in the
top of the cave where his father hung meat when they had a good supply.

"So then Reddie made a bunch of the other end of the rope and threw it
at those hooks, and kept on throwing it until after a while it caught on
one of them, and enough of it hung down for him to get hold of. Cousin
Redfield, for a small bear, was really quite smart to think of all that.

"It wasn't easy, though, even now, to get the bear-ladder up straight.
Reddie pulled, and tugged, and propped his feet against the side of the
cave, and the table and benches, and got out of breath, and was panting
and hot and his sore places hurt him awful, and he thought he'd have to
give it up, but at last the end of the bear-ladder caught on the side of
the cave where the jug was, and stayed there, and Cousin Redfield could
let go of the rope, and get behind the ladder and push, and then, pretty
soon, it was up straight, and he could get the molasses-jug as easy as
anything.

"It was getting along in the afternoon now, and Reddie knew that Uncle
Brownwood Bear was likely to come home before long. So he went right up
and got the jug, and nearly dropped it getting down, it was so heavy.
But he got down with it all right, and then pulled out the cob that was
its stopper, and tipped the jug to pour some of the molasses out in his
hand.

[Illustration: "AND THEN PRETTY SOON IT COMMENCED TO RUN BETTER"]

"But the jug was quite full, and, the molasses being very thick, would
not run out very well. So he tipped the jug over farther, but could only
get a little. Then he tipped it on its side, and then pretty soon it
commenced to run better, and came out better, and made a nice noise,
'po-lollop, po-lollop, po-lollop,' and formed quite a thick pool right
on the floor of the cave, and little Cousin Redfield Bear got down on
his hands and knees and licked and lapped, and forgot everything but
what a lovely time he was having, and didn't realize that he was getting
it all over himself, until he started to get up, and then found it was
all around him, and his knees were in it, and everything.

"Cousin Redfield didn't get entirely up. He was nearly up when his foot
slipped and he went down flat on his back; when he tried it again he
went down in another position, and kept on getting partly up and falling
in different ways, until he was an awful sight, and there wasn't so much
molasses on the floor any more, because it was nearly all on Cousin
Redfield. Then that little bear--little Reddie Bear--suddenly remembered
that his father would be coming home presently, and that something ought
to be done about it. He was so full of molasses he could hardly move or
see out of his eyes. If he could only wipe it off. He had seen his
father take a wisp of hay or nice, soft grass to wipe up a little that
was sometimes spilled on the table, so Reddie thought hay would be good
for his trouble. He would roll in hay, and that would take off the
molasses.

"There was a big pile of soft hay-grass in the back part of the cave
that Uncle Brownwood used to stuff his mattress with, and Cousin
Redfield made for it, and rolled and wallowed in it, thinking, at first,
that he was getting off the molasses, but pretty soon finding he was
only getting on hay, and really had it all over him so thick that he
could not roll any more, and could only see through it a very little.
When he managed to get up he had nearly all the hay on him, as well as
the molasses.

"Cousin Redfield was really a little walking haystack; and scared at his
condition, because he thought he would probably never be a bear any
more. He was so scared that he wanted his father to come and do
something for him, and started to meet him, as fast as he could, with
all that load of hay and molasses. He was crying, too, but nobody could
really tell it from the sound he made, which was something like
'Woo--ooo, woo--ooo,' and very mournful.

"Uncle Brownwood Bear was just rounding the big rock there at the turn
when he came face to face with Cousin Redfield and his hay. Reddie
thought his father would be angry when he saw him, but he wasn't--not
at first. Cousin Redfield didn't realize how he looked from the outside,
or the lonesomeness of the sound he was making. Uncle Brownwood took
just one glance at him, and said '_Woof!_' and broke in the direction of
a tree, and of course you could hardly blame him, for he had never seen
or heard anything like that before, and it came on him so sudden-like.

"Then poor little Reddie Bear bawled out as loud as he could, 'Pa! Pa!
Oh, pa, come back! I's me, pa; come back!'

"And Uncle Brownwood stopped in his tracks and whirled around and said,
in an awful voice, 'You, Redfield!' for he thought Reddie was playing a
joke on him, and he was mad clear through.

"Cousin Redfield saw that he was mad by the way he started for him, and
became scared, and tried to run away as well as he could; but, not being
able to see well, ran right toward the Wide Blue Water, and before he
noticed where he was going he stumbled off of a two-foot bank where it
was deep, and was down in the water, and had gone under for the second
time before his father could lean over and grab him and get him out.

"Poor little Cousin Redfield Bear! By that time most of the hay was
washed off of him, but he had got a good deal of the Wide Blue Water
inside of him, and was so nearly drowned he couldn't speak. And when his
father laid him on the bank, and rolled him, the water and molasses came
out, 'po-lollop, po-lollop, po-lollop,' and, feeble as he was, little
Cousin Redfield realized that he probably would never care for molasses
again.

[Illustration: "IT GAVE HIM SUCH A SICK TURN THAT HE NEARLY DIED"]

"When he was empty and could sit up, Uncle Brownwood got a pail, and a
dipper, and a brush-broom, and cleaned him on the outside, and then
rubbed him dry with an old towel, and put him to bed, though not until
after he had scrubbed up the cave so they could live in it.

"Uncle Brownwood Bear did not punish little Cousin Redfield," Mr. Crow
said. "He thought Reddie had been punished enough. Besides, Reddie was
sick for several days. But Uncle Brownwood put up the bear-ladder much
stronger than before, and set the empty molasses-jug in the middle of
the table, and kept it there a long time, and when Cousin Redfield tried
even to look at it, it gave him such a sick turn that he nearly
died."



MR. BEAR'S EARLY SPRING CALL

AN UNWELCOME VISITOR PAYS A VISIT TO THE HOLLOW TREE


ONCE upon a time when it had been a hard winter in the Big Deep Woods,
and spring was late, and there was still very little in the way of fresh
food to be had, Mr. 'Possum came in quite excited, one evening, and
after bolting the down-stairs door put a heavy prop against it, though
he called up first to see if Mr. 'Coon and Mr. Crow were both in.

"_I'm_ in," Mr. 'Coon called back. "I hunted till I was tired and
couldn't find a thing worth bringing home, except some winter parsnips
that I dug out of Mr. Man's garden."

"_I'm_ in," Mr. Crow called back. "I found a beefsteak that Mr. Man had
hung out to freeze. I'll cook it with Mr. 'Coon's parsnips. Why, is
anything the matter?"

[Illustration: MR. 'POSSUM CAME PUFFING UP THE STAIRS]

Mr. 'Possum came puffing up the stairs to the big room, and sat down
before the fire, and took off his shoes and warmed himself a little, and
lit his pipe, and said:

"Well, there _may_ be, if we don't keep that prop pretty firmly against
the down-stairs door. I met Mr. Robin while I was out, and he tells me
that a new Mr. Bear has moved over into the edge of the Big Deep Woods,
into that vacant cave down there by the lower drift. His name is
Savage--Aspetuck Savage--one of those Sinking Swamp Savages, and he's
hungry and pretty fierce. They've had a harder winter in the Swamp than
we have had up here, and when Aspetuck came out of his winter nap last
week and couldn't find anything, he started up this way. Mr. Man has
shut up all his pigs, and Mr. Robin thinks that Aspetuck is headed now
for the Hollow Tree. Somebody told him, Mr. Robin said, that we manage
to live well and generally come through the winter in pretty fair order,
though I can tell by the way my clothes hang on me that I've lost
several pounds since Mr. Man built that new wire-protected pen for his
chickens."

Mr. 'Coon said the news certainly was not very good, and that while his
condition was not so bad for such a hard season, he didn't propose to
let Mr. Aspetuck Savage use him in the place of pork, if he could help
it. Mr. Crow said he didn't feel so much afraid on his own account, as
Aspetuck would not be apt to have much taste for one of his family,
unless his appetite was extremely fierce, though, of course, it was
safer to take no chances. So then they all went down-stairs and put
still another prop against the door, and piled a number of things behind
it, too, to make it safe. Then they went up and Mr. Crow cooked the nice
steak and put some fried parsnips with it, and Mr. 'Possum said if it
wasn't for thinking of Aspetuck he could eat twice as much and get his
lost weight back; and Mr. 'Coon and Mr. Crow told him he had better keep
right on thinking of Aspetuck, so there would be enough to go around. By
and by they all sat before the fire and smoked, and got sleepy, and Mr.
'Coon and Mr. 'Possum went up to their rooms to bed, but Mr. Crow said
he would nap in his chair, so that if Mr. Savage Bear should arrive
early he would be up to receive him.

"Tell him I'm very sick," said Mr. 'Coon, "and too run-down and feeble
to get up to make him welcome."

"Tell him I'm dead," said Mr. 'Possum. "Say I died last week, and you're
only waiting for the ground to thaw to bury me. Tell Aspetuck I starved
to death."

[Illustration: DID NOT REALLY INTEND TO GO SOUND ASLEEP]

Mr. Crow said he would tell as many things as he could think of, and
then he sat down by the fire, and did not really intend to go sound
asleep, but he did, and the fire went down, and Mr. Crow got pretty
cold, though he didn't know it until all of a sudden, just about
sunrise, there was a big pounding knock at the down-stairs door, and a
big, deep voice called out:

"Hello! Hello! Wake up! Here's a visitor to the Hollow Tree!"

Then Mr. Crow jumped straight up, and almost cracked, his joints were so
stiff and cold, and Mr. 'Coon heard it, and jumped straight up, too, in
his bed; and Mr. 'Possum heard it, and jumped straight up in _his_ bed,
and Mr. 'Coon said, "'Sh!" and Mr. 'Possum said, "'Sh!" and Mr. Crow
stumbled over to the window and opened it and looked out, and said:
"Who's there?" Though he really didn't have to ask, because he knew, and
besides, he could see the biggest Mr. Bear he ever saw, for Aspetuck
Savage was seven feet tall, and of very heavy build.

"It's me," said Mr. Bear, "Mr. Aspetuck S. Bear, come to make a spring
morning call." You see, he left out his middle name, and only gave the
initial, because he knew his full name wasn't popular in the Deep
Woods.

"Why, Mr. Bear, good morning!" said Mr. Crow. "How early you are! I
didn't know it was spring, and I didn't know it was morning. I'm sorry
not to invite you in, but we've had a hard time lately, and haven't
cleaned house yet, and I'd be ashamed to let you see how we look."

"Oh, never mind that," said Mr. Aspetuck Bear. "I don't care how things
look. I forget everything else in the spring feeling. I only want to
enjoy your society, especially Mr. 'Coon's. I've heard he's so fine and
fat and good-natured, in his old age."

When Mr. 'Coon heard that he fell back in bed and covered his head and
groaned, but not loud enough for Aspetuck to hear him.

And Mr. Crow said: "Ah, poor Mr. 'Coon! You have not heard the latest.
The hard winter has been a great strain on him and lately he has been
very poorly. He is quite frail and feeble, and begs to be excused."

"Is that so?" said Mr. Bear. "Why, I heard as I came along that Mr.
'Coon was out yesterday and was never looking better."

"All a mistake--all a mistake, Mr. Bear. Must have been his cousin from
Rocky Hollow. They look very much alike. I'm greatly worried about Mr.
'Coon."

"Oh, well," said Mr. Savage Bear, "it doesn't matter much. Mr. 'Possum
will do just as well. So fine and fat, I am told--I was quite reminded
of one of Mr. Man's pigs I once enjoyed."

[Illustration: WHEN MR. 'POSSUM HEARD THAT HE FAINTED DEAD AWAY]

When Mr. 'Possum heard that he fainted dead away, but was not so far
gone that he couldn't hear what Mr. Crow said. Mr. Crow wiped his eyes
with a new handkerchief before he said anything.

"Oh, Mr. Bear," he called back, "it's so sad about Mr. 'Possum. We shall
never see his like again. He had such a grand figure, and such a good
appetite--and to think it should prove his worst enemy."

"Why--what's the matter--what's happened? You don't mean to say--"

"Yes, that's it--the appetite was too strong for him--it carried him
off. Mr. 'Coon and I did our best to supply it. That is what put Mr.
'Coon to bed and I am just a shadow of my old self. We worked to save
our dear Mr. 'Possum. We hunted nights and we hunted days, to keep him
in chicken pie with dumplings and gravy, but that beautiful appetite of
his seemed to grow and grow until we couldn't keep up with it, this hard
year, and one day our noble friend said:

"'Don't try any more--the more I eat the more I want--good-by.'"

Mr. Crow wiped his eyes again, while Mr. Bear grumbled to himself
something about a nice state of affairs; but pretty soon he seemed to
listen, for Mr. 'Possum was smacking his lips, thinking of those chicken
pies Mr. Crow had described, and Mr. Bear has very quick ears.

"Mr. Crow," he said, "do you think Mr. 'Possum is really as dead as he
might be?"

"Oh yes, Mr. Bear--at least twice as dead, from the looks of him" (for
Mr. 'Possum had suddenly fainted again). "We're just waiting for the
ground to thaw to have the funeral."

"Well, Mr. Crow, I think I'll just come up and take a look at the
remains, and visit _you_ a little, and maybe say a word to poor Mr.
'Coon."

When Mr. 'Coon and Mr. 'Possum heard that they climbed out of their beds
and got under them, for they didn't know what might happen next.

And they heard Mr. Crow say: "I'm awfully sorry, Mr. Bear, but the
down-stairs door is locked, and bolted, and barred, and propped, and all
our things piled against it, for winter; and I can't get it open until
Mr. 'Coon gets strong enough to help me."

"Oh, never mind that," said A. Savage Bear, "I can make a run or two
against it, and it will come down all right. I weigh seven hundred
pounds."

[Illustration: FLUNG HIMSELF AGAINST THE DOWN-STAIRS DOOR WITH A GREAT
BANG]

Mr. 'Coon and Mr. 'Possum had crept out to listen, but when they heard
that they dodged back under their beds again, and got in the darkest
corners, and began to groan, and just then Mr. Bear gave a run and flung
himself against the down-stairs door with a great bang, and both of them
howled, because they couldn't help it, they were so scared, and Mr. Crow
was worried, because he knew that about the second charge, or the third,
that door would be apt to give way, and then things in the Hollow Tree
would become very mixed, and even dangerous.

Mr. Crow didn't know what to do next. He saw Mr. Savage Bear back off a
good deal further than he had the first time, and come for the
down-stairs door as hard as he could tear, and when he struck it that
time, the whole Hollow Tree shook, and Mr. 'Coon and Mr. 'Possum howled
so loud that Mr. Crow was sure Mr. Bear could hear them. They were all
in an awful fix, Mr. Crow thought, and was just going to look for a safe
place for himself when who should come skipping through the tree-tops
but Mr. Robin. Mr. Robin, though quite small, is not afraid of any Mr.
Bear, because he is good friends with everybody. He saw right away how
things were at the Hollow Tree--in fact, he had hurried over, thinking
there might be trouble there.

"Oh, Tucky," he called--Tucky being Mr. Aspetuck Savage Bear's pet
name--"I've brought you some good news--some of the very best kind of
news."

Mr. Bear was just that minute getting fixed for his third run. "What is
it?" he said, holding himself back.

"I found a big honey-tree, yesterday evening," Mr. Robin said. "The
biggest one I ever saw. I'll show you the way, if you care for honey."

Now Mr. Bear likes honey better than anything in the world, and when he
heard about the big tree Mr. Robin had found he licked out his tongue
and smacked his lips.

"Of _course_ I like honey," he said, "especially for dessert. I'll be
ready to go with you in a few minutes."

Mr. 'Coon and Mr. 'Possum, who had crept out to listen, fell over at
those words, and rolled back under the beds again.

"But you ought not to wait a minute, Tucky dear," Mr. Robin said. "It's
going to be warm when the sun gets out, and those bees will be lively
and pretty fierce."

Mr. Savage Bear scratched his head, and his tongue hung out, thinking of
the nice honey he might lose.

"It's beautiful honey, Tucky--clover honey, white and fresh."

A. Savage Bear's tongue hung out farther, and seemed fairly to drip.
"Where is that tree?" he said.

"In the edge of the Sinking Swamps," said Mr. Robin. "Not far from your
home. You can eat all you want and carry at least a bushel to your
folks. You ought to be starting, as I say, before it warms up. Besides,
a good many are out looking for honey-trees, just now."

Mr. Aspetuck Savage Bear just wheeled in his tracks and started south,
which was the direction of the Sinking Swamps.

[Illustration: "I HOPE MR. 'POSSUM'S FUNERAL WILL BE A SUCCESS"]

"You lead the way," he called to Mr. Robin, "and I'll be there by
breakfast-time. I'm mighty glad you happened along, for there looks to
be a poor chance for supplies around here. I've heard a lot about the
Big Deep Woods, but give me the Sinking Swamps, every time." Then he
looked back and called: "Good-by, Mr. Crow. Best wishes to poor Mr.
'Coon, and I hope Mr. 'Possum's funeral will be a success."

And Mr. Crow called good-by, and motioned to Mr. 'Coon and Mr. 'Possum,
who had crept out again a little, and they slipped over to the window
and peeked out, and saw Mr. Aspetuck Savage Bear following Mr. Robin
back to the Sinking Swamps, to the honey-tree which Mr. Robin had really
found there, for Mr. Robin is a good bird, and never deceives
anybody.



MR. JACK RABBIT BRINGS A FRIEND


I

A NEW ARRIVAL IN THE BIG DEEP WOODS TELLS A STORY

ONCE upon a time Mr. Jack Rabbit gave the Hollow Tree people a real
surprise. It was a pleasant spring evening, and the 'Coon and 'Possum
and the Old Black Crow were sitting outside after supper, and somebody
had just remarked that it was a good while since they had seen Jack
Rabbit, when Mr. Rabbit himself happened along and, for the first time
they could remember, brought somebody with him. Then everybody jumped
up, of course, to say, "Good evening," and Jack Rabbit said:

[Illustration: "I HAVE NEVER HEARD ANYTHING SO WONDERFUL AS THE WAY SHE
TELLS IT"]

"This is a new friend I have made--possibly a distant relative, as we
seem to belong to about the same family, though, of course, it doesn't
really make any difference. Her name is Myrtle--Miss Myrtle Meadows--and
she has had a most exciting, and very strange, and really quite awful
adventure. I have brought her over because I know you will all be glad
to hear about it. I have never heard anything so wonderful as the way
she tells it."

Mr. Rabbit looked at Miss Meadows, and Miss Meadows tried to look at
Jack Rabbit, but was quite shy and modest at being praised before
everybody in that way. Then Mr. 'Coon brought her a nice little low
chair, and she sat down, and they all asked her to tell about her great
adventure, because they said they were tired of hearing their own old
stories told over and over, and nearly always in the same way, though
Mr. 'Possum could change his some when he tried. So then Miss Myrtle
began to tell her story, but kept looking down at her lap at first,
being so bashful among such perfect strangers as the Hollow Tree people
were to her at that time.

"Well," she said, "I wasn't born in the Big Deep Woods, nor in any woods
at all, but in a house with a great many more of our family, a long way
from here, and owned by a Mr. Man who raised us to sell."

When Miss Myrtle said that the 'Coon and 'Possum and the Old Black Crow
took their pipes out of their mouths and looked at her with very deep
interest. They had once heard from Mr. Dog about menageries,[1] where
Deep Woods people and others were kept for Mr. Man and his friends to
look at, but they had never heard of a place where any of their folks
were raised to sell. Mr. 'Possum was just going to ask a
question--probably as to how they were fed--when Mr. Rabbit said, "'Sh!"
and Miss Meadows went on:

"It was quite a nice place, and we were pretty thick in the little
house, which was a good deal like a cage, with strong wires in front,
though it had doors, too, to shut us in when it rained or was cold. Mr.
Man, or some of his family, used to bring us fresh grass and clover and
vegetables to eat, every day, and sometimes would open a door and let us
out for a short time on the green lawn. We never went far, or thought of
running away, but ran in, pretty soon, and cuddled down, sometimes
almost in a pile, we were so thick; and we were all very happy indeed.

"But one day Mr. Man came to our house and opened the door and reached
in and lifted several of us out--about twenty or so, I should think--one
after another, by the ears--and put us into a flat box with slats across
the top, and said, 'Now you little chaps are going to have a trip and
see something.' I didn't know what he meant, but I can see now that he
didn't mean nearly so much as happened--not in _my_ case. A number of my
brothers and sisters were in the box with me, and though we were quite
frightened, we were excited, too, for we wondered where we were going,
and what wonderful things we should see."

[Illustration: MISS MYRTLE PAUSED AND WIPED HER EYES]

Miss Myrtle paused and wiped her eyes with a handkerchief that looked
very much like one of Jack Rabbit's; then she said:

"I suppose I shall never know what became of all the others of our poor
little broken family, and I know they are wondering what became of me,
but of course there is no way to find out now, and Mr. Jack Rabbit says
I must try to forget and be happy.

"Well, Mr. Man put the box into a wagon and we rode and rode, and were
so frightened, for we had never done such a thing before, and by and by
we came to a very big town--a place with ever so many houses and all the
Mr. Mans and their families in the world, I should think, and so much
noise that we all lay flat and tried to bury our heads, to keep from
being made deaf. By and by Mr. Man stopped and took our box from the
wagon, and another Mr. Man stepped out of a place that I learned later
was a kind of store where they sell things, and the new Mr. Man took our
box and set it in front of his store, and put a card on it with some
words that said, 'For Sale,' and threw us in some green stuff to eat,
and there we were, among ever so many things that we had never seen
before.

"Well, it was not very long until a tall Mr. Man and his little boy
stopped and looked at us, and Mr. Store Man came out and lifted up the
cover of our box and held us up, one after the other, by the ears, until
he came to Tip, one of my brothers who wasn't very smart, but was quite
good-looking and had a tuft of white on his ears which made him have
that name. Mr. Man's boy said he would take Tip, and Tip giggled and was
so pleased because he had been picked first. Mr. Store Man put him in a
big paper bag, and that was the last we saw of Tip. I hope he did not
have the awful experience I had, though, of course, everything is all
right now," and Miss Myrtle looked at Jack Rabbit, who looked at Miss
Myrtle and said that no harm should come to her ever again.

"Smut was next to go--a nice little chap with a blackish nose. A little
girl of Mr. Man's bought him, and it was another little girl that bought
me. She looked at all of us a good while, and pretty soon she happened
to see that I was looking at her, and she said she could see in my eyes
that I was asking her to take me, which was so, and pretty soon I was in
a bag, too, and when the little girl opened the bag I was in her
house--a very fine place, with a number of wonderful things in it
besides her family, and plenty to eat--much more than I wanted, though I
had a good appetite, being young.

"I was very lonesome, though, for there were none of the Rabbit family
there, and I had nobody to talk to, or cuddle up to at night. I had a
little house all to myself, but often through the day my little girl
would hold me and stroke my fur, trying as hard as she could to make me
happy and enjoy her society.

"I really did enjoy it, too, sometimes, when she did not squeeze me too
hard, which she couldn't help, she was so fond of me. When I would sit
up straight and wash my face, as I did every morning, she would call
everybody to see me, and said I was the dearest thing in the world."

When Miss Meadows said that Jack Rabbit looked at her with his head
tipped a little to one side, as if he were trying to decide whether Mr.
Man's little girl had been right or not. Then he looked at the Hollow
Tree people and said:

"H'm! H'm! Very nice little girl" (meaning Mr. Man's, of course), "and
very smart, too."

"I got used to being without my own folks," Miss Meadows went on, "but I
did not forget the nice green grass of the country, and always wanted to
go back to it. If I had known what was going to happen to me in the
country I should not have been so anxious to get there.

"I had been living with that little girl and her family about a month,
I suppose, when one day she came running to my house and took me out,
and said:

"'Oh, Brownie'--that was her name for me--'we are going to the country,
Brownie dear, where you can run and play on the green grass, and eat
fresh clover, and have the best time.'

"Well, of course I was delighted, and we did go to the country, but I
did not have the best time--at least, not for long.

"It was all right at the start. We went in Mr. Man's automobile. I had
never seen one before, and it was very scary at first. I was in a box on
the back seat with Mr. Man's little girl and her mother, and I stood up
most of the time, and looked over the top of the box at the world going
by so fast that it certainly seemed to be turning around, as I once
heard the little girl say it really did. When we began to come to the
country I saw the grass and woods and houses, all in a whirl, and the
little girl helped me so I could see better, and my heart beat so fast
that I thought it was going to tear me to pieces. I felt as if I must
jump out and run away, but she held me very tight, and by and by I grew
more peaceful.

"We got there that evening, and it was a lovely place. There was a large
lawn of grass, and some big trees, and my little girl let me run about
the lawn, though I was still so scared that I wanted to hide in every
good place I saw. So she put me in a pretty new house that had a door,
and wire net windows to look out of, and then set the little house out
in the yard and gave me plenty of fresh green food, and I was just
getting used to everything when the awful thing happened.

"It happened at night, the worst time, of course, for terrible things,
and they generally seem to come then. It was such a pleasant evening
that my little girl thought it would be well for me to stay in my house
outside, instead of having me in the big house, which she thought I did
not care for, and that was true, though I can see now that the big
house would have been safer at such a time.

"So I stayed in my little house out on the terrace, and thought how
pleasant it was out there, and nibbled some nice carrot tops she had put
in for me, and watched the lights commence to go out in the big house,
and saw my little girl come to the window and look out at me, and then
her light went out, too, and pretty soon I suppose I must have gone to
sleep.


II

MISS MYRTLE MEADOWS CONTINUES HER ADVENTURES

"REALLY, I don't know what time it was that I woke up, but I know I did
not wake up naturally. I just seemed to jump out of my sleep, and I was
wide-awake in a second. Something was clawing and scratching at one of
my wire windows, and then I saw two big, fiery eyes, and knew it was
some fierce creature, and that it was after me. Well, I thought I had
been scared before in my short life, but I could see now that I had
never really known what it was to be scared. I didn't see how I could
live from one minute to the next, I was in such a state, and I couldn't
move hand or foot.

"I knew what it was after me. Our Mr. Man had a big old Mr. Dog that I
had seen looking at me very interestedly once before when my little girl
carried my house past him. They kept him fastened with a chain, but
somehow he had worked himself loose, and now he had come to make a late
supper out of poor defenseless me. I would have talked to him, and tried
to shame him out of it, but I was too scared even to speak, for he was
biting and clawing at that wire net window as hard as he could, and I
could see that it was never going to keep him out, for it was beginning
to give way, and all of a sudden it did give way, and his big old head
came smashing right through into my house, and I expected in another
second to be dead.

"But just in that very second I seemed to come to life. I didn't have
anything to do with it at all. My legs suddenly turned into springs and
sent me flying out under old Mr. Dog's neck, between his forefeet; then
they turned into wings, and if I touched the ground again for at least
three miles I don't remember it. I could hear old Mr. Dog back there,
and I could tell by his language that he was mad. He thought he was
chasing me, but he wasn't. He was just wallowing through the bushes and
across a boggy place that I had sailed over like a bird. If he could
have seen how fast I was going he would have thought he was standing
still. But he was old and foolish, and kept blundering along, until I
couldn't hear him any more, he was so far behind. Then, by and by, it
was morning, and I _really_ came to life and found I was tired and
hungry and didn't know in the least where I was.

"There didn't seem to be anything to eat there, either, but only leaves
and woods; and I was afraid to taste such green things as I saw, because
they were wild and might make me sick. So I went on getting more tired
and hungry and lost, and was nearly ready to give up when I heard some
one call, just overhead, and I looked up, and saw a friendly-looking
bird who said his name was Mr. Robin, and asked if there was anything
he could do for me. When I told him how tired and hungry I was, he came
down and showed me some things I could eat without danger, and invited
me home with him. He said I was in the Big Deep Woods, and that there
was a vacant room in the tree where he and Mrs. Robin had their nest and
I could stay there as long as I liked.

[Illustration: "SO I WENT HOME WITH MR. ROBIN"]

"So I went home with Mr. Robin, and Mrs. Robin was ever so kind, and
said she thought I must be of the same family as Mr. Jack Rabbit,
because we resembled a good deal, and sent over for him right away. I
was ever so glad to think I was going to see one of my own folks again,
and when Mr. Rabbit came we sat right down, and I told him my story, and
we tried to trace back and see what relation we were, but it was too far
back, and besides, I was too young when I left home to know much about
my ancestors. Mr. Rabbit said if we were related at all it must be
through his mother, as she was very handsome, and he thought I looked
like her a good deal. He said what a fine thing it was that I had quit
being a house rabbit and had decided to be a wild, free rabbit in the
Big Deep Woods, though, of course, it was really old Mr. Dog who decided
it for me, and I was quite sorry to leave my little girl, who was always
so good to me and loved me very much. It makes me sad when I remember
how I saw her at the window, that last time, but I don't think I want to
go back, anyway, now since Jack--Mr. Rabbit, I mean--is teaching me all
about Deep Woods life and says he is not going to let me go back at
all--ever!"

Little Miss Myrtle all at once seemed very much embarrassed again, and
looked down into her lap, and Mr. Jack Rabbit seemed quite embarrassed,
too, when he tried to say something, because he had to cough two or
three times before he could get started.

"H'm! H'm!" he said. "Now that you have all heard Miss Meadows's
wonderful story, and what a narrow escape she had--an escape which those
present can understand, for all of us have had close calls in our
time--I am sure you will be glad to hear that the little stranger has
consented to remain in the Big Deep Woods and share such of the Deep
Woods fortunes as I can provide for her. In fact--I may say--h'm!
that--h'm!--Miss Meadows a week from to-day is to become--h'm!--Mrs.
Jack Rabbit."

Then all the Hollow Tree people jumped right up and ran over to shake
hands with Mr. Rabbit and Miss Myrtle Meadows, and Mr. 'Possum said they
must have a big wedding, because big weddings always meant good things
to eat, and that everybody must come, and that he would show them how a
wedding was to be enjoyed. Mr. Crow promised to cook his best things,
and Mr. 'Coon said he would think up some performances for the guests to
do, and then everybody began to talk about it, until it was quite late
before Jack Rabbit and Miss Meadows walked away toward Mr. Robin's,
calling back, "Good night!" to their good friends of the Hollow
Tree.

FOOTNOTE:

[1] "Mr. Dog at the Circus," in _The Hollow Tree Snowed-In Book_.



MR. RABBIT'S WEDDING


I

THE HOLLOW TREE PEOPLE GATHER TO CELEBRATE A GREAT EVENT

"WELL, you remember that I told you about Mr. Jack Rabbit and Miss
Myrtle Meadows, and the wedding they had planned," says the Story Teller
one pleasant afternoon when he and the Little Lady have been taking a
long walk and are resting in the shade in the very edge of the Big Deep
Woods.

The Little Lady nods. "But you never told me about the wedding," she
says, "and I want to hear about that more than anything. They _had_ a
wedding, didn't they?--the Hollow Tree people were going to get it up,
you know."

"Well, they did; and there was never such a wedding in the Big Deep
Woods. This was the way it was:"

Mr. 'Possum began to plan right away all the things that Mr. Crow was to
cook, and went out every night to help bring in something, though Mr.
'Possum is not a great hand for work, in general, except when somebody
else does it. Mr. 'Coon went right to work on the program of things to
be done at the wedding, and decided to have a regular circus, where
everybody in the Big Deep Woods could show what he could do best, or
what he used to do best when he was young. Every little while Jack
Rabbit and Miss Meadows walked over to talk about it, and by and by they
came over and wrote out all the invitations, which Mr. Robin promised to
deliver, though he had once made a big mistake with an invitation by
having a hole in his pocket.[2]

[Illustration: STOPPED TO TALK A LITTLE WITH EACH ONE]

But Mr. Robin didn't make any mistake this time, and went around from
place to place, and stopped to talk a little with each one, because he
is friends with everybody. Mr. Redfield Bear and Mr. Turtle and Mr.
Squirrel and Mr. Dog and Mr. Fox all said they would come, and would
certainly bring something for the happy couple, for it wasn't every day
that one got a chance to attend such a wedding as Jack Rabbit's would
be; and everybody remembered how the bride had come to the Deep Woods in
that most romantic and strange way, after having been brought up with
Mr. Man's people, and all wanted to know what she looked like, and if
she spoke with much accent, and what she was going to wear, and if Mr.
Robin thought she would be satisfied to stay in the Deep Woods, which
must seem a great change; and if she had a pleasant disposition. They
knew, of course, Mr. Robin would be apt to know about most of those
things, because she had been staying at his house ever since that awful
night when she escaped from old Mr. Dog.

Mr. Robin said he had never known any one with a sweeter nature than
Miss Myrtle's, and that old Mr. Dog's loss had been the Big Deep Woods'
gain. Then he told them as much as he knew about the wedding, and what
each one was expected to do, as a performance, and hurried home to help
Mrs. Robin, who was as busy as she could be, getting the bride's outfit
ready and teaching her something about housekeeping, though Jack Rabbit,
who had been a bachelor such a long time, would know a number of things,
too.

Well, they decided to have the wedding out under some big trees by the
Race Track, because that would give a good, open place for the
performances, which everybody was soon practicing. Mr. Crow was
especially busy, because he was going to show how he used to fly. Every
morning he was out there very early, running and flapping about, and
every afternoon he was cooking, right up to the day of the wedding.

Mr. 'Possum was up himself, _that_ morning, almost before daylight,
going around and looking at all the things Mr. Crow had cooked, tasting
a little of most of them, though he had already tasted of everything at
least seven times while the cooking was going on; and he said that if
there was one thing in the world that would tempt him to get married it
was having a wedding given him such as Mr. Rabbit's was going to be.

Then when Mr. Crow and Mr. 'Coon had snatched a cup of coffee and a bite
they all gathered up the fine cakes and chicken pies and puddings and
things and started for the Race Track, for the wedding was going to
begin pretty early and last all day.

It looked a little cloudy in the morning, but it cleared up before long,
and was as fine a June day as anybody could ask for. As soon as the
Hollow Tree people came they put down their things and began practising
their performances for the last time. Mr. Crow said if he was going to
do his old flying trick it was well that he had one more try at it;
then he got in light flying costume and started from a limb, and did
pretty well for any one that had been out of practice so long; and he
could even rise from the ground by going out on the Race Track and
taking a running start. Then, by and by, Mr. Redfield Bear came along,
bringing a box of fine maple sugar for the young couple, and Mr. Fox
came with a brand-new feather bed, and Mr. Squirrel brought a big nut
cake which Mrs. Squirrel had made, and sent ahead by _him_ because she
might be a little late, on account of the children.

Then Jack Rabbit himself came with the finest clothes on they had ever
seen him wear, and with a beautiful bouquet, and carrying a new
handkerchief and a pair of gloves and a cane. Everybody stood right up
when he walked in, and said they had never seen him look so young and
handsome and well-dressed; and Mr. Rabbit bowed and said, "To be happy
is to be young--to be young is to be handsome--to be handsome is to be
well-dressed." Then everybody said that besides all those things Jack
Rabbit was certainly the smartest person in the Big Deep Woods.

And just then Mr. and Mrs. Robin arrived with the bride, and when the
Deep Woods people saw her they just clasped their hands and couldn't say
a word, for she took their breath quite away.

Miss Meadows was almost overcome, too, with embarrassment, and was
looking down at the ground, so she didn't see who was there at first;
but when she happened to look up and saw Mr. Bear she threw up her arms
and would have fallen fainting if Jack Rabbit hadn't caught her, for she
had never seen such a large, fierce-looking Deep Woods person before.
But Jack Rabbit told her right away that this was not any of the Savage
Bear family, but Cousin Redfield, one of the Brownwood Bears, who had
been friendly a long time with all Deep Woods people, and he showed her
the nice present Mr. Bear had brought. So then she thanked Cousin
Redfield Bear very prettily, though she looked as if she might fly
into Jack Rabbit's arms at any moment.

She did more than that presently, though not on Mr. Bear's account.
Everybody was busy getting things ready when in walked Mr. Dog, all
dressed up and with a neat package in his hand.

[Illustration: JACK RABBIT WOULD HAVE STAYED A BACHELOR IF SHE HADN'T
TRIPPED IN HER WEDDING-GOWN]

Well, nobody had thought to tell Miss Meadows about this _good_ Mr. Dog
who lived with Mr. Man in the edge of the Deep Woods and had been
friendly with the Hollow Tree people so long, and when everybody said,
"Why, here's Mr. Dog! How do you do, Mr. Dog?" she whirled around and
then gave a wild cry and made the longest leap the Hollow Tree people
had ever seen--they said so, afterward--and never stopped to faint, but
dashed away, and Jack Rabbit would have stayed a bachelor if she hadn't
tripped in her wedding-gown; though Jack was in time to catch her before
she fell, which saved her dress from damage. Then Mr. Rabbit explained
to her all about this Mr. Dog, and coaxed her back, and Mr. Dog made his
best bow and offered his present--a nice new cook-book which somebody
had sent to Mrs. Man, who said she didn't want it, because she had her
old one with a great many of her own recipes written in. He said he
thought it was just the thing for the bride to start new with, and she
would, of course, add her own recipes, too, in time. Mr. Crow said he
would give her some of his best ones, right away, especially the ones
for the things he had brought to-day, which ought to be eaten now,
pretty soon, while they were fresh. So that reminded them all of the
wedding, and Miss Meadows thanked Mr. Dog for his handsome and useful
present, and just then Mr. Turtle came in, bringing some beautiful
bridal wreaths he had promised to make, and right behind him was Mr.
Owl, who is thought to be wise, and is Doctor and Preacher and Lawyer in
the Big Deep Woods, and performs all the ceremonies.

So then everybody had come, and there was nothing to wait for, and Mr.
Jack Rabbit led Miss Meadows out in the center of the nice shade, and
Mr. Owl stood before them, and all the other Deep Woods people arranged
themselves in a circle except Mr. and Mrs. Robin, who stood by the bride
and groom.

Then Mr. Owl said, "Are all present?"

And everybody said, "All present who have been invited."

Then Mr. Owl said, "Who gives this bride away?"

"I do," said Mr. Robin, "though she isn't really mine, because I only
happened to find her one morning when--"

[Illustration: "MAY YOU BE HAPPY AS LONG AS POSSIBLE, AND LONGER"]

Mr. Robin was going on to explain all about it, but Mr. Owl said, "'Sh!"
and went right on:

"Mr. Jack Rabbit, Mr. Robin gives you Miss Myrtle Meadows to love and
cherish and obey, and Mr. Dog has brought a cook-book, and Mr. Bear some
maple sugar, and all the others have brought good things. The
wedding-feast is therefore waiting. What is left will be yours. Let us
hope there will still be the cook-book, but Miss Myrtle Meadows will
not be with us, for I now pronounce her to be Mrs. Jack Rabbit, and may
you be happy as long as possible, and longer."

Then everybody became suddenly excited and pushed up to congratulate Mr.
and Mrs. Rabbit, and when the bride heard herself called "Mrs. Jack
Rabbit" she was more embarrassed than ever, and couldn't get used to it
for at least two minutes. Then they all sat down and ate and ate, and
Mr. 'Possum said he never felt so romantic in his life, which was all he
did say, except, "Please pass the chicken pie," or, "A little more
gravy, please."

Well, when they had all had about enough, except Mr. 'Possum, who was
still taking a taste of this and a bite of that, where things were in
reach, Mr. Rabbit got up and said he had written a little something for
the occasion, and if they cared to hear it he would read it now.

So then they all said, "Read it! Read it!" and Jack Rabbit stood up very
nice and straight, and read:

                    "BEGINNING ANEW

          "I've lived alone a long, long time,
             And frequently the days seemed blue,
           But now they all are bright, for I'm
               Beginning anew.

          "My friends live in the Big Deep Woods
             And they, I know, are happy, too,
           To see me with my household goods,
               Beginning anew.

          "Oh, fair Miss Meadows, now no more,
             Though surely not with heart less true,
           As lovely Mrs. Rabbit, you're
               Beginning anew."


II

THE GREAT PERFORMANCE THAT FOLLOWED THE WEDDING-DINNER

WHEN Mr. Rabbit finished everybody applauded and he made a nice bow,
though he said that in the last stanza there was an imperfect rhyme
which he hoped they would excuse for the sake of the great feeling in
it; and everybody said, "Yes, yes," and then when they were quiet Mr.
'Coon rose and said that now the program of performances would begin,
and that it would open and close with flying exhibitions--the first by
Mr. and Mrs. Robin, and the last by Mr. Crow, who, though a good deal
out of practice, had promised to give them a sample of old-fashioned
flying.

Everybody cheered, of course, and then Mr. and Mrs. Robin suddenly
sprang up into the air and began circling around and around and darting
over and under, in the very prettiest way, and so fast that it almost
made one dizzy to watch them. Sometimes they would seem to be standing
straight up, facing each other for a few seconds, then they would whirl
over and over in regular somersaults, suddenly darting high up in the
air, sailing down, at last, in a regular spiral, and landing on the
grass right in front of the bride and groom.

Then all clapped their hands and said it was the most wonderful thing
ever seen, and Mr. Crow said if he should try to fly like that he would
never know afterward whether his head was on right or not.

Then Mr. 'Coon rose to remark that Mr. Fox was next on the program and
would give a little exhibition in light and fancy running.

Mr. Fox, who hadn't eaten as much dinner as he might, because he wanted
to be in good trim for his performance, got right up and with a leap
landed out on the Race Track, and then for the next five minutes they
could hardly tell whether he was running or flying, he leaped so lightly
and skipped so swiftly, his fine, bushy tail waving like a beautiful,
graceful plume that seemed to guide him this way and that and to be just
the thing for Mr. Fox's purpose.

Mr. Fox was applauded, too, when he sat down, and so was Mr. Squirrel,
who came next, and showed that _his_ bushy tail was also useful, for he
gave a leaping exhibition from one limb to another, and leaped farther
and farther each time, until they thought he would surely injure
himself; but he never did and he got as much applause as Mr. Fox when he
finally landed right in front of the bride and groom and made a neat
bow.

Then Mr. Turtle gave a heavy-weight carrying exhibition, and let all get
on his back that could stick on, and walked right down the same Race
Track where so long before he had run the celebrated race with Mr. Hare,
and said when he came back he felt just as young and able to-day as he
had then, and was much stronger in the shell.

[Illustration: IF YOU COULD HAVE SEEN COUSIN REDFIELD DANCE]

Cousin Redfield Bear danced. Nobody thought he was going to do that.
They thought he would likely give a climbing exhibition, or something of
the kind. But he didn't--he danced. And if you could have seen Cousin
Redfield dance, with his arms akimbo, and his head thrown back, and
watch him cut the pigeon-wing, you would have understood why he wanted
to do it. He knew it would amuse them and make them want to dance, too;
which it did, and pretty soon they were in a circle around him, bride
and groom and all, dancing around and around and singing the Hollow Tree
song, which all the Deep Woods people know.

They danced until they were tired, and then it was Mr. Dog's turn to do
something. Mr. Dog said he couldn't fly, though certainly he would like
to; and he couldn't run like Mr. Fox, or jump like Mr. Squirrel, or make
poetry like Mr. Rabbit, or dance like Mr. Bear--though once, a long time
ago, as some of them might remember, he had taken a dancing-lesson from
Jack Rabbit.[3] He couldn't do any of those things as well as the
others, he said, so he would just make a little speech called:

                               MR. MAN

"Mr. Man is my friend, and we live together. He is always my friend,
though you might not suspect it, sometimes, the things he says to me.
But he is, and I am Mr. Man's friend, through thick and thin.

"I am also the friend, now, of the Deep Woods people, and expect to
remain so, because I have learned to know them and they have learned to
know me. That is the trouble about the Deep Woods people and Mr. Man.
They don't know each other. The Deep Woods people think that Mr. Man is
after them, and there is some truth in it, because Mr. Man thinks the
Deep Woods people are after him, or his property, when, of course, all
Deep Woods people know that it was never intended that Mr. Man should
own all the chickens, and they are obliged to borrow one, now and then,
in order to have chicken pie, such as has been served on this happy
occasion.

"I am looking forward to the day when Mr. Man will understand this, as
well as the Hollow Tree people do, and will become friendly and open his
heart and hen-house to all who would enter in."

[Illustration: CALLED FOR THE FEATHER BED]

Mr. Dog's speech made quite a sensation. Mr. 'Possum, especially, said
it was probably the greatest speech of modern times, and was going on to
say more when Mr. 'Coon whispered to him that it was their turn on the
program. So then Mr. 'Coon and Mr. 'Possum got up, side by side, and Mr.
'Possum walked rather soggily, because he had eaten so much, though he
managed to get up a little hickory-tree and out on a smooth, straight
limb while Mr. 'Coon climbed up another, a few feet away. Then all at
once Mr. 'Possum dropped and held by his tail, which was hooked around
the limb, and Mr. 'Coon dropped and held by his hands, and then began to
swing; and pretty soon, when Mr. 'Coon was swung out nearly straight in
Mr. 'Possum's direction, he let go and turned over in the air and caught
Mr. 'Possum's hands, and they both swung, and everybody cheered and said
that was the finest thing yet. Then they went right on swinging--Mr.
'Possum holding by his tail, until they got a good start, and pretty
soon Mr. 'Possum gave Mr. 'Coon a big swing, expecting him to turn clear
over and catch his own limb again. But Mr. 'Possum and Mr. 'Coon had
both eaten a good deal, and Mr. 'Coon didn't get a very good start. He
just missed the limb he was aimed at, and hit Mr. Fox's feather bed,
which was lying right in front of Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit, along with other
presents, all of which was a good thing for Mr. 'Coon. For Mr. 'Coon is
pretty smart and quick to think. He jumped right up when everybody was
laughing, and made a bow to Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit as if he had meant to
land just that way, and everybody laughed still harder and enjoyed it
more than anything. Then Mr. 'Possum swung up and caught his limb with
his hands, but couldn't get back on it again, and called for the feather
bed, which Mr. 'Coon and Mr. Fox brought, and Mr. 'Possum dropped on it
like a sack of salt, and everybody enjoyed it more and more.

[Illustration: WENT OUT ON THE OPEN TRACK AND TOOK A LITTLE RUN]

Well, it was Mr. Crow's turn then, and he said he would probably have to
have the feather bed, too. But he went out on the open track and took a
little run, and about the second time around spread out his big, black
wings and lifted himself from the ground, not very high at first, and he
had to flap pretty hard, but he kept getting a little higher all the
time, and presently he swung about in a big circle, and went sailing and
flapping around and around, up and up, until he was as high as the
little trees, then as high as the big trees, then as high as a church
steeple, and still kept going up until he looked small and black against
the sky; and Mr. Robin whispered to Mrs. Robin that Mr. Crow might be
old and out of practice, but _they_ had never dared to fly as high as
that, and said he didn't believe any of Mr. Crow's family had ever gone
higher.

Mr. Crow was just a black speck, pretty soon, and everybody was getting
rather scared, for they wondered what would happen to him if something
about him should give way; and just when they were all watching and
keeping quite still, they heard the most curious sound, that seemed to
be coming nearer, getting louder and louder. At first nobody spoke, but
just listened. Then Mr. 'Possum said something must have happened to Mr.
Crow's machinery and he was coming down for repairs. And sure enough,
they did see Mr. Crow coming down, about as fast as he could drive,
making quick circles, and the noise was getting louder and louder,
though it didn't seem to be Mr. Crow who was making it, for he never
could make a sound like that, no matter what had happened to his
works.

Mr. Crow came down a good deal faster than he went up, and in about five
seconds more landed right among them, and they saw he was scared.

"Oh," he gasped, "we are all lost! The biggest bird in the world is
coming to devour us! I saw it--it is making that terrible noise! It is
as big as Mr. Man's house! It is as big as his yard! It is as big as the
Big Deep Woods!"

And just then a great black shadow, like the shadow of a cloud, came
right over them, and that noise got so loud it drowned everything, and
when they looked--for they were too scared to run--sure enough, right
above them was the biggest bird in the world--a thousand times bigger
than Mr. Crow, of stranger shape than anything they had ever seen, and
very terrible indeed. But all at once Mr. Dog gave a quick bark, which
made them all jump--especially the bride--and shouted:

"It's all right--it's all right! I know what it is. I see a Mr. Man up
there. It's a flying-machine; it's only passing over, and won't hurt us
at all!"

And sure enough all the rest could see a Mr. Man up there, too, then;
and Mr. Dog went on to tell them how he had seen some pictures of just
such a machine in one of Mr. Man's picture papers, and that it was the
great new invention by which Mr. Man could go around in the air like a
bird, though probably not so well as Mr. and Mrs. Robin and Mr. Crow,
and certainly with a good deal more noise.

Then the Deep Woods people were not afraid any more, and watched the
flying-machine as long as they could see it, and when it was quite out
of sight Mr. Rabbit made a little speech in which he said that if
anything had been needed to make his grand wedding complete it was to
have a performance given for it by Mr. Man, even though Mr. Man might
not realize that he was entertaining a wedding. And everybody said,
"Yes, yes, that's so," and that this was the greatest day in the Big
Deep Woods, which I believe it really was.

Then they all formed a procession and marched to Jack Rabbit's house, to
take home the bride and groom. As they marched they sang the Hollow Tree
song, ending with the chorus:

          "Then here's to the friends of the Big Deep Woods,
            And to theirs, wherever they be,
          And here's to the Hollow, Hollow, Hollow, Hollow, Hollow,
            And here's to the Hollow Tree."


THE END


FOOTNOTES:

[2] "How Mr. Dog Got Even." _The Hollow Tree and Deep Woods Book._

[3] "Mr. Dog Takes Lessons in Dancing," in _The Hollow Tree and Deep
Woods Book_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Duplicate chapter titles were removed.

Illustrations were transferred from their original locations to where
the caption is mentioned in the text.





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