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Title: Making Up with Mr. Dog - 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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Making Up with Mr. Dog - Hollow Tree Stories" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive/American Libraries.)



[Illustration: Good wishes to all Hollow Tree friends

From the Story Teller]

[Illustration: THE FIRST DINNER AT THE HOLLOW TREE INN

[See page 20]



MAKING UP WITH MR. DOG

[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


        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

        Copyright, 1898, by JAMES GORDON BENNETT

        Copyright, 1899, by FRANK MUNSEY

        Copyright, 1899, by THE CENTURY COMPANY

        Copyright, 1898, 1899, 1901, by ROBERT HOWARD RUSSELL

        Copyright, 1900, by HARPER & BROTHERS



CONTENTS


                                                 PAGE
        THE HOLLOW TREE INN                          3

        THE HOLLOW TREE INN (_Continued_)      11

        A DEEP WOODS FISHING PARTY                  25

        MR. RABBIT EXPLAINS                         41

        THE HOLLOW TREE POETRY CLUB                 53

        MR. RABBIT'S UNWELCOME COMPANY              79

        MR. 'POSSUM EXPLAINS                        91

        AROUND THE WORLD AND BACK AGAIN            109



THE HOLLOW TREE INN

THE THREE FRIENDS GO INTO BUSINESS


ONE rainy day when the 'Coon and 'Possum and Old Black Crow, who lived
together in three big hollow limbs of a Big Hollow Tree, were rummaging
about their house, they found that above each of their rooms was a good
deal of room that nobody ever used. That set them to thinking, and
pretty soon Mr. 'Possum said it was too bad to let all that good room go
to waste, and Mr. 'Coon said yes, it was, and that their house was big
enough for a hotel.

Of course he didn't think what he was saying at the time, but it set Mr.
Crow to thinking and walking up and down, whistling, and pretty soon he
stopped still and looked at the 'Coon and 'Possum.

"I'll do the cookin'," he said, "if you'll get the things to cook."

And right then and there they made up their minds to do it, and early
the next morning, while the Old Black Crow was hurrying about inside,
getting things ready for business, the 'Coon and the 'Possum nailed up a
sign outside, and this is what was on it:--

        THE HOLLOW TREE INN.
        BOARD BY THE DAY OR WEEK.

[Illustration: "HELLO!" HE SAID. "WHAT'S THIS?"]

Then they went inside to help Mr. Crow get ready, and by and by they all
sat down and waited for people to come. Mr. 'Coon and Mr. 'Possum felt
pretty well, too, for they thought they would have the easiest time. You
see, they had always depended on Mr. Crow a good deal, for, besides
being a good cook, he was a great hand to provide, and knew more about
where to get the best things, and the best time of day or night to get
them, than both of the others put together. So he didn't say anything,
but dressed up nice and spruce in a clean apron and cooking cap and
leaned out of the window, as cooks always do, with his arms folded. By
and by along came Mr. Jack Rabbit.

"Hello!" he said. "What's this?"

Then he read the sign over and looked at Mr. Crow and asked him if it
was a joke. And Mr. Crow said:--

"Not much! Come up and see."

So then Mr. Rabbit went up stairs, and Mr. 'Coon and Mr. 'Possum showed
him through, and Jack Rabbit said that he didn't feel very well this
summer, anyway, and he believed he'd just shut up his house and come and
board awhile for a change. He said he guessed he'd take the room above
Mr. 'Coon's, because it had a nice south window and a tall looking
glass, and that he'd pack up a few things that he needed and come over
right away. Then he went home and the 'Coon and 'Possum and the Old
Black Crow all shook hands and danced around in a circle to think how
well they were going to do, for if Mr. Jack Rabbit came they were sure
of having as many others as their house would hold.

And while they were dancing, along came Mr. Robin. He read the sign,
too, and laughed, and then knocked at the door till Mr. 'Coon came down
and let him in. He thought it was a joke at first, like the Rabbit, but
when he heard that Jack Rabbit was coming to board he spoke up just as
quick as anything and said he'd come, too, and that he'd have his things
there before supper time. He took the room over Mr. Crow, because he
said he didn't mind the smell of the cooking, and then maybe he'd learn
some new receipts. You see, Mr. Crow and Mr. Robin are sort of kinsfolk,
and when they have time they often get together and trace back to find
out just what relation they are to each other, and that makes them good
friends.

Well, Mr. Robin hadn't more'n got out of the house when who should walk
in but Mr. Squirrel.

"What's all this about boarders?" said Mr. Squirrel. "I'm looking for a
place to spend a month or two myself."

So then they showed him the room above Mr. 'Possum's, and he was so
pleased with the view and everything that he paid a week's board in
advance to be sure of keeping anybody else from getting it. When he was
gone the 'Coon and 'Possum and the Old Black Crow did another dance, and
kept saying over and over how rich they'd be and what they would do with
all the money. Then they heard somebody laughing outside, and when they
looked out there was Mr. Turtle laughing and reading the sign.

"Hello!" he said. "This isn't the first of April."

"No," said Mr. Crow, "it's a boarding house, and a good one. All the
best people in the country stop here. Mr. Rabbit, Mr. Robin, and Mr.
Squirrel. Sorry, Mr. Turtle, but our rooms are all full."

Then Mr. Turtle did look cheap, for he thought he couldn't be in the
crowd, and it was the very crowd he liked to associate with. But just
then Mr. 'Coon happened to think that they might fit up the big room
below the other big room where they all gathered to eat and talk, and
Mr. Turtle said that would suit him exactly, because he was large and
heavy and didn't care much about climbing anyway. So he hurried off
after his things, too, and he wasn't out of sight before here comes Mr.
Dog!

Mr. 'Coon and Mr. 'Possum were both looking out the window when he came
up, and they jumped back like lightning. You see, they didn't like Mr.
Dog worth a cent. Then Mr. Crow came and looked out the window and
talked to him. Mr. Dog was just as polite as a basket of chips, and of
course that's the politest thing in the world.

"I've just seen Mr. Robin," said Mr. Dog, "and I came to get a room,
too."

"Awfully sorry, Mr. Dog, but our rooms are all full," said Mr. Crow.

"Why don't you take down your sign, then?" said Mr. Dog.

"Hotels never take down their signs," said Mr. Crow.

"Hotels are never too full for one more, either," said Mr. Dog. "If you
don't let me come in I think I'll wait around here and make a vacancy."



THE HOLLOW TREE INN (_Continued_)



WHAT HAPPENS TO MR. DOG


NOW, when Mr. 'Possum and Mr. 'Coon heard that their hair stood up
straight, for they knew very well that there'd be two vacant rooms
anyway if Mr. Dog ever got inside, and two if he stayed where he was,
for they happened to think that Mr. Rabbit would be coming along
presently, and Mr. Squirrel wouldn't be far behind. So they hurried to
the back window and looked out, and sure enough, there was Mr. Rabbit
coming with his trunk on his shoulder and almost there. At first they
were frightened 'most to death for Mr. Rabbit, and then the 'Coon
slipped over and whispered to the Crow to keep Mr. Dog talking as hard
as he could, so he wouldn't notice anything. All the time he was doing
this the 'Possum was motioning to Jack Rabbit to slip up easy-like with
his trunk.

So Mr. Rabbit slipped up softly on the other side of the house from Mr.
Dog and set his trunk down, and the 'Possum let out a long rope with a
hook on it. Jack Rabbit stood up on his trunk and grabbed the hook as
soon as he could reach it and hooked it under his arms. Then the 'Coon
and the 'Possum pulled and pulled and up he came, and as soon as he was
safe they let down the rope and caught the hook in the trunk handle.
That was a load for all three of them, and even then they couldn't get
it up, and called across to the Crow to come quick and help. So he had
to leave Mr. Dog a minute, and when he did that Mr. Dog walked around
the tree, and there was the trunk just a few feet from the ground, going
up very slowly. That was enough for Mr. Dog. He knew then he'd been
fooled, and he was so mad he didn't know what to do.

[Illustration: THERE WAS MR. RABBIT COMING WITH HIS TRUNK]

He took one look at that trunk and made up his mind he wouldn't stand
it. So he stepped back a little and made a short run and gave a jump for
the trunk, just as high as ever he could.

But Mr. Dog wasn't very lucky, for instead of landing on the trunk he
landed his nose right against one corner of it, and that made him madder
than ever. He ran and jumped again harder than before, but this time the
trunk was a little higher and Mr. Dog didn't quite hit it. There was a
strap hanging down, though, and he caught it as he went by. He caught it
with his teeth, and two of his teeth went right through two of the holes
where the buckle catches, and there they stayed. He had the trunk all
right enough, but the trunk had him, too.

[Illustration: AND UP HE CAME]

There he was. His feet didn't quite touch the ground, and he couldn't
get up any higher either. Then all at once the people up stairs saw how
it was, and they commenced to laugh in spite of themselves, and hitched
the rope around a peg under the sill so they could rest a minute. That
was fun for them, but it wasn't for Mr. Dog, by a good deal. He couldn't
laugh, and he couldn't rest, either. And just then Mr. Squirrel came
with his trunk, and Mr. Robin with his satchel and a hand bag, and Mr.
Turtle with his things in a big sack. Mr. 'Coon ran down and let them
all in and locked the door. Then he ran back to the window where Mr. Dog
was.

"If we'll let you down will you go home and not come around this hotel
interfering with our business?" says Mr. 'Possum.

"Yes; will you promise not to try to get any of our guests away from
us?" says Mr. 'Coon.

[Illustration: HE CAUGHT IT AS HE WENT BY]

Mr. Dog couldn't talk much in the fix he was in, but he did the best he
could, and promised yes to everything, so pretty soon they let the trunk
down till his feet touched the ground and he could get his teeth out of
the strap. Then he put out for home just about as fast as he could go,
without so much as thanking them for letting him down, and up went Mr.
Rabbit's trunk pretty quick, now that there were plenty to help.

Then the guests all hurried to their rooms to unpack, and Mr. Crow
bustled around to get supper with what he had in the house, for Mr.
'Possum and Mr. 'Coon hadn't time yet to bring in anything. It was a
pretty good supper, though, and all the guests said so, and said they
knew what a good cook Mr. Crow was if he had things to work with, and
the Crow said he guessed he could do his part if the 'Coon and 'Possum
would do theirs.

Well, it makes a good deal of difference whether you're company at a
house or a boarder. They all felt a good deal like company at first, but
by the next evening at supper time they felt different. Mr. 'Coon and
Mr. 'Possum had been out all day bringing in things, too, and Mr. Crow
had been cooking harder than ever. Mr. Robin was first to make remarks.
He said the cherries were canned, and not very good at that.

[Illustration: THE ARRIVAL OF THE OTHER GUESTS]

"That's what I said," put in Mr. 'Coon, "but Mr. 'Possum said you
wouldn't know the difference."

"Oh, he did, did he?" says Mr. Robin. "Well, I've got better cherries
than these at home," and he got up from the table with a disgusted air.

Then Mr. Squirrel picked up some roasted nuts that the Crow had just
brought in.

"Where'd you get these nuts?" he says, after he'd cracked one or two of
them.

"Down on the slope of Green Bushes," says Mr. 'Coon. "Why, aren't they
good ones?"

"I suppose they were once," says Mr. Squirrel--"two or three years ago.
Nuts have to be fresh to be good."

"That's what I told him," says Mr. 'Possum, "but he said you wouldn't
know the difference."

"Oh, he did, did he?" says Mr. Squirrel. "Well, I've got better nuts
than these at home," and Mr. Squirrel _he_ got up and left the table.

Then Jack Rabbit began.

"Where'd you get this salad?" he says, turning up his nose.

"Out by Mr. Man's back gate," says Mr. 'Possum. "Why, isn't it good?"

"Might have been once," says Mr. Rabbit. "I s'pose it's some Mr. Man
threw out because it was wilted."

"That's what I told him," says Mr. 'Coon, "but he said you wouldn't know
the difference."

"Oh, he did, did he? Well, I've got better salad than this at home," and
Jack Rabbit _he_ got up and he left the table.

And then, pretty soon, Mr. Turtle made a face over the fish because they
were salt mackerel and not nice fresh fish, such as he was used to at
home. So he got up and left the table, too, and there sat the 'Coon and
'Possum and the Old Black Crow all by themselves and looking cheap
enough to fall through the floor. Mr. Crow said it wasn't his fault, and
then Mr. 'Coon and Mr. 'Possum commenced to blame it on each other, and
nearly got into a fight. They were just about to fight when Mr. Crow
happened to think of something. Mr. Crow always did think of things.

"I'll tell you!" he says. "We'll just rent rooms."

"Do what?" says Mr. 'Possum and Mr. 'Coon together.

"Why, just rent each of our guests his room and let him take his meals
out. Then we won't have any work."

"Whoop-ee!" says Mr. 'Possum and Mr. 'Coon both together, as loud as
ever they could. That made all the guests come running back, and when
they heard the new plan they all said it was just the thing.

So then Mr. 'Possum went down and got the sign and brought it up and
changed it to read:--

        THE HOLLOW TREE INN.
        FURNISHED ROOMS ONLY.

And that was how business began at last in the Hollow Tree.



A DEEP WOODS FISHING PARTY

AN ADVENTURE WITH MR. DOG AND A VERY LARGE FISH


ONE warm, still June morning (this, of course, was before the Hollow
Tree Inn started) Mr. Jack Rabbit looked out of the window while he was
dressing and thought to himself that it would be just the very morning
for fish to bite.

Jack Rabbit liked to fish better than anything, almost, so right after
breakfast he took an empty tomato can and went out in the back yard and
turned over boards till he had the can about half full of bait, with a
little dirt thrown on top. Then he reached up under the eaves of the
smoke-house and pulled out a long cane pole with a line and hook and
floater on it, all rigged up ready, and flung it over his shoulder and
started.

Mr. Rabbit walked pretty fast--even lazy folks do that when they go
fishing, and Mr. Jack Rabbit wasn't lazy, by a good deal. So pretty soon
he came to the Hollow Tree, and there, looking out of an up-stairs
window, he saw the 'Coon, the 'Possum, and the Old Black Crow.

"Hello, up there!" he said. "Don't you fellows want to go fishing?"

Mr. 'Possum said he thought fish would bite well on such a morning, and
that he'd like to go first rate. Mr. 'Coon said he knew a place where
you could pull them out as fast as you could throw in your hook, and he
went on and told how he caught a fish there last year that would weigh
more than four pounds, and lost him just as he got him to the top of the
water. Mr. Crow said he'd always noticed that Mr. 'Coon's four-pound
fish never got any nearer to him than the top of the water, and that for
his part he didn't care much about fishing. He said, though, that if
the 'Coon and the 'Possum wanted to go he'd stay at home and get dinner
while they were gone, so's to have it ready when they all came home
hungry. He told them that he had some nice canned salmon in the cupboard
that he could catch 'most any time, and that if they really wanted fish
for dinner he s'posed he might as well open it. Then they all laughed,
and in about a minute down came Mr. 'Coon and Mr. 'Possum with their
fishing things. Jack Rabbit said he had plenty of bait, so away they
went. Mr. Crow sat up in the window and watched them off, and Mr. Robin,
who happened along just then, laughed and called after them that he'd
take a few pounds of nice bass when they got home. The Robin just said
that to plague them, of course, and Mr. 'Coon called back that they'd
fool him this time, and then he went on to remark that he'd never in his
life seen a finer day for fishing.

Jack Rabbit said yes, that it was fine, and that it was a fine day for
Mr. Dog to be out gallivanting over the country, too, and that they'd
better hurry up and get to the lake and out in his boat before anything
happened. That made Mr. 'Possum take a good deal livelier step, though
he commenced to whistle and said he wasn't afraid of Mr. Dog, anyway.
Mr. 'Coon said he'd always noticed that a fellow mostly whistled when he
wasn't afraid, but for his part he couldn't get to that boat any too
soon. And pretty soon they did get to it, and Mr. 'Possum was the first
one to pile in, though Mr. Dog wasn't anywhere in sight.

[Illustration: WHEN THEY GOT OUT TO WHERE MR. 'COON SAID THE GOOD PLACE
WAS, THEY ALL WENT TO FISHING]

Well, they pushed off, and Jack Rabbit took one oar and Mr. 'Coon the
other, while the 'Possum sat on the back seat and baited his hook so's
to catch the first fish. Then, when they got out to where Mr. 'Coon said
the good place was, they all went to fishing, and Mr. 'Possum did get
the first bite, but he didn't get anything else when he pulled. Mr.
'Coon told him he pulled too quick, and Jack Rabbit told him he didn't
pull quick enough, and asked him if he expected the fish to climb out on
his pole. Then Mr. Rabbit had a bite himself, and pulled and didn't get
anything, either. Of course, that made Mr. 'Possum laugh, and then, all
at once, the 'Coon had a great big bite that took his float away down
out of sight the first grab.

Mr. 'Coon let him go for a minute and then gave a hard pull and
commenced to call out that he had him this time and that he'd show Mr.
Crow now about only getting fish to the top of the water and having
canned salmon for dinner. Then he stood up in the boat and pulled as
hard as ever he could till all of a sudden his line broke, and down he
went backward, right on top of Mr. 'Possum, while the Rabbit swung his
hook over where the 'Coon's hook had been and the big fish grabbed it
before you could say Jack Robinson.

That was too bad for the 'Coon and the 'Possum, of course, and it wasn't
as much fun for Jack Rabbit as you might suppose, for he couldn't get
the big fish out to save his life, and he had to hold on to the boat to
keep from being pulled into the lake. Then he called to the others to
help him, and they both got up and took hold of the pole and hauled it
in hand over hand till they got to the line, and that was as far as they
could get. So Mr. Rabbit gave the line a twist or two around the iron
ring in the front of his boat, and the big fish started straight for
shore, dragging the boat and everybody in it behind him, just as hard as
ever he could go. Then Mr. 'Coon and Jack Rabbit commenced to quarrel
about whose fish it was, and Mr. 'Possum said he didn't care whose it
was, he was getting a free ride, and he laid back and laughed and looked
at the shore, when all of a sudden he happened to spy there, sitting on
the end of a log, fishing and waiting for them, nobody but Mr. Dog
himself.

That wasn't very much, of course, but it was plenty for Mr. 'Possum. He
quit laughing and tumbled down in the bottom of the boat and laid there
calling for Jack Rabbit to cut that fish line or they'd all be chops and
steaks and carried home in a basket in less than five minutes. Jack
Rabbit did try to cut the line, too, but he was so excited he dropped
his knife overboard, and Mr. 'Coon couldn't find his, and Mr. 'Possum
didn't have any. So there they were, and there was Mr. Dog! Then Mr.
Rabbit tried to bite the line off with his teeth, but he couldn't do
that, either, for it was a big, strong line that he'd made himself,
specially for large fish.

And all the time they were getting closer and closer to the shore, and
Mr. Dog had lifted his line out of the water so it wouldn't be in his
way, and was sitting there waiting, and smiling to see them come.

Then Jack Rabbit knew that something had to be done, and there was no
time to lose. He was just about as scared as he could be, but he knew it
wouldn't do any good to let on, so he sat up straight and smiled some,
too, and looked at Mr. Dog and called out, big and friendly like:--

"Hello, Mr. Dog! Here we come! Here we come with a nice dinner, Mr.
Dog!"

Then Mr. Dog laughed and called back:--

"That's right, Mr. Rabbit. There's a sure enough nice dinner coming this
time! Fish for the first course, Mr. Rabbit!"

When Mr. 'Possum heard that he began to groan, and Jack Rabbit and Mr.
'Coon began to shiver, for each thought he knew pretty well what the
next courses of Mr. Dog's dinner would be. But Mr. Rabbit didn't stop
smiling or let on that he knew, and he called out again to Mr. Dog,
quick:--

"You'll have to help us if we have fish, Mr. Dog! He's a big one and
you'll have to help us catch him!"

And Mr. Dog called back again:--

"Don't worry, Mr. Rabbit! I won't leave! I'll be on hand when you get
here, Mr. Rabbit!"

Then he rolled up his trousers a little and waded out into the shallow
water, thinking he would nab Mr. Fish first and drag him out on shore,
and then pull the boat right in after him.

Of course, that was a pretty good plan for Mr. Dog, only like some other
good plans, it didn't work just as he expected it to. You see, he didn't
quite know how big the fish was, nor how hard a big fish is to handle in
shallow water. He made a quick grab at it when it got to him and then,
right away, he had his hands full of business. That fish gave a flop
with his tail that laid Mr. Dog over on his back and then another flop
that set him on his feet again, and a side flop that smacked him against
the water first one way and then the other, and made him breathe hard
and choke and try to let go.

But Mr. Dog couldn't let go, for he'd got the fish line some way tangled
in his teeth. So he began to snap and paw and swallow water, and fall
down and get up again, and sprawl about in the swamp grass, trying to
get back to shore.

[Illustration: THE FIGHT BETWEEN MR. DOG AND THE BIG FISH]

And while all this was going on Jack Rabbit and his friends had jumped
out into the shallow water and took a little roundin's to shore, keeping
out of Mr. Dog's way, and made tracks for the top of a hill, where they
would be out of danger and see the fun at the same time. Then they all
stood up there and watched the fight between Mr. Dog and the big fish,
and Jack Rabbit sang out, as loud as ever he could:--

"Don't leave, Mr. Dog! Stay with him, Mr. Dog! Hold him to it, Mr. Dog;
you've got him! First course, Mr. Dog!"

And Mr. Dog heard Jack Rabbit and got madder and madder every minute,
till all of a sudden he got a lick on the side of the head from Mr.
Fish's tail that made him see stars and broke the line. And away went
the big fish out into deep water, while Mr. Dog crawled back to shore,
wet and bruised from head to foot, and 'most dead.

Then Mr. 'Coon and Mr. 'Possum and Jack Rabbit, standing on top of the
hill, gave a great big laugh, all together, and Mr. Rabbit called
out:--

"How did you like the first course, Mr. Dog?"

That made them all laugh again, and then Mr. 'Coon called out:--

"Are you ready for the second course, Mr. Dog?"

And pretty soon Mr. 'Possum he called out:--

"Are you ready for a nice roast now, Mr. Dog?"

And that, of course, made them all laugh very loud, for Mr. 'Possum used
slang now and then and meant by a "roast" that people would all make fun
of Mr. Dog wherever he went; which they did, for a long time.

Even Mr. Robin, who was good friends with Mr. Dog, couldn't help calling
out to him, now and then, as he went by:--

"Are you ready for the next course, Mr. Dog?"

And Mr. Dog would pretend not to hear and go hurrying by very fast, as
if he were out on special and important business for Mr. Man.

[Illustration: LEANING OVER TO LIGHT HIS PIPE FROM MR. 'POSSUM'S]



MR. RABBIT EXPLAINS

AN EASTER STORY


"WHY do we always have rabbits at Easter?" asked the Little Lady. "Is
that a story, too?"

The Story Teller lit his pipe, thinking all the time, and pretty soon he
said: "Why, yes, there is a story about that, and it goes this way":--

One afternoon in the early spring Mr. Jack Rabbit and his friends were
out for an airing. The Hollow Tree people were along, and Mr. Turtle, as
usual. By and by they came to a log under a big tree and sat down for a
smoke and talk. They talked about the weather at first and other things,
till somebody mentioned Easter. Then they all had something to say
about that.

"What I object to," says Mr. Rabbit, when it came his time to talk, "is
this thing of people always saying that the Easter eggs belong to me."

"Oh, but that's just a joke," says Mr. 'Coon, laughing.

"I know it's just a joke, of course, but it's a pretty old joke, and I'm
tired of it," says Jack Rabbit.

"How did it get started anyway?" asked Mr. 'Possum.

Then Mr. Rabbit took his pipe out of his mouth and leaned forward a
little, so he could talk better.

"I tell you how it got started," he says, "and after that I don't want
to hear any more of it. This is how it happened:--

[Illustration: THEY CAME TO A LOG UNDER A BIG TREE AND SAT DOWN FOR A
SMOKE AND TALK]

"Once upon a time, as much as twenty grandmothers back, I should think,
there was a very nice family of Rabbits that lived in a grassy place on
a hillside back of a big farmyard. There was quite a hole in the
ground there, and they had a cozy home in it, and a soft bed for their
little folk.

"Now, every bright morning, Father and Mother Rabbit used to take the
children out for a walk, and for a few lessons in running and hiding
from Mr. Dog, who bothered about a good deal, and one day as they were
coming home they heard a great cackling, and when they got to their
house there was a nice fresh egg lying right in the children's bed. Some
old hen from the farmyard had slipped in and laid it while they were
gone. A good many hens, especially old hens, like to hide their nests
that way, and this was one of that kind.

"Well, of course all the young Rabbits claimed it, and Mother Rabbit at
last gave it to the smallest and weakest one of the children, a little
girl, who was always painting things with the juice of flower petals.
And the very first thing that little girl did was to stain that egg all
over with violet juice, not thinking what trouble it was going to cause
our family forever after.

[Illustration: THEY HAD A COZY HOME AND A SOFT BED FOR THEIR LITTLE
FOLK]

"It was a nice blue egg when she got through with it, and the next day,
when they all came back from their walk again there was another white
egg right by it. The old hen had been there again and laid another while
they were gone. The second little girl claimed that egg, of course, and
she painted it a bright yellow with buttercup juice. Then the next day
there was another egg, and the next day there was another egg, and the
next day there was another egg, until there was one apiece for every one
of the children, and some over.

"And they all painted them. Some painted theirs pink or red with rose
leaves or japonica, some painted them yellow with buttercups, and some
blue or purple with violets, as the first little girl had done. They had
so many at last that it crowded them out of their bed and they had to
sleep on the floor.

[Illustration: A FEW LESSONS IN RUNNING AND HIDING]

"And then, one Sunday, and it must have been Easter Sunday, they all
went out walking again, and when they came back every one of those
beautiful colored eggs was gone. The children cried and made a great
fuss, but it was no use. Some of Mr. Man's boys out hunting hens' nests
had found them and taken them all home with them.

"And of course all those colored eggs set Mr. Man to wondering, and he
came with his boys to the place where they had found them; and when they
looked in out jumped the whole Rabbit family, helter skelter in every
direction.

"And right then," said Mr. Rabbit, leaning over to light his pipe from
Mr. 'Possum's, "right then Mr. Man declared those colored eggs were
rabbit eggs, and he's kept on saying so ever since, though he knows
better, and he knows I don't like it. He takes eggs and colors them
himself now, and makes believe they're mine, and he puts my picture all
over things about Easter time. I suppose he thinks I don't care, but I
do, and I wish that little Miss Rabbit twenty grandmothers back had left
that old hen's egg white as she found it."

[Illustration: IT WAS A NICE BLUE EGG WHEN SHE GOT THROUGH WITH IT]

"It's too bad," says Mr. Crow. "It's like that story they tell about the
fox making me drop the cheese."

"Or like Mr. Man making believe that the combs he uses are really made
out of my shell," says Mr. Turtle.

Mr. 'Coon and Mr. 'Possum shook their heads. They had their troubles,
too.



THE HOLLOW TREE POETRY CLUB

HOW MR. DOG CAME TO A POETRY CLUB, AND WHAT HAPPENED


ONCE upon a time, when it was getting along toward fall in the Hollow
Tree, when Jack Rabbit and Mr. Robin and the others had come to live
with the 'Coon and 'Possum and the Old Black Crow, there began to be
long evenings, and the Hollow Tree people used to think of new ways to
pass the time. They tried games at first, and sleight-of-hand tricks.
Then they tried doing things, and Mr. Turtle carried them all together
twice around the big parlor room on his back. But even that wasn't so
funny after the first evening, and Mr. Crow, who did most of the
thinking, had to scratch his head and think pretty hard what to do next.

All at once he happened to remember that Jack Rabbit, who was the big
man of the party, was also a first rate poet, and liked to read his own
poetry better than anything. So, when he thought of that, he said:--

"I'll tell you. We'll have a poetry club."

And of course that made Mr. Rabbit wake up right away.

"What's that?" he said. "What kind of a thing is a poetry club?"

"Why," said Mr. Crow, "it's a place where the members each write a poem
and read it at the next meeting. You're the only real, sure enough poet,
of course, and will be president, and write the best poem, but the rest
of us can try, and you can tell us our mistakes. I've heard that Mr. Man
has clubs, and they're ever so much fun."

[Illustration: HAD TO SCRATCH HIS HEAD AND THINK PRETTY HARD]

Jack Rabbit thought so, too, and all the others liked the plan. So they
elected Mr. Rabbit president and then went to work on their poems.
They couldn't have the first meeting very soon, for it took longer to
write poems in those days than it does now, so before they got half
ready the news got out some way, and even Mr. Dog had heard of it.

Poor Mr. Dog! It made him really quite ill to think he wasn't on very
good terms with the Hollow Tree people, for he thought he could write
pretty nice poetry, too, and he wanted to belong to that club worse than
anything he could think of. He wanted to so bad that at last he told Mr.
Robin that if they'd just let him come he'd promise anything they asked.

[Illustration: POOR MR. DOG]

They didn't want to let him, though, until Mr. Crow, who always felt
kind of sorry for Mr. Dog, said he didn't see why Mr. Dog shouldn't come
and look in through the window shutters, and that they could nail a seat
for him on a limb just outside. They could pull him up to it with a rope
and he could sit there and listen and applaud the poems all through
without being able to do any damage to the poets, and he would be glad
enough to be let down by the time they got done reciting.

So they sent him an invitation, and Mr. Dog was as happy as a king. He
went right to work on his poem, and he worked all night and walked up
and down the yard all day trying to think up rhymes for "joyful" and
"meeting," and a lot of other nice words. Even when he was asleep he
dreamed about it, and said over some of the lines out loud and jerked
his paws about as if he were reciting it and making motions. You see,
Mr. Dog hadn't always done just right by the Hollow Tree people, and he
was anxious to make a good impression and fix up things. He fixed
himself all up, too, when the night came for the meeting, and took his
poem under his arm and lit a cigar that he'd borrowed of Mr. Man for the
occasion, and away he went.

The Hollow Tree people were on the look-out for him and had the rope
down and ready. So Mr. Dog tied it around under his arms, and they
pulled and pulled, and up he came. Then, when he got pretty close to the
window, they closed the shutter and put the rope through and pulled him
up still a little higher, so that he could reach the seat on the limb,
which was fixed just right for him to sit there and lean on the window
sill while he listened and looked in.

Of course, Mr. Dog wished he was inside, like the others, but he knew
why he wasn't, and he was glad enough to be there at all. He peeked
through the slats at the big room and smiled and said some nice things
about how pretty the room looked, till they all got real sociable with
him. Then Jack Rabbit called the meeting to order and made a few
remarks.

He said the duties of his office had kept him from writing quite as long
and as good a poem as he would have liked to write, but that he hoped
they might be willing to hear what he had done. Then they all shouted,
"Yes, yes!" and "Hear, hear!" and Mr. Rabbit bowed first to the ones
inside and then to Mr. Dog outside, and began:--


THE JOYS OF POETRY

BY J. RABBIT

        Oh, sweet the joys of poetry
           In the merry days of spring,
        When the dew is on the meadow
           And the duck is on the wing!
        For 'tis then, from Dan to Dover,
           I'm a rover 'mid the clover,
        Seeking rhymes the country over
           With a ring, sing, swing--
           With a ding, dong, ding,
           And a ting a ling a ling--
        For I'm the rhyming rover of the spring.

        Oh, sweet the joys of poetry
           In the pleasant summer time!
        For 'tis then I have no trouble
           To compose my gentle rhyme;
        In a nooklet by the brooklet
        I can think up quite a booklet,
        As with fishing line and hooklet
           I assist the fish to climb
           To the music of my chime,
           For with rollick and with rhyme
        I'm the poet of the pleasant summer time.

[Illustration: MR. RABBIT BOWED]

        Oh, sweet the joys of poetry
           When any days have come,
        When the autumn zephyrs whisper
           Or the winter breezes hum!
        For 'tis then my thoughts unfurling,
        While the smoke goes upward curling,
        Come a whirling, swirling, twirling,
           With a rumty, tumty, tum,
        Come a twirling, swirling, whirling,
           Like a rattle of a drum.
        Come a whirling, come a swirling;
           For in spring or in the summer,
           In the autumn or the winter
           I'm the rumty, tumty, tummer
        That rejoices in the seasons as they come.

Well, when Mr. Rabbit got through everybody sat still for a minute, till
Mr. Dog called out for somebody to come and unwind him so he could get
his breath again. Then they all commenced to laugh and shout and pound
on the table. And Mr. Rabbit coughed and looked pleased and said it was
easy enough to do when you knew how.

Then Mr. 'Possum, who was next on the program, said he hoped they'd let
him off this time because he could only think of four lines, and that
he was a better hand at the dinner table than he was at poetry, anyway.
But they wouldn't do it, so he got up and looked foolish and swallowed
two or three times before he could get started.


WHAT I LOVE

BY A. PUFFINGTON 'POSSUM

        I love the fragrant chicken pie
          That blooms in early spring;
        I love a chicken stew or fry,
          Or any old thing.

Mr. 'Possum's poem was short, but it went right to the spot, and the way
they applauded almost made Jack Rabbit jealous. He said that it was
'most too true to be good poetry, but that it was good for a first
effort, and that being short helped it. Then Mr. Robin spoke his
piece:--


MOTHER AND ME

BY C. ROBIN

        When the bud breaks out on the maple bough
         Mother and me we build our nest--
        A twig from the yard and a wisp from the mow
          And four blue eggs 'neath the mother breast.
        Up in the tree, mother and me,
        Happy and blithe and contented are we.

        When the daisies fall and the roses die,
          An empty nest in the boughs to swing--
        Four young robins that learn to fly
          And a sweet adieu till another spring.
        Then up in the tree, mother and me,
        Happy once more and contented we'll be.

The applause wasn't so loud after Mr. Robin's poem, but they all said it
was very pretty, and Mr. 'Possum even wiped his eyes with his
handkerchief, because it made him remember something sad. Mr. Rabbit
said that it ought to be "Mother and I," but that it didn't make much
difference, he supposed, about grammar, so long as it rhymed and sounded
nice. Then Mr. Crow got up.

[Illustration: LOOKED FOOLISH AND SWALLOWED TWO OR THREE TIMES]


JUST NOTHING

BY J. CROW

        While others may sing of the pleasures of spring,
          Or winter or summer or fall,
        I'll sing not of these, because, if you please,
          I'll sing of just nothing at all.
        Just nothing at all, because, oh, ho!
        I'll sing of myself, an old black crow.

        As black as a coal and as homely as sin--
          What more can I tell you, I pray?
        For when you have nothing to sing of, why, then,
          Of course there is nothing to say.
        Nothing to say at all, oh, ho!
        Except good-by to the old black crow--
        The rollicking old black crow!

They made a good deal of fuss over Mr. Crow's poem. They applauded, of
course, but they said it wasn't so at all, and that Mr. Crow was a good
deal more than "just nothing." They said that it was he who had got up
this party, and that he was the best man to plan and cook anywhere. Mr.
'Possum said he even liked Mr. Crow's April fool chicken pies, and then
they all remembered and laughed, even to Mr. Crow himself. After that it
was Mr. Squirrel's turn. Mr. Squirrel coughed twice and straightened his
vest before he began, so they knew his poem wasn't to be funny.


THE FOOLISH LITTLE LAD

BY MR. GRAY SQUIRREL

        Once on a time, the story goes,
          A silly squirrel lad
        One summer day did run away--
          Which made his ma feel bad.

        She hunted for him up and down
          And round and round she ran--
        Alas, that foolish squirrel boy
          Was caught by Mr. Man.

        For he had tried to climb a tree
          As Mr. Man came past.
        "I'll make you climb!" said Mr. Man,
          And walked home pretty fast.

        When he got there a boy came out
          As Mr. Man went in.
        That silly squirrel soon was put
          Into a house of tin.

        "Now you can climb!" said Mr. Man,
          But when he did he found
        That nice tin house, so bright and new,
          Turned round and round and round.

        And there he climbs and climbs all day
          And never seems to stop,
        And I have heard my mother say
          He'll never reach the top.

When Mr. Squirrel sat down there wasn't a dry eye in the room, and even
Mr. Dog outside was affected. He said he'd seen that poor little
squirrel at Mr. Man's house turning and turning away in his tin wheel,
and felt so sorry for him that two or three times he'd tried to get him
out. He said, though, that Mr. Man had always caught him at it and that
then they didn't get on well for a day or two. He was so tender hearted,
though, he said, that he couldn't help pitying the little fellow,
climbing and climbing all day long and never getting anywhere. Mr.
'Possum shivered, and said it reminded him of bad dreams he'd had
sometimes, when he'd eaten too much supper, and dreamed of climbing the
rainbow. Then they all sat still and waited for Mr. Turtle, who came
next.


MY SNUG HOUSE

BY D'LAND TURTLE

        Oh, what do I care for your houses of wood,
          Your houses of brick or of stone,
        When I have a house that is cozy and good--
          A beautiful house of my own?
        And the doors will not sag and the roof will not crack
        Of the house that I carry about on my back.

        It is never too large and 'tis never too small,
          It is with me wherever I roam.
        In spring or in summer, in winter or fall,
          I always can find my way home.
        For it isn't so hard to remember the track
        To the house that you carry about on your back.

Well, of course, everybody applauded that, and then it was Mr. 'Coon's
time. Mr. 'Coon said he was like Mr. 'Possum. He wasn't much on poetry,
and only had four lines. He said they were some like Mr. 'Possum's too.


THE BEST THINGS

BY Z. 'COON

        I like the spring, I like the fall,
          I like the cold and heat,
        And poems, too, but best of all
          I like good things to eat.

That brought the house down, and the Hollow Tree people thought the
entertainment was over. They were going to have supper right away, but
Mr. Dog called out to wait a minute. He said he had a little poem
himself that he wanted to read. So out of politeness they all sat still,
though they didn't expect very much. Then Mr. Dog unrolled his poem and
leaned over close to the blinds and commenced to read.


MY FOREST FRIENDS

BY MR. DOG

        Oh, dear to me my forest friends,
          Especially Mr. Rabbit--
        I love his poetry very much,
          And every gentle habit.

        And dear to me is Mr. 'Coon,
          And also Mr. 'Possum;
        I hope to win their friendship soon--
          'Twill be a precious blossom.

        And Mr. Crow and Robin, too,
          With fancy sweet and fertile,
        And Mr. Squirrel, kind and true,
          And likewise Mr. Turtle.

[Illustration: LEANED OVER CLOSE TO THE BLINDS AND COMMENCED TO READ]

        Oh, dear to me my forest friends,
          Especially Mr. Rabbit--
        I love his poetry very much,
          And every gentle habit.

Before Mr. Dog was half through reading the Hollow Tree people had
gathered around the window to listen. By the time he got to the end of
the third stanza he had to stop for them to cheer, and when he read the
last one, Jack Rabbit pounded on the shutter with his fist and shouted,
"Hurrah for Mr. Dog! Hurrah for Mr. Dog!" just as loud as ever he could,
while all the others crowded up and shouted and tried to pound, too.

Well, maybe the shutter wasn't very strong, or maybe they crowded and
pounded too hard in their excitement over Mr. Dog's nice poem, for all
at once there was a loud crack and the shutter flew open and out went
Mr. Rabbit right smack into the arms of Mr. Dog!

[Illustration: OUT WENT MR. RABBIT RIGHT SMACK INTO THE ARMS OF MR. DOG]

I tell you that was pretty sudden and Mr. Rabbit was scared. So were all
the others, and they were going to grab the shutter and close it again
and leave Mr. Rabbit out there. But Jack Rabbit thinks quick.

"Oh, Mr. Dog," he said, "that was the nicest poem I ever heard. Let me
embrace you, Mr. Dog, and be your friend for ever after!"

Then he hugged Mr. Dog just as tight as he could, and Mr. Dog hugged
him, too, and shed tears, he was that happy. He had been wanting to make
up with the forest people for a long time, but he hadn't expected this.
Then the others all saw how it was and they shouted, "Hurrah for Mr.
Dog!" again and invited him in. And Mr. Dog went in and they had the
biggest supper and the biggest time that ever was known in the Hollow
Tree.

And that's how Mr. Dog got to be friends with all the Hollow Tree people
at last. And he stayed friends with them ever and ever so long--and
longer--just as long as he lived, for the Mr. Dog that isn't good
friends with them now isn't the same Mr. Dog. And he isn't as smart,
either, for he can't write poetry, and he's never even been able to
find the Hollow Tree where the 'Coon and 'Possum and the Old Black Crow
live together and every summer keep open house for their friends.



MR. RABBIT'S UNWELCOME COMPANY

MR. POLECAT MAKES A MORNING CALL AND MR. DOG DROPS IN


I THINK I shall have to tell you about Mr. Polecat, said the Story
Teller, and about his visit to Mr. Rabbit.

"Who's Mr. Polecat?" said the Little Lady. "You never told me about him
before."

Well, no, because you see Mr. Polecat is so queer in some of his ways
that people even don't talk about him a great deal. He is really quite a
nice gentleman, though, when he doesn't get excited. But when he does he
loses friends.

The trouble is with the sort of perfumery he uses when he gets excited,
just as some people use a smelling-bottle, and nobody seems to like the
sort Mr. Polecat uses except himself. I suppose he must like it or he
wouldn't be so free with it. But other people go away when he uses
it--mostly in the direction the wind's blowing from--and in a hurry, as
if they were afraid they'd miss a train. Even Mr. Dog doesn't stop to
argue with Mr. Polecat. Nobody does, and all the other Deep Woods people
do their best to make him happy and to keep him in a good humor whenever
he comes about, and give him their nicest things to eat and a lot to
carry home with him, so he'll start just as soon as possible.

But, more than anything, they try to keep him from saying anything about
Mr. Dog, or hinting or even thinking about Mr. Dog, for when he does any
of these things he's apt to get excited, and then sometimes he opens up
that perfume of his, and his friends fall over each other to get out of
reach. They're never very happy to see him coming, and they're always
glad to see him go, even when he's had a quiet visit and goes pretty
soon, which is just what didn't happen one time when he came to call on
Jack Rabbit, and it's that time I'm going to tell about. This was before
Mr. Dog made up with the Hollow Tree people; I don't know exactly how
long before, but a good while.

Mr. Rabbit looked out his door one morning and there was Mr. Polecat,
all dressed up, coming to see him. He wasn't very far off, either, and
Mr. Rabbit hardly had time to jerk down a crayon picture of Mr. Dog that
he'd made the day before, just for practice. He pushed it under the bed
quick, and when Mr. Polecat came up he bowed and smiled, and said what a
nice day it was, and that he'd bring a chair outside if Mr. Polecat
would like to sit there instead of coming in where it wasn't so
pleasant.

But Mr. Polecat said he guessed he'd come in, as it was a little chilly
and he didn't feel very well anyway. So he came inside, and Jack Rabbit
gave him his best chair and brought out a little table and put a lot of
nice things on it that Mr. Polecat likes, and began right away to pack a
basket for him to take home.

But Mr. Polecat didn't seem to be in any hurry to go. He ate some of the
nice things, and then leaned back to talk and smoke, and told Mr. Rabbit
all the news he'd heard as he came along, and Mr. Rabbit got more and
more worried, for he knew that just as likely as not Mr. Polecat had
heard something about Mr. Dog and would begin to tell it pretty soon,
and then no knowing what would happen. So Jack Rabbit just said "Yes"
and "No" and began to talk about Mr. Robin, because Mr. Robin was a good
friend of everybody and nobody could get excited just talking about Mr.
Robin. But Mr. Polecat says:--

"Oh, yes, I saw Mr. Robin as I came along, and he called to me that Mr.
Dog--"

And then Jack Rabbit changed the subject as quick as he could and spoke
about Mr. Squirrel, and Mr. Polecat says:--

"Oh, did you hear how Mr. Squirrel went over to Mr. Man's house and saw
Mr. Dog there--"

And then poor Mr. Rabbit had to think quick and change the subject again
to the Hollow Tree people, and Mr. Polecat said:--

"Oh, yes. I stopped by that way as I came along, and they called out to
me from up stairs how you were practising drawing, and that you gave Mr.
Dog some dancing lessons the other day, and then made a fine picture of
him just as he looked when he danced into the hot coals, so I hurried
right over here for just to see that picture."

Poor Mr. Rabbit! He didn't know what to do. He knew right away that the
Hollow Tree people had told about the picture to get rid of Mr. Polecat,
and he made up his mind that he'd get even with them some day for
getting him in such a fix. But some day was a long ways off and Mr.
Polecat was right there under his nose, so Mr. Rabbit said, just as
quick as he could say it, that the Hollow Tree people were always
making jokes, and that the picture was just as poor as it could be, and
that he'd be ashamed to show it to anybody, much more to a talented
gentleman like Mr. Polecat. But that made Mr. Polecat all the more
anxious to see it, for he was sure Mr. Rabbit was only modest, and
pretty soon he happened to spy the edge of the picture frame under Mr.
Rabbit's bed, and just reached under and pulled it out, before Mr.
Rabbit could help himself.

Well, he picked up that picture and looked at it a minute, and Jack
Rabbit began to back off toward the door and say a few soothing words,
when all at once Mr. Polecat leaned back and commenced to laugh and
laugh at the funny picture Mr. Dog made where Mr. Rabbit called to him,
"Dance! Mr. Dog; dance!" And then, of course, Mr. Rabbit felt better,
for if his company thought it was funny and laughed there wasn't so much
danger.

"Why," said Mr. Polecat, "it's the best thing I ever saw! You could
almost imagine that Mr. Dog himself was right here, howling and barking
and dancing."

"Oh, no, hardly that," said Mr. Rabbit. "Of course I suppose it is a
little like him, but it's not at all as if he were here, you know--not
at all--and he's ever so far off, I'm sure, and won't come again for a
long time. You know, he's--"

"Oh, yes, it is!" declared Mr. Polecat. "It's just as if he were right
here. And I can just hear him howl and bark, and--"

And right there Mr. Polecat stopped and Mr. Rabbit stopped, and both of
them held their breath and listened, for sure enough they did hear Mr.
Dog howling and barking and coming toward the house as straight as he
could come.

Jack Rabbit gave a jump right up in the air, and hollered, "Run! Mr.
Polecat, run! and go the back way!" But Mr. Polecat never runs from
anybody--he doesn't have to--he just opens up that perfume of his and
the other people do the running. So Mr. Rabbit gave one more jump, and
this time he jumped straight up the chimney, and didn't stop till he
got to the roof, where he found a loose board and put it over the
chimney quick and sat down on it. Then he called to Mr. Dog, who was
coming lickety split through the woods:--

"Why, how are you, Mr. Dog? Glad to see you! Walk right in. There's
company down stairs; just make yourself at home till I come down." You
see there was no use to stop him now, because Mr. Rabbit could tell by
what was coming up the chimney that it was too late, and he wanted Mr.
Dog to get a good dose of it as well as himself.

And Mr. Dog did come just as hard as he could tear, for the wind was
blowing toward the house and he couldn't detect anything wrong until he
gave a great big jump into Mr. Rabbit's sitting room and right into the
midst of the most awful smell that was ever turned loose in the Big Deep
Woods.

Well, it took Mr. Dog so suddenly that he almost fainted away. Then he
gave a howl, as if a wagon had run over his tail, and tumbled out of
that sitting room and set out for home without once stopping to look
behind him. Then Mr. Rabbit laughed and laughed, and called:--

"Come back, Mr. Dog! Come back and stay with us. Mr. Polecat's going to
spend a week with me. Come back and have a good time."

But Mr. Dog didn't stop, and he didn't seem to hear, and by and by Mr.
Polecat called up that he was going home and that Mr. Rabbit could come
down now, for Mr. Dog was gone and wouldn't come back, he guessed. But
Mr. Rabbit said no, he didn't feel very well yet, and guessed he'd stay
where he was for the present, and that if Mr. Polecat was going he might
leave both doors open and let the wind draw through the house, because
he always liked to air his house after Mr. Dog had been to see him. Then
Mr. Polecat took his basket and went, and Jack Rabbit didn't come down
for a long time, and when he did he couldn't stay in his house for the
awful smell. So he went over to stay a week with the Hollow Tree people,
and his clothes didn't smell nice, either, but they had to stand it, and
Mr. Rabbit said it served them right for getting him into such a fix. It
was over a week before he could go back to his house again, and even
then it wasn't just as he wanted it to be, and he aired it every day for
a long time.

But there was one thing that made him laugh, and that was when he heard
from Mr. Robin how Mr. Dog got home and Mr. Man wouldn't have him about
the house or even in the yard, but made him stay out in the woods for as
much as ten days, until he had got rid of every bit of Mr. Polecat's
nice perfumery.



MR. 'POSSUM EXPLAINS

HOW UNCLE SILAS TRIED TO PLEASE AUNT MELISSY


WELL, you remember that the Hollow Tree people took four of their
friends to live with them and called it the Hollow Tree Inn. Mr. Robin
came, and Mr. Turtle, also Jack Rabbit and Mr. Squirrel, and they made a
jolly crowd after they got settled and knew about each getting his own
things to eat, because the Hollow Tree people--the 'Coon and 'Possum and
the Old Black Crow--found they couldn't suit their guests exactly when
it came to a steady diet. So they all kept house together, and used to
go out days (and nights, too, sometimes) and get nice things. Then
they'd bring them in and fix them to suit themselves, and have them all
on the big table down stairs, nice and comfortable, where they could sit
and talk as long as they pleased.

It was a good deal like a big family when they were all together that
way, and they used to say how nice it was, and once Mr. 'Possum said he
always did think a big family was nice, anyway. Then Jack Rabbit laughed
and said he should think Mr. 'Possum was just the kind of a man for a
big family, being fond of good things to eat and not very fond of
getting them for himself, and mostly fat and sleepy like. He said if
there was just a nice, spry Mrs. 'Possum, now, to keep house and look
after things he should think it would be ever so much better than living
in bachelor quarters, or, rather, thirds, with Mr. 'Coon and Mr. Crow,
and not having things very orderly. Of course, with himself, Jack Rabbit
said, it was different, but even at his house it got lonesome, too, now
and then.

[Illustration: SHE TIED HIS TIE FOR HIM]

Well, Mr. 'Possum thought a minute, and then he said that there was such
a thing as folks being too spry, and that it was because he had always
been afraid of getting that kind that he had been pretty well satisfied
to live in the Hollow Tree just as he was. He said that he had once had
an uncle that something happened to in that line, and whenever he
thought about poor Uncle Lovejoy he didn't seem to care much about
trying anything he wasn't used to. Then they all wanted him to tell
about Uncle Lovejoy and what happened to him. So Mr. 'Possum did tell,
and it went this way:--

"Once upon a time," he said, "Uncle Lovejoy--we always called him Uncle
Silas then--he was uncle on my mother's side, and lived with Aunt
Melissy in a nice place just beyond the Wide Paw-paw Hollows--once upon
a time, as I was saying, he had to go to town on some business, and that
was something that never happened to Uncle Lovejoy before.

[Illustration: COUSIN GLENWOOD MET HIM AT THE STATION]

"Well, Aunt Melissy was always a spry woman, as I said, and
stirring--very stirring, and primpy, too. But she was never as stirring
and spry and primpy as she was the day that Uncle Silas started for
town. She dressed him all up neat and proper in his very best things,
and tied his tie for him, and while she was tying it she says:--

[Illustration: COUSIN GLEN TOOK UNCLE LOVEJOY TO THE STORES]

"'Now, Silas,' she says, 'when you get to town you buy a few little
articles right away and put them on. You don't want folks to see that
you come from the country, you know, and you don't want Cousin Glenwood
to be ashamed of you before folks. Cousin Glen will know just what
things you need and where to get them.' Then she told him not to get run
over by anything, or blow out the gas, or let anybody see that he wasn't
used to things, because, you see, Aunt Melissy was proud, being a
Glenwood herself. Then Uncle Lovejoy promised all those things, and that
he would use his napkin and not eat pie out of his hand or drink out of
his finger bowl, and a lot more things that Aunt Melissy remembered at
the last minute. So you see by the time he got on the train he had a
good deal to think about, and he kept thinking about it until by the
time he got to the city he'd made up his mind he'd try to do for once
everything she told him to and give her a pleasant surprise with the way
he had fixed up and improved his manners when he got back. Uncle Lovejoy
was good natured, and always anxious to please folks, especially Aunt
Melissy.

[Illustration: WHERE THERE WAS A MIRROR UNCLE LOVEJOY WOULD STAND BEFORE
IT AND ADMIRE HIMSELF]

"Well, Cousin Glenwood met him at the station, and about the first thing
Uncle Silas said was to ask him where he got his clothes, and to tell
him that Aunt Melissy had said he was to fix up, so's folks wouldn't
think he came from the country, which, of course, she had. That just
suited Cousin Glenwood, for he liked to spend money and show off what he
knew about the city; so he took Uncle Lovejoy 'most everywhere, and told
him to buy 'most everything he saw. And of course Uncle Silas did it,
because he wanted to surprise Aunt Melissy when he got back, and make
her feel happy for once in her life.

"Cousin Glen took Uncle Lovejoy to the stores first, and then to a good
many different kinds of places afterward, and every place where there
was a mirror Uncle Lovejoy would stand before it and admire himself and
wonder what Aunt Melissy would say when he got home. He kept buying new
things every day, because every day he'd see somebody with something on
or carrying or leading something, and when he remembered what Aunt
Melissy said, he made up his mind he'd have to have all the things to
please her, and he got them as far as he could. Even Cousin Glenwood had
to commence buying things pretty soon to keep up, and before long people
used to stop on the street and look at them when they went by. Uncle
Silas didn't want to go home, either, when the time came, but of course
he had to, and he put on his best clothes for the trip, and took a young
man he'd hired to wait on him, and started.

[Illustration: PEOPLE USED TO STOP ON THE STREET AND LOOK AT THEM]

"He didn't tell Aunt Melissy just what time he'd be there, so it was a
surprise sure enough. He walked right into the yard, and behind was the
young man he'd hired, carrying his things. Aunt Melissy was getting
dinner, and had just come to the door a minute to see what time it was
by the sun, when all of a sudden, as she looked up, there he was! He had
his hat in one hand and a cane in the other, and was leading a game
chicken by a string. All his boxes and bundles and the young man were
behind him. Uncle Lovejoy wore an eyeglass, too, and smoked a paper
thing he said was a cigarette. My little cousins, who were there, told
me afterward that their pa had never looked so fine in his life before
or since. They didn't know him at all, and neither did Aunt Melissy. She
thought he was somebody with something to sell at first, and when he
said, 'Aw, there, Melissah!' she threw up her hands and was about to
call for help, when just that minute she saw it was Uncle Silas.

[Illustration: HE WALKED RIGHT INTO THE YARD, AND BEHIND WAS THE YOUNG
MAN HE'D HIRED]

"Poor Uncle Silas! He meant to surprise her, and he did it sure
enough. He meant to please her, though, and he didn't do that worth a
cent. It seemed funny, but she was mad. That's just the trouble about
women folks; you never know when you're going to please them. My little
cousins said they never saw their ma so mad before or since. She made
Uncle Lovejoy take off all his nice clothes, and the young man, too, and
she cooked the game chicken for dinner. Then, right after dinner, she
picked up a bag of shinney sticks that Uncle Lovejoy had brought home,
and she says to him and the young man:--

[Illustration: "NOW YOU GET OUT IN THE GARDEN, BOTH OF YOU"]

"'Now you get out in the garden,' she says, 'both of you, and try to
earn back some of this money you've been spending.' And Uncle Lovejoy
didn't feel very much like it, but he went, and so did the young man. So
did Aunt Melissy, and she used up most of those shinney sticks on Uncle
Silas and the young man before fall, and Uncle Silas never saw any of
his nice clothes again, though they had the best garden they ever did
have, so my little cousins said.

"And that," said Mr. 'Possum, leaning back in his chair to smoke,
"that's why I've always been afraid to try family life. It's easier to
please one than two, especially when the other one is a spry, stirring
person like Aunt Melissy Lovejoy."

"What became of all the good clothes?" asked Jack Rabbit, who was always
very stylish.

"Why, I've heard," said Mr. 'Possum, "that Aunt Melissy made some of
them over for my little cousins, and that she traded off the rest of
them to a pedler for patent medicine to give Uncle Silas for a weak
mind, and I think he needed it some myself for trying to please her in
the first place."

Mr. Rabbit nodded.

"It takes all kinds of people to make a world," he said.

Mr. 'Coon yawned and rubbed his eyes. The others were fast asleep.



AROUND THE WORLD AND BACK AGAIN


ONCE upon a time, when Mr. Dog was over spending the evening with the
Hollow Tree people, he told them that Mr. Man had said the world was
round, like a ball. Of course this was after Mr. Dog got to be good
friends with the 'Possum and the 'Coon and the Old Black Crow, and he
often used to come over to the Hollow Tree, where they lived, for a
quiet talk and smoke, and to tell the things that Mr. Man said and did,
and what he had on his table for dinner.

The Hollow Tree people liked to hear about Mr. Man, too; but when they
heard what he said about the world being round they thought there must
be some mistake in the way Mr. Dog had understood it. Mr. 'Coon said
that it couldn't be so, for the edge of the world was just beyond the
last trees of the Big Deep Woods, and that he'd often sat there and hung
his feet over and watched the moon come up. Mr. 'Possum said so, too;
and Mr. Crow said that the other edge was over along the Wide Blue
Water, where Mr. Turtle lived, and that of course the water was flat, as
everybody could see. Anyway, it would spill out if it wasn't.

But Mr. Dog stuck to it that Mr. Man had said just what Mr. Dog had said
he said, and that, what was more, Mr. Man had said that the world turned
over every day, and that the sun and moon and stars all went round it.
And Mr. Man had said, too, that people sometimes went around the world,
and didn't turn over or fall off into the sky when they were underneath,
but kept on, and came up on the other side, right back to the very
place they started from.

Well, that made them all wonder a good deal more than ever; and Mr. Jack
Rabbit, who came in just then for the evening, said he shouldn't be a
bit surprised if it were true, for he'd often noticed how the seasons
went round and round, and he thought, now, they must travel around the
world some way, too. He said he'd composed some poetry on Spring as he
came along, and that now he understood some lines of it better than he
had at the start; for, of course, when poetry just comes to anybody, as
it does to Mr. Rabbit, it isn't expected that even the poet himself will
understand it very well at first.

Then they all wanted to hear Jack Rabbit's poem, and Mr. Rabbit said
that it really wasn't just as he wanted it yet, but that if they
wouldn't expect too much, he'd let them hear how it went, anyway.


WHICH WAY, SPRING?

BY J. RABBIT

              O Spring,
              Ho, Spring!
        Whither do you go, Spring?
        If I did but know, Spring,
          I would go there, too.
              Pray, Spring,
              Say, Spring,
        Whither and away, Spring?
        I would start to-day, Spring,
          If I go with you.

And Spring answers:--

              Why, sir,
              I, sir,
        Just go tripping by, sir--
        If you did but try, sir,
          You could go with me.
              Follow,
              Follow,
        Over hill and hollow--
        Where the bluebirds call, O,
          I am sure to be.

Well, everybody applauded that, of course; and Mr. 'Coon said that for
his part he was tired of cold weather, and that if to-morrow was a
bright day, and anybody'd go with him, he'd start out at sunrise and
follow Spring clear around the world. Then Mr. 'Possum said he'd go just
to see whether Mr. Man was right or not, and Mr. Crow said he'd go, too.
Mr. Rabbit wanted to go to prove some things in his poem, but he had to
make a garden if it was a good day, and Mr. Dog had an engagement to dig
moles for Mr. Man.

So the next morning, bright and early, the three Hollow Tree people got
up and started. They packed some lunch in a basket, so they wouldn't get
hungry, in case they were gone all day, and set out in high spirits; for
it was a beautiful morning in April, and they knew Spring had come at
last.

They saw a bluebird up in a tree not far away, and they remembered what
Mr. Rabbit's poem had said about following him over hill and hollow; so
they went along in that direction, talking and whistling and singing,
because they felt so good in the fresh morning sunlight.

And Mr. Bluebird hopped and whistled and flew along ahead, until, by and
by, they came to where Mr. Fox lived.

"Where are you fellows going so early?" called Mr. Fox.

"We're following Spring around the world," called back Mr. Crow; and
then they told him all that Mr. Dog had said.

Then Mr. Fox looked very wise, for he didn't know if Mr. Dog was playing
a trick on them, or if it were really true that the world was round and
he hadn't heard of it. Anyway, he wasn't going to let on, so he said:--

[Illustration: SET OUT IN HIGH SPIRITS]

"Why, of course! I knew that all the time. You just keep right on until
you come to that big elm over yonder, and turn to the right. Anybody
over there can show you the way." Then Mr. Fox coughed and went back
into the house, but he made up his mind he wouldn't laugh until he had
seen Mr. Dog and was sure it was all a joke. And the Hollow Tree people
kept on to the elm tree, and, sure enough, there was Mr. Bluebird,
hopping and whistling and flying on ahead, for he'd been listening to
what Mr. Fox had told them.

So they hurried right along after him till they came to Mr. Wolf's
place. Mr. Wolf was looking out of his door as they came by.

"Hello, you early birds!" he called. "Whose hen roost you been after?"

Then they told him they weren't thinking of such things as that on a
beautiful morning like this, but that they were following Spring around
the world. And they told him all that Mr. Man had said to Mr. Dog, and
what Mr. Fox had said, and about Jack Rabbit's poem. Mr. Wolf thought
he'd better be wise, too, until he found out just how things were, so he
said:--

"Sure enough! That's a good plan. I'd go along if I had time. I know the
way well. You just keep on till you come to that creek yonder, then
cross and turn to the right, and after that any one can show you the
way."

So away went the Hollow Tree people, and when they got to the creek, and
crossed, and turned to the right, there was the bluebird again, hopping
and whistling and dancing on ahead, just in the direction that Mr. Wolf
had said to go. Then, pretty soon, Mr. 'Possum said he was hungry, so
they sat down on some moss and ate their lunch, and Mr. Bluebird came up
close and sang to them till Mr. 'Possum went to sleep in the sun and
took a little nap, while the 'Coon and the Crow put what was left back
into the basket and got ready to go. Then Mr. 'Possum woke up and said
he was sure they must be nearly around the world, for he'd just had a
dream about catching a chicken with four legs and two heads, and he knew
that must mean something good. So then they went on and the bluebird
went ahead, until they came to a fine, big cave, where Mr. Bear lived.

Now, Mr. Bear is very big and wise--at least he thinks he is--and he
knew right away that Mr. Dog was just playing a joke on them, or at
least he thought he did, so he said:--

"Well, well! I supposed you fellows knew all that long ago. You don't
mean to say, do you, that this is really your first time round? Why, I
go round the world every spring and fall, and buy most of my things on
the other side. You just follow this path till you come to a big black
rock, and then turn to the right and keep straight ahead. You can't miss
the way."

[Illustration: "FOLLOW THIS PATH TILL YOU COME TO A BIG BLACK ROCK,"
SAID MR. BEAR]

Then Mr. Bear went back in his cave, and laid down and rolled over and
laughed to think what a big joke everybody was playing on the Hollow
Tree people. But the Hollow Tree people kept right on, for they saw Mr.
Bluebird still whistling and dancing on ahead; and by and by they came
to the big black rock that Mr. Bear had mentioned, and turned to the
right again as he had told them to do. Then they walked and walked,
and Mr. Bluebird hopped and skipped and whistled, until at last, just as
they were all getting very tired and it was 'most night, they came to a
big hollow tree in a deep woods; and Mr. 'Possum looked up and says:--

"Why," he says, "this tree looks a good deal like our tree!"

And Mr. 'Coon, he says:--

"Why, it's just like our tree!"

And Mr. Crow, he says:--

"Why, it _is_ our tree!" for of course they'd turned to the right three
times, which brought them right back where they started from, though
they did not know it.

So then all at once they commenced to laugh and shout:--

"We've done it! We've done it!

        "We've followed Spring around the world,
           According to the plan!
         Hurrah for Mr. Rabbit!
           And hurrah for Mr. Man!"

[Illustration: AND MR. CROW, HE SAYS, "WHY, IT _IS_ OUR TREE!"]

And the bluebird up in the branches whistled and danced and shouted,
too; and Jack Rabbit and Mr. Dog came over pretty soon to see if
they'd got home yet. And of course Mr. Rabbit was proud about the way
his poem had turned out; and Mr. Dog he was proud, too, on Mr. Man's
account. Then they all had a big supper, to celebrate, and by and by Mr.
Rabbit and Mr. Dog went away arm in arm, singing Mr. Rabbit's poem to
the moon; while the 'Coon and 'Possum and the Old Black Crow went to bed
happy because they had followed Spring clear around the world, and
hadn't got lost or tumbled off into the sky, but were home again safe
and sound in the Hollow Tree.

[Illustration]

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Note:

Repeated chapter titles were deleted.





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