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Title: The Adventures of Bob White
Author: Burgess, Thornton W. (Thornton Waldo)
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 "The Adventures of Bob White" ***

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By Thornton W. Burgess

Author of “Old Mother West Wind,”

“The Bedtime Story-Books,” etc.

With Illustrations by Harrison Cady

Boston: Little, Brown, And Company 1919

[Illustration: 0002]

[Illustration: 0006]

[Illustration: 0090]



````A cheery whistle or a song

````Will help the daily work along.=

|The little feathered people of the Green Meadows, the Green Forest and
the Old Orchard learned this long ago, and it is one reason why you will
so often find them singing with all their might when they are hard at
work building their homes in the spring. Most of them sing, but there
is one who whistles, and it is such a clear and cheery whistle that it
gladdens the hearts of all who hear it. Many and many a time has Farmer
Brown’s boy stopped to whistle back, and never has he failed to get a

A handsome little fellow is this whistler. He is dressed in brown, white
and black, and his name is Bob White. Sometimes he is called a Quail
and sometimes a Partridge, but if you should ask him he would tell you
promptly and clearly that he is Bob White, and he answers to no other
name. All the other little people know and love him well, most of them
for the cheery sound of his whistle; but a few, like Reddy Fox and
Redtail the Hawk, for the good meal he will make them if only they are
smart enough to catch him.

Farmer Brown’s boy loves him, not only for his cheerful whistle,
but because he has found out that Bob White is a worker as well as a
whistler, one of the best workers and greatest helpers on the farm. You
see, a part of the work of Farmer Brown’s boy is to keep down the weeds
and destroy the insects that eat up the crops. Now weeds spring up from
seeds. If there were no weed-seeds there would be no weeds. In the same
way, if there were no insect-eggs there would be no insects. But there
are millions and millions of both, and so all summer long Farmer Brown’s
boy has to fight the weeds and the insects. He is very thankful for any
help he may get, and this is one reason he has become so fond of Old
Mr. Toad, who helps him keep the garden clear of worms and bugs, and of
Tommy Tit the Chickadee and others of the little feathered people
who live in the Old Orchard and hunt bugs and their eggs among the
apple-trees. You know the surest way of winning friends is to help

Bob White not only catches worms and bugs, but eats the seeds of weeds,
scratching them out where they have hidden in the ground, and filling
his little crop with them until he just has to fly to the nearest fence
and tell all the world how happy he is to be alive and have a part in
the work of the Great World. Not one of all the little people is of
greater help to Farmer Brown’s boy than Bob White. All the long day he
works, and with him works Mrs. Bob and all the little Bobs, scratching
up weed-seeds here, picking off bugs there, all the time so happy and
cheerful that everybody in the neighborhood is happy and cheerful too.
The best of it is Bob White is always just that way. You would think he
never had a thing in the world to worry about. But he does have. Yes,
indeed! Bob White has plenty to worry about, as you shall hear, but he
never allows his troubles to interfere with his cheerfulness if he can
help it.=

```"Bob White! Bob White!” with all his might

````He whistles loud and clear.

```Because no shame e’er hurt his name

```He wants that all shall hear.=

One day Peter Rabbit sat listening to it, and it reminded him that he
hadn’t called on Bob White for some time, and also that there were some
things about Bob White that he didn’t know. He decided that he would
go at once to call on Bob and try to satisfy his curiosity. So off he
started, lipperty-lipperty-lip.


```"Bob White! Bob White! I bid the world good


```Bob White! Bob White! I whistle loud and clear!”=

|THAT very same morning Bob White had taken it into his head to come
over to live not very far from the dear Old Briar-patch where Peter
Rabbit lives. Of course, Peter didn’t know that Bob had come over there
to live. For that matter, I doubt if Bob White knew it himself. He just
happened over that way and liked it, and so finally he made up his mind
to look about there for a place to make his home.

Now Peter Rabbit had known Bob White for a long time. Peter, in his
roaming about, had met Bob a number of times, and they had passed the
time of day. Whenever Peter had heard Bob whistling within a reasonable
distance he had made it a point to call on him. Bob is such a cheery
fellow that somehow Peter always felt better for just a word or two
with him. So when Bob began to whistle that spring morning Peter hurried
over, lipperty-lipperty-lip, to call. He didn’t have far to go, for
Bob was sitting on a fence-post just a little way from the dear Old

“Good morning,” said Peter. “You seem to be very cheerful this morning.”

“Why not?” replied Bob White. “I’m always cheerful. It’s the only way to
get along in this world.”

“It must be that you don’t have much to worry about,” retorted Peter.
“Now if you had to run for your life as often as I have to, perhaps you
wouldn’t find it so easy to be always cheerful.”

Bob White’s bright little eyes twinkled. “The trouble with a lot of
people is that they think that no one has worries but themselves,” said
he. “Now there is Reddy Fox coming this way. What do you suppose he is
coming for?”

“For me!” exclaimed Peter promptly, preparing to scamper back to the Old

“Nothing of the kind,” replied Bob White. “Don’t think you are so
important, Peter. He doesn’t know you are over here at all. He has
heard me whistling, and he’s coming to see if he can’t give me a little
surprise. It’s me and not you he is after. What’s your hurry, Peter?”

“I--I think I’d better be going; I’ll call again when you haven’t other
visitors,” shouted Peter over his shoulder.

Hardly had Peter reached the dear Old Briar-patch when Reddy Fox reached
the fence where Bob White was sitting. “Good morning,” said he, trying
to make his voice sound as pleasant as he could, “I’m glad to see you
over here. I heard you whistling and hurried over here to welcome you. I
hope you will like here so well that you will make your home here.”

“That is very nice of you,” replied Bob White, his eyes twinkling more
than ever, for he knew why Reddy hoped he would make his home there. He
knew that Reddy hoped to find that home and make a good dinner on Quail
some day. “It is very pleasant over here, and I don’t know but I will
stay. Everybody seems very neighborly. Peter Rabbit has just called.”

Reddy looked about him in a very sly way but with a hungry look in his
eyes as he said, “Peter always is neighborly. Is he anywhere about now?
I should like to pay my respects to him.”

“No,” replied Bob White. “Peter left in something of a hurry. Hello!
Here comes Old Man Coyote. People certainly are neighborly here. Why,
what’s your hurry, Reddy?”

[Illustration: 0022]

“I have some important matters to attend to over in the Green Forest,”
 replied Reddy, with a hasty glance in the direction of Old Man Coyote.
“I hope I’ll see you often, Bob White.”

“I hope so,” replied Bob White politely, and then added under his
breath, “but I hope I see you first.”


|OLD Man Coyote’s call was very much like that of Reddy Fox. He was
very, very pleasant and told Bob White that he was very glad indeed that
Bob had come over on the Green Meadows, and he hoped that he would stay.
No one could have been more polite than was Old Man Coyote. Bob White
was just as polite, but he wasn’t fooled. No, indeed. He knew that, just
like Reddy Fox, the reason Old Man Coyote was so glad to see him was
because he hoped to catch him some fine day. But Bob White didn’t let a
little thing like that bother him. Ever since he could remember he
had been hunted. That was why he had taken the precaution to sit on a
fence-post when he whistled. Up there neither Old Man Coyote nor Reddy
Fox could reach him. Just after Old Man Coyote left Bob White saw some
one else headed his way, and this time he didn’t wait. You see it was
Redtail the Hawk, and a fence-post was no place to receive a call from

Spreading his wings Bob White flew across to the dear Old Briar-patch
and dropped in among the brambles close to where Peter Rabbit was
sitting. “You didn’t expect me to return your call so soon, did you,
Peter?” said he.

“No,” replied Peter, “but I’m ever so glad to see you just the same. Did
you have a pleasant call from Reddy Fox?”

“Very,” replied Bob White with a chuckle. “He was ever so glad to see
me. So was Old Man Coyote. I didn’t wait to see what Old Redtail would
say, but I have a feeling that he would have liked better to have seen
me a little nearer. You see, Peter, you are not the only one who has to
keep his eyes open and his wits about him all the time. There are just
as many looking for me as for you, but I don’t allow that to make me any
the less cheerful. Every time I whistle 1 know that some one is going
to come looking for me, but I whistle just the same. I just have to,
because in spite of all its troubles life is worth living and full of
happiness. Now I’ve got a secret to tell you.”

“What is it?” asked Peter eagerly. “Promise not to tell a single soul,”
 commanded Bob White.

“Can’t I tell Mrs. Peter? I never keep secrets from her you know,”
 replied Peter.

“Well, you may tell her, but she must promise to keep it secret,” said

“I’ll promise for her and for myself,” declared Peter. “What is it?”

“I’ve decided to come over here to live,” replied Bob White.

“Right here in the Old Briar-patch?” asked Peter excitedly.

“No, but not far from here,” replied Bob White. “I’m going back to
the Old Pasture after Mrs. Bob, and we are going to build a home right

“Goody!” cried Peter, clapping his hands. “Where are you going to build?”

“That,” replied Bob White, “is for Mrs. Bob to decide.”

“And when she does you’ll tell me where it is so that I can come over
and call, won’t you?” cried Peter.

“That depends,” replied Bob White. “You know there are some things it is
better not to know.”

“No, I don’t know,” retorted Peter. “I’m your friend, and I don’t see
what harm it could do for me to know where your home is.”

“Without meaning to friends sometimes do the most harm of any one,
especially if they talk too much,” replied Bob White. “Now the way is
clear and I must hurry back to the Old Pasture to tell Mrs. Bob how nice
it is here.” And with this away he flew.

“Now what did he mean by friends who talk too much,” muttered Peter.
“Could he have meant me?”


```Who strictly minds his own affairs

````And cheerfully doth labor,

```He is the one whom I would choose

````Always to be my neighbor.=

|THAT is just the kind of a neighbor Peter Rabbit found Bob White to be.
Bob and Mrs. Bob had come down from the Old Pasture and built their home
near the dear Old Briar-patch and so become the neighbors of Peter and
little Mrs. Peter. Bob was very neighborly. He often dropped in to have
a chat with Peter, and Peter was always glad to see him, for he is such
a cheerful fellow that Peter always felt better for having him about. It
always is that way with cheerful people. They are just like sunshine.

But though Bob and Mrs. Bob had built their home near Peter, he didn’t
know just where it was. No, Sir, Peter didn’t know just where that home
of the Bob Whites was. It wasn’t because he didn’t try to find out. Oh,
my, no! Peter could no more have helped trying to find out than he could
have helped breathing. That was the curiosity in him. He wasted a great
deal of time trying to find Bob White’s home, all to no purpose. At
first he was rather put out because Bob White wouldn’t tell him where
it was hidden. But Bob just smiled and told Peter that the reason he
wouldn’t was because he thought a great deal of Peter and wanted him for
a friend always.

“Then,” said Peter, “I should think you would tell me where your home
is. There ought not to be secrets between friends. I don’t think much of
a friendship that cannot be trusted.”

“How would you feel, Peter, if harm came to me and my family through
you?” asked Bob White.

“Dreadfully,” declared Peter. “But do you suppose I would let any harm
come to you? A nice kind of a friend you must think me!”

“No,” replied Bob White soberly, “I don’t think you would let any harm
come to us if you knew it. But you’ve lived long enough, Peter, to know
that there are eyes and ears and noses watching, listening, smelling
everywhere all the time. Now supposing that when you were sure that
nobody saw you, somebody _did_ see you visit my house. Or supposing
Reddy Fox just happened to run across your tracks and followed them to
my house. It wouldn’t be your fault if something dreadful happened to
us, yet you would be the cause of it. You remember what I told you the
other day, that there are some things it is better not to know.”

Peter looked very thoughtful and pulled his whiskers while he turned
this over in his mind. “That is a new idea to me,” said he at last.
“I never had thought of it before. I certainly never would be able to
forgive myself if anything happened to you because of me.”

“Of course you wouldn’t,” replied Bob White. “No more would I ever be
able to forgive myself if anything happened to my family because I had
told some one where my home is.”

Peter nodded. “Of course if I should just happen to _find_ your home all
by myself, you wouldn’t be angry, would you?” he asked.

Bob White laughed. “Of course not,” said he. “Just the same I would
advise you not to _try_ to find it. Then you will have nothing to
trouble your mind if you should be followed, and something dreadful did
happen to me or mine. You see there are just as many who would like to
make a dinner of me as there are who would like to make a dinner of you,
and I would a whole lot rather sit on a fence-post and whistle than to
fill somebody’s stomach.”

“And I would a lot rather have you,” declared Peter.


|PETER RABBIT wasn’t the only one who was interested in Bob White and in
Bob’s hidden home. Oh, my, no! It seemed to Peter that Reddy and Granny
Fox were prowling around the dear Old Briar-patch most of the time. At
first he didn’t understand it. “It isn’t me they are after, because they
know well enough that they can’t catch me here,” said he to himself, as
he watched them one morning. “It isn’t Danny Meadow Mouse, because Danny
hasn’t been over this way for a long time. I don’t see how it can be
Bob White, because he isn’t likely to stay on the ground while they are
around, and they can’t catch him unless he is on the ground.”

He was so busy trying to puzzle out what should bring Reddy and Granny
that way so often that he neither saw nor heard Jimmy Skunk steal up
behind him.

[Illustration: 0036]

“Boo!” said Jimmy, and Peter nearly jumped out of his skin.

“What did you do that for?” demanded Peter indignantly.

“Just to teach you that you shouldn’t go to sleep without keeping your
ears open,” replied Jimmy with a grin.

“I wasn’t asleep!” protested Peter crossly. “I was just watching Reddy
and Granny Fox and wondering what brings them over here so much.”

“You might just as well have been asleep,” replied Jimmy. “Supposing I
had been my cousin, Shadow the Weasel.”

Peter shivered at the very thought. Jimmy continued: “You are old enough
to know, Peter, that it isn’t safe to be so interested in one thing that
you forget to watch out for other things. As for Reddy and Granny Fox,
you ought to know what brings them over this way so much.”

“What?” demanded Peter.

“Hasn’t Bob White got a nest somewhere around here?” asked Jimmy by way
of answer.

“Y-e-s,” replied Peter slowly, “I suppose he has. But what of that?”

“Why, Reddy and Granny are looking for it, stupid,” replied Jimmy.

Peter stared at Jimmy a minute in a puzzled way. “What do they want of
that?” he asked finally. “They don’t eat eggs, do they?”

“Eggs hatch out into little birds, don’t they?” demanded Jimmy. “If
Reddy and Granny can find that nest, they’ll wait until the eggs have
hatched into birds and then, well, I’ve heard say that there is nothing
more delicious than young Quail. Now, do you see?”

Peter did. Of course he did. He understood perfectly. Reddy and Granny
had heard Bob White whistling over there every day, and they knew that
meant that his home wasn’t far away. It was all very plain now.

“By the way, you don’t happen to know where that nest is, do you?”
 asked Jimmy carelessly.

“No, I don’t!” exclaimed Peter, and suddenly was glad that he didn’t
know about that nest. “What do you want to know for?” he demanded

“I’m hungry for some eggs,” confessed Jimmy frankly.

“You wouldn’t rob Mr. and Mrs. Bob White of their eggs, would you?”
 cried Peter. “I thought better of you than that, Jimmy Skunk.”

Jimmy grinned. “Don’t get excited, Peter,” said he. “I’m told that Mrs.
Bob lays a great many eggs, and if that’s the case, she wouldn’t miss a

“Jimmy Skunk, you’re horrid, so there!” declared Peter.

“Don’t blame me,” retorted Jimmy. “Old Mother Nature gave me a taste
for eggs, just as she gave Reddy Fox a taste for Rabbit. You haven’t any
idea where that nest is, have you?”

“No, I haven’t! If I had, I wouldn’t tell you,” declared Peter.

“Well, so long,” replied Jimmy good-naturedly. “I think I’ll have a look
for it. I don’t wish Bob White and his wife the least bit of harm, but I
would like two or three of those eggs.” And with this Jimmy Skunk ambled
out to look for Bob White’s nest.


|WHEN Bob White brought Mrs. Bob down to the Green Meadows from the
Old Pasture in the beautiful springtime, she was as delighted as he had
hoped she would be. Very wisely he had not even hinted that he thought
there was the place of all places for them to build their home. He knew
that she would never be satisfied unless she felt that she was the one
who had chosen the place for their home. So Bob didn’t so much as hint
that he had a home in mind. He didn’t even tell her how beautiful it was
over on the Green Meadows near the dear Old Briar-patch. He let her find
it out for herself.

Now little Mrs. Bob was very anxious to get to housekeeping, and no
sooner did she reach the Green Meadows than she made up her mind that
here was the place of all places for a home. In the first place it was
very beautiful, and Mrs. Bob has an eye for beauty. In the second place
there was plenty to eat, one of the most important things to consider
when you are likely to have a great many little mouths to feed. In the
third place there were plenty of good hiding places, and lastly, Mrs.
Bob liked the neighbors.

Bob White took care not to let her see that he was tickled. He gravely
pointed out to her the fact that Granny and Reddy Fox, Old Man Coyote
and Red-tail the Hawk would soon discover that they were living there,
and then there would be danger all the time and they would never know
what it was to be free from worry.

“Not a bit more than in the Old Pasture where we built last year,”
 snapped Mrs. Bob. “You know as well as I do that wherever we build we
will be in danger. It always has been so, and I guess it always will be
so. We’ve been smart enough to fool our enemies before, and I guess we
can do it again. I’m not afraid if you are.”

Bob hastened to say that he wasn’t afraid. He wouldn’t have her think
that for the world. Oh, my, no! He was just pointing out the dangers so
that they might make no mistake.

Mrs. Bob didn’t half hear what he was saying. She was too busy poking
about, running here, running there, and all the time using her sharp
little eyes for all they were worth. Bob waited patiently, a twinkle in
his own eyes. He knew that when Mrs. Bob made up her mind that was all
there was to it. Presently she called to him in a low voice, and he flew
over to join her.

“Here,” she announced, “is where we will build.”

Bob looked the ground over with a critical eye. “Don’t you think, my
dear, that this is rather close to the Crooked Little Path?” he asked.
“I have noticed that Reddy Fox and Timmy Skunk use this path a great
deal, not to mention Farmer Brown’s boy.”

“That’s what makes it the safest place on the Green Meadows, stupid,”
 declared little Mrs. Bob. “They will never think to look for our home so
close to where they pass. These weeds are very thick and will hide
our nest completely. This old fallen fence-post will give splendid
protection on one side. The Old Briar-patch is so near that in case of
need we can get to it in a hurry and there be perfectly safe. You mark
my words, Bob White, no one will think of looking here for our nest if
you use your common sense and do all your whistling far enough away.
Reddy and the others are going to do all their hunting around the place
you do your whistling, so it is for you to make this the very safest
place in the world. Do you see?”

“Yes, my dear,” replied Bob meekly. “You are very clever and cunning. I
never should have thought of choosing such a place, but I guess you are
quite right.”

“I know I am,” retorted Mrs. Bob. “Now you fly over to the other side of
the Old Briar-patch and whistle while I get busy here. I am anxious to
get to work at once.”

Bob looked at his little brown wife with admiration. Then he discreetly
ran under cover of the weeds and grass until he thought it was safe
to take wing, after which he flew to the other side of the dear Old
Briar-patch and there began to whistle as only he can.


````A quarrel you may often stay

````By letting others have their way.=

|AND you will find, too, that other people are quite as likely to be
right as you are. Now while Bob White told Mrs. Bob that he guessed she
was right in choosing the place she did for their home he was not at all
sure of it in his own mind. It wasn’t a place he would have chosen if
the matter had been left to him. No, Sir, that place wouldn’t have been
his choice. He knew of at least half a dozen places which he thought
much better and safer. But, after all, this was to be Mrs. Bob’s home
even more than his, for she was the one who would have to stay there all
the long days sitting on those beautiful white eggs they hoped to have

So Bob kept his opinions to himself, and if he worried a little because
the new home was so close to the Crooked Little Path along which Reddy
and Granny Fox went so often, he said nothing and brought his share of
grasses, straw and leaves with which to build the nest. Mrs. Bob was
very particular about that nest. Just a common open nest wouldn’t do.
Perhaps in that wise little head of hers she guessed just what was going
on in Bob’s mind and how he really didn’t approve at all of building
there. So she made a very clever little roof or dome of grasses and
straw over the nest with a little entrance on one side. When it was all
done only the very sharpest eyes ever would discover it.

Of course Bob was proud of it, very proud indeed. “My dear, it’s the
finest nest I’ve ever seen,” he declared. “I hope, I do hope no one will
find it.”

Mrs. Bob looked at him sharply. “Why don’t you own up that you wish it
was somewhere else?” she demanded.

Bob looked a little foolish. “I can’t quite get over the idea that this
is a very dangerous place,” he confessed. “But I’ve great faith in your
judgment, my dear,” he hastened to add.

“Then see to it that you are careful when you come over this way and
never under any circumstances fly directly here,” retorted Mrs. Bob.
“Keep away unless I call for you, and when you do come fly over in the
long grass back there and then keep out of sight and walk over here
under cover of the grass and weeds.”

Bob promised he would do just as she had told him to, and to prove it he
stole away through the long grass and did not take wing until he was
far from the nest. Then he flew over beyond the dear Old Briar-path and
whistled with all his might from sheer happiness.

It wasn’t long before there were fifteen beautiful white eggs in the
nest in the weeds beside the Crooked Little Path, and then Bob’s anxiety
increased, you may be sure. Time and time again he saw Reddy Fox or
Granny Fox or Jimmy Skunk trot down the Crooked Little Path and he knew
that they were coming to look for his nest. But never once did they
think of looking in that patch of weeds, for it never entered their
heads that any one would build so close to a path they used so much. But
they hunted and hunted everywhere else.

And all the time little Mrs. Bob sat on those white eggs and the color
of her cloak was so nearly the color of the brown grasses and leaves
that even if they had looked straight at her it isn’t at all likely that
they would have seen her. Little by little Bob confessed to himself that
Mrs. Bob was right. She had chosen the very safest place on the Green
Meadows for their home. It was safest because it was the last place
any one would look for it. Then Bob grew less anxious and spent all his
spare time in fooling those who were looking for his home.


````"All’s fair in love and war,” ‘tis said.

`````Of course this isn’t true.

````A lot is done that’s most unfair

`````And no one ought to do.=

|IT is always so when hate rules, and the queer thing is it is also true
sometimes when love rules. Love quite often does unfair things and then
tries to excuse them. But Bob White didn’t feel that there was anything
unfair in trying to fool his neighbors. Not a bit of it. You see, he was
doing it for love and war both. He was doing it for love of shy little
Mrs. Bob and their home, and for the kind of war that is always going on
in the Green Forest and the Green Meadows. Of course, the little people
who live there don’t call it war, but you know how it is--the big people
all the time trying to catch those smaller than themselves, and the
little people all the time trying to get the best of the big people.

So Bob White felt that it was perfectly fair and right that he should
fool those of his neighbors who were hunting for his home, and so it
was. He would sit on a fence-post whistling as only he can whistle, and
telling all the world that he, Bob White, was there. Presently he would
see Reddy Fox trotting down the Crooked Little Path and pretending that
he was just out for a stroll and not at all interested in Bob or his
affairs. Then Bob would pretend to look all around as if to see that no
danger was near. After that he would fly over to a certain place which
looked to be just the kind of a place for a nest, and there he would
hide in the grass.

Just as soon as he disappeared, Reddy Fox would grin in that sly way of
his and say to himself, “So that’s where your nest is! I think I’ll have
a look over there.”

Then he would steal over to where he had seen Bob disappear and poke his
sharp nose into every bunch of grass and peek under every little bush.
Bob would wait until he heard those soft footsteps very near him, then
he would fly up with a great noise of his swift little wings as if he
were terribly frightened, and from a distant fence-post he would call
in the most anxious sounding voice. Reddy would be sure then that he
was near the nest and would hunt and hunt. All the time little Mrs. Bob
would be sitting comfortably on those precious eggs in the nest in the
weed-patch close beside the Crooked Little Path, chuckling to herself as
she listened to Bob’s voice. You see, she knew just what he was doing.

It was the same way with Jimmy Skunk and Granny Fox and even Peter
Rabbit. All of them hunted and hunted for that nest and watched Bob
White and were sure that they knew just where to look for his home, and
afterward wondered why it was that they couldn’t find it. Jimmy Skunk
wanted some of those eggs. Reddy and Granny Fox wanted to catch Mrs. Bob
or be ready to gobble up the babies when they should hatch out of those
beautiful white eggs. As for Peter Rabbit, he wanted to know where that
nest was just out of curiosity. He wouldn’t have harmed Mrs. Bob or one
of those eggs for the world. But Bob knew that if Peter knew where that
nest was he might visit it when some one was watching him, and something
dreadful might happen as a result. So he thought it best to fool Peter
just as he did the others, and I think it was. Don’t you?


````When with your eyes you see a thing

`````Yet can’t believe it so,

````Pray tell me what you can believe.

`````I’d really like to know.=

|THINGS are that way sometimes. They are so surprising that it doesn’t
seem that they can be true. Just ask Peter Rabbit, or little Mrs. Peter.
Either one will tell you that they have had hard work to believe what
their eyes saw. You see, it was this way: Peter knew that somewhere near
the dear Old Briar-patch was the home of Bob White. Anyway Bob had said
that it was near there, and he himself was never very far away. So Peter
didn’t doubt that Bob had told him the truth. No one would stay around
one place day after day in the beautiful springtime, when everybody was
busy housekeeping, unless his home was very near.

But Peter had looked and looked for that home of Bob White’s without
ever getting so much as a glimpse of it. He had watched Bob White and
had visited every place that he saw Bob go to, but Bob had managed
to keep his secret and Peter was no wiser than before, though he was
thinner from running about so much. Little Mrs. Peter had tried her best
to make him see that it was no business of his. You see, she knew just
how Mrs. Bob felt about wanting her home a secret, for little Mrs. Peter
had had many anxious hours when her own babies were very small.

Finally Peter did give up, but it was because he had looked in every
place he could think of and at last had made up his mind that if Bob
White really had a nest in the Green Meadows it certainly wasn’t near
the dear Old Briar-patch. Then one morning a surprising thing happened.
Peter was just getting ready to run over to the Laughing Brook when some
one right in front of him there in the Old Briar-patch exclaimed.

[Illustration: 0060]

“Be careful where you step, Peter Rabbit!”

Peter stopped short and looked to see who had spoken. There, under a
tangle of brambles, was little Mrs. Bob White. Peter was surprised, for
he had not seen her enter the dear Old Briar-patch.

“Oh!” said he. Then he bowed politely. “How do you do, Mrs. Bob White?
I’m glad you’ve decided to make us a call. I hope Bob is very well.
I haven’t seen him for several days, but I’ve heard his whistle and it
sounds as if he were feeling very fine.”

“He is,” replied little Mrs. Bob. Then she added anxiously, “Do please
be very careful where you step, Peter.”

“Why? What’s the matter?” asked Peter, looking down at his feet in a
puzzled way.

Just then Mrs. Peter, who had heard them talking, came hurrying up.
Mrs. Bob White became more anxious than ever. “Oh, Mrs. Peter, do, do be
careful where _you_ step!” she cried.

Mrs. Peter looked as puzzled as Peter did. Just then little Mrs. Bob
uttered the softest, sweetest little call, and all at once it seemed to
Peter and Mrs. Peter as if the brown leaves which carpeted the dear
Old Briar-patch suddenly came to life and started to run. Peter’s eyes
almost popped out of his head, and he rubbed them twice to make sure
that he really saw what he thought he saw. What was it? Why, a whole
family of the funniest little birds scurrying as fast as their small
legs could take them to the shelter of Mrs. Bob’s wings!


````Who proves himself a neighbor kind

````Will find content and peace of mind.=

|ONE, two, three, four--oh, dear, they run so fast I can’t count them!
Aren’t they darlings? I’m so glad you brought them over for us to see,
Mrs. Bob. How many are there?” cried little Mrs. Peter, as she and Peter
watched the tiny little babies of Bob White scamper to the shelter
of their mother’s wings under the friendly brambles of the dear Old

“There are fifteen,” replied Mrs. Bob White proudly.

“My gracious, what a family!” exclaimed Peter. “I don’t see how you keep
track of all of them. I should think you would be worried to death.”

“They are a great care,” confessed little Mrs. Bob White. “That is why I
have brought them over to the Old Briar-patch. I hope you and Mrs. Peter
will not mind if we live here for a while. Until they can fly it is the
safest place I know of.”

“We’ll be tickled to death to have you here,” declared Peter. “We don’t
own the dear Old Briar-patch, though we’ve lived here so long we almost
feel as if it belongs to us. But of course any one who wants to is free
to live here. I don’t know of any one we would rather have here than you
and your family. By the way, I don’t see how you could travel far with
such little babies. May I ask where you came from?”

Little Mrs. Bob’s eyes twinkled.

“Certainly,” she replied. “We haven’t traveled far. We came straight
from our home here.”

“But where was your home?” Peter asked the question eagerly, for you
remember he had spent a great deal of time trying to find that home of
the Bob Whites.

“Just over yonder in that little patch of weeds across the Crooked
Little Path. You see it was very handy to the Old Briar-patch,” replied
Mrs. Bob.

“What?” Peter fairly shouted. “Do you mean to say that you have been
living so near as all that?”

Mrs. Bob nodded. “I surely have,” she replied. “I’ve been right where I
could see you every day as I sat on my eggs.”

“But how did you dare build in such a dangerous place? Why, Reddy and
Granny Fox passed within a few feet of you every day! I never heard of
such a crazy thing!” Peter looked as if he didn’t believe it even yet.

“It was the safest place on the Green Meadows,” retorted Mrs. Bob. “I
should think that by this time you would have learned, Peter Rabbit,
that the safest place to hide is the place where no one will look. The
proof of it is right here in these babies of mine. Aren’t they darlings?
I sat there day after day and watched you and Reddy and Granny Fox and
Jimmy Skunk hunting for me and had many a good laugh all to myself. I
knew that not one of you would dream that I would be so foolishly wise
as to build my home where it could be so easily found, and therefore you
wouldn’t look for it there. And I was right.”

Mrs. Peter chuckled. “You were just right, Mrs. Bob,” she declared. “It
is the smartest thing I ever heard of, my dear. If Peter doesn’t feel
foolish, he ought to. I told him that it was none of his business where
your home was, but he was so curious that he would keep hunting for it.
And to think that all the time it was close by! Don’t you feel foolish,

“Yes, my dear, I certainly do,” replied Peter meekly. “But now that I
know where it was I am satisfied. And I’m glad that Mrs. Bob has brought
her family to live in the dear Old Briar-patch. I think it will be great
fun watching those youngsters grow, and I can’t help thinking that this
is a great deal safer for them than the home they have just left.”

“That’s why I’ve brought them here,” replied Mrs. Bob. “As long as they
were only eggs that was the safest place, but now that they have hatched
out and can run about, they wouldn’t be safe a minute over there. As it
is, I expect it won’t be long before they will be wanting to get out
in the Great World and then my worries will really begin. Bringing up a
large family is a great responsibility.”

“It is so,” declared Mrs. Peter.


````Watch your step! Be sure you know

`````Exactly what lies just before,

````Because if you should careless be

`````'Tis certain you would step no more.=

|IT wasn’t that way with Peter Rabbit. He wasn’t afraid that if he
didn’t watch out he would step no more, not in the Old Briar-patch
anyway, but he was afraid, dreadfully afraid, that one of Bob White’s
babies might step no more. It seemed to Peter that they were always just
under foot. It made him nervous. Every time he moved little Mrs. Bob or
Mrs. Peter was sure to cry, “Watch your step, Peter!” or “Don’t step on
one of those darlings!”

So every time he moved Peter looked sharply to see that there wasn’t
a tiny brown bird hiding under a brown leaf. You know he wouldn’t have
stepped on one of them for the world. Really there wasn’t half as much
danger as their fond mother seemed to think, for little as they were
those Bob White babies were very spry, and very smart too. But you
know how it is with mothers; they seem to be always expecting something
dreadful will happen to their babies.

So twenty times a day Peter would hear that warning, “Watch your step!”

Still, in spite of this, he was glad that the Bob White family had moved
over to the dear Old Briar-patch. It gave him a chance to learn more
about the ways of Bob White and his children than he could possibly have
learned in any other way. You know, Peter is always anxious to learn,
especially about other people. It seemed to him that never had he seen
babies grow as did the little Bob Whites. They were everywhere. There
were fifteen of them, and Peter often wondered how under the sun their
mother kept track of all of them. But she did. One thing he noticed,
and this was that they obeyed promptly whenever she called to them. If
Redtail the Hawk came sailing lazily over the old Briar-patch, watching
with sharp eyes to see if anything was going on down there that he
didn’t know about, little Mrs. Bob would give a warning, and every one
of those youngsters would squat down right where he happened to be
and not move until she told him he might. So old Red-tail never once
suspected that the Bob White family was there. When Mrs. Bob called them
to her, they came running on the instant. Such obedience was beautiful
to see.

Then, when they were all nestled under her wings, she would tell them
about the Great World and all the dangers that they would have to watch
out for when they were big enough to go out into it, and how each one
was to be met. As they ran this way and that way in the Old Briar-patch,
they picked up tiny seeds. Peter had not supposed that there were so
many seeds as those little Bob Whites found. You know Peter does not eat
tiny seeds, and so he never had noticed them before. Mrs. Bob led them
about, showing them what seeds were best and what to leave alone.
They didn’t have to be shown but once. Often they varied their fare by
picking tiny insects from the low-hanging leaves, and once in a while
there would be a struggle between two or more for possession of a worm.
Peter always liked to watch this. It was very funny.

In a few days there were no bugs or worms to be found in the Old
Briar-patch, at least not on or near the ground. The Bob White family
had eaten _every one._

“I wish they would live here all the time,” declared Mrs. Peter. “I
don’t like bugs and worms. They give me a crawly feeling every time I
see them.”

But a growing family must have plenty to eat, and at the end of a week
Mrs. Bob led her youngsters forth to hunt bugs and worms and seeds on
the Green Meadows, but never very far from the Old Briar-patch, so that
in case of need they could run back to its friendly shelter. And every
night she brought them back there to sleep under the friendly brambles.
So after all, it was only for a little while that Peter had to watch
his steps, and he was really sorry when he no longer heard that warning
every time he moved. You see, he had grown very fond of the little Bob


`````Everybody goes to school;

`````That’s the universal rule.

`````Mother Nature long ago

`````Said it always should be so.=

|OF course there are all kinds of schools, but to one kind or another
everybody has to go. A lot of people don’t know they are going to
school, but they are, just the same. If you should ask them what school
they go to, they would tell you they don’t go to any. But they do
just the same. They go to the hardest school of all, the school of
experience. That is the school in which we all learn how to live and
take care of ourselves. It is just the same with the little meadow and
forest people. The four babies of Johnny and Polly Chuck went to school
in the Old Orchard just as soon as they were big enough to run around.
It was the same way with the children of Peter Rabbit in the dear Old
Briar-patch and the youngsters of Danny and Nanny Meadow Mouse on the
Green Meadows and Une’ Billy Possum’s lively family in the Green Forest
and little Joe Otter’s two hopefuls in the Laughing Brook. So of course
all the Little Bob Whites started in to go to school almost as soon as
they were out of their shells.

The very first thing they learned was to mind their parents, which is
the very first lesson all little folks must learn. “You see, my dears,”
 explained Mrs. Bob, as they nestled under her wings, “the Great World is
full of dangers, especially for little Bob Whites, and so if you want
to live to grow up to be as handsome and smart as your father, you must
mind instantly when we speak to you.”

So as every one of the fifteen little Bob Whites wanted to five to
grow up to be as handsome and smart as their father, each one took the
greatest care to mind the very second Bob or Mrs. Bob spoke. While they
were in the dear Old Briar-patch they were quite safe, but just the same
every little while Mrs. Bob would give the danger signal, which meant
to squat and keep perfectly still, or another call that meant to come
running to her as fast as ever they could. It wasn’t until she was sure
that they had learned to mind instantly that she led them out on to the
Green Meadows among the grasses and the weeds.

Then there was always real danger as she took great pains to tell them.
There was danger from the air where old Redtail the Hawk sailed round
and round, watching below for heedless and careless little folks. There
was danger from Reddy and Granny Fox and Old Man Coyote, prowling about
with sharp eyes and keen ears and wonderful noses, all the time hunting
for heedless little people. And there was danger from Mr. Blacksnake and
some of his cousins, slipping silently through the grass.

So the little Bob Whites learned to be always on the watch as they ran
this way and that way, hunting for bugs and worms and seeds. At the
least little unknown sound they squatted and waited for Mrs. Bob’s
signal that all was well. She taught them to know Ol’ Mistah Buzzard,
who wouldn’t hurt a feather of them, from old Redtail the Hawk by the
way he sailed and sailed without flapping his wings. Just as soon as
they could fly a little, she taught them to make sure just where the
nearest bushes or trees were so that they could fly to them in case
of sudden danger on the ground. She taught them how to find the safest
places in which to spend the night. Oh, there was a great deal for those
little Bob Whites to learn! Yes, indeed. And it didn’t do to forget a
single thing. Forgetting just once might mean a dreadful thing. So they
didn’t forget. Bob White himself taught them many things, for Bob is
wise in the ways of the Great World, and he is the best of fathers. So
the little Bob Whites grew and grew until they were too big to nestle
under the wings of Mrs. Bob and could fly on swift strong wings. And all
the time they were at school without knowing it.


````For everything that happens

`````You’ve but to look to find

````There’s bound to be a reason;

`````So keep that fact in mind.=

|SON,” said Fanner Brown one morning at the breakfast table, “we’ve got
the finest looking garden any where around. I don’t remember ever having
a garden with so little harm done by bugs and worms. All our neighbors
are complaining that bugs and worms are the worst ever this year, and
that their gardens are being eaten up in spite of all that they can do.
I’m proud of the way in which you’ve taken care of ours.”

Farmer Brown’s boy flushed with pleasure. He had worked hard in that
garden ever since the seeds were planted.

He had fought the weeds and the bugs and worms. But so had some of his
neighbors. Yet in spite of this their gardens were nearly ruined. They
had worked just as hard as he had, but the worms and the bugs had been
too much for them. He couldn’t understand why he had succeeded when they
had failed. There must be a reason. There is a reason for everything.

After breakfast he put on his old straw hat and started down to the
garden to look it over, still puzzling over the reason why his garden
was so much better than others. Just on the edge of the garden was an
old board. He lifted one end of it and peeped under. Old Mr. Toad looked
up at him and blinked sleepily, but in the most friendly way. Mr. Toad’s
waistcoat was filled out until it looked too tight for comfort. Fanner
Brown’s boy smiled as he put the board down gently. He knew what made
that waistcoat so tight; it was filled with bugs and worms. “There’s a
part of the reason,” muttered Farmer Brown’s boy.

A little farther on he discovered Little Friend the Song Sparrow very
busy among the berry-bushes. “There’s another part of the reason,”
 chuckled Farmer Brown’s boy. At the end of a long row he sat down to
think it over. There was no doubt that he owed a great deal to Old
Mr. Toad and Little Friend and a lot of the feathered folk of the Old
Orchard for his fine-looking garden, but he had had their help in other
years when his garden had not looked half as well, and yet when there
had not been nearly as many bugs and worms as this year. Their help and
his own hard work accounted for part of the reason for his fine-looking
garden, but he couldn’t help but feel that there must be something else
he didn’t know about.

He was thinking so hard that he sat perfectly still. Presently a pair of
bright eyes peeped out at him from under a berry-bush. Then right out in
front of him stepped a smart, trim little fellow dressed in brown, gray
and white with black trimmings. It was Bob White. He called softly and
out ran Mrs. Bob and fifteen children! At a word from Bob they scattered
and went to work among the plants.

Farmer Brown’s boy held his breath as he watched. They didn’t pay the
least attention to him because, you know, he sat perfectly still. Some
scratched the ground just like the hens at home, and then picked up
things so small that he couldn’t see what they were. But he knew. He
knew that they were tiny seeds. And because all the seeds which he and
Farmer Brown had planted were now great strong plants, he knew that
these were seeds of weeds.

Bob himself was very busy among the potato-vines. He was near enough for
Farmer Brown’s boy to see what he was doing. He was eating those striped
beetles which Farmer Brown’s boy had fought so long and which he had
come to hate. “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine,
ten, eleven,” counted Farmer Brown’s boy, and then Bob moved on to where
he couldn’t be seen. Among the squash-vines he could see Mrs. Bob, and
she was picking off bugs as fast as Bob was taking the potato-beetles.
What the others were doing he didn’t know, but he could guess.

“There’s the rest of the reason!” he suddenly exclaimed in triumph. He
spoke aloud, and in a twinkling there wasn’t a Bob White to be seen.


````Don’t say you “_hate_” arithmetic,

````And find it dull and dry.

````You’ll find it most astonishing

````If you sincerely try.=

|Farmer brown’s boy used to feel that way, but he doesn’t any more. He
never could see any use in puzzling over sums in school. He said that
there wasn’t anything interesting in it; nothing but hard work. He used
to complain about it at home. Farmer Brown would listen awhile, then he
would say, “If you live long enough, my son, you will find that figures
talk and that they tell the most wonderful things.” There was always a
twinkle in his eyes when he said this.

Now of course Fanner Brown’s boy knew that his father didn’t mean
that figures could speak right out. Of course not. But he never could
understand just what he did mean, and he wasn’t interested enough to try
to find out. So he would continue to scowl over his arithmetic and wish
the teacher wouldn’t give such hard lessons. And when the long summer
vacation began, he just forgot all about figures and sums until after
he discovered Bob White and his family helping to rid the garden of bugs
and worms and seeds of weeds.

After he discovered them, he went down to the garden every day to watch
them. They soon found out that he wouldn’t hurt them, and after that
they just paid no attention to him at all, but went right on with their
business all about him, and that business was the filling of their
stomachs with seeds and worms and bugs. One day Bob White ate twelve
caterpillars while Farmer Brown’s boy was watching him. He got out a
stubby pencil and a scrap of paper.

“If every one of those Bob Whites eats twelve of those horrid worms at
one meal that would be--let me see.” He wrinkled his brows. “There are
Bob and Mrs. Bob and fifteen young Bobs and that makes seventeen. Now
if each eats twelve, that will make twelve times seventeen.” He put down
the figures on his bit of paper and worked over them for a few minutes.
“That makes 204 caterpillars for one meal,” he muttered, “and in one
month of thirty days they would eat 6120 if they only ate one meal a
day. But they eat ever so many meals a day and that means--” He stopped
to stare at the figures on the bit of paper with eyes round with wonder.
Then he whistled a little low whistle of sheer astonishment. “No
wonder I’ve got a good garden when those fellows are at work in it!” he

[Illustration: 0090]

Then he sat down to watch Mrs. Bob catching cabbage-butterflies which
he knew were laying the eggs which would hatch out into the worms that
spoiled the cabbages. He counted the number she caught while she was
in sight. He did the same thing with another of the Bob Whites who
was catching cucumber-beetles, and with another who was hunting
grasshoppers. Then he did some more figuring on that bit of paper. When
he had finished he got up and went straight down to the cornfield where
Farmer Brown was at work.

“I know now what you meant when you used to tell me that figures talk,”
 said he. “Why, they’ve told me more than I ever dreamed! They’ve told me
that the Bob Whites are the best friends we’ve got, and that the reason
that we’ve got the best garden anywhere around is just because they have
made it so. Why, those little brown birds are actually making money for
us, and we never guessed it!”


|TO be indignant is to be angry in a good cause. If you lose your
temper and give way to anger because things do not suit you, you are
not indignant; you are simply angry. But if anger wells up in your heart
because of harm or injustice which is done to some one else, or even to
yourself, then you become indignant.

Farmer Brown’s boy had spent all his spare time down in the garden
watching Bob White and his family. In fact, he had been there so much
that all the Bob Whites had come to look on him as harmless if not
actually a friend. They just didn’t pay him any attention at all,
but went about their business as if he were nowhere about. And their
business was ridding that garden of bugs and worms and seeds of weeds in
order to fill their stomachs. What tickled Farmer Brown’s boy was that
the bugs and worms of which they seemed the most fond were the very ones
which did the most harm to the growing plants.

Over beyond the garden was a field of wheat. You know from wheat comes
the flour of which your bread is made. Now there is a certain little bug
called the chinch-bug which is such a hungry rascal that when he and a
lot of his kind get into a field of wheat, they often spoil the whole
crop. They suck the juices from the plants so that they wilt and die.
Farmer Brown’s boy had heard his neighbors complaining that chinch-bugs
were very bad that year, and he knew that they must be by the looks of
the wheat on the farms of his neighbors. But Farmer Brown’s wheat
looked as fine as wheat could look. It was very plain that there were no
chinch-bugs there, and he often had wondered why, when they were so bad
in the fields of his neighbors.

Farmer Brown’s boy noticed that Bob White and his family spent a
great deal of time in the wheat-field. One day he noticed Bob picking
something from a stem of wheat. He went over to see what it might be.
Of course Bob scurried away, but when Farmer Brown’s boy looked at that
wheat-plant he found some chinch-bugs on it. Then he knew what Bob had
been doing. He had been picking off and eating those dreadful little
bugs. And he knew, too, why it was that their wheat-field was the best
for miles around. It was because Bob White and his family hunted for and
ate those bugs as fast as they appeared.

“Hurrah for you! You’re the greatest little helpers a farmer ever had!”
 cried Farmer Brown’s boy, and hurried off to tell Farmer Brown what he
had found out.

So the summer passed, and the cool crisp days of autumn came. The wheat
had been harvested and the vegetables gathered and stored away. Jack
Frost had begun to paint the maple trees red and yellow, the garden
was bare, and the stubble in the wheat-field a golden brown. The little
feathered people who do not like cold weather had flown away to the
sunny Southland, led by Ol’ Mistah Buzzard. Striped Chipmunk, Chatterer
the Red Squirrel, and Happy Jack the Gray Squirrel were busy from
morning till night storing away seeds and nuts on which to live through
the long cold winter. These were glorious days, and Bob White loved
every one of them.

“Son,” said Farmer Brown one morning, “those Bob Whites must be fat with
the good living they have had. Seeing that we have fed them off the farm
all summer, don’t you think that it is their turn to feed us? I think
broiled Bob White on toast would taste pretty good. The shooting season
begins next week, so I suppose you will get out your gun and shoot a few
of those Bob Whites for us.” There was a twinkle, a kindly twinkle in
his eyes as he spoke.

But Farmer Brown’s boy didn’t see that twinkle. His face grew red. A hot
anger filled his heart. He was indignant. He was very indignant to think
that his father should ever hint at such a thing. But he didn’t forget
to be respectful.

“No, sir!” said he. “I wouldn’t shoot one of them for anything in the
world! They don’t owe us anything; we owe them. If it hadn’t been for
them, we wouldn’t have had half a crop of wheat, and our garden would
have been just as poor as those of our neighbors. I’m not going to shoot
‘em, and I’m not going to let any one else shoot ‘em if I can help it,
so there!”


````There’s nothing to compare with

````In earth or sea or up above.=

|IF love prevailed everywhere there would be no terrible wars, no
prisons, no dreadful poverty, no bitter quarrels between those who
work and those for whom they work. And on the Green Meadows and in the
Green Forest there would be no fear of man and no frightful suffering
from traps and terrible guns. Love, that wonderful great thing which is
contained in one little word of four letters, could and would bring joy
and happiness to every heart for all time if only we would give it a

It was love in the heart of Farmer Brown’s boy which made him indignant
when Farmer Brown hinted that he might take his gun and shoot Bob White
and his family. You see, he had made friends with the Bob Whites and
learned to love them, and no one can bear the thought of hurting those
they love. He had replied to his father respectfully, but his face had
flushed red and in his voice there had been the ring of indignation,
which is a certain kind of anger. Farmer Brown actually chuckled when he
heard it. Then he turned and held out his big hand.

“Shake hands, son,” said he. “I was just trying you out to see what you
would say. You know you used to be very fond of hunting, and I was just
wondering if your love of killing, or trying to kill, was stronger than
your sense of right and justice. Now I know that it isn’t, and I’m ever
so glad. So you think the Bob Whites have earned our protection?”

Fanner Brown’s boy’s face flushed again, but this time it was with

“Oh, Dad, I’m so glad you don’t want them killed to eat!” he cried. “I
ought to have known that you were just teasing me. I did like to hunt
with my gun once, but that was when I didn’t know as much as I do now.
It was exciting to try to find the birds and then see if I could hit
them. I just thought of them as wild things good to eat and so smart
that I had to be a little bit smarter to get them. I never thought of
them as having any feelings. But now I know that they love, and fear,
and suffer pain, and work, and play, and are glad and sad, just like
people. I know because I’ve watched them. So I don’t want to hurt them
or allow them to be hurt any more than I would real people. Why I _love_
‘em! I wouldn’t have anything happen to them for the world. I’m
dreadfully afraid something will happen to some of them when the hunting
season begins. Can’t we do anything for them?”

“We can put up some signs warning all hunters to keep off of our farm
and forbidding all shooting,” replied Farmer Brown. “Then if Bob White
and his family are smart enough to stay on our land I guess they will be
safe, but if they go on the land of other people they are likely to be
shot unless--” he paused.

“Unless I can get other people who own land near us to put up signs
and keep the hunters off and promise not to shoot the Bob Whites
themselves!” exclaimed Farmer Brown’s boy eagerly.

Farmer Brown smiled. “Exactly, my son,” said he. “It is your chance to
get even; to do something for the little friends who have done so much
for you. Tomorrow is Saturday, and there will be no school. You may have
all day in which to see what you can do with the neighbors to save Bob
White and his family from the hunters. Listen! Bob would be a blessing
if for nothing but his message of good cheer. But to the cheer he puts
into the world is the daily help he gives. The man who kills Bob White
kills one of our best friends and helpers, and his shot hurts us more
than it does poor little Bob. Now let’s go over to the barn and see about
making those signs.”


```A pity ‘tis, aye, ‘tis a shame

````That rests on all mankind,

```That human beings in cruelty

````Can sport and pleasure find.=

|THERE never was a more beautiful day than that crisp October one. It
was one of those days when you just feel all over how good it is to be
alive. Bob White felt it. He tingled all over with the joy of living
just as soon as he opened his eyes very early that morning. He whistled
for very joy. He loved all the Great World, and he felt that all the
Great World loved him. He wanted to tell the Great World so. The Merry
Little Breezes of Old Mother West Wind, tumbling out of the big bag in
which she had brought them down from the Purple Hills to play all day
long on the Green Meadows, danced over to tell him that they loved him.
This made Bob still happier.

A certain man tramping along the road toward the home of Farmer Jones
was feeling glad, but his gladness was of a different kind. “I guess we
are going to have some sport, old fellow,” said he to the dog trotting
at his heels, and shifted a terrible gun from one shoulder to the other.

Now if Bob White had understood the warning given him by Farmer Brown’s
boy he never, never would have done as he did. But he didn’t understand
that warning, and so when he took it into his pretty little head that he
wanted to try his wings he led his family straight over to the land of
Farmer Jones. He often had been there before, and he saw no reason why
he shouldn’t go there as often as he pleased. No harm had come from
these previous visits. So straight over to the stubble of Farmer Jones’
wheat-field he led the way, and soon he and his family were very busy
picking up scattered grains of wheat and were happy as you or I would be
over a good breakfast.

Right in the midst of it Bob’s quick ears heard footsteps. He stretched
his neck to peep over the stubble, and suddenly all the gladness and
brightness of the day was blotted out. What he saw was a dog with his
nose to the ground and he was following the scent that one of Bob’s
children made as he ran about picking up wheat. Suddenly the dog stopped
and stood perfectly still, with one foreleg and nose pointing straight
at a certain spot. Bob knew that right at that spot one of his children
was squatting close to the ground. As still as a statue stood the dog.
From behind him came a man walking slowly and carefully and with a
terrible gun held in readiness. When he reached the dog he sent him on.
There was nothing for the Bob White squatting there to do but fly. Up
into the air he shot on swift wings.

“Bang!” went the terrible gun, and down dropped that little brown bird.
At the sound of the terrible gun up jumped all the rest of Bob White’s
children in terrible fright, for never before had they heard such a
dreadful noise. “Bang!” went the gun again, but this time only a few
brown feathers floated to the ground. Bob and Mrs. Bob waited until
after the second bang before they too took to the air, for they had had
experience and knew that after the second bang they were likely to be
safe for a while.

The Bob Whites had scattered in all directions as they had been
taught to do when in danger. Bob flew straight over to Farmer Brown’s
wheat-field, and there presently he began to call. One after another of
his family answered, all but the one who had fallen at the first shot.

“Got one, anyway,” said the hunter, as he loaded his terrible gun, and
actually looked happy as he went over to help his dog hunt for the Bob
White who had fallen at the first terrible bang.


```It never does to count upon

````A thing until you’re sure.

```It’s often less than you expect,

````But very seldom more.=

|The hunter who has shot one of White’s children chuckled of course he
didn’t need it the least bit in the world, having plenty of other things
to eat.

The hunter who had shot one of the birds gleefully went forward to pick
up the poor little brown bird. He was having what he called sport. It
never entered his head to think of how the Bob Whites must feel. He
probably didn’t think that they had any feelings. He was pleased that he
had made a successful shot, and he was pleased to think that he was to
have that little brown bird to eat, though when he reached the place
where he had seen the little Bob White fall, there was no little brown
bird there. No, Sir, there was not a sign of that little bird save a
few feathers. You see, he hadn’t killed the little Bob White as he had
supposed, but had broken a wing so that it could not fly. But there was
nothing the matter with its legs, and no sooner had it hit the ground
than it had run as fast as ever it could through the stubble. So the
little Bob White wasn’t where the hunter was looking for it at all.

Of course his dog helped him hunt, and with that wonderful nose of his
he soon found the scent of that little Bob White and eagerly followed
it. It just happened that in that field near where the little Bob White
fell was an old home of Johnny Chuck, and all around the entrance to it
the sand had been spread out. Now sand does not hold scent. The little
Bob White knew nothing about that, for he had not lived long enough
to learn all that a Bob White has to learn, but he did see the open
doorway. Across the yellow sand he ran and into the doorway and just
a little way down the hall, where he hid under some dry, brown leaves
which had blown in there. He was almost the color of them himself as he
squatted close to the ground and drew his feathers as close to his body
as possible. In doing this he was doing a very wise thing, though he
didn’t know it at the time. You see his feathers drawn tightly against
his body that way prevented the scent which might have told the keen
nose of that dog where he was.

As it was, the dog lost the scent at the edge of the sand, and neither
he nor the hunter once thought to look in that old hole. So while they
hunted and hunted, the little Bob White squatted perfectly still, though
his broken wing hurt him dreadfully, and the ache of it made his eyes
fill with tears. At last the hunter gave up the search. He was too
impatient to kill more.

“Must be I just wounded him,” said he, without one thought of how
dreadful it must be to be wounded. “Probably a fox will get him. Bet I
kill the next one!”

With that he sent his dog on to try to find the little Bob White’s
brothers and sisters, his terrible gun held ready to shoot the instant
he should see one of them. He was having great sport, was that hunter,
while in the hall of Johnny Chuck’s old house lay a little brown Bob
White faint with suffering and dreadful fright. It would have been
bad enough to simply have such a fright, but to have a broken wing and
because of this to feel quite helpless--well, can you imagine anything


````Oh, cruel is the thoughtless deed

````That wounds another without need.=

|SQUATTING under the brown dead leaves which had blown into the doorway
of the old house made long ago in the wheat-field of Farmer Jones by
Johnny Chuck was that poor little Bob White. Tears filled his eyes,
tears of fright and pain.

[Illustration: 0116]

He tried to wink them back and to think what he should do next, but he
was too bewildered to think. To be bewildered is to be so upset that you
cannot understand what has happened or is happening. It was just so with
this little Bob White.

With his brothers and sisters he had been happily picking up his
breakfast that beautiful October morning. Without the least warning a
great dog had threatened to catch him, and he had taken to his swift,
strong, little wings. As he did so he had seen a great two-legged
creature pointing a stick at him, but he had not feared. All summer long
he had seen two-legged creatures like this one, and they had not harmed
him. Indeed, he had come to look on them as his friends, for had not
Farmer Brown’s boy watched him and his brothers and sisters day after
day, and not once offered even to frighten them? So he had no fear of
this one.

Then from the end of that stick pointed at him had leaped fire and
smoke, and there had been a terrible noise. Something had struck him,
something that stung, and burned and tore his tender flesh, and one
of his swift, strong, little wings had become useless, so that he fell
heavily to the ground. Then he had run swiftly until he found this
hiding place, and, with his little heart going pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat with
terror, had squatted close under the friendly brown leaves while the
great dog and the two-legged creature had looked for him. Now they had
given him up and gone away. At least, he could not hear them.

What did it all mean? Why had this dreadful thing happened to him? What
had he done that the two-legged creature should try to kill him with the
terrible fire-stick? Outside the day was as beautiful as ever, but all
the joy of it was gone. Instead, it was filled with terror. What should
he do now? What _could_ he do? Where were his father and mother and
brothers and sisters? Were such dreadful things happening to them as had
happened to him? Would he ever see them again?

Presently he heard a far-away whistle, a sad, anxious whistle. It
was the whistle of his father, Bob White. He was calling his family
together. Then he heard answering whistles, and he knew that the others
were safe and would soon join Bob White. But he did not dare answer
himself. He crawled to the doorway and peeped out. He could see the
great dog and the cruel two-legged creature with the terrible fire-stick
far away on the other side of the field. He tried to leap into the air
and fly as he had been used to doing, but only flopped helplessly. One
wing was useless and dragged on the ground. It hurt so that the pain
made him faint.

He closed his eyes and lay still for a few minutes, panting. Then a new
thought filled him with another terrible fear. If Reddy Fox or Old Man
Coyote or Redtail the Hawk should happen along, how could he escape
without the use of his wings? If only he were not alone! If only he
could reach his father and mother perhaps they could help him. He
struggled to his feet and began to walk towards that distant whistle.
It was slow work. He was weak and faint, and the drooping wing dragged
through the stiff stubble and hurt so that it seemed as if he could not
stand it. Often he squatted down and panted with weariness and pain and
fright. Then he would go on again. He was terribly thirsty, but there
was no water to drink. So at last he crawled under a fence, and then
suddenly, right in front of him, was one of those two-legged creatures!
Right then and there the little Bob White gave up all hope.


````You cannot always surely tell

````If things be ill or things be well.=

|WHEN the poor suffering, wounded little Bob White crawled under the
fence he didn’t know it, but he had crawled on to the land of Farmer
Brown, where a sign warned all hunters to keep off--that no shooting
would be allowed there. And when he looked up and saw right in front
of him one of those two-legged creatures like the one with the terrible
fire-stick, and at once had given up all hope, he had been too sick at
heart and suffering too much to recognize Farmer Brown’s boy.

But that is just who it was. You see, Farmer Brown’s boy had been so
anxious for fear that some hunter would come over on his father’s land
in spite of the signs, that he had gone down on the Green Meadows just
as soon as he had eaten his breakfast. He had seen the hunter on the
land of Farmer Jones and had heard him shoot. With all his heart Farmer
Brown’s boy had hoped that the hunter had missed. Now as he looked down
and saw the poor little suffering bird he knew that the hunter had not
missed, and fierce anger swelled his heart. He quite forgot that he
himself used to hunt with a terrible gun before he had learned to know
and to love the little people of the Green Meadows, the Green Forest and
the Old Pasture.

He stooped and very tenderly lifted the little Bob White, who closed his
eyes and was sure that now all would soon be over.

“You poor little thing! You poor, poor little thing!” said Farmer
Brown’s boy as he looked at the torn and broken wing. Then he looked
across at the hunter and scowled savagely. Just then the hunter saw
him and at once started towards him. You see, the hunter thought that
perhaps if he offered Farmer Brown’s boy money he would allow him to
hunt on Farmer Brown’s land. He knew that was where Bob White and all
his family had flown to. When he reached the fence, he saw the little
Bob White in the hands of Farmer Brown’s boy.

“Hello!” exclaimed the hunter in surprise, “I guess that’s my bird!”

“I guess it’s nothing of the sort!” retorted Farmer Brown’s boy.

“Oh, yes, it is,” replied the hunter. “I shot it a little while ago, but
it got away from me. I’ll thank you to hand it over to me, young man.”

“You’ll do nothing of the sort,” retorted Farmer Brown’s boy. “It may be
the bird you shot, more shame to you, but it isn’t yours; it’s mine. I
found it on our land, and it belongs to me if it belongs to any one.”

Now the hunter was tempted to reply sharply, but remembering that he
wanted to get this boy’s permission to hunt on Farmer Brown’s land, he
bit the angry reply off short and said instead, “Why don’t you wring its
neck? If you’ll get your father to let me shoot on your land, I’ll kill
another for you, and then you will have a fine dinner.”

Farmer Brown’s boy grew red in the face. “Don’t you dare put your foot
on this side of the fence!” he cried. “I’d have you to know that these
Bob Whites are my very best friends. They’ve worked for me all summer
long, and do you suppose I’m going to let any harm come to them now if I
can help it? Not much! Look how this poor little thing is suffering. And
you call it sport. Bah! The law lets you hunt them, but it’s a bad law.
It’s a horrid law. If they did any harm it would be different. But
instead of doing harm they work for us all summer long, and then when
the crops which they have helped us save are harvested, we turn around
and allow them to be shot! But they can’t be shot on this land, and the
sooner you get away the better I’ll like it.”

Instead of getting angry the hunter laughed good-naturedly. “All right,
I’ll keep off your land, sonny,” said he. “But you needn’t get so
excited. They’re only birds, and were made to be shot.”

“No more than you were!” retorted Farmer Brown’s boy. “And they’ve got
feelings just as you have. This poor little thing is trembling like a
leaf in my hand. I’m not going to wring its neck. I’m going to try to
cure it.” With this Fanner Brown’s boy turned his back on the hunter and
started for home. And the poor little Bob White, not understanding, had
no more hope than before.


|WITH his eyes tightly closed because of the terror in his heart, the
little Bob White was being carried by Fanner Brown’s boy. Very tender
was the way in which he was handled, and after a while he began to take
a little comfort in the warmth of the hand which held him. Once in a
while Farmer Brown’s boy would gently smooth the feathers of the little
head and say, “Poor little chap.”

Straight home went Farmer Brown’s boy. Very, very gently he bathed the
wounds of the little Bob White. Then, as gently as he could, he put the
broken bones of the wing back in place and bound them there with little
strips of thin wood to keep them from slipping. It hurt dreadfully, and
the little Bob White didn’t know what it all meant. But he had suffered
so much already that a little more suffering didn’t matter much, and he
didn’t so much as peep.

When it was all over he was put into a box with a bed of soft clean hay,
a little dish of water which he could reach by just stretching out his
head, and a handful of wheat, and then he was left alone. He was too
sick and weary to want to do anything but squat down in that bed of hay
and rest. He was still afraid of what might happen to him, but it was
not such a great fear as before, for there had been something comforting
in the gentle touch of Farmer Brown’s boy. He didn’t understand at all
what those strange wrappings about his body meant, but a lot of the ache
and pain had gone from the broken wing.

So he drank gratefully of the water, for he had been burning with
thirst, and then settled himself as comfortably as possible and in no
time at all was asleep. Yes, Sir, he was asleep! You see, he was so worn
out with fright and pain that he couldn’t keep his eyes open. Ever so
many times during the day Farmer Brown’s boy came to see how he was
getting along, and was so very gentle and whistled to him so softly that
his little heart no longer went pita-pat with fear.

The next morning the little Bob White felt so much better that he was
up bright and early and made a good breakfast of the wheat left for him.
But it seemed very queer not to be able to move his wings. He couldn’t
lift them even the teeniest, weeniest bit because, you see, Farmer
Brown’s boy had bound them to his sides with strips of cloth so that he
couldn’t even try to fly. This was so that that broken wing might get
well and strong again.

Now of course the little Bob White had lived out of doors all his life,
and Farmer Brown’s boy knew that he never could be quite happy in the
house. So he made a wire pen in the henyard, and in one end he made the
nicest little shelter of pine-boughs under which the little Bob White
could hide. He put a little dish of clean water in the pen and scattered
wheat on the ground, and then he put the little Bob White in there.

As soon as he was left quite alone the little Bob White ran all about
to see what his new home was like. You see, there was nothing the matter
with his legs.

“I can’t get out,” thought he, when he had been all around the pen, “but
neither can any one get in, so I am safe and that is something to be
thankful for. This two-legged creature is not at all like the one with
the terrible fire-stick, and I am beginning to like him. I haven’t got
to fear Reddy Fox or Old Man Coyote or Redtail the Hawk. I guess that
really I am a lot better off than if I were out on the Green Meadows
unable to fly. Perhaps, when my wing gets well, I will be allowed to go.
I wonder where my father and mother and brothers and sisters are and if
any of them were hurt by that terrible fire-stick.”


````Thrice blessed be the girl or boy

````Who fills another’s heart with joy.=

|ONE day just by chance Bob White flew up in a tree where he could look
down in Fanner Brown’s henyard, and there he discovered the lost little
Bob and talked with him. Then Bob White flew back to the Green Meadows
where little Mrs. Bob was anxiously waiting for him, and his heart was
light. Mrs. Bob was watching for him and flew to meet him.

“It’s all right!” cried Bob. “I found him over in Fanner Brown’s
henyard.” Of course “him” meant the young Bob White who had been given
up as killed. “What?” exclaimed Mrs. Bob.

“What is a henyard, and what is he doing there?”

“A henyard is a place where Farmer Brown keeps a lot of big foolish
birds,” explained Bob, “and little Bob is a prisoner there.”

“How dreadful!” cried Mrs. Bob. “If he’s a prisoner, how can you say
it’s all right?”

“Because it is,” replied Bob. “He’s perfectly safe there, and he
wouldn’t be if he were here with us. You see, he can’t fly. One of his
wings was broken by the shot from that terrible gun. Farmer Brown’s boy
found him and has been very kind to him. He fixed that wing so that I
believe it is going to get quite as well as ever. You know quite as
well as I do how much chance little Bob would have had over here with a
broken wing. Reddy Fox or Redtail the Hawk or some one else would have
been sure to get him sooner or later. But up there they can’t, because
he is in a wire pen. He can’t get out, but neither can they get in, and
so he is safe. He and Farmer Brown’s boy are great friends. With my own
eyes I saw him feed from the hand of Farmer Brown’s boy. Do you know, I
believe that boy is really and truly our friend and can be trusted.”

“That is what Peter Rabbit is always saying, but after all we’ve
suffered from them, I can’t quite make up my mind that any of those
great two-legged creatures are to be trusted,” said little Mrs. Bob.
“I’ve got to see for myself.”

“You shall,” declared Bob. “Tomorrow morning you shall go up there and
I’ll stay here to look after the rest of the youngsters. I am afraid if
we left them alone some of them would be careless or foolish enough to
go where the hunters with terrible guns would find them.”

So the next morning Mrs. Bob went up to visit young Bob, and she saw all
that Bob had seen the day before. She returned with a great load off
her mind. She knew that Bob was right, and that Fanner Brown’s boy had
proved himself a true friend from whom there was nothing to fear. The
next day Bob and Mrs. Bob took the whole family up there, for Fanner
Brown’s boy had scattered food for them just outside the henyard where
the biddies could not get it, and Bob was smart enough to know that
no hunter would dare look for them so close to Farmer Brown’s house.
Morning after morning they went up there to get their breakfast, and
they didn’t even fly when Farmer Brown’s boy and Farmer Brown himself
came out to watch them eat.

Then one morning a wonderful thing happened. Farmer Brown’s boy took
young Bob out of his pen in the hen-yard. Young Bob looked quite himself
by this time, for the strips of cloth which had bound his broken wing
in place had been taken off, and his wing was as good as ever. Fanner
Brown’s boy took him outside the henyard and gently put him down on the

“There you are! Now go and join your family and in the future keep out
of the way of hunters,” said he, and laughed to see young Bob scamper
over to join his brothers and sisters.

Such a fuss as they made over him! Suddenly Bob White flew up to the
top of a post, threw back his head and whistled with all his might, “Bob
White! Bob White! Bob White!” You see, he just had to tell all the Great
World of the joy in his heart, although this was not the time of year in
which he usually whistles.

And this is how it happened that Bob White and his whole family came
regularly to Farmer Brown’s for their breakfasts, and no hunter ever
had another chance to carry fright and suffering and sorrow into their

So this is all about Bob White and his family because Ol’ Mistah Buzzard
has come all the way up from Ol’ Virginny for me to tell you about him
and his adventures. I’ve promised to do it in the very next book.


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