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Title: The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse
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 Danny Meadow Mouse" ***

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[Illustration: “I tell you what, you stay right here!” FRONTISPIECE.
_See page 57._]


    The Bedtime Story-Books



    Author of “The Adventures of Reddy Fox,”
    “Old Mother West Wind,” etc.

    _With Illustrations by



    _Copyright, 1915_,

    _All rights reserved_


        I. DANNY MEADOW MOUSE IS WORRIED                              1
       II. DANNY MEADOW MOUSE AND HIS SHORT TAIL                      5
      III. DANNY MEADOW MOUSE PLAYS HIDE AND SEEK                     9
        V. WHAT HAPPENED ON THE GREEN MEADOWS                        19
      VII. OLD GRANNY FOX TRIES A NEW PLAN                           29
     VIII. BROTHER NORTH WIND PROVES A FRIEND                        34
       IX. DANNY MEADOW MOUSE IS CAUGHT AT LAST                      39
        X. A STRANGE RIDE AND HOW IT ENDED                           44
       XI. PETER RABBIT GETS A FRIGHT                                49
      XII. THE OLD BRIAR-PATCH HAS A NEW TENANT                      54
      XIV. FARMER BROWN SETS A TRAP                                  64
       XV. PETER RABBIT IS CAUGHT IN A SNARE                         69
      XVI. PETER RABBIT’S HARD JOURNEY                               74
     XVII. DANNY MEADOW MOUSE BECOMES WORRIED                        79
       XX. TIMID DANNY MEADOW MOUSE                                  94
      XXI. AN EXCITING DAY FOR DANNY MEADOW MOUSE                   100
    XXIII. REDDY FOX GROWS CURIOUS                                  109
     XXIV. REDDY FOX LOSES HIS TEMPER                               114


    “I TELL YOU WHAT, YOU STAY RIGHT HERE!”                _Frontispiece_
          MR. TOAD                                               PAGE  6
          LAUGHED AT REDDY                                         “  12
    HE WAS BEING CARRIED                                           “  45
          JUST IN TIME                                             “ 107




DANNY MEADOW MOUSE sat on his door-step with his chin in his hands, and
it was very plain to see that Danny had something on his mind. He had
only a nod for Jimmy Skunk, and even Peter Rabbit could get no more
than a grumpy “good morning.” It wasn’t that he had been caught napping
the day before by Reddy Fox and nearly made an end of. No, it wasn’t
that. Danny had learned his lesson, and Reddy would never catch him
again. It wasn’t that he was all alone with no one to play with. Danny
was rather glad that he was alone. The fact is, Danny Meadow Mouse was

Now worry is one of the worst things in the world, and it didn’t seem
as if there was anything that Danny Meadow Mouse need worry about. But
you know it is the easiest thing in the world to find something to
worry over and make yourself uncomfortable about. And when you make
yourself uncomfortable, you are almost sure to make every one around
you equally uncomfortable. It was so with Danny Meadow Mouse. Striped
Chipmunk had twice called him “Cross Patch” that morning, and Johnny
Chuck, who had fought Reddy Fox for him the day before, had called him
“Grumpy.” And what do you think was the matter with Danny Meadow Mouse?
Why, he was worrying because his tail is short. Yes, Sir, that is all
that ailed Danny Meadow Mouse that bright morning.

You know some people let their looks make them miserable. They worry
because they are homely or freckled, or short or tall, or thin or
stout, all of which is very foolish. And Danny Meadow Mouse was just as
foolish in worrying because his tail is short.

It is short! It certainly is all of that! Danny never had realized how
short until he chanced to meet his cousin Whitefoot, who lives in the
Green Forest. He was very elegantly dressed, but the most imposing
thing about him was his long, slim, beautiful tail. Danny had at once
become conscious of his own stubby little tail, and he had hardly had
pride enough to hold his head up as became an honest Meadow Mouse.
Ever since he had been thinking and thinking, and wondering how his
family came to have such short tails. Then he grew envious and began to
wish and wish and wish that he could have a long tail like his cousin

He was so busy wishing that he had a long tail that he quite forgot to
take care of the tail he did have, and he pretty nearly lost it and his
life with it. Old Whitetail the Marsh Hawk, spied Danny sitting there
moping on his door-step, and came sailing over the tops of the meadow
grasses so softly that he all but caught Danny. If it hadn’t been for
one of the Merry Little Breezes, Danny would have been caught. And all
because he was envious. It’s a bad, bad habit.



ALL Danny Meadow Mouse could think about was his short tail. He was so
ashamed of it that whenever any one passed, he crawled out of sight
so that they should not see how short his tail is. Instead of playing
in the sunshine as he used to do, he sat and sulked. Pretty soon his
friends began to pass without stopping. Finally one day old Mr. Toad
sat down in front of Danny and began to ask questions.

“What’s the matter?” asked old Mr. Toad.

“Nothing,” replied Danny Meadow Mouse.

[Illustration: “Got plenty to eat and drink, haven’t you?” continued
Mr. Toad. _Page 6._]

“I don’t suppose that there really is anything the matter, but what do
you think is the matter?” said old Mr. Toad.

Danny fidgeted, and old Mr. Toad looked up at jolly, round, red Mr. Sun
and winked. “Sun is just as bright as ever, isn’t it?” he inquired.

“Yes,” said Danny.

“Got plenty to eat and drink, haven’t you?” continued Mr. Toad.

“Yes,” said Danny.

“Seems to me that that is a pretty good looking suit of clothes you’re
wearing,” said Mr. Toad, eyeing Danny critically. “Sunny weather,
plenty to eat and drink, and good clothes—must be you don’t know when
you’re well off, Danny Meadow Mouse.”

Danny hung his head. Finally he looked up and caught a kindly twinkle
in old Mr. Toad’s eyes. “Mr. Toad, how can I get a long tail like my
cousin Whitefoot of the Green Forest?” he asked.

“So that’s what’s the matter! Ha! ha! ha! Danny Meadow Mouse, I’m
ashamed of you! I certainly am ashamed of you!” said Mr. Toad. “What
good would a long tail do you? Tell me that.”

For a minute Danny didn’t know just what to say. “I—I—I’d look so much
better if I had a long tail,” he ventured.

Old Mr. Toad just laughed. “You never saw a Meadow Mouse with a long
tail, did you? Of course not. What a sight it would be! Why, everybody
on the Green Meadows would laugh themselves sick at the sight! You see
you need to be slim and trim and handsome to carry a long tail well.
And then what a nuisance it would be! You would always have to be
thinking of your tail and taking care to keep it out of harm’s way.
Look at me. I’m homely. Some folks call me ugly to look at. But no one
tries to catch me as Farmer Brown’s boy does Billy Mink because of
his fine coat; and no one wants to put me in a cage because of a fine
voice. I am satisfied to be just as I am, and if you’ll take my advice,
Danny Meadow Mouse, you’ll be satisfied to be just as you are.”

“Perhaps you are right,” said Danny Meadow Mouse after a little. “I’ll



LIFE is always a game of hide and seek to Danny Meadow Mouse. You
see, he is such a fat little fellow that there are a great many other
furry-coated people, and almost as many who wear feathers, who would
gobble Danny up for breakfast or for dinner if they could. Some of
them pretend to be his friends, but Danny always keeps his eyes open
when they are around and always begins to play hide and seek. Peter
Rabbit and Jimmy Skunk and Striped Chipmunk and Happy Jack Squirrel are
all friends whom he can trust, but he always has a bright twinkling
eye open for Reddy Fox and Billy Mink and Shadow the Weasel and old
Whitetail the Marsh Hawk, and several more, especially Hooty the Owl at

Now Danny Meadow Mouse is a stout-hearted little fellow, and when rough
Brother North Wind came shouting across the Green Meadows, tearing
to pieces the snow clouds and shaking out the snowflakes until they
covered the Green Meadows deep, deep, deep, Danny just snuggled down in
his warm coat in his snug little house of grass and waited. Danny liked
the snow. Yes, Sir, Danny Meadow Mouse liked the snow. He just loved to
dig in it and make tunnels. Through those tunnels in every direction
he could go where he pleased and when he pleased without being seen by
anybody. It was great fun!

Every little way he made a little round doorway up beside a stiff
stalk of grass. Out of this he could peep at the white world, and he
could get the fresh cold air. Sometimes, when he was quite sure that
no one was around, he would scamper across on top of the snow from one
doorway to another, and when he did this, he made the prettiest little

Now Reddy Fox knew all about those doorways and who made them. Reddy
was having hard work to get enough to eat this cold weather, and he was
hungry most of the time. One morning, as he came tiptoeing softly over
the meadows, what should he see just ahead of him but the head of Danny
Meadow Mouse pop out of one of those little round doorways. Reddy’s
mouth watered, and he stole forward more softly than ever. When he got
within jumping distance, he drew his stout hind legs under him and
made ready to spring. Presto! Danny Meadow Mouse had disappeared! Reddy
Fox jumped just the same and began to dig as fast as he could make his
paws go. He could smell Danny Meadow Mouse and that made him almost

[Illustration: Danny popped his head out of another little doorway and
laughed at Reddy. _Page 12._]

All the time Danny Meadow Mouse was scurrying along one of his little
tunnels, and when finally Reddy Fox stopped digging because he was
quite out of breath, Danny popped his head out of another little
doorway and laughed at Reddy. Of course Reddy saw him, and of course
Reddy tried to catch him there, and dug frantically just as before. And
of course Danny Meadow Mouse wasn’t there.

After a while Reddy Fox grew tired of this kind of a game and tried
another plan. The next time he saw Danny Meadow Mouse stick his head
out, Reddy pretended not to see him. He stretched himself out on the
ground and made believe that he was very tired and sleepy. He closed
his eyes. Then he opened them just the tiniest bit, so that he could
see Danny Meadow Mouse and yet seem to be asleep. Danny watched him for
a long time. Then he chuckled to himself and dropped out of sight.

No sooner was he gone than Reddy Fox stole over close to the little
doorway and waited. “He’ll surely stick his head out again to see if
I’m asleep, and then I’ll have him,” said Reddy to himself. So he
waited and waited and waited. By and by he turned his head. There was
Danny Meadow Mouse at another little doorway laughing at him!



DANNY MEADOW MOUSE had not enjoyed anything so much for a long time
as he did that game of hide and seek. He tickled and chuckled all the
afternoon as he thought about it. Of course Reddy had been “it.” He
had been “it” all the time, for never once had he caught Danny Meadow
Mouse. If he had—well, there wouldn’t have been any more stories about
Danny Meadow Mouse, because there wouldn’t have been any Danny Meadow
Mouse any more.

But Danny never let himself think about this. He had enjoyed the game
all the more because it had been such a dangerous game. It had been
such fun to dive into one of his little round doorways in the snow,
run along one of his own little tunnels, and then peep out at another
doorway and watch Reddy Fox digging as fast as ever he could at the
doorway Danny had just left. Finally Reddy had given up in disgust and
gone off muttering angrily to try to find something else for dinner.
Danny had sat up on the snow and watched him go. In his funny little
squeaky voice Danny shouted:

    “Though Reddy Fox is smart and sly,
     I’m just as smart and twice as spry.

That night Reddy Fox told old Granny Fox all about how he had tried
to catch Danny Meadow Mouse. Granny listened with her head cocked on
one side. When Reddy told how fat Danny Meadow Mouse was, her mouth
watered. You see now that snow covered the Green Meadows and the Green
Forest, Granny and Reddy Fox had hard work to get enough to eat, and
they were hungry most of the time.

“I’ll go with you down on the meadows to-morrow morning, and then we’ll
see if Danny Meadow Mouse is as smart as he thinks he is,” said Granny

So, bright and early the next morning, old Granny Fox and Reddy Fox
went down on the meadows where Danny Meadow Mouse lives. Danny had felt
in his bones that Reddy would come back, so he was watching, and he
saw them as soon as they came out of the Green Forest. When he saw old
Granny Fox, Danny’s heart beat a little faster than before, for he knew
that Granny Fox is very smart and very wise and has learned most of
the tricks of all the other little meadow and forest people.

“This is going to be a more exciting game than the other,” said Danny
to himself, and scurried down out of sight to see that all his little
tunnels were clear so that he could run fast through them if he had to.
Then he peeped out of one of his little doorways hidden in a clump of
tall grass.

Old Granny Fox set Reddy to hunting for Danny’s little round doorways,
and as fast as he found them, Granny came up and sniffed at each. She
knew that she could tell by the smell which one he had been at last.
Finally she came straight towards the tall bunch of grass. Danny ducked
down and scurried along one of his little tunnels. He heard Granny Fox
sniff at the doorway he had just left. Suddenly something plunged down
through the snow right at his very heels. Danny didn’t have to look to
know that it was Granny Fox herself, and he squeaked with fright.



THICK and fast things were happening to Danny Meadow Mouse down on
the snow-covered Green Meadows. Rather, they were almost happening.
He hadn’t minded when Reddy Fox all alone tried to catch him. Indeed,
he had made a regular game of hide and seek of it and had enjoyed it
immensely. But now it was different. Granny Fox wasn’t so easily fooled
as Reddy Fox. Just Granny alone would have made the game dangerous
for Danny Meadow Mouse. But Reddy was with her, and so Danny had two
to look out for, and he got so many frights that it seemed to him as
if his heart had moved right up into his mouth and was going to stay
there. Yes, Sir, that is just how it seemed.

Down in his little tunnels underneath the snow Danny Meadow Mouse felt
perfectly safe from Reddy Fox, who would stop and dig frantically at
the little round doorway where he had last seen Danny. But old Granny
Fox knew all about those little tunnels, and she didn’t waste any time
digging at the doorways. Instead she cocked her sharp little ears and
listened with all her might. Now Granny Fox has very keen ears, oh,
very keen ears, and she heard just what she hoped she would hear. She
heard Danny Meadow Mouse running along one of his little tunnels under
the snow.

Plunge! Old Granny Fox dived right into the snow and right through into
the tunnel of Danny Meadow Mouse. Her two black paws actually touched
Danny’s tail. He was glad then that it was no longer.

“Ha!” cried Granny Fox, “I almost got him that time!”

Then she ran ahead a little way over the snow, listening as before.
Plunge! Into the snow she went again. It was lucky for him that Danny
had just turned into another tunnel, for otherwise she would surely
have caught him.

Granny Fox blew the snow out of her nose. “Next time I’ll get him!”
said she.

Now Reddy Fox is quick to learn, especially when it is a way to get
something to eat. He watched Granny Fox, and when he understood what
she was doing, he made up his mind to have a try himself, for he was
afraid that if she caught Danny Meadow Mouse, she would think that he
was not big enough to divide. Perhaps that was because Reddy is very
selfish himself. So the next time Granny plunged into the snow and
missed Danny Meadow Mouse just as before, Reddy rushed in ahead of her,
and the minute he heard Danny running down below, he plunged in just
as he had seen Granny do. But he didn’t take the pains to make sure of
just where Danny was, and so of course he didn’t come anywhere near
him. But he frightened Danny still more and made old Granny Fox lose
her temper.

Poor Danny Meadow Mouse! He had never been so frightened in all his
life. He didn’t know which way to turn or where to run. And so he sat
still, which, although he didn’t know it, was the very best thing he
could do. When he sat still he made no noise, and so of course Granny
and Reddy Fox could not tell where he was. Old Granny Fox sat and
listened and listened and listened, and wondered where Danny Meadow
Mouse was. And down under the snow Danny Meadow Mouse sat and listened
and listened and listened, and wondered where Granny and Reddy Fox were.

“Pooh!” said Granny Fox after a while, “that Meadow Mouse thinks he can
fool me by sitting still. I’ll give him a scare.”

Then she began to plunge into the snow this way and that way, and sure
enough, pretty soon she landed so close to Danny Meadow Mouse that one
of her claws scratched him.



“THERE he goes!” cried old Granny Fox. “Don’t let him sit still again!”

“I hear him!” shouted Reddy Fox, and plunged down into the snow just
as Granny Fox had done a minute before. But he didn’t catch anything,
and when he had blown the snow out of his nose and wiped it out of his
eyes, he saw Granny Fox dive into the snow with no better luck.

“Never mind,” said Granny Fox, “as long as we keep him running, we can
hear him, and some one of these times we’ll catch him. Pretty soon
he’ll get too tired to be so spry, and when he is—” Granny didn’t
finish, but licked her chops and smacked her lips. Reddy Fox grinned,
then licked his chops and smacked his lips. Then once more they took
turns diving into the snow.

And down underneath in the little tunnels he had made, Danny Meadow
Mouse was running for his life. He was getting tired, just as old
Granny Fox had said he would. He was almost out of breath. He was sore
and one leg smarted, for in one of her jumps old Granny Fox had so
nearly caught him that her claws had torn his pants and scratched him.

“Oh, dear! Oh, dear! If only I had time to think!” panted Danny Meadow
Mouse, and then he squealed in still greater fright as Reddy Fox
crashed down into his tunnel right at his very heels. “I’ve got to get
somewhere! I’ve got to get somewhere where they can’t get at me!” he
sobbed. And right that very instant he remembered the old fence-post!

The old fence-post lay on the ground and was hollow. Fastened to it
were long wires with sharp cruel barbs. Danny had made a tunnel over to
that old fence-post the very first day after the snow came, for in that
hollow in the old post he had a secret store of seeds. Why hadn’t he
thought of it before? It must have been because he was too frightened
to think. But he remembered now, and he dodged into the tunnel that
led to the old fence-post, running faster than ever, for though his
heart was in his mouth from fear, in his heart was hope, and hope is a
wonderful thing.

Now old Granny Fox knew all about that old fence-post and she
remembered all about those barbed wires fastened to it. Although they
were covered with snow she knew just about where they lay, and just
before she reached them she stopped plunging down into the snow. Reddy
Fox knew about those wires, too, but he was so excited that he forgot
all about them.

“Stop!” cried old Granny Fox sharply.

But Reddy Fox didn’t hear, or if he heard he didn’t heed. His sharp
ears could hear Danny Meadow Mouse running almost underneath him.
Granny Fox could stop if she wanted to, but he was going to have Danny
Meadow Mouse for his breakfast! Down into the snow he plunged as hard
as ever he could.

“Oh! Oh! Wow! Wow! Oh, dear! Oh, dear!”

That wasn’t the voice of Danny Meadow Mouse. Oh, my, no! It was the
voice of Reddy Fox. Yes, Sir, it was the voice of Reddy Fox. He had
landed with one of his black paws right on one of those sharp wire
barbs, and it did hurt dreadfully.

“I never did know a young Fox who could get into so much trouble as
you can!” snapped old Granny Fox, as Reddy hobbled along on three legs
behind her, across the snow-covered Green Meadows. “It serves you right
for forgetting!”

“Yes’m,” said Reddy meekly.

And safe in the hollow of the old fence-post, Danny Meadow Mouse was
dressing the scratch on his leg made by the claws of old Granny Fox.



OLD Granny Fox kept thinking about Danny Meadow Mouse. She knew that he
was fat, and it made her mouth water every time she thought of him. She
made up her mind that she must and would have him. She knew that Danny
had been very, very much frightened when she and Reddy Fox had tried
so hard to catch him by plunging down through the snow into his little
tunnels after him, and she felt pretty sure that he wouldn’t go far
away from the old fence-post, in the hollow of which he was snug and

Old Granny Fox is very smart. “Danny Meadow Mouse won’t put his nose
out of that old fence-post for a day or two. Then he’ll get tired of
staying inside all the time, and he’ll peep out of one of his little
round doorways to see if the way is clear. If he doesn’t see any
danger, he’ll come out and run around on top of the snow to get some of
the seeds in the tops of the tall grasses that stick out through the
snow. If nothing frightens him, he’ll keep going a little farther and
a little farther from that old fence-post. I must see to it that Danny
Meadow Mouse isn’t frightened for a few days.” So said old Granny Fox
to herself, as she lay under a hemlock-tree, studying how she could
best get the next meal.

Then she called Reddy Fox to her and forbade him to go down on the
meadows until she should tell him he might. Reddy grumbled and mumbled
and didn’t see why he shouldn’t go where he pleased, but he didn’t
dare disobey. You see he had a sore foot. He had hurt it on a wire barb
when he was plunging through the snow after Danny Meadow Mouse, and now
he had to run on three legs. That meant that he must depend upon Granny
Fox to help him get enough to eat. So Reddy didn’t dare to disobey.

It all came out just as Granny Fox had thought it would. Danny Meadow
Mouse _did_ get tired of staying in the old fence-post. He _did_ peep
out first, and then he _did_ run a little way on the snow, and then a
little farther and a little farther. But all the time he took great
care not to get more than a jump or two from one of his little round
doorways leading down to his tunnels under the snow.

Hidden on the edge of the Green Forest, Granny Fox watched him. She
looked up at the sky, and she knew that it was going to snow again.
“That’s good,” said she. “To-morrow morning I’ll have fat Meadow Mouse
for breakfast,” and she smiled a hungry smile.

The next morning, before jolly, round, red Mr. Sun was out of bed, old
Granny Fox trotted down on to the meadows and straight over to where,
down under the snow, lay the old fence-post. It had snowed again, and
all of the little doorways of Danny Meadow Mouse were covered up with
soft, fleecy snow. Behind Granny Fox limped Reddy Fox, grumbling to

When they reached the place where the old fence-post lay buried under
the snow, old Granny Fox stretched out as flat as she could. Then she
told Reddy to cover her up with the new soft snow. Reddy did as he was
told, but all the time he grumbled. “Now you go off to the Green Forest
and keep out of sight,” said Granny Fox. “By and by I’ll bring you
some Meadow Mouse for your breakfast,” and Granny Fox chuckled to think
how smart she was and how she was going to catch Danny Meadow Mouse.



DANNY MEADOW MOUSE had seen nothing of old Granny Fox or Reddy Fox for
several days. Every morning the first thing he did, even before he had
breakfast, was to climb up to one of his little round doorways and peep
out over the beautiful white meadows, to see if there was any danger
near. But every time he did this, Danny used a different doorway.
“For,” said Danny to himself, “if any one should happen, just happen,
to see me this morning, they might be waiting just outside my doorway
to catch me to-morrow morning.” You see there is a great deal of wisdom
in the little head that Danny Meadow Mouse carries on his shoulders.

But the first day and the second day and the third day he saw nothing
of old Granny Fox or of Reddy Fox, and he began to enjoy running
through his tunnels under the snow and scurrying across from one
doorway to another on top of the snow, just as he had before the Foxes
had tried so hard to catch him. But he hadn’t forgotten, as Granny Fox
had hoped he would. No, indeed, Danny Meadow Mouse hadn’t forgotten. He
was too wise for that.

One morning, when he started to climb up to one of his little doorways,
he found that it was closed. Yes, Sir, it was closed. In fact, there
wasn’t any doorway. More snow had fallen from the clouds in the night
and had covered up every one of the little round doorways of Danny
Meadow Mouse.

“Ha!” said Danny, “I shall have a busy day, a very busy day, opening
all my doorways. I’ll eat my breakfast, and then I’ll go to work.”

So Danny Meadow Mouse ate a good breakfast of seeds which he had stored
in the hollow in the old fence-post buried under the snow, and then he
began work on the nearest doorway. It really wasn’t work at all, for
you see the snow was soft and light, and Danny dearly loved to dig in
it. In a few minutes he had made a wee hole through which he could peep
up at jolly, round Mr. Sun. In a few minutes more he had made it big
enough to put his head out. He looked this way and he looked that way.
Far, far off on the top of a tree he could see old Roughleg the Hawk,
but he was so far away that Danny didn’t fear him at all.

“I don’t see anything or anybody to be afraid of,” said Danny and
poked his head out a little farther.

Then he sat and studied everything around him a long, long time. It was
a beautiful white world, a very beautiful white world. Everything was
so white and pure and beautiful that it didn’t seem possible that harm
or danger for any one could even be thought of. But Danny Meadow Mouse
learned long ago that things are not always what they seem, and so he
sat with just his little head sticking out of his doorway and studied
and studied. Just a little way off was a little heap of snow.

“I don’t remember that,” said Danny. “And I don’t remember anything
that would make that. There isn’t any little bush or old log or
anything underneath it. Perhaps rough Brother North Wind heaped it up,
just for fun.”

But all the time Danny Meadow Mouse kept studying and studying that
little heap of snow. Pretty soon he saw rough Brother North Wind coming
his way and tossing the snow about as he came. He caught a handful from
the top of the little heap of snow that Danny was studying, and when he
had passed, Danny’s sharp eyes saw something red there. It was just the
color of the cloak old Granny Fox wears.

    “Granny Fox, you can’t fool me!
     I see you plain as plain can be!”

shouted Danny Meadow Mouse and dropped down out of sight, while old
Granny Fox shook the snow from her red cloak and, with a snarl of
disappointment and anger, slowly started for the Green Forest, where
Reddy Fox was waiting for her.



     Play and frolic in the snow!
     Now you see me! Now you don’t!
     Think you’ll catch me, but you won’t!
     Oh, such fun to play in snow!”

DANNY MEADOW MOUSE sang this, or at least he tried to sing it, as he
skipped about on the snow that covered the Green Meadows. But Danny
Meadow Mouse has such a little voice, such a funny little squeaky
voice, that had you been there you probably would never have guessed
that he was singing. He thought he was, though, and was enjoying it
just as much as if he had the most beautiful voice in the world. You
know singing is nothing in the world but happiness in the heart making
itself heard.

Oh, yes, Danny Meadow Mouse was happy! Why shouldn’t he have been?
Hadn’t he proved himself smarter than old Granny Fox? That is something
to make any one happy. Some folks may fool Granny Fox once; some may
fool her twice; but there are very few who can keep right on fooling
her until she gives up in disgust. That is just what Danny Meadow Mouse
had done, and he felt very smart and of course he felt very happy.

So Danny sang his little song and skipped about in the moonlight, and
dodged in and out of his little round doorways, and all the time kept
his sharp little eyes open for any sign of Granny Fox or Reddy Fox.
But with all his smartness, Danny forgot. Yes, Sir, Danny forgot one
thing. He forgot to watch up in the sky. He knew that of course old
Roughleg the Hawk was asleep, so he had nothing to fear from him. But
he never once thought of Hooty the Owl.

Dear me, dear me! Forgetting is a dreadful habit. If nobody ever
forgot, there wouldn’t be nearly so much trouble in the world. No,
indeed, there wouldn’t be nearly so much trouble. And Danny Meadow
Mouse forgot. He skipped and sang and was happy as could be, and never
once thought to watch up in the sky.

Over in the Green Forest Hooty the Owl had had poor hunting, and he was
feeling cross. You see, Hooty was hungry, and hunger is apt to make one
feel cross. The longer he hunted, the hungrier and crosser he grew.
Suddenly he thought of Danny Meadow Mouse.

“I suppose he is asleep somewhere safe and snug under the snow,”
grumbled Hooty, “but he might be, he just _might_ be out for a frolic
in the moonlight. I believe I’ll go down on the meadows and see.”

Now Hooty the Owl can fly without making the teeniest, weeniest sound.
It seems as if he just drifts along through the air like a great
shadow. Now he spread his great wings and floated out over the meadows.
You know Hooty can see as well at night as most folks can by day, and
it was not long before he saw Danny Meadow Mouse skipping about on the
snow and dodging in and out of his little round doorways. Hooty’s great
eyes grew brighter and fiercer. Without a sound he floated through the
moonlight until he was just over Danny Meadow Mouse.

Too late Danny looked up. His little song ended in a tiny squeak of
fear, and he started for his nearest little round doorway. Hooty the
Owl reached down with his long cruel claws and—Danny Meadow Mouse was
caught at last!



DANNY MEADOW MOUSE often had sat watching Skimmer the Swallow sailing
around up in the blue, blue sky. He had watched Ol’ Mistah Buzzard
go up, up, up, until he was nothing but a tiny speck, and Danny had
wondered how it would seem to be way up above the Green Meadows and the
Green Forest and look down. It had seemed to him that it must be very
wonderful and beautiful. Sometimes he had wished that he had wings and
could go up in the air and look down. And now here he was, he, Danny
Meadow Mouse, actually doing that very thing!

[Illustration: He was being carried. _Page 45._]

But Danny could see nothing wonderful or beautiful now. No, indeed!
Everything was terrible, for you see Danny Meadow Mouse wasn’t flying
himself. He was being carried. Yes, Sir, Danny Meadow Mouse was being
carried through the air in the cruel claws of Hooty the Owl! And all
because Danny had forgotten—forgotten to watch up in the sky for danger.

Poor, poor Danny Meadow Mouse! Hooty’s great cruel claws hurt him
dreadfully! But it wasn’t the pain that was the worst. No, indeed! It
wasn’t the pain! It was the thought of what would happen when Hooty
reached his home in the Green Forest, for he knew that there Hooty
would gobble him up, bones and all. As he flew, Hooty kept chuckling,
and Danny Meadow Mouse knew just what those chuckles meant. They meant
that Hooty was thinking of the good meal he was going to have.

Hanging there in Hooty’s great cruel claws, Danny looked down on the
snow-covered Green Meadows he loved so well. They seemed a frightfully
long way below him, though really they were not far at all, for Hooty
was flying very low. But Danny Meadow Mouse had never in all his life
been so high up before, and so it seemed to him that he was way, way up
in the sky, and he shut his eyes so as not to see. But he couldn’t keep
them shut. No, Sir, he couldn’t keep them shut! He just _had_ to keep
opening them. There was the dear old Green Forest drawing nearer and
nearer. It always had looked very beautiful to Danny Meadow Mouse, but
now it looked terrible, very terrible indeed, because over in it, in
some dark place, was the home of Hooty the Owl.

Just ahead of him was the Old Briar-patch where Peter Rabbit lives so
safely. Every old bramble in it was covered with snow and it was very,
very beautiful. Really everything was just as beautiful as ever—the
moonlight, the Green Forest, the snow-covered Green Meadows, the Old
Briar-patch. The only change was in Danny Meadow Mouse himself, and it
was all because he had forgotten.

Suddenly Danny began to wriggle and struggle. “Keep still!” snapped
Hooty the Owl.

But Danny only struggled harder than ever. It seemed to him that Hooty
wasn’t holding him as tightly as at first. He felt one of Hooty’s claws
slip. It tore his coat and hurt dreadfully, but it slipped! The fact
is, Hooty had only grabbed Danny Meadow Mouse by the loose part of his
coat, and up in the air he couldn’t get hold of Danny any better. Danny
kicked, squirmed and twisted, and twisted, squirmed, and kicked. He
felt his coat tear and of course the skin with it, but he kept right
on, for now he was hanging almost free. Hooty had started down now,
so as to get a better hold. Danny gave one more kick and then—he felt
himself falling!

Danny Meadow Mouse shut his eyes and held his breath. Down, down, down
he fell. It seemed to him that he never would strike the snow-covered
meadows! Really he fell only a very little distance. But it seemed a
terrible distance to Danny. He hit something that scratched him, and
then plump! he landed in the soft snow right in the very middle of
the Old Briar-patch, and the last thing he remembered was hearing the
scream of disappointment and rage of Hooty the Owl.



PETER RABBIT sat in his favorite place in the middle of the dear Old
Briar-patch, trying to decide which way he would go on his travels that
night. The night before he had had a narrow escape from old Granny Fox
over in the Green Forest. There was nothing to eat around the Smiling
Pool and no one to talk to there any more, and you know that Peter must
either eat or ask questions in order to be perfectly happy. No, the
Smiling Pool was too dull a place to interest Peter on such a beautiful
moonlight night, and Peter had no mind to try his legs against those
of old Granny Fox again in the Green Forest.

Early that morning, just after Peter had settled down for his morning
nap, Tommy Tit the Chickadee had dropped into the dear Old Briar-patch
just to be neighborly. Peter was just dozing off when he heard the
cheeriest little voice in the world. It was saying:

     I see you! Can you see me?”

Peter began to smile even before he could get his eyes open and look
up. There, right over his head, was Tommy Tit hanging head down from a
nodding old bramble. In a twinkling he was down on the snow right in
front of Peter, then up in the brambles again, right side up, upside
down, here, there, everywhere, never still a minute, and all the time
chattering away in the cheeriest little voice in the world.

     I’m as happy as can be!
     Find it much the better way
     To be happy all the day.
     Everybody’s good to me!”

“Hello, Tommy!” said Peter Rabbit. “Where’d you come from?”

“From Farmer Brown’s new orchard up on the hill. It’s a fine orchard,
Peter Rabbit, a fine orchard. I go there every morning for my
breakfast. If the winter lasts long enough, I’ll have all the trees
cleaned up for Farmer Brown.”

Peter looked puzzled. “What do you mean?” he asked.

“Just what I say,” replied Tommy Tit, almost turning a somersault in
the air. “There’s a million eggs of insects on those young peach-trees,
but I’m clearing them all off as fast as I can. They’re mighty fine
eating, Peter Rabbit, mighty fine eating!” And with that Tommy Tit had
said good-by and flitted away.

Peter was thinking of that young orchard now, as he sat in the
moonlight trying to make up his mind where to go. The thought of those
young peach-trees made his mouth water. It was a long way up to the
orchard on the hill, a very long way, and Peter was wondering if it
really was safe to go. He had just about made up his mind to try it,
for Peter is very, very fond of the bark of young peach-trees, when
thump! something dropped out of the sky at his very feet.

It startled Peter so that he nearly tumbled over backward. And right at
the same instant came the fierce, angry scream of Hooty the Owl. That
almost made Peter’s heart stop beating, although he knew that Hooty
couldn’t get him down there in the Old Briar-patch. When Peter got his
wits together and his heart didn’t go so jumpy, he looked to see what
had dropped so close to him out of the sky. His big eyes grew bigger
than ever, and he rubbed them to make quite sure that he really saw
what he thought he saw. Yes, there was no doubt about it—there at his
feet lay Danny Meadow Mouse!



DANNY MEADOW MOUSE slowly opened his eyes and then closed them again
quickly, as if afraid to look around. He could hear some one talking.
It was a pleasant voice, not at all like the terrible voice of Hooty
the Owl, which was the very last thing that Danny Meadow Mouse could
remember. Danny lay still a minute and listened.

“Why, Danny Meadow Mouse, where in the world did you drop from?” asked
the voice. It sounded like—why, very much like Peter Rabbit speaking.
Danny opened his eyes again. It _was_ Peter Rabbit.

“Where—where am I?” asked Danny Meadow Mouse in a very weak and small

“In the middle of the dear Old Briar-patch with me,” replied Peter
Rabbit. “But how did you get here? You seemed to drop right out of the

Danny Meadow Mouse shuddered. Suddenly he remembered everything: how
Hooty the Owl had caught him in great cruel claws and had carried him
through the moonlight across the snow-covered Green Meadows; how he had
felt Hooty’s claws slip and then had struggled and kicked and twisted
and turned until his coat had torn and he had dropped down, down, down
until he had landed in the soft snow and knocked all the breath out of
his little body. The very last thing he could remember was Hooty’s
fierce scream of rage and disappointment. Danny shuddered again.

Then a new thought came to him. He must get out of sight! Hooty might
catch him again! Danny tried to scramble to his feet.

“Ooch! Oh!” groaned Danny and lay still again.

“There, there. Keep still, Danny Meadow Mouse. There’s nothing to be
afraid of here,” said Peter Rabbit gently. His big eyes filled with
tears as he looked at Danny Meadow Mouse, for Danny was all torn and
hurt by the cruel claws of Hooty the Owl, and you know Peter has a very
tender heart.

So Danny lay still, and while Peter Rabbit tried to make him
comfortable and dress his hurts, he told Peter all about how he had
forgotten to watch up in the sky and so had been caught by Hooty the
Owl, and all about his terrible ride in Hooty’s cruel claws.

“Oh, dear, whatever shall I do now?” he ended. “However shall I get
back home to my warm house of grass, my safe little tunnels under
the snow, and my little store of seeds in the snug hollow in the old

Peter Rabbit looked thoughtful. “You can’t do it,” said he. “You
simply can’t do it. It is such a long way for a little fellow like you
that it wouldn’t be safe to try. If you went at night, Hooty the Owl
might catch you again. If you tried in daylight, old Roughleg the Hawk
would be almost sure to see you. And night or day old Granny Fox or
Reddy Fox might come snooping around, and if they did, they would be
sure to catch you. I tell you what, you stay right here! The dear Old
Briar-patch is the safest place in the world. Why, just think, here
you can come out in broad daylight and laugh at Granny and Reddy Fox
and at old Roughleg the Hawk, because the good old brambles will keep
them out, if they try to get you. You can make just as good tunnels
under the snow here as you had there, and there are lots and lots of
seeds on the ground to eat. You know I don’t care for them myself. I’m
lonesome sometimes, living here all alone. You stay here, and we’ll
have the Old Briar-patch to ourselves.”

Danny Meadow Mouse looked at Peter gratefully. “I will, and thank you
ever so much, Peter Rabbit,” he said.

And this is how the dear Old Briar-patch happened to have another



“DON’T go, Peter Rabbit! Don’t go!” begged Danny Meadow Mouse.

Peter hopped to the edge of the Old Briar-patch and looked over the
moonlit, snow-covered meadows to the hill back of Farmer Brown’s
house. On that hill was the young peach orchard of which Tommy Tit the
Chickadee had told him, and ever since Peter’s mouth had watered and
watered every time he thought of those young peach-trees and the tender
bark on them.

“I think I will, Danny, just this once,” said Peter. “It’s a long way,
and I’ve never been there before; but I guess it’s just as safe as the
Meadows or the Green Forest.

    “Oh I’m as bold as bold can be!
       Sing hoppy-hippy-hippy-hop-o!
     I’ll hie me forth the world to see!
       Sing hoppy-hippy-hippy-hop-o!
         My ears are long,
         My legs are strong,
         So now good day;
         I’ll hie away!
       Sing hoppy-hippy-hippy-hop-o!”

And with that, Peter Rabbit left the dear safe Old Briar-patch, and
away he went lipperty-lipperty-lip, across the Green Meadows towards
the hill and the young orchard back of Farmer Brown’s house.

Danny Meadow Mouse watched him go and shook his head in disapproval.
“Foolish, foolish, foolish!” he said over and over to himself. “Why
can’t Peter be content with the good things that he has?”

Peter Rabbit hurried along through the moonlight, stopping every few
minutes to sit up to look and listen. He heard the fierce hunting call
of Hooty the Owl way over in the Green Forest, so he felt sure that at
present there was nothing to fear from him. He knew that since their
return to the Green Meadows and the Green Forest, Granny and Reddy Fox
had kept away from Farmer Brown’s, so he did not worry about them.

All in good time Peter came to the young orchard. It was just as
Tommy Tit the Chickadee had told him. Peter hopped up to the nearest
peach-tree and nibbled the bark. My, how good it tasted! He went all
around the tree, stripping off the bark. He stood up on his long hind
legs and reached as high as he could. Then he dug the snow away and ate
down as far as he could. When he could get no more tender young bark,
he went on to the next tree.

Now though Peter didn’t know it, he was in the very worst kind of
mischief. You see, when he took off all the bark all the way around
the young peach-tree he killed the tree, for you know it is on the
inside of the bark that the sap which gives life to a tree and makes
it grow goes up from the roots to all the branches. So when Peter ate
the bark all the way around the trunk of the young tree, he had made it
impossible for the sap to come up in the spring. Oh, it was the very
worst kind of mischief that Peter Rabbit was in.

But Peter didn’t know it, and he kept right on filling that big stomach
of his and enjoying it so much that he forgot to watch out for danger.
Suddenly, just as he had begun on another tree, a great roar right
behind him made him jump almost out of his skin. He knew that voice,
and without waiting to even look behind him, he started for the stone
wall on the other side of the orchard. Right at his heels, his great
mouth wide open, was Bowser the Hound.



PETER RABBIT was in trouble. He had gotten into mischief and now,
like every one who gets into mischief, he wished that he hadn’t. The
worst of it was that he was a long way from his home in the dear Old
Briar-patch, and he didn’t know how he ever could get back there again.
Where was he? Why, in the stone wall on one side of Farmer Brown’s
young peach orchard. How Peter blessed the old stone wall in which he
had found a safe hiding-place! Bowser had hung around nearly all night,
so that Peter had not dared to try to go home. Now it was daylight,
and Peter knew it would not be safe to put his nose outside.

Peter was worried, so worried that he couldn’t go to sleep as he
usually does in the daytime. So he sat hidden in the old wall and
waited and watched. By and by he saw Farmer Brown and Farmer Brown’s
boy come out into the orchard. Right away they saw the mischief which
Peter had done, and he could tell by the sound of their voices that
they were very, very angry. They went away, but before long they were
back again, and all day long Peter watched them work putting something
around each of the young peach-trees. Peter grew so curious that he
forgot all about his troubles and how far away from home he was. He
could hardly wait for night to come so that he might see what they had
been doing.

Just as jolly, round, red Mr. Sun started to go to bed behind the
Purple Hills, Farmer Brown and his boy started back to the house.
Farmer Brown was smiling now.

“I guess that that will fix him!” he said.

“Now what does he mean by that?” thought Peter. “Who will it fix? Can
it be me? I don’t need any fixing.”

He waited just as long as he could. When all was still, and the
moonlight had begun to make shadows of the trees on the snow, Peter
very cautiously crept out of his hiding-place. Bowser the Hound was
nowhere in sight, and everything was as quiet and peaceful as it had
been when he first came into the orchard the night before. Peter had
fully made up his mind to go straight home as fast as his long legs
would take him, but his dreadful curiosity insisted that first he must
find out what Farmer Brown and his boy had been doing to the young

So Peter hurried over to the nearest tree. All around the trunk of
the tree, from the ground clear up higher than Peter could reach, was
wrapped wire netting. Peter couldn’t get so much as a nibble of the
delicious bark. He hadn’t intended to take any, for he had meant to go
right straight home, but now that he couldn’t get any, he wanted some
more than ever,—just a bite. Peter looked around. Everything was quiet.
He would try the next tree, and then he would go home.

But the next tree was wrapped with wire. Peter hesitated, looked
around, turned to go home, thought of how good that bark had tasted the
night before, hesitated again, and then hurried over to the third tree.
It was protected just like the others. Then Peter forgot all about
going home. He wanted some of that delicious bark, and he ran from one
tree to another as fast as he could go.

At last, way down at the end of the orchard, Peter found a tree
that had no wire around it. “They must have forgotten this one!” he
thought, and his eyes sparkled. All around on the snow were a lot of
little, shiny wires, but Peter didn’t notice them. All he saw was that
delicious bark on the young peach-tree. He hopped right into the middle
of the wires, and then, just as he reached up to take the first bite of
bark, he felt something tugging at one of his hind legs.



WHEN Peter Rabbit, reaching up to nibble the bark of one of Farmer
Brown’s young trees, felt something tugging at one of his hind legs,
he was so startled that he jumped to get away. Instead of doing this,
he fell flat on his face. The thing on his hind leg had tightened and
held him fast. A great fear came to Peter Rabbit, and lying there in
the snow, he kicked and struggled with all his might. But the more he
kicked, the tighter grew that hateful thing on his leg! Finally he grew
too tired to kick any more and lay still. The dreadful thing that held
him hurt his leg, but it didn’t pull when he lay still.

When he had grown a little calmer, Peter sat up to examine the thing
which held him so fast. It was something like one of the blackberry
vines he had sometimes tripped over, only it was bright and shiny, and
had no branches or tiny prickers, and one end was fastened to a stake.
Peter tried to bite off the shiny thing, but even his great, sharp
front teeth couldn’t cut it. Then Peter knew what it was. It was wire!
It was a snare which Farmer Brown had set to catch him, and which he
had walked right into because he had been so greedy for the bark of the
young peach-tree that he had not used his eyes to look out for danger.

Oh, how Peter Rabbit did wish that he had not been so curious to know
what Farmer Brown had been doing that day, and that he had gone
straight home as he had meant to do, instead of trying to get one more
meal of young peach-bark! Big tears rolled down Peter’s cheeks. What
should he do? What _could_ he do? For a long time Peter sat in the
moonlight, trying to think of something to do. At last he thought of
the stake to which that hateful wire was fastened. The stake was of
wood, and Peter’s teeth would cut wood. Peter’s heart gave a great leap
of hope, and he began at once to dig away the snow from around the
stake, and then settled himself to gnaw the stake in two.

Peter had been hard at work on the stake a long time and had it a
little more than half cut through, when he heard a loud sniff down at
the other end of the orchard. He looked up to see—whom do you think?
Why, Bowser the Hound! He hadn’t seen Peter yet, but he had already
found Peter’s tracks, and it wouldn’t be but a few minutes before he
found Peter himself.

Poor Peter Rabbit! There wasn’t time to finish cutting off the stake.
What could he do? He made a frightened jump just as he had when he
first felt the wire tugging at his leg. Just as before, he was thrown
flat on his face. He scrambled to his feet and jumped again, only to be
thrown just as before. Just then Bowser the Hound saw him and opening
his mouth sent forth a great roar. Peter made one more frantic jump.
Snap! the stake had broken! Peter pitched forward on his head, turned a
somersault, and scrambled to his feet. He was free at last! That is, he
could run, but after him dragged a piece of the stake.

How Peter did run! It was hard work, for you know he had to drag that
piece of stake after him. But he did it, and just in time he crawled
into the old stone wall on one side of the orchard, while Bowser the
Hound barked his disappointment to the moon.



PETER RABBIT sat in the old stone wall along one side of Farmer Brown’s
orchard, waiting for Mrs. Moon to put out her light and leave the world
in darkness until jolly, round, red Mr. Sun should kick off his rosy
bedclothes and begin his daily climb up in the blue, blue sky. In the
winter, Mr. Sun is a late sleeper, and Peter knew that there would be
two or three hours after Mrs. Moon put out her light when it would be
quite dark. And Peter also knew too that by this time Hooty the Owl
would probably have caught his dinner. So would old Granny Fox and
Reddy Fox. Bowser the Hound would be too sleepy to be on the watch. It
would be the very safest time for Peter to try to get to his home in
the dear Old Briar-patch.

So Peter waited and waited. Twice Bowser the Hound, who had chased him
into the old wall, came over and barked at him and tried to get at him.
But the old wall kept Peter safe, and Bowser gave it up. And all the
time Peter sat waiting he was in great pain. You see that shiny wire
was drawn so tight that it cut into his flesh and hurt dreadfully, and
to the other end of the wire was fastened a piece of wood, part of the
stake to which the snare had been made fast and which Peter had managed
to gnaw and break off.

It was on account of this that Peter was waiting for Mrs. Moon to put
out her light. He knew that with that stake dragging after him he would
have to go very slowly, and he could not run any more risk of danger
than he actually had to. So he waited and waited, and by and by, sure
enough, Mrs. Moon put out her light. Peter waited a little longer,
listening with all his might. Everything was still. Then Peter crept
out of the old stone wall.

Right away trouble began. The stake dragging at the end of the wire
fast to his leg caught among the stones and pulled Peter up short.
My, how it did hurt! It made the tears come. But Peter shut his teeth
hard, and turning back, he worked until he got the stake free. Then he
started on once more, dragging the stake after him.

Very slowly across the orchard and under the fence on the other side
crept Peter Rabbit, his leg so stiff and sore that he could hardly
touch it to the snow, and all the time dragging that piece of stake,
which seemed to grow heavier and harder to drag every minute. Peter did
not dare to go out across the open fields, for fear some danger might
happen along, and he would have no place to hide. So he crept along
close to the fences where bushes grow, and this made it very, very
hard, for the dragging stake was forever catching in the bushes with a
yank at the sore leg which brought Peter up short with a squeal of pain.

This was bad enough, but all the time Peter was filled with a dreadful
fear that Hooty the Owl or Granny Fox might just happen along. He had
to stop to rest very, very often, and then he would listen and listen.
Over and over again he said to himself:

“Oh, dear, whatever did I go up to the young peach orchard for when I
knew I had no business there? Why couldn’t I have been content with
all the good things that were mine in the Green Forest and on the Green
Meadows? Oh, dear! Oh, dear!”

Just as jolly, round, red Mr. Sun began to light up the Green Meadows,
Peter Rabbit reached the dear Old Briar-patch. Danny Meadow Mouse was
sitting on the edge of it anxiously watching for him. Peter crawled up
and started to creep in along one of his little private paths. He got
in himself, but the dragging stake caught among the brambles, and Peter
just fell down in the snow right where he was, too tired and worn out
to move.



DANNY MEADOW MOUSE limped around through the dear Old Briar-patch,
where he had lived with Peter Rabbit ever since he had squirmed out
of the claws of Hooty the Owl and dropped there, right at the feet of
Peter Rabbit. Danny limped because he was still lame and sore from
Hooty’s terrible claws, but he didn’t let himself think much about
that, because he was so thankful to be alive at all. So he limped
around in the Old Briar-patch, picking up seed which had fallen on the
snow, and sometimes pulling down a few of the red berries which cling
all winter to the wild rose bushes. The seeds in these were very nice
indeed, and Danny always felt especially good after a meal of them.

Danny Meadow Mouse had grown very fond of Peter Rabbit, for Peter had
been very, very good to him. Danny felt that he never, never could
repay all of Peter’s kindness. It had been very good of Peter to offer
to share the Old Briar-patch with Danny, because Danny was so far from
his own home that it would not be safe for him to try to get back
there. But Peter had done more than that. He had taken care of Danny,
such good care, during the first few days after Danny’s escape from
Hooty the Owl. He had brought good things to eat while Danny was too
weak and sore to get things for himself. Oh, Peter had been very good
indeed to him!

But now, as Danny limped around, he was not happy. No, Sir, he was not
happy. The truth is, Danny Meadow Mouse was worried. It was a different
kind of worry from any he had known before. You see, for the first time
in his life, Danny was worrying about some one else. He was worrying
about Peter Rabbit. Peter had been gone from the Old Briar-patch a
whole night and a whole day. He often was gone all night, but never
all day too. Danny was sure that something had happened to Peter. He
thought of how he had begged Peter not to go up to Farmer Brown’s young
peach orchard. He had felt in his bones that it was not safe, that
something dreadful would happen to Peter. How Peter had laughed at him
and bravely started off! Why hadn’t he come home?

As he limped around, Danny talked to himself:

    “Why cannot people be content
     With all the good things that are sent,
     And mind their own affairs at home
     Instead of going forth to roam?”

It was now the second night since Peter Rabbit had gone away. Danny
Meadow Mouse couldn’t sleep at all. Round and round through the Old
Briar-patch he limped, and finally sat down at the edge of it to wait
and watch. At last, just as jolly, round, red Mr. Sun sent his first
long rays of light across the Green Meadows, Danny saw something
crawling towards the Old Briar-patch. He rubbed his eyes and looked
again. It was—no, it couldn’t be—yes, it _was_ Peter Rabbit! But
what was the matter with him? Always before Peter had come home
lipperty-lipperty-lipperty-lip, but now he was crawling, actually
_crawling_! Danny Meadow Mouse didn’t know what to make of it.

Nearer and nearer came Peter. Something was following him. No, Peter
was dragging something after him. At last Peter started to crawl along
one of his little private paths into the Old Briar-patch. The thing
dragging behind caught in the brambles, and Peter fell headlong in the
snow, too tired and worn out to move. Then Danny saw what the trouble
was. A wire was fast to one of Peter’s long hind legs, and to the other
end of the wire was fastened part of a stake. Peter had been caught in
a snare! Danny hurried over to Peter and tears stood in his eyes.

“Poor Peter Rabbit! Oh, I’m so sorry, Peter!” he whispered.



THERE Peter Rabbit lay. He had dragged that piece of stake a long way,
a very long way, indeed. But now he could drag it no farther, for it
had caught in the bramble bushes. So Peter just dropped on the snow and
cried. Yes, Sir, he cried! You see he was so tired and worn out and
frightened, and his leg was so stiff and sore and hurt him so! And then
it was so dreadful to actually get home and be stopped right on your
very own door-step. So Peter just lay there and cried. Just supposing
old Granny Fox should come poking around and find Peter caught that
way! All she would have to do would be to get hold of that hateful
stake caught in the bramble bushes and pull Peter out where she could
get him. Do you wonder that Peter cried?

By and by he became aware that some one was wiping away his tears. It
was Danny Meadow Mouse. And Danny was singing in a funny little voice.
Pretty soon Peter stopped crying and listened, and this is what he

    “Isn’t any use to cry!
       Not a bit! Not a bit!
     Wipe your eyes and wipe ’em dry!
       Use your wit! Use your wit!
     Just remember that to-morrow
     Never brings a single sorrow.
     Yesterday has gone forever
     And to-morrow gets here never.
     Chase your worries all away;
     Nothing’s worse than just to-day.”

Peter smiled in spite of himself.

“That’s right! That’s right! Smile away, Peter Rabbit. Smile away!
Your troubles, Sir, are all to-day. And between you and me, I don’t
believe they are so bad as you think they are. Now you lie still just
where you are, while I go see what can be done.”

[Illustration: Peter knew that Danny was doing something at the other
end. _Page 86._]

With that off whisked Danny Meadow Mouse as spry as you please, in
spite of his lame leg, and in a few minutes Peter knew by little
twitches of the wire on his leg that Danny was doing something at the
other end. He was. Danny Meadow Mouse had set out to gnaw that piece
of stake all to splinters. So there he sat and gnawed and gnawed and
gnawed. Jolly, round, red Mr. Sun climbed higher and higher in the sky,
and Danny Meadow Mouse grew hungry, but still he kept right on gnawing
at that bothersome stake.

By and by, happening to look across the snow-covered Green Meadows,
he saw something that made his heart jump. It was Farmer Brown’s boy
coming straight over towards the dear Old Briar-patch. Danny didn’t say
a word to Peter Rabbit, but gnawed faster than ever.

Farmer Brown’s boy was almost there when Danny stopped gnawing. There
was only a tiny bit of the stake left now, and Danny hurried to tell
Peter Rabbit that there was nothing to stop him now from going to his
most secret retreat in the very heart of the Old Briar-patch. While
Peter slowly dragged his way along, Danny trotted behind to see that
the wire did not catch on the bushes. They had safely reached Peter
Rabbit’s secretest retreat when Farmer Brown’s boy came up to the edge
of the dear Old Briar-patch.

“So this is where that rabbit that killed our peach-tree lives!” said
he. “We’ll try a few snares and put you out of mischief.”

And for the rest of the afternoon Farmer Brown’s boy was very busy
around the edge of the Old Briar-patch.



PETER RABBIT sat in his secretest place in the dear Old Briar-patch
with one of his long hind legs all swelled up and terribly sore because
of the fine wire fast around it and cutting into it. He could hear
Farmer Brown’s boy going around on the edge of the dear Old Briar-patch
and stopping every little while to do something. In spite of his pain,
Peter was curious. Finally he called Danny Meadow Mouse.

“Danny, you are small and can keep out of sight easier than I can. Go
as near as ever you dare to Farmer Brown’s boy and find out what he is
doing,” said Peter Rabbit.

So Danny Meadow Mouse crept out as near to Farmer Brown’s boy as ever
he dared and studied and studied to make out what Farmer Brown’s boy
was doing. By and by he returned to Peter Rabbit.

“I don’t know what he’s doing, Peter, but he’s putting something in
every one of your private little paths leading in from the Green

“Ha!” said Peter Rabbit.

“There are little loops of that queer stuff you’ve got hanging to your
leg, Peter,” continued Danny Meadow Mouse.

“Just so!” said Peter Rabbit.

“And he’s put cabbage leaves and pieces of apple all around,” said

“We must be careful!” said Peter Rabbit.

Peter’s leg was in a very bad way, indeed, and Peter suffered a great
deal of pain. The worst of it was, he didn’t know how to get off the
wire that was cutting into it so. He had tried to cut the wire with
his big teeth, but he couldn’t do it. Danny Meadow Mouse had tried
and tried to gnaw the wire, but it wasn’t of the least bit of use.
But Danny wasn’t easily discouraged, and he kept working and working
at it. Once he thought he felt it slip a little. He said nothing, but
kept right on working. Pretty soon he was sure that it slipped. He went
right on working harder than ever. By and by he had it so loose that
he slipped it right off of Peter’s leg, and Peter didn’t know anything
about it. You see, that cruel wire snare had been so tight that Peter
didn’t have any feeling except of pain left in his leg, and so when
Danny Meadow Mouse pulled the cruel wire snare off, Peter didn’t know
it until Danny held it up in front of him.

My, how thankful Peter was, and how he did thank Danny Meadow Mouse!
But Danny said that it was nothing at all, just nothing at all, and
that he owed more than that to Peter Rabbit for being so good to him
and letting him live in the dear Old Briar-patch.

It was a long time before Peter could hop as he used to, but after the
first day he managed to get around. He found that Farmer Brown’s boy
had spread those miserable wire snares in every one of his private
little paths. But Peter knew what they were now. He showed Danny Meadow
Mouse how he, because he was so small, could safely run about among
the snares and steal all the cabbage leaves and apples which Farmer
Brown’s boy had put there for bait.

Danny Meadow Mouse thought this great fun and a great joke on Farmer
Brown’s boy. So every day he stole the bait, and he and Peter Rabbit
lived high while Peter’s leg was getting well. And all the time Farmer
Brown’s boy wondered and wondered why he couldn’t catch Peter Rabbit.



DANNY MEADOW MOUSE is timid. Everybody says so, and what everybody says
ought to be so. But just as anybody can make a mistake sometimes, so
can everybody. Still, in this case, it is quite likely that everybody
is right. Danny Meadow Mouse _is_ timid. Ask Peter Rabbit. Ask Sammy
Jay. Ask Striped Chipmunk. They will all tell you the same thing. Sammy
Jay might even tell you that Danny is afraid of his own shadow, or that
he tries to run away from his own tail. Of course this isn’t true.
Sammy Jay likes to say mean things. It isn’t fair to Danny Meadow
Mouse to believe what Sammy Jay says.

But the fact is Danny certainly is timid. More than this, he isn’t
ashamed of it—not the least little bit.

“You see, it’s this way,” said Danny, as he sat on his door-step one
sunny morning talking to his friend, old Mr. Toad. “If I weren’t
afraid, I wouldn’t be all the time watching out, and if I weren’t
all the time watching out, I wouldn’t have any more chance than that
foolish red ant running across in front of you.”

Old Mr. Toad looked where Danny was pointing, and his tongue darted out
and back again so quickly that Danny wasn’t sure that he saw it at all,
but when he looked for the ant it was nowhere to be seen, and there was
a satisfied twinkle in Mr. Toad’s eyes. There was an answering twinkle
in Danny’s own eyes as he continued.

“No, Sir,” said he, “I wouldn’t stand a particle more chance than that
foolish ant did. Now if I were big and strong, like Old Man Coyote, or
had swift wings, like Skimmer the Swallow, or were so homely and ugly
looking that no one wanted me, like—like—” Danny hesitated and then
finished rather lamely, “like some folks I know, I suppose I wouldn’t
be afraid.”

Old Mr. Toad looked up sharply when Danny mentioned homely and ugly
looking people, but Danny was gazing far out across the Green Meadows
and looked so innocent that Mr. Toad concluded that he couldn’t have
had him in mind.

“Well,” said he, thoughtfully scratching his nose, “I suppose you may
be right, but for my part fear seems a very foolish thing. Now, I
don’t know what it is. I mind my own business, and no one ever bothers
me. I should think it would be a very uncomfortable feeling.”

“It is,” replied Danny, “but, as I said before, it is a very good thing
to keep one on guard when there are so many watching for one as there
are for me. Now there’s Mr. Blacksnake and—”

“Where?” exclaimed old Mr. Toad, turning as pale as a Toad can turn,
and looking uneasily and anxiously in every direction.

Danny turned his head to hide a smile. If old Mr. Toad wasn’t showing
fear, no one ever did. “Oh,” said he, “I didn’t mean that he is
anywhere around here now. What I was going to say was that there is Mr.
Blacksnake and Granny Fox and Reddy Fox and Redtail the Hawk and Hooty
the Owl and others I might name, always watching for a chance to make
a dinner from poor little me. Do you wonder that I am afraid most of
the time?”

“No,” replied old Mr. Toad. “No, I don’t wonder that you are afraid. It
must be dreadful to feel hungry eyes are watching for you every minute
of the day and night, too.”

“Oh, it’s not so bad,” replied Danny. “It’s rather exciting. Besides,
it keeps my wits sharp all the time. I am afraid I should find life
very dull indeed if, like you, I feared nothing and nobody. By the way,
see how queerly that grass is moving over there. It looks as if Mr.
Blacksnake—Why, Mr. Toad, where are you going in such a hurry?”

“I’ve just remembered an important engagement with my cousin,
Grandfather Frog, at the Smiling Pool,” shouted old Mr. Toad over his
shoulder, as he hurried so that he fell over his own feet.

Danny chuckled as he sat alone on his door-step. “Oh, no, old Mr. Toad
doesn’t know what fear is!” said he. “Funny how some people won’t admit
what everybody can see for themselves. Now, I _am_ afraid, and I’m
willing to say so.”



DANNY MEADOW MOUSE started along one of his private little paths very
early one morning. He was on his way to get a supply of a certain kind
of grass-seed of which he is very fond. He had been thinking about that
seed for some time and waiting for it to get ripe. Now it was just
right, as he had found out the day before by a visit to the place where
this particular grass grew. The only trouble was it grew a long way
from Danny’s home, and to reach it he had to cross an open place where
the grass was so short that he couldn’t make a path under it.

“I feel it in my bones that this is going to be an exciting day,” said
Danny to himself as he trotted along. “I suppose that if I were really
wise, I would stay nearer home and do without that nice seed. But
nothing is really worth having unless it is worth working for, and that
seed will taste all the better if I have hard work getting it.”

So he trotted along his private little path, his ears wide open, and
his eyes wide open, and his little nose carefully testing every Merry
Little Breeze who happened along for any scent of danger which it might
carry. Most of all he depended upon his ears, for the grass was so tall
that he couldn’t see over it, even when he sat up. He had gone only a
little way when he thought he heard a queer rustling behind him. He
stopped to listen. There it was again, and it certainly was right in
the path behind him! He didn’t need to be told who was making it.
There was only one who could make such a sound as that—Mr. Blacksnake.

Now Danny can run very fast along his private little paths, but he
knew that Mr. Blacksnake could run faster. “If my legs can’t save me,
my wits must,” thought Danny as he started to run as fast as ever he
could. “I must reach that fallen old hollow fence-post.”

He was almost out of breath when he reached the post and scurried into
the open end. He knew by the sound of the rustling that Mr. Blacksnake
was right at his heels. Now the old post was hollow its whole length,
but half-way there was an old knot-hole just big enough for Danny to
squeeze through. Mr. Blacksnake didn’t know anything about that hole,
and because it was dark inside the old post, he didn’t see Danny pop
through it. Danny ran back along the top of the log and was just in
time to see the tip of Mr. Blacksnake’s tail disappear inside. Then
what do you think Danny did? Why, he followed Mr. Blacksnake right into
the old post, but in doing it he didn’t make the least little bit of

Mr. Blacksnake kept right on through the old post and out the other
end, for he was sure that that was the way Danny had gone. He kept
right on along the little path. Now Danny knew that he wouldn’t go very
far before he found out that he had been fooled, and of course he would
come back. So Danny waited only long enough to get his breath and then
ran back along the path to where another little path branched off. For
just a minute he paused.

“If Mr. Blacksnake follows me, he will be sure to think that of course
I have taken this other little path,” thought Danny, “so I won’t do it.”

Then he ran harder than ever, until he came to a place where two little
paths branched off, one to the right and one to the left. He took the
latter and scampered on, sure that by this time Mr. Blacksnake would be
so badly fooled that he would give up the chase. And Danny was right.

    “Brains are better far than speed
     As wise men long ago agreed,”

said Danny, as he trotted on his way for the grass-seed he liked so
well. “I felt it in my bones that this would be an exciting day. I
wonder what next.”



DANNY is so used to narrow escapes that he doesn’t waste any time
thinking about them. He didn’t this time. “He who tries to look two
ways at once is pretty sure to see nothing,” says Danny, and he knew
that if he thought too much about the things that had already happened,
he couldn’t keep a sharp watch for the things that might happen.

Nothing more happened as he hurried along his private little path to
the edge of a great patch of grass so short that he couldn’t hide under
it. He had got to cross this, and all the way he would be in plain
sight of any one who happened to be near. Very cautiously he peeped
out and looked this way and looked that way, not forgetting to look up
in the sky. He could see no one anywhere. Drawing a long breath, Danny
started across the open place as fast as his short legs could take him.

[Illustration: With another frightened squeak, Danny dived into the
opening just in time. _Page 107._]

Now all the time, Redtail the Hawk had been sitting in a tree some
distance away, sitting so still that he looked like a part of the tree
itself. That is why Danny hadn’t seen him. But Redtail saw Danny the
instant he started across the open place, for Redtail’s eyes are very
keen, and he can see a great distance. With a satisfied chuckle, he
spread his broad wings and started after Danny.

Just about half-way to the safety of the long grass on the other
side, Danny gave a hurried look behind him, and his heart seemed
to jump right into his mouth, for there was Redtail with his cruel
claws already set to seize him! Danny gave a frightened squeak, for he
thought that surely this time he would be caught. But he didn’t mean to
give up without trying to escape. Three jumps ahead of him was a queer
looking thing. He didn’t know what it was, but if there was a hole in
it he might yet fool Redtail.

One jump! Would he be able to reach it? Two jumps! There _was_ a hole
in it! Three jumps! With another frightened squeak, Danny dived into
the opening just in time. And what do you think he was in? Why, an old
tomato can Farmer Brown’s boy had once used to carry bait in when he
went fishing at the Smiling Pool. He had dropped it there on his way

Redtail screamed with rage and disappointment as he struck the old can
with his great claws. He had been sure, very sure of Danny Meadow Mouse
this time! He tried to pick the can up, but he couldn’t get hold of it.
It just rolled away from him every time, try as he would. Finally, in
disgust, he gave up and flew back to the tree from which he had first
seen Danny.

Of course Danny had been terribly frightened when the can rolled, and
by the noise the claws of Redtail made when they struck his queer
hiding-place. But he wisely decided that the best thing he could do was
to stay there for a while. And it was very fortunate that he did so, as
he was very soon to find out.



DANNY MEADOW MOUSE had sat perfectly still for a long time inside the
old tomato can in which he had found a refuge from Redtail the Hawk. He
didn’t dare so much as put his head out for a look around, lest Redtail
should be circling overhead ready to pounce on him.

“If I stay here long enough, he’ll get tired and go away, if he hasn’t
already,” thought Danny. “This has been a pretty exciting morning so
far, and I find that I am a little tired. I may as well take a nap
while I am waiting to make sure that the way is clear.”

With that Danny curled up in the old tomato can. But it wasn’t meant
that Danny should have that nap. He had closed his eyes, but his ears
were still open, and presently he heard soft footsteps drawing near.
His eyes flew open, and he forgot all about sleep, you may be sure, for
those footsteps sounded familiar. They sounded to Danny very, very much
like the footsteps of—whom do you think? Why, Reddy Fox! Danny’s heart
began to beat faster as he listened. Could it be? He didn’t dare peep
out. Presently a little whiff of scent blew into the old tomato can.
Then Danny knew—it _was_ Reddy Fox.

“Oh, dear! I hope he doesn’t find that I am in here!” thought Danny. “I
wonder what under the sun has brought him up here just now.”

If the truth were to be known, it was curiosity that had brought Reddy
up there. Reddy had been hunting for his breakfast some distance away
on the Green Meadows when Redtail the Hawk had tried so hard to catch
Danny Meadow Mouse. Reddy’s sharp eyes had seen Redtail the minute he
left the tree in pursuit of Danny, and he had known by the way Redtail
flew that he saw something he wanted to catch. He had watched Redtail
swoop down and had heard his scream of rage when he missed Danny
because Danny had dodged into the old tomato can. He had seen Redtail
strike and strike again at something on the ground, and finally fly off
in disgust with empty claws.

“Now, I wonder what it was Redtail was after and why he didn’t get it,”
thought Reddy. “He acts terribly put out and disappointed. I believe
I’ll go over there and find out.”

Off he started at a smart trot towards the patch of short grass where
he had seen Redtail the Hawk striking at something on the ground. As
he drew near, he crept very softly until he reached the very edge of
the open patch. There he stopped and looked sharply all over it. There
was nothing to be seen but an old tomato can. Reddy had seen it many
times before.

“Now what under the sun could Redtail have been after here?” thought
Reddy. “The grass isn’t long enough for a grasshopper to hide in, and
yet Redtail didn’t get what he was after. It’s very queer. It certainly
is very queer.”

He trotted out and began to run back and forth with his nose to the
ground, hoping that his nose would tell him what his eyes couldn’t.
Back and forth, back and forth he ran, and then suddenly he stopped.

“Ha!” exclaimed Reddy. He had found the scent left by Danny Meadow
Mouse when he ran across towards the old tomato can. Right up to the
old can Reddy’s nose led him. He hopped over the old can, but on the
other side he could find no scent of Danny Meadow Mouse. In a flash he
understood, and a gleam of satisfaction shone in his yellow eyes as he
turned back to the old can. He knew that Danny must be hiding in there.

“I’ve got you this time!” he snarled, as he sniffed at the opening in
the end of the can.



REDDY FOX had caught Danny Meadow Mouse, and yet he hadn’t caught him.
He had found Danny hiding in the old tomato can, and it didn’t enter
Reddy’s head that he couldn’t get Danny out when he wanted to. He was
in no hurry. He had had a pretty good breakfast of grasshoppers, and so
he thought he would torment Danny a while before gobbling him up. He
lay down so that he could peep in at the open end of the old can and
see Danny trying to make himself as small as possible at the other end.
Reddy grinned until he showed all his long teeth. Reddy always is a
bully, especially when his victim is a great deal smaller and weaker
than himself.

“I’ve got you this time, Mr. Smarty, haven’t I?” taunted Reddy.

Danny didn’t say anything.

“You think you’ve been very clever because you have fooled me two or
three times, don’t you? Well, this time I’ve got you where your tricks
won’t work,” continued Reddy, “so what are you going to do about it?”

Danny didn’t answer. The fact is, he was too frightened to answer.
Besides, he didn’t know what he could do. So he just kept still, but
his bright eyes never once left Reddy’s cruel face. For all his fright,
Danny was doing some hard thinking. He had been in tight places before
and had learned never to give up hope. Something might happen to
frighten Reddy away. Anyway, Reddy had got to get him out of that old
can before he would admit that he was really caught.

For a long time Reddy lay there licking his chops and saying all the
things he could think of to frighten poor Danny Meadow Mouse. At last
he grew tired of this and made up his mind that it was time to end it
and Danny Meadow Mouse at the same time. He thrust his sharp nose in at
the opening in the end of the old can, but the opening was too small
for him to get more than his nose in, and he only scratched it on the
sharp edges without so much as touching Danny.

“I’ll pull you out,” said Reddy and thrust in one black paw.

Danny promptly bit it so hard that Reddy yelped with pain and pulled
it out in a hurry. Presently he tried again with the other paw. Danny
bit this one harder still, and Reddy danced with pain and anger. Then
he lost his temper completely, a very foolish thing to do, as it always
is. He hit the old can, and away it rolled with Danny Meadow Mouse
inside. This seemed to make Reddy angrier than ever. He sprang after
it and hit it again. Then he batted it first this way and then that
way, growing angrier and angrier. And all the time Danny Meadow Mouse
managed to keep inside, although he got a terrible shaking up.

Back and forth across the patch of short grass Reddy knocked the old
can, and he was in such a rage that he didn’t notice where he was
knocking it to. Finally he sent it spinning into the long grass on the
far side of the open patch, close to one of Danny’s private little
paths. Like a flash Danny was out and scurrying along the little path.
He dodged into another and presently into a third, which brought him to
a tangle of barbed wire left there by Farmer Brown when he had built a
new fence. Under this he was safe.

“Phew!” exclaimed Danny, breathing very hard. “That was the narrowest
escape yet! But I guess I’ll get that special grass-seed I started out
for, after all.”

And he did, while to this day Reddy Fox wonders how Danny got out of
the old tomato can without him knowing it.

    And so you see what temper does
      For those who give it rein;
    It cheats them of the very thing
      They seek so hard to gain.

Danny has had many more adventures, but there isn’t room to tell about
them here. Besides Grandfather Frog is anxious that you should hear
about the queer things that have happened to him. They are told in the
next book.


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Note: Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

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