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Title: The Tale of Bunny Cotton-Tail
Author: Smith, Laura Rountree
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 Tale of Bunny Cotton-Tail" ***

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  When little Bunny was quite small,
    He read by candle-light;
  But now that he has grown up tall,
    He goes to bed at night!]

  Bunny Cotton-Tail








If little Bunny Cotton-Tail had not read by candle-light, this story
might never have been written.

One evening Bunny Cotton-Tail read very late, and he was so excited
over the story he was reading that he waved one paw too near the
candle, and burned it sadly. Poor Bunny cried so loud that all the
neighbors heard him, and came running in to see what was the matter.
Have you ever cried so loud that you could be heard next door?

Mother Cotton-Tail tied up the burned paw in a cabbage leaf and sent
Bunny to bed. And what do you suppose that comical Bunny did? He liked
the smell of the cabbage so well, that he ate the leaf all up, and his
poor paw began to hurt worse than ever.

This time he did not cry, for he was afraid he would be scolded for
eating the cabbage leaf. He crept out of bed and ran out of the house.

Mother Cotton-Tail never allowed little Bunny to go out late at night,
so now everything seemed very strange to him. He looked at the big
moon, and he was afraid. He ran on for some time and he came to a
beautiful garden.

Here he saw more cabbages than he had ever dreamed of! There were big
cabbages, little cabbages, and middle-sized cabbages. He was just going
to have a nice meal when he looked up and saw a very tall creature
waving its arms at him.

Poor little Bunny was sadly frightened. He did not know that this big
thing was only a scare-crow. He had never seen a scare-crow before, in
all his life. But he had seen men, and his mother had told him that men
did not like rabbits. Bunny thought the scare-crow was a man, and he
quickly crept close to a big cabbage, to hide, and lay quite still for
a while.

Every now and then Bunny peeped out from among the cabbage leaves, and
there that awful creature and the moon were, always staring at him!

By and by, he decided to run home, and he started off as fast as his
little legs would carry him. But the moonlight made him dizzy, and he
took the wrong road.

When daylight came, poor little Bunny Cotton-Tail was far from home,
and soon a hunter came that way, and caught him. The hunter put Bunny
in his bag and took him home for his little boy to play with. The
little boy’s name was Harold. When his papa came in with Bunny, Harold
clapped his hands for joy. Then the whole family gathered around and
made remarks about poor Bunny.

“Why are his ears so long?” Harold asked.

“To keep the flies off,” answered Uncle Jack.

“He must have left his tail at home,” said big brother.

“He looks scared. We must build him a house,” said papa.

So they all went to work and made a nice house for Bunny, and big
brother brought him a large leaf of cabbage to eat.

Two big tears rolled down poor Bunny’s face, for the cabbage made him
think of his fright in the garden, and his sore paw, and how he had
left home.

Then Harold took Bunny in his arms and hugged him, and that made the
poor little rabbit feel better, and he fell asleep.

When Harold put Bunny back in his box, he forgot to shut the door. He
never thought that in the morning his new pet might be gone.


  When Bunny runs away to roam,
  Some one is sure to bring him home.
  So Bunny should be good, I say,
  And not go out and run away.]


Late that night Bunny Cotton-Tail made up his mind to run away. So he
crept out of his little house, and through a hole in the back fence,
and was off. The great moon was staring down at him, and he was very
much afraid of the moon, but he could not go very fast, for his paw
still hurt him and he limped sadly.

After a while he sat down on a log to rest, and whom did he see coming
down the road with a wheel-barrow but Mother Cotton-Tail? She had been
searching all night and all day for Bunny.

When Bunny saw his mother he clapped his paws together so hard that he
hurt his sore one, and he cried: “Oh, ma, oh, ma!”

Mother Cotton-Tail did not waste any words, for Mr. Fox is out in the
woods at night. She just tumbled Bunny into that old wheel-barrow, and
whisk! they went down the road; while the big moon laughed and made a
face at them.

When they got home all the rabbits in the neighborhood stood around the
front gate, and they all cried: “Hurrah! welcome home, Bunny!”

Bunny was so ashamed that he hung his head and waved his sore paw
feebly. Then his mother took him into the house and put him to bed.

Poor Bunny was so shaken up by the ride in that wheel-barrow that he
did not sleep very well, and next day he had to stay at home with his
mother while all the other rabbits went to a pic-nic.

After supper, when he was sitting up in a big arm-chair by the window,
whom should he see coming slowly up the road but his dear friend Susan
Cotton-Tail? Susan Cotton-Tail walked slowly because she was very
tired. The rabbits had tramped miles and miles on that pic-nic.

Susan Cotton-Tail carried something on her arm. At first Bunny thought
it was a bag, and then he saw it was a basket. What do you suppose
Susan Cotton-Tail had in that basket? She had some nice things that she
had saved for Bunny, from the pic-nic.

When Susan saw Bunny sitting by the window, she did not stop to go
around to the front door, as her mother had trained her to do. She
jumped right in through the window, and took a seat on the arm of
Bunny’s chair.

Have you ever had to stay at home from a pic-nic when all the other
children went? And did you have a dear friend who brought you some of
the good things to eat? If so, you know just how Bunny felt.

Susan Cotton-Tail had sandwiches in that basket, and cabbage leaves and
radishes, and little cookies cut in the shape of a rabbit. (One of the
mother rabbits had made these for a joke.)

After a nice visit Susan said she must go home.

Susan wanted to go and pick berries next day. Bunny asked his mother if
he might go too, and she said he might, if he would try to be a good
little rabbit after this. Bunny promised, and then he went with Susan
to the gate.


  As Mr. Bunny Cotton-Tail
    Went walking down the street,
  It was his great good fortune
    Susan Cotton-Tail to meet.

  Said Susan, “My dear Bunny,
    If you would only try
  To open wide your parasol,
    Your fur would keep quite dry!”]


The next day, when Bunny Cotton-Tail woke up, he heard the rain
pattering against the window panes. He cried so loud, and his tears
fell so fast, that his little brother thought the roof was leaking!

Mother Cotton-Tail said it would do no good to cry about the rain, and
she went to the closet and brought out a beautiful new silk umbrella.
She had bought it for a birthday present for Bunny, but she hated to
see Bunny unhappy, so she said he might go out in the rain so as to use

Now, Bunny was not a very careful little rabbit, so he did not wait
to learn how to open it, but ran out of the house and down the road
with the umbrella in his paw. That is the reason you see him so in the
picture. He ran fast, because he wanted to show Susan his new present.

Now, wasn’t it odd that on that very same morning Susan Cotton-Tail
cried when she saw the rain, and that her mother gave her a beautiful
new umbrella? But Susan was a careful rabbit, and learned how to open
and use the umbrella before she went out.

Susan had left her basket at Bunny’s house the night before, so her
mother said she might go after it. That is the way the two rabbits
happened to meet.

Bunny was delighted when Susan showed him how to open his umbrella,
and they stood there some time, talking in the rain. Of course it was
too wet to go for berries, but they wanted to have some fun, so they
decided to go to Bunny’s house and blow soap-bubbles.

On the way home they passed a nice garden. Farmer Jones was out working
in it that morning. Bunny wished very much for a bite of cabbage, so he
begged Susan to come and hide behind the raspberry bushes, so that they
could nibble something while Farmer Jones was not looking. Now Susan
was a good little rabbit, and she knew that to steal is very wrong, so
she said, “No.”

Then Susan and Bunny went on to Bunny’s house, and here they blew
soap-bubbles all the morning.


  Little Bunny Cotton-Tail
    Should not try to roam
  In Farmer Jones’s cabbage-patch;
    He ought to stay at home.]


Next day, Bunny went over to Susan’s house and found Susan’s mother
crying, and what do you suppose had happened? Why, Susan Cotton-Tail
had not come home, and her mother was afraid she might be lost.

When Bunny heard the news, he cried into a little red handkerchief that
he had wrapped around his sore paw, and he said he wished to die if
Susan Cotton-Tail could not be found!

Now Bunny knew that old Farmer Jones hated the sight of even his little
stubby tail, so he thought the quickest way for him to die would be to
run over into the farmer’s garden.

He told Susan’s mother good-by, waved his sore paw feebly, and set
out for the garden. He thought that if he must die he would eat some
cabbage first, and he was nibbling away when he heard some one whisper
his name very softly.

At first he thought it was Marie, Farmer Jones’s little girl, so he
curled right up close beside a cabbage, and did not say a word. He
peeped around the cabbage, and he could see Farmer Jones’s blue shirt,
and once in a while he could hear him whistle.

Then he heard a soft little voice say: “Bunny, Bunny, Bunny.” He
looked over by the raspberry bushes, and what do you suppose he saw?
There was Susan Cotton-Tail, caught in a trap!

When Bunny saw Susan he forgot all about Farmer Jones, and he gave a
loud squeal, just the same kind of a squeal he gave when he burned his
paw. Farmer Jones came running, and cried: “Ah, ha! I have caught the
rabbit at last!”

Bunny had just time to jump into a flower pot, and Farmer Jones found
poor Susan in the trap.

“Now,” said Farmer Jones, “I have caught the naughty rabbit that eats
my cabbages, and I have a great mind to kill it!”

But he did not kill Susan--oh, my, no--for she just blinked her eyes
and smiled at him. She was not the least bit afraid; and why should she
have been, when she had never stolen anything from Farmer Jones in her

Just then Marie came running out into the garden, and Farmer Jones said:

“See, Marie, I have caught the naughty rabbit that has been eating my
cabbages, and she looks as though she had never done anything wrong in
her life.”

“Oh, the sweet little thing!” cried Marie. “Let me have her for a pet,
and I will put a pretty blue ribbon around her neck.”

So Marie took Susan up in her little apron and carried her, very gently
and carefully, into the house. She made room for the little rabbit in
her doll’s bed, and there Susan fell asleep.


  Little Bunny Cotton-Tail,
    Is running home, you see,
  And Miss Susan Cotton-Tail
    Keeps him company.]


What did Bunny Cotton-Tail do then, do you suppose? He felt so sorry
about Susan that he cried nearly all day, and he was so afraid of
Farmer Jones now, that he did not dare to come out of the flower pot!
The flower pot had rolled over on one side, so he was quite hidden.

Now it happened that Marie had a nice flower-bed in front of the house,
and a friend had given her a new plant to set out. So she began to look
for a flower pot to cover it. Of course, you can guess what happened.
Marie found Bunny Cotton-Tail, the flower pot and all! “Oh, papa, here
is another bunny! They must be twins,” she cried.

Farmer Jones came up, and when he saw how scared poor little Bunny
looked, he laughed. He said if they put the two rabbits together, they
could soon tell whether they knew each other or not. So Marie carried
Bunny into the house.

Susan Cotton-Tail had fallen asleep in the doll’s bed, so Marie slipped
Bunny in beside her, and he pretended to go to sleep, too. Farmer
Jones said this proved that they knew each other; for if they had been
strange rabbits, they would have fought.

Night came on, and the big clock in the hall struck twelve, and Susan
woke up. She was so delighted to find Bunny beside her, that she almost
screamed for joy, but Bunny put one little soft paw over her mouth, for
he was afraid she would waken some one, and he was already planning how
they could get away from Farmer Jones’s house.

He told Susan that he had heard the cook say she would leave the pantry
window open to keep her preserves cool, so, if they could only find the
pantry, they might escape.

Susan listened so eagerly that her ears flopped on the side of the
doll’s bed as though she were keeping time to a tune.

Bunny stole out of bed, and began to search for the pantry. He told
Susan to wait until he came back for her.

The moon was not shining, and it was very dark. Bunny felt his way
along carefully, till he came to the sitting-room. Here he saw a big
black box, beside a window, and it looked to him as though the window
were open. Up he jumped on the box, to make sure, and crash! he fell
on something that played a tune! The quicker he ran up and down, the
louder the tune was, and the louder the tune was, the more scared Bunny
was, and the more he ran up and down.

Farmer Jones waked up and could not think what all the noise meant.
He jumped out of bed and ran down stairs two steps at a time, with a
candle in his hand. He found Bunny dancing about on the piano keys, and
he laughed till he cried.

Then he called the whole family down stairs to see the strange sight.
Everybody laughed and petted Bunny, and the more they laughed, the more
scared he was, until he saw Susan peeping around a curtain at him.

Then he gave one bound for the open window. Susan followed him, quick
as a flash, and whisk! the two frightened little rabbits were racing
away down the road before one of the family could say, “Jack Robinson.”

What Farmer Jones and the family thought about it I cannot say, but I
can tell you that Susan and Bunny were very careful never to go into
his garden again.


  Little Bunny Cotton-Tail
    Should have gone to school to-day.
  He cried so hard he could not see,
    And went the other way!]


When Susan’s mother saw Susan, she laughed and she cried. Then she put
Susan to bed, and there the poor little rabbit stayed for a week, and
then it was time for school to begin.

When Bunny’s mother saw him, she switched him with a little maple
switch, and sat him up in the corner until he told the whole story.

Bunny ran away so much, you see, that his mother was quite used to it,
while Susan was a good rabbit and had never before run away from home.

The week passed, and then Bunny’s mother said Bunny must go to school.
For rabbits have to go to school if they want to learn anything, of

So she put up a nice little lunch for Bunny, and gave his coat an extra
brush. She brushed him so hard that he cried a little, and went down
the road with his dinner pail on his arm, brushing the tears away with
his sore paw!

Bunny never did like to go to school very well, so when he stopped
crying, and found that he had taken the wrong road and was going into
the woods, he was not sorry at all.

He went on a little way and saw some squirrels. They seemed to be
having a very good time, and Bunny sat down to watch them at their
play. Then he opened his basket and began to eat his lunch, for he was
always hungry.

He was so tired then, after his long tramp, that he fell asleep, and he
never opened his eyes until he heard a soft “tinkle, tinkle, tinkle.”
He opened his eyes, and there stood Susan Cotton-Tail, smiling at him.

Bunny did not know where he was, at first, but he rubbed his eyes
hard, and then he asked Susan where she had got the dear little bell
that hung around her neck. Susan said it was a reward given her by her
teacher for good behavior. Then Bunny was sorry that he had not gone
to school, for he liked the “tinkle, tinkle” of that bell.

Susan said that all the rabbits were out looking for Bunny, and that
they thought him very naughty.

When Bunny got home, he said that he would go to school now every day
if Susan might stop for him. It worked well for a week, then that
naughty Bunny got up early and went down to watch the little fishes
swimming in the brook. All the rabbits went out to look for him and
found him and took him home, as before.

That night Mother Cotton-Tail sat by the fire a long time, thinking.
Presently, she crept softly out of the house, shutting the door behind


  Mother Bunny Cotton-Tail
    Seeks Mr. Owl, you see,
  And little Bunny Cotton-Tail
    Is scared as scared can be.]


Now, what do you suppose Mother Bunny was going to do? She was going to
find Mr. Owl, who is the wisest creature in the woods. And why was she
going to find Mr. Owl? Because she wanted to ask him how to stop Bunny
Cotton-Tail from running away.

Mr. Owl was at home, as usual, sitting on a branch of an old pine-tree.
When Mother Cotton-Tail told her story, he blinked his round eyes and
turned his head all the way around to hide a smile. He had heard of
Bunny Cotton-Tail before.

Mr. Owl did not talk very much; wise people never do. So he answered
Mother Cotton-Tail with two words: “Mr. Fox.”

Mother Cotton-Tail did not see what that meant, but Mr. Owl had no more
to say, so she started slowly homeward.

On the way home she passed Mr. Fox’s den. There she saw an old overcoat
of his out on the line. Then, whisk! jump! as quick as a wink she had
that overcoat down from the line, and was off, carrying it over her

When she was safely away from Mr. Fox’s den, she crept into the coat,
though it was much too big, and doubled her ears up neatly inside his

She looked ahead of her, and what did she see, coming down the road,
but a little rabbit--a naughty, run-away little rabbit? She knew at
once that it was her own Bunny.

Mother Cotton-Tail stood very still in the shadow of a tree, and when
Bunny came by, she whisked out, and took him in her arms and started
straight for Mr. Fox’s den.

Bunny Cotton-Tail was so scared that he did not say a word, but he
thought he felt his hair turning gray, and that was a pity for one so

When they got near the den, Mother Cotton-Tail stopped. Everything was
very still.

“Now, Bunny,” she said, “you shall go in there, and we will eat you
up, unless you promise never to run away any more.”

Did Bunny promise? Well, indeed he did, in a hurry! And Mother
Cotton-Tail told him that all the foxes knew about it and would catch
him if he ever ran away again.

Then she gave him a big hug, which scared him nearly to death. Think
of his being scared when his own mother hugged him! But you see, he
thought she was Mr. Fox. Then she let Bunny go, and he ran straight

Mother Cotton-Tail put Mr. Fox’s coat back on the line and went home,
too, very happy.

Bunny Cotton-Tail never ran away from home any more. So Mr. Owl knew
what he was talking about, after all.

Bunny and Susan were always the best of friends, but whether his sore
paw ever got well or not, I cannot tell you, for I forgot to ask him.

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