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- Billy Bunny and Uncle Bull Frog - 2/14 -
"I like that little piece of poetry you just said," cried the little rabbit. "Please say another." So the freshwater crab wrinkled his forehead, and then he began:
"And when the sun is shining, And all is bright and gay, Just keep a little sunshine To help a rainy day."
"I will," said the little bunny, for he was a cheerful little fellow, and then he hopped away and by and by he came to the Old Mill Pond.
But Uncle Bullfrog was nowhere to be seen.
There stood the old log, but there was nobody on it but a black snail. It seemed strange not to see the old gentleman frog sitting there, his eyes winking and blinking and his white waist-coat shining in the sun, and it made the little rabbit feel lonely.
"Where is Uncle Bullfrog?" he asked a big bluebottle fly, who was buzzing away at a great rate. But he didn't know, and neither did a big darning needle that was skimming over the quiet water.
"I wonder if that dreadful Miller's Boy has taken Uncle Bullfrog away," thought Billy Bunny, and just then Mrs. Oriole flew down from her nest that swung in the weeping willow tree and said:
"Are you looking for Uncle Bullfrog, little rabbit?"
"Yes, ma'am. Do you know where he is?"
"He's down by the mill dam," answered the pretty little bird, and then she flew back to her nest that looked like an old white cotton stocking at Christmas time because it was all bulgy and full, only, of course, hers had little birds inside and a Christmas stocking has all sorts of toys, with an orange in the toe and a Jack-in-the-Box sticking out of the top.
So off hopped the little rabbit, and pretty soon he saw the old gentleman bullfrog catching flies, and undoing his waistcoat one button every time a fly disappeared down his throat.
"I thought at first that dreadful Miller's Boy had taken you away," said Billy Bunny, "and I was very sad, for I like you, Uncle Bullfrog, and I've never forgotten how you found the letter I lost a long time ago."
"Tut, tut," said the old gentleman frog. "How's your mother?" and then he swallowed another fly and unbuttoned the last button, and if he takes off his waistcoat I'll tell you so in the next story.
BILLY BUNNY AND THE SORROWFUL JAY BIRD.
Well, Uncle Bullfrog didn't take off his waistcoat, as I thought he might in the last story, so I'm not going to tell you anything more about him.
We'll just leave him in the old Mill Pond and go along with Billy Bunny, who is hopping away toward the Friendly Forest.
By and by, after he had gone into the shady depths for maybe a million and two or three hops, he came across his old friend the jay bird, who had sold him the airship, you remember, and then bought it back again.
"I wish you'd kept your old flying machine," said the jay bird sorrowfully. "But you wanted to buy it back," said the little rabbit, "so it's not my fault."
"Perhaps not," replied the sorrowful jay bird, "but that doesn't make matters any better."
"Why, what's the trouble?" asked the little rabbit, sitting down and taking a lollypop out of his knapsack.
"I had an accident," answered the jay bird.
"I ran into a thunder cloud and spilled out all the lightning, and, oh dear, oh dear. I just hate to talk about it, but I will. The lightning jumped all around and then struck the old tower clock and broke the main spring, so that it wouldn't go any more, and now nobody in Rabbitville can tell the day of the month, or when it will be Thanksgiving or Fourth of July."
"Let's go to the clock maker and ask him to fix it," suggested the little rabbit, and this so delighted the sorrowful jay bird that he smiled and flew after Billy Bunny, and pretty soon they came to the old clock maker, who was an old black spider.
"Certainly I'll fix it," he said, "but it will cost you nine million and some billion flies."
"All right," said Billy Bunny. "I'll go down to the 3 and 1-cent store and buy a fly catcher." So off he went and pretty soon he came back with a great big fly catching box, and after he had set it down, they stood and watched the flies go in until it was so full that not another one could even poke in his nose.
"Now, Mr. Spider," said Billy Bunny, "there are maybe a trillion flies in that box, for the storekeeper told me it was guaranteed to hold that many, so please fix the town clock, for it would be too bad if the little boys and girls didn't know it was Christmas when it really came."
So the spider got out his little tool bag and climbed up the steeple and fixed that old town clock so well that it began to play a tune, which it had never done before, and all the people in Rabbitville were so delighted that they gave the spider a little house to live in for the rest of his days.
BILLY BUNNY AND THE TING-A-LING TELEPHONE.
Ting-a-ling went the telephone bell in Uncle Lucky Lefthindfoot's house, the kind old gentleman rabbit who was the uncle of Billy Bunny, you know.
And I only say this right here in case some little boy or girl should read this story without having seen all the million and one, or two, or three that have gone before.
So Uncle Lucky jumped out of the hammock where he had been swinging up and down on the cool front porch of his little house in Bunnytown, corner of Lettuce avenue and Carrot street, and hopped into the library and took down the receiver and said "Helloa! This is Mr. Lucky Lefthindfoot talking."
"Is that you, Uncle Lucky?" answered a voice at the other end of the wire. "This is Billy Bunny, and I'm lost in the Friendly Forest." "What!" cried the old gentleman rabbit, and he got so excited that he put the wrong end of the receiver to his left ear and got an awful electric shock that nearly wiggled his ear off. "Where are you now?"
"I don't know," replied his small nephew. "I'm lost, don't you understand?"
"Gracious, goodness mebus!" exclaimed the old gentleman rabbit, "then how am I to find you?"
"I don't know, but please do," said Billy Bunny sorrowfully, "for I'm dreadfully hungry, and I haven't got a single lollypop or apple pie left in my knapsack."
"Well, you just stay where you are and I'll get into the Luckmobile and find you," replied the old gentleman rabbit as cheerfully as he could, although he didn't know how he was going to do it, and neither do I, and neither do you, but let's wait and see.
So pretty soon, in a few short seconds, Uncle Lucky was tearing along the dusty road toward the Friendly Forest, and by and by he came to the house where his cousin, Mr. O'Hare, lived. So he stopped the automobile and knocked on the door, and as soon as Mr. O'Hare opened it, he said: "Jump in with me, for my little nephew is lost and I want you to help me find him."
So away they went into the Friendly Forest, and they looked all around, but, of course, there was no little rabbit that looked like Billy Bunny anywhere in sight. So Uncle Lucky and Mr. O'Hare got out, and after tying the automobile to a tree, they set out in different directions to find the little bunny. And Uncle Lucky went along a little path and Mr. O'Hare followed a small brook, and after a while the old gentleman rabbit heard a bird singing:
"I saw a little rabbit A-sitting by a tree, And I should say he'd lost his way-- That's how he looked to me."
"Where did you see him?" asked Uncle Lucky excitedly. But what the little bird replied you must wait to hear in the next story.
BILLY BUNNY AND THE RUNAWAY DOG.
You remember in the last story just as Uncle Lucky asked the little bird to tell him where Billy Bunny was I had to leave off for there was no more room in the story for me to add another word? Well, what the little bird said was:
"Follow the path, Mr. Lucky Lefthindfoot, 'till you come to a bridge, and then turn to your right, and pretty soon, if the little bunny hasn't hopped away, you'll find your lost nephew."
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