The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse Part 5

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The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse is a Webnovel created by Thornton W. Burgess.
This lightnovel is currently completed.

XVI

Peter Rabbit’s Hard Journey

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 bed-clothes 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 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.

[Ill.u.s.tration]

XVII

Danny Meadow Mouse Becomes Worried

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 someone 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 toward 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.

XVIII

Danny Meadow Mouse Returns a Kindness

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 doorstep.

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 someone 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 heard:

“_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 tomorrow Never brings a single sorrow.

Yesterday has gone forever And tomorrow gets here never.

Chase your worries all away; Nothing’s worse than just today._”

Peter smiled in spite of himself.

“That’s right! That’s right! Smile away, Peter Rabbit. Smile away! Your troubles, Sir, are all today. 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.”

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.

[Ill.u.s.tration: _Danny Meadow Mouse had set out to gnaw that piece of stake all to splinters_]

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 toward 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.

[Ill.u.s.tration]

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