The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse Part 6

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

XIX

Peter Rabbit and Danny Meadow Mouse Live High

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 into the Briar-patch from the Green Meadows.”

“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 Danny.

“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 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 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 why he couldn’t catch Peter Rabbit.

[Ill.u.s.tration]

XX

Timid Danny Meadow Mouse

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 doorstep 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 as 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.

[Ill.u.s.tration: _”Where?” exclaimed old Mr. Toad, turning as pale as a toad can turn_]

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 n.o.body. By the way, see how queerly that gra.s.s is moving over there. It looks as if Mr. Blacksnake–Why, Mr. Toad, where are you going in such a hurry?”

[Ill.u.s.tration: _”Why, Mr. Toad, where are you going in such a hurry?” asked Danny_]

“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 doorstep. “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.”

[Ill.u.s.tration]

XXI

An Exciting Day for Danny Meadow Mouse

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 gra.s.s 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 gra.s.s 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 gra.s.s 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 gra.s.s 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.

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