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B O O K S BY

T H O R NT O N W . B URGE SS

B ED TIM E STORY-B OO KS
T H E ADV E N T U RE S OF
R ED D Y Fox 10 S AM MY J AY
B R
U S TE B E A R
.

J O H N NY CH UCK 11
R
PE TE CO TT O TAI L N O LD M R T OAD
.

12
B R R
.

I LL Y POSS UM
.

UNc P I CKL Y PO KY
'
13
R
.

M R M OCKE O LD M AN C OYOTE
RR
.

J E Y M U S K AT
D AN NY M E AD OW
R
14
1
16
5 R .

. P AD D Y T H E B E AVER
POO M R S ! UACK
M OU SE N
. .

17 B OB B Y C OO
R R R
9 G AND FATHE F O G
.

°
18 J I MM Y S KUNK
RR 9 W
.

5 C HA TTE E , T H E R ED
0 1 B OB HI TE
S R RD
.

! UI RE L O L M I S TAH B U ! ! A

20 .

M OT HER WE ST WIND SE RIE S


O LD M O THE R W S T WI N
E D
M OT HE R W ST WI N S CHI LD R N
E D

E
M OTHE R W S T WI N S A
E D FR I NDS

N I M AL E
M OTHE R W ST WI N S N I H OR S
E D

E G B
M OTHE R W S T WI N WHY S TORI S
E D
“ ”
E
M OTHE R W ST W I N H W S TOR S
E D

O IE
M OTHE R W S T WI N W H N S TORI S
E D

E

E
M OTHE R W T WI N WH R S TORI “ ”
ES D E E ES

GREE N M EAD OW SE RIES


1 H APPY J ACK 3 B OW R H OUND
SE TH E
M RS PE TE R R AB B I T G RANN Y F x
. .

2 . . 4 . OLD o

WISH ING-ST ONE SERIE S


1 T O M MY AND T HE WI HI N
TONE
S G-S
T OMM Y S WISH E S C O M E T R UE
.


2
T OM M Y S CH AN GE O F H E AR T
.

LI GHTFO OT T H E D EER

TH E B UR GES S B IR D BO O K
FOR CHI DR E N L
TH E B UR GES S ANI M AL BO OK
FOR CHI LDREN
Copyright, 1 1 95 ,

BY LITTL E ,
B R OW N , A ND CO M PANY .

All ri ghts r es erved

PR I N T ED I N TH E U N I T E D S TAT E S OF A M ER I CA
CONTENTS
CH APT ER PA GE
I WHY S TRIPE D C HIPM UNK IS PR OUD OF H IS
.

S TR IP E S
II WHY PE TE R RABB IT CANN O T F O LD H IS
.

H A ND S 13
I II WHY UNC B I LLY P OSSUM P LAYS D EAD
.

27

IV WHY RE DD Y FO! WE AR S RE D 43
5
.

V WHY JIMMY S KUNK N E VE R H URRI ES


. 7
VI WHY SAMM Y J AY HAS A F INE C OAT
. 71
V II WHY JE RRY M USKR AT B UI LD S H IS H OUSE
.

I N T H E W A TE R

VIII WHY O LD M AN C OYOTE HAS


.

VOICE S
I! WHY M INE R TH E M O L E L IV E S UND E R
.

GR OUND
X WHY M R S NAK E C ANN OT WINK
. .

! I WHY B O BB Y C OON HAS RINGS ON H IS


.

TA I L
! II .WHY T HERE IS A B LA CK HE AD I N TH E
B U ! ! ARD FAM I LY
X III WHY B UST ER B E AR A PP EAR S T O HAVE N O
.

TAI L 1 73

! IV WHY F LI TTE R TH E BAT F LI E S AT N I GHT


. 1 87

WHY S PO TTY TH E T URTL E C ARRI E S H IS


H OUSE WITH HIM
! VI WHY PADD Y TH E BE AV E R HAS A B R OAD
.

TAI L
L IS T OF I LL US T RAT I O NS

HE WE NT R I GHT ON A B OUT H IS B USIN E SS Fron tispiece



AS Y WE R E A L L V E R Y H UN GR Y, TH E Y WOU L D
THE

LIK E T O KN OW WH E N T H E F E AS T WOU LD B E
R E AD Y

YOU D O N T M E AN T O SAY SO PE T E R

, ,
I NT ER
R U PT E D G RA ND FA TH E R FR O G

HE WOU LD MAKE N O RE P LY SAV E ,


TO R UN O UT

H I S T O N GU E A T TH E M

TH E N O LD K ING B E AR WISH E D THA T HE H AD N T


A TAI L ”

I T M UST B E FINE T O FLY ,


TH OU GHT P ET ER . I
W IS H I COU LD FLY

H I S PO TTY !
,

HE S H OUTE D . WH E R E DO YO U
L IVE ?

PE TE R LOOK E D T O
T H E F I R S T TH I N G SEE WAS
WHA T KIND O F A TAI L PAD DY HAS
I

WHY S TRI PED CH I PM UNK IS PR O UD OF


H I S S TRI PES
4 MOTH ER WES T WIND “
W HY ”
S T O RI E S

cro ss b e cause he won t pl ay No S ir .
, ,

t h ey n eve r get cross I f anything t h ey


.
,

think j ust a little bit mor e of S triped



Chipmunk b e cause he won t play You .

see , they know t hat t h e r e a s on h e won t ’

play is b e ca use h e has work t o do and ,

Striped Chipmunk b elieves and s ays


Wh e n k f or m e t o d o
t h er e is wo r
Th e s oo n e r s tart e d s oon e r t hr oug h
, .

S o eve ry m orning t h ey ask him t o


p lay,
and eve r y m orning t h ey laugh when
h e s ays h e has t oo m uch t o do Then .

t h ey rumple up his hair and pull his


W hiskers and give him last tag and rac e
d own t o the Smiling Pool t o see Grand
f at h er Frog and beg hi m for a story
,
.

NOW Gr an df ather Frog is ver y old and


ve ry W ise and h e knows all abo ut the
,

days when the world was young Whe n .

h e is feeling j ust right h e dearly lo ves


,

to tell abo ut t ho se long ago days -


.

One m orning the M e rry Little B r ee z es


S TRI PE D CH I PM UN K S S T RI PES ’
5
f ound Grandfather Fro g sitting as usu a l
on his big gr ee n lily pad and t h ey knew -
,

by the way h e folded his hands acro ss


his white and yellow waistcoat t ha t it
was full of foolish gr ee n flies .


Oh Grandfather Frog please do tell
, ,

us W hy it is t hat S triped Chip m unk has



su ch beautiful stripes on his c o at b egged ,

on e of the M e rry Little Breezes .


Chug a rum ! They ar e stripes of
— —


honor replied Grandfather Frog in his
, ,

deep gruff voice


,
.


Honor ! Oh how lovely ! D o tell us
,


abo ut it ! Please do ! b egged the M e rr y
Little Breezes .

Chug a rum !
— -
b eg an Grandfather
Frog his big goggly eyes twinkling
, , .

Once upon a time when the world was ,

young old Mr Chi pmunk the gran d


, .
,

father a thousand times r e mo ved of


Striped Chipmunk lived ve ry m uch as ,

S triped Chipmunk d o es now He was .


6 MOTH ER WES T WIND WH Y ”
S TO RIES

always ve r y busy ver y busy indeed and


, , ,

it was always abo ut his own affairs By .


attending strictly to my own business I ,

have no time to meddle W ith the aff airs


of my neighb o rs and s o I keep out of
,


trouble said Old Mr Chipmunk
,

. .


Just what S triped Chipmunk says
now bro ke in one of the M err y Little

,

Breezes .


That sh o ws that h e is j ust as W ise as
was his gran df at h e r a thousand times

r emo ved abo ut whom I am telling you
, ,

replied Grandfather Frog Old Mr . .

Chipmunk wor e j ust a little plain bro wn ,

coat I t didn t worry him a bit not a


.

,

bit that his coat was j ust plain brown


,
.

It kept him j ust as warm as if it we r e a


beautiful r ed like that of Mr FO! or
,
.
,

handsome black and W hite like t hat of ,

Mr S kunk He was perfectly satisfied


. .

with hi s little plain bro wn coat and took


the best of car e of it .
S TRI PED CH I PM UN K S S T RI PES ’
7

One day as h e was h urryin g hom e to


dinner h e climbed up on an ol d stump
,

to look aro u n d and m ake s u re that the


way was clear Ove r in a little path in .

the m eadow grass was walking Old Mr .

Meadow Mouse He was strolling along .

as if t h e r e was nothing in the world t o


fear W ay back behind him in the same
.

little path walking ve r y fast but ve ry


,

quietly was big Mr Bob Cat His eyes


,
. .

w e r e yell ow and a h u n gr y look was in


,


them He didn t see Mr Meadow
. .

Mouse but h e would in a few mi n utes


,
.

Mr Chipmunk saw that h e w o uld and


.
,

that t h e r e was no place for Mr Meadow .

Mouse to hide .

H u mph ! I n eve r m ed dle in o t h e r



people s aff airs and this is non e of m y ,


business said little Mr Chipmunk
,
. .


But ol d Mr Meadow Mouse was a .

friend He thought a great de al of Mr


. .

Me a d o w M o use did little Mr C hi p ,


.
8 MOT HER WES T WIND WH Y S TO RIE S

munk He couldn t b e ar to think of
.

W hat would happen to Mr Meadow .

Mouse if b ig Mr Bob Cat should catch .

hi m . Then almost W ithout realizing


,

W hat he was doing little Mr Chipmunk , .

b eg an to shout at big Mr Bob Cat and .

to call him names Of co u r se big Mr . .

Bob Cat loo ked up right away and saw


little Mr Chipmunk sitting on the Old
.

stump His eyes grew yellow e r and yel


.

lower he drew his lips back from his


,

long sharp teeth in a ve ry an gry way


, ,

and his little bob tail twitched and


twi tched Then with great leaps he
.
, ,

cam e straight fo r the Old stump on


which li ttle Mr Chipmunk was sit ting
. .


Little Mr Chipmunk didn t wait for
.

him to get there Oh my no ! He took .


, ,

one goo d look at those fi erc e hungry , ,

yellow eyes and long cr uel teeth and , ,

then he whisked into a hol e in the Old



stump Y ou see there wasn t time to go
.
,
S TRI PE D CH I PM UN K S S T RI PES ’
9
anywhere else Big Mr Bob Cat f o u n d
. .

the hole in the stum p right away He .

snarled when he saw it You see it w as .

too small ve r y m uch t o o small for him


, ,

to get int o himself But he co ul d get.

one hand and arm in and he did feeling , ,

all aro un d i n side for little Mr Chipmunk . .

Little Mr Chipmunk was frightened


.

almost to death Yes S ir he was fright


.
, ,

e n ed almost to death He m ade himself .

j ust as flat as he could on the bottom o f


the holl o w and held his breath .

‘ ’
Y ou d better com e out o f there ,

’ ’
Mr Chipmu nk o r I ll pull y o u out !
.
,

snarled Mr B ob C at . .


Little Mr Chipmunk j ust snuggled
.

down flatter than eve r and di dn t say a ’

word Mr Bob Cat felt ro u n d and ro u n d


. .

inside the hollow stum p and raked his


long claws on the sides until little Mr .


Chipmunk s hair fairly stood up Yes .
,

S ir it stood right up on end he was so


, ,
1 0 MOT H E R WES T WIND WH Y ”
S TO RIES

scared When it did that it tickled the


.
,

claws o f Mr Bob Cat Mr Bob Cat . . .

grinned I t was an ugly grin to see


. .

Then he reached in a little farther and


made a grab for little Mr Chipmunk . .

His wide spread sharp claws caught in


-
,

little Mr Chipmunk s coat n e ar the neck


.

and tore little strips the whole length


o f it .


Of course little Mr Chipmunk .

squealed with pain for tho s e claws hurt ,

dreadfully but he was glad that his coat


,


tore I f it hadn t Mr Bob Cat would
.
,
.

surely h ave pulled him out After a .

long time Mr Bob Cat gave up and


,
.

went off growling and snarling When


,
.

he thought it was safe little Mr Chip ,


.

munk crawled out o f the old stump and


hurried home He ached and sm arted
.

terribly and his little plain bro wn coat


,

was torn in long strip s .

This is what I get for med dling in



S TRI PED CH I PM UN K S S TRI PE S ’
11

the aff airs o f other folks ! said little Mr ’


.


Chipmunk bitterly I f I d j ust minded .

m y own business it wouldn t have hap ,



pened .


Just then he happened to look o ve r
to the house o f Mr Meadow Mouse . .

There was Mr Meadow Mouse playing .


with his children He didn t know a .

thing about what his neighbor little Mr ,


.

Chipm u nk had d on e for him for y o u


, ,


r e m e mb e r he hadn t seen Mr Bob Cat .

at all Little Mr Chipmu n k grinned as


. .

well as he co ul d for the pain .

I m glad I did it

‘ ’
he m uttered ,
.


Yes S ir I m glad I did it and I m glad
, ,

,

that N eighbor Meadow Mouse does n t ’


know abo u t it I m glad that nobo dy .

knows about it .


A ki ndly d e e d s mo st kindly d on e

In s e cr e t w rough t and s e e n o f n o n e ,
.

’ ’
And so I m glad that n o o n e kn ows .

N ow j ust imagine how surprised little


II
WHY PE TER RABB I T CA NN O T FOL D
H I S IIAND S
W HY P E TE R RA B B IT CA N N O T F O L D
H IS H A ND S

APPY JACK S ! UIRRE L sat


with his hands fold ed across his
W h ite w aistcoat He is ve r y fo n d
.

o f sitting with his hands folded that way .

A little way from him sat Peter R abbit .

Peter was sitting up ve r y straight but ,

his hands dropped right down in front .

Happy Jack noticed it .

“ ’
Why don t y o u fold y o ur hands the

way I do Peter R abbit ? shouted Happy
,

Jack .

“ ’
I I don t want to stammered ,

Peter .

“ ”
You m ean y o u can t ! j ee r ed Happy

Jack .
16 MOTH ER WES T WIND W HY ”
S TORIES

Peter pretended not to hear and a few ,

m inutes later he hopped away towards


the dear Old Briar patch lipperty lip -
,
-

perty lip Happy Jack watched him go


-
.
,

and there was a puzzled look in Happy


Jack s eyes

.


I really believe he can t fold his ’


hands said Happy Jack to himself but
, ,

speaki ng al o ud .


He c an t and non e o f his family

,

can said a gruff voice


,
.

Happy Jack turned to fin d Old Mr .

Toad sitting in the Lone Little Path .

“ ”
Why not ? asked Happy Jack .

Ask Grandfather Frog ! he kn ows ,

replied Old Mr Toad and started on .


,

about his business .

And this is how it happens that Grand


father Frog told this story to the little
meadow and forest people gathered
around him on the bank o f the Smiling
Pool .
PE TER RAB B I T S FOLDED HA NDS 17

C hug a rum ! said Gran df ather Frog


— -
.

Old Mr R abbit the grandfather a


.
,

thousand times r e mo ved of Peter R abbit ,

wa s always getting into trouble Yes .


,

Sir Old Mr Ra bbit wa s always getting


, .

into trouble Se emed like he w o ul dn t


.


b e h appy if he couldn t get into trouble .

I t was all b ecause he w as s o dreadfully



curious abo u t other pe o ple s business j ust ,

as Peter R abbit is n o w I t seemed that


he w as j ust born to b e c urio us and s o ,

o f cour se to get i nt o trouble


,
.


One day word c ame t o the Green
Forest and to the Green Meadows that
Old Mother N ature w as coming to see
how all the little m eadow a nd f o rest
people were getting along to settle all ,

the little troubles and fusses betwee n


them and to find out who were and who
,

were not obeying the orders she had


given them when she had visited them
l as t My my my such a hurrying and
.
, , ,
18 MOTH E R WE ST WIND WH Y ”
S TO RIE S

sc u rrying and worrying as there was !


You see eve rybo dy wanted to look his
,

best when Old Mother N ature arrived .

Yes Sir eve rybo dy wanted to look his


, ,

best .


There was the greatest changing o f
clothes y o u eve r did see Old King Bear .

put on his blackest coat Mr Coon and . .

Mr Mink and Mr Otter sat up half the


. .

night brushing their suits and m aking


them look as fine and handsome as they
could E ven Old Mr Toad put on a
. .

new suit under his old one and planned ,

to pull the Old one Off and throw it away


as soon as Old Mother N at ur e should
arrive Then eve rybo dy b egan to fix up
.

their homes and make them a s neat and


nice as they knew how eve rybo dy but
lVIr R abbit
. .


N ow Mr R abbit was lazy He. .

didn t like to work any m or e than Peter


R abbit does now N o S ir old Mr .


, , .
PE TER R ABB I T S FOL DED HA NDS 1 9
R abbit was afraid of work The very .

sight of work scared old Mr R abbit . .

You see he was so busy m indi ng other


,

people s business that he didn t have


’ ’

time to attend to his own S o his brown .

and gray coat always was ru mpled and


tumbled and di rty His house was a
.

tum ble down a ffair in which no one but


-

Mr R abbit would ever have thought of


.

living and his garden


,
oh dear m e , ,

such a garden y o u n eve r did see ! I t was


all weeds and brambles They filled up .

the yard and old Mr R abbit actually


,
.

co uld n t have gotten into his own ho u se



if he hadn t cut a path through the
brambles .


N ow when old Mr R abbit heard .

that Old Mother N at ur e was coming his ,

heart sank way way down for he knew


, ,

j ust how angr y she would b e whe n S he


saw his house his garden and his shab b y
,

suit.
PE T ER RAB B I T S FOL DED HA NDS 21

Mr Mi n k and Mr S quirrel and Mr


. . .

Chipmunk and all the rest of his neigh


,

bors telling the m of his trouble and


,

asking the m to help N ow in spite of .


,

the trouble Mr R abbit was f or eve r mak


.

ing for othe r people by his dreadful c uri


o s ity a nd m eddling with other pe o ple s

affairs ,
all his neighb ors had a warm
pl a ce in their hearts f o r Mr R abbit a nd .
,

they all promised th at they w o uld help


hi m as soon as they had their own work
finished .


I nstead of hurrying home and getting
to work himself Mr Rabbit stopped ,
.

a while a fter each call and sat with his


arm s folded watching the one he w as
,

calling on work M r R abbit was ve ry


. .

f o nd of sitting with folded arms I t was .

ve ry c omf ortable But th i s was no time


.

t o b e doing i t and Mr S kunk told him


,
.

so
I f y o u want the rest o f us to help
22 MOTH ER WE S T WIND WH Y S TORIES

you you d better get things started y o ur
,

self said old Mr S kunk carefully comb


,

.
,

in g out his big plumy tail ,


.

“ ‘
That s right Mr Skunk ! That s

, .


right ! said Mr R abbit starting along .
,

briskly j ust as if he was going to hurry


,

righ t home and begin work that ver y


instant .


But half an ho ur later when Mr ,
.

S kunk happened t o pass the home of


Mr Chipmu nk there sat Mr R abbit
.
,
.

with his arms folded watching Mr ,


.

Chipmunk hurrying about as only Mr .

Chipmunk can .


Finally Mr R abbit had made the .

round of all his friends and neighbors ,

and he onc e m ore reached his tumble


‘ ’
down house Oh dear sighed Mr
.
, ,
.

R abbit as he looked at the t angle of


,

brambles which almost hid the little Old


house I never n eve r can cle ar away
,

,

all this I t will b e a lot easier to work


!
PE T ER R AB B I T S FO L DED HA NDS 23

when all m y frie nds a re here to help .


S o he sighed onc e m ore a nd folded his


arms i ns tead o f b egi n ning work a s he
,

sho uld have done And then be c ause.


,

the su n was bright a nd wa rm a nd he ,

was very very comf or table Old Mr


, ,
.

Rabbit b egan to nod a nd presently he ,

was fast asleep


I\ ow Old Mother N ature lik es to

take people by sur prise a nd it happened ,

tha t she chose this ver y day t o make


her pro m ised vi sit S he was greatly .

ple ased with all she s aw a s she w ent


along un til she c ame t o the ho m e of
,

Mr R abbit
. .

Mercy m e ! exclai m ed Old Mother


‘ ’

N ature thr o wing up her hands as sh e


,

saw the t um ble d own h o us e almost hid


-


den by the b rambles and w eeds Can .

it b e possible that any one really lives


here ? ’

Then peering through the t an gle of


,
24 MO THE R WE S T WIND WHY ”
S T O RIES

brambles she spied Old Mr R abbit


, .

sitting on his br oken down doorstep wi th -

his arms folded and fast asleep .


At first she was very indignant O h , ,

very indignant indeed ! S he decided ,

that Mr R abbit should b e punished very


.

severely But as she watched hi m sitting


.

there dreaming in the w arm sunshine


, ,

her anger b egan to m elt away The fact .

is Old Mother N ature was like all the


,


rest of Mr R abbit s neighbors
. she —


j ust couldn t help loving happy go lucky - —

Mr R abbit in spite of all his faults


. .

With a long stick Sh e rea c hed in and


tickled the end of his n ose .


Mr R abbit sneezed a nd this made
.
,

hi m w ake up He yawned and blin ked


.
,

and then his eyes suddenly flew wide


o pe n with fright He had discovered .

Old Mother N ature frowning at him .

S he p oi n ted a long f orefinger at hi m and


s aid
PE TE R RAB B I T S FOLD E D HAN D S 2 5

In eve ry si ngl e bl e s s e d day
T h e r e s ti m e f or w or k and ti m e f or pl a y

.

Wh o f ol d s hi s arm s wi th w o r k u n d on e
D o th ch e a t hi m s e lf and spoi l his fun .


Hereafter Mr R abbit you and
,
.
,

your children and your childr en s childr en ’

will n ever agai n b e a ble to Sit with folded


arms until you or th ey have learned t o
work .


And that is why Peter R abbit cannot
fold his arms and still lives in a tumble

down ho u se among the brambles con ,

cluded Grandf ather Frog .


B I LL Y PO SSU M PLAYS DEAD
W H Y UN O

B I LLY PO S S UM L YS
P A DE AD

NE thing puzzled Peter R abbit


and Johnny Chuck and S triped
Chipmunk a great deal after they
h ad com e to know U nc Bi lly Possu m

a nd his funn y ways They had talked


.

i t o ve r a nd wondered and wondered


ab o ut it and tried to understand it and
, ,


eve n had asked U nc Billy about it .


U nc Bi lly h a d j ust grinned a nd said
that they would h ave t o ask his mammy .

Of cour se they couldn t d o that and



,

U nc Billy knew they couldn t for U nc


’ ’
,


Billy s mammy had died long before he
eve n th o ught of c o ming up fro m 01 ’

V irgin n y t o the Green Forest a nd the


30 MOTHER WES T WIND WH Y S TO RIES

Green Meadows where they lived He .

s aid it j ust to tease them and when he ,

s aid it he chuckled until they chuckled


,

too j ust as if it really were the best kind


,

O f a j oke .

N ow you know it always is the thing


t hat y o u try and try t o find out and
c an t find out that y o u most want to

find out I t was j ust so with Peter


.

R abbi t and J ohnny Chuck and Striped


Chipmunk The more they talked about
.

it the more they wanted to know


,
Why .


was it that U nc Billy Poss u m played
d ead instead of trying to run away when
he was surprised by his enemies ? They
a lways tried to run away S o did every
.

b ody else o f their acquaintance excepting


Un c Billy Possum

.


There mu st b e a reason said Peter ,

gravely as he pulled thoughtfu lly at one


,

o f his long ears .


Of course there is a re as on as s erted ,
UN C B I LL Y

PO S SUM PLAYS DEAD 31

Johnny Chuck chewing the end of a


,

blade of grass .

“ ’
There s a re ason for everything ,

added S triped Chipmunk combing out ,

the hair of his funny little tail .


Then Of course Grandfather Frog
kn ows it said Peter
,
.


Of course ! Why didn t we think of ’


him before ? exclaimed the others .

“ ”

I ll beat you to the S miling Pool !
shouted Peter .

Of course he did for his legs are long


,

and made for running but S triped Chip ,

munk was not far behind Johnny .

Chuck took his time for he knew t h at ,

he co ul d not keep up with the others .

Besides he was so fat that to run made


him puff and blow Grandfather Frog .

s at j ust as usual on his big gr ee n lily pad -


,

and he grinned when he saw who his


visitors were for he guessed right aw ay
,

what they h a d com e f o r .


32 MOTHE R WE ST WIND W HY ”
S TO RIES

Chug a rum ! What is it you want


- —


to know now ? he demanded bef o re ,

Peter could fairly get his breath .


I f y o u please Grandfather Frog we
, ,

want to know why it is that U nc Billy ’

Possum plays dead replied Peter as


,

politely as he knew how .

Grandfather Frog chuckled Jus t to


.


fool people stupid ! said he
,
.


Of course we know that replied ,


Striped Chipmunk but what we want
,

to kn ow is how he eve r found out that


he could fool pe ople that way and how ,


he knows that he will fool them .


I suspect that his mamm y taught
him ,
said Gran df ather Frog with ,

another chuckle way down deep in his


throat .

“ ”
B u t who taught his mammy ? per
sisted S triped Chipm u nk .

Grandf ather Frog snapped at a foolish


gr ee n fly and when it was safely tucked
,
UNC B I LL Y PO SSUM P LA YS DEA D 33

away inside his white and yellow waist


coat he t u r ned onc e more to his three
,

little visitors and there was a twinkle


,

in his big goggly eyes


, .

“ ” “
I see said he
,
that you wi ll have
,

a story and I suppose that the sooner


,

I te ll it to you the sooner you will


,

’ ’
leave m e i n peace U nc Billy Possum s
.

grandf ather a thousand times rem oved


was

W as this way b ack in the days when

the world was young ? interr u pted Peter .

Grandfather Frog scowled at Peter .

I f I have any more interruptio ns th ere ,


wi ll b e no story to day said he severely
-
,
.

Peter lo oked ashamed and promised


that he wo u ld hold his tongue right
between his teeth until Grandfather Frog
was through Grandf ather Frog cleared
.

his throat and b eg an again .

“ ’ ’
U nc B illy Possum s grandf ather a
thousand times removed was very m u ch
34 MOTHE R WE S T WIND WH Y S TO RIES


as U nc Billy is now o nly he was a little
,

more S pry and knew better th an to s tuff


himself so full that he co ul dn t run He ’
.

was always very sly and he played a ,

great many tricks on his neighbors and ,

sometimes he got them into trouble .

But when he did he always managed to,

keep out of their way until they had


forgotten all about their anger .


One morning the very imp of mis
chief seemed to get into old Mr Possum s .

head Yes S ir it certainly did seem


.
, ,

that way And when y o u see Mischief


.

trotting along the Lone Little Path if ,

you look sharp eno u gh you ll see Trouble ,


foll owing at his heels like a shadow I .


never knew it to fail I t s j ust as sure .

as a stomach ache is to follow over


-


eating .

Just here Grandfather Frog paused and


looked very hard at Peter R abbit But .

Peter pretended not to notice and after ,


UN C ’
B I LLY PO SSUM PLAYS DEAD 3 5
slowly winking one O f his big goggly ,

eyes at Johnny Chuck Grandfather Frog ,

continued

Anyway as I said before the imp of
, ,

m ischief seemed to e in old Mr Poss m s ’


b u .

head that m orning for he b egan to play,

tricks on his neighbors as soon as they



were out of bed He hid Old King Bear s
.

breakfast while the latter had his head


,

turned and then pretended that he had


,

j ust com e along He was very polite.

and O ffered to help Old King Bear hunt


for his los t breakfast Then whenever .
,

Old King Bear came near the place where


it was hidden Old Mr Possum would
,
.

hide it s omewhere else Old King Bear .

was h u ngry and he worked himself up


,

into a terrible rage for he was in a hur ry


,

for his b reakfast Old Mr Possum was


. .

very sympa t h etic and seemed to b e do


ing his very b est to find the lost m eal .

At last Old King Bear turned his head


UN C ’
B I LLY PO SSU M PLAYS D EA D 37

King Bear and Share in the g oo d things


old Mr Possum had told about
. .

Old Mr Possum himself hurried on


.
,

chuckling as he thought of the way Mr .

Panther was likely to b e received with ,

Old Ki n g Bear in such a temper Pretty .

soon along c ame Mr Lynx Old Mr . . .

Possum told him the same story he had


told Mr Panther and Mr Lynx went
.
,
.

bounding o ff i n a terrible hurry for fear ,

that he wo u ld not b e in time to share in


that goo d breakfast I t was such a .

goo d j oke that old Mr Possum tried it .

on Mr W olf and Mr Fisher and Mr


. . .

Fox I n fact he hunted up every one


.
,

he could think of and sent them to call


on Old King Bear and without really ,

telling them so he m ade each one think


,

that he would get a share in that break


fast
.

“ ’
N ow there wasn t any more break
,

fast than Old King Bear wanted hi m self ,


3 8 M OT H E R WE ST WIN D WHY S TO RIES

and by the time Mr Panther arrived .


,

there was n t so much as a crumb left



.

Then one after another the others came


, ,

dropping in each licking his chops and


, ,

all very polite to Old King Bear At .

first he di dn t know what to make Of it



,

but pretty soon Mr Fox delicately hinted


.

that they had com e in res po r t


the " “

invitation sent by Mr Po s su n . n at t

as they were all very h l y would


like to know when tlz would b e
'

- t

ready Right away Old K Bear knew 0

that old Mr Poss u m had b ee n up to


.

some of his tricks and he told his visitors


,

that they were the victims of a practical


j oke.


My my my how angry everybody
, , ,

grew ! With Old King Bear at their head ,

they started out to hunt for old Mr .

Po s sum When he saw them coming he


.
,

realized that what he had thought was


a j oke h ad b e com e no longer a laughing
t h ey we r e a ll ve r y hun g r y , t h ey w ou l d lI ke t o

kno w wh e n th e fe as t w ou l d be r e ady .

P ag e 3 8 .
UN C ’
B I LL Y PO SSU M PLAYS D EAD 3 9
matter for him He was to o frightened
.

to run so he scrambled up a tree He


,
.

quite forgot that Mr Panther and Mr . .

Lynx could climb j ust as fast as he Up .

the tree after him they scrambled and ,

he crept as far out as he could get on



one of the branches Mr Panther didn t . .

dare g o out there so he j ust shook the


,

branch He shook and shook and shook


.

and shook and the first thing old Mr


, .

Possum knew he was flying through the


,

air down to where the others were all ready


to p ounce on him .

Old Mr Possum was frightened almost


.

to death He Shut his eyes and then


.
,

he landed with a thump th at knocked all


the wind from his body When he got .

his breath again he still kept his eye s


,

closed for he couldn t bear the thought


,

of looki ng at the cruel teeth and claws


of Old King B ear and the others Pres .

ently while he was wondering why they


,
4 0 MOTHE R WE ST WIND WH Y ”
S TO RIES

di dn t j um p on him and tear him to


pieces Old King Bear spoke


,

I guess Mr Poss um won t play any



.

’ ‘
m o re j okes Mr Panther said he,
Yo u .
, .

j ust knocked the li fe out of him whe n


you shook hi m off that branch .


Mr Panther came over a nd s ni ffed
.

at Mr Possum and turned hi m over wi th


.

one paw All the time Mr Possum lay


. .

j ust a s if he were dead because he was ,


too frightened to move I didn t m ean .

to kill him said Mr Panther ,


We

. .

certai nly will m iss hi m What will we .


do with him ?
Leave him here as a warning to

others growled Old King Bear


,

.


E ach in turn cam e up and sni ffed of
Mr Possum a nd then they all went
.
,

about their business He waited long .

enou gh to m ake s u re that they were out


of sight and then took the short est way
,

home When he got there and tho u ght


.
U NC ’
B I LLY PO SS UM PLAYS DEAD 41

it all over he thought that the best j oke


,

Of all was the way he had made every

body think that he was dead And then .

a bright idea struck him ! he would try


the same trick whenever he was caught .

S o the next time he got in trouble in ,

ste a d o f running away he tried playi ng


,

dead . I t was such a success that he


t aught his c hildren how to d o it a nd ,

they taught their c hildren and s o on ,


down to U nc Billy whom you kn o w ,
.


U n c Billy says i t is a lot e asier than
r unning away and safer too Besides
, ,
.
,

it is always such a j oke N ow don t .


,

bother m e a ny m ore for I want to ,


take a nap con c luded Grandfather Frog
, .

“ ”
Th a nk y o u ! cried Peter R abbit and
J o hnny Chuck and Striped Chipmunk ,

a nd started off to hunt up U nc Bi lly ’

P o ssu m .
WHY RE DDY FO! WEA RS
IV

W H Y RE D D Y FO ! W E AR S RE D

E T ER RABB I T sat in the middle


o f the dear Old Briar patch mak -

i ng faces and laughing at R eddy



Fox Of course that wasn t a nice thing
.

to do not a bit nice But Peter h a d


,
.

j ust had a narrow escape a very narrow ,

escape for R eddy Fo x had sprung out


,

from behind a b u sh as Peter came down


the Lone Little Path and had s o nearly
,

caught Peter that he had actually p ulled



some fur out of Peter s coat N ow Peter .

was safe in the dear Old Briar patch -


.

He was a little out of breath because he ,

had had to u s e his long legs as fast as


he knew how b ut he was safe You see
, .
,


R eddy Fox wouldn t run the risk of
46 MO TH E R WEST WIND WHY S TO RIES

tearing his handsome red coat on the


brambles Besides they scratched ter
.
,

ribly .


N ever mind Peter R abbit I ll get , ,


you yet ! snarled R eddy as he g a ve up ,

and started back for the Green Fores t .

R e ddy Fox is ve r y s ly !

R e ddy Fox is ve r y s pr y !
B u t s ly and s pr y , tis va i n to try

T o b e a s sly and s pr y a s I .

When Peter R abbit shoute d this ,

Reddy looked back and showed all his


teeth but Peter o nly laughed and R eddy
, ,

trotted on Peter watched him out of


.

sight
My ! I wish I had such a h andsome

coat he said with a long sigh for you
, , ,

know Peter s coat is very plain very



,

plain indeed , .


You wo u ldn t if you had to wear it’
,

for the same reason that R eddy Fo x has


t o wear his A goo d heart and hone s t
.
REDDY FO! WE A RS RE D

ways are better t h an fine clothes Peter ,


Ra bbit .

Peter looked up There was saucy


.
,

pert little Jenny Wren fussing around in


,

one of the Old bramble bushes .


Hello Jenn y !
,

said Peter Wh y .


does R eddy wear a red coat ?
“ ’
D o you m ean to say that you don t

know ? Jenn y Wren looked very hard
at Peter with her sharp eyes I thought .

everybody knew that ! You certainly are



S low
,
Peter R abbit I h a ven t time to
.

tell you about it now Go ask Grand .

father Frog ! he knows all about it .

Jenny Wren b u stled off before Peter


could find his tongue .

N ow you all know how full of curiosity


,


Peter R abbit is Jenny Wren s busy
.

tongue had set th at curiosity fairly boil



ing over He j ust c ouldn t sit still for
.

wondering and w o ndering why R eddy


Fox wears a red coat He had never .
48 MOTHE R WES T WIND WH Y ”
S TORIES

thought anything about it befor e but ,

now he couldn t get it out of his head ’


.

He j ust ha d to know S o making sure .


,

that R eddy Fo x had disappeared in the


Green Forest Peter started for the S mil ,

ing Pool lipperty lipperty lip as fast as


,
- -
,

he could go There he found Grand


.

father Frog s itting on his big green lily


pad j ust as usual
, .

I f you please Grandfa ther Frog why , ,


does R eddy Fox wear a red coat ? panted
Peter quite out of breath
,
.

Chug a rum ! gru n ted Grandfather


- -


Frog crossly D on t you know that it
.

is very impolite to disturb people when



they are having a nap ?

I I m very sorry I ndeed I am

.
,


Grandf ather Frog said Peter very ,


humbly Will you tell me if I com e
.

again some time when you are not so



sl eepy ?
N ow like everybody els e Grandfather
, ,
REDDY Fox WEA RS RED 4 9
Frog is r ather fond of Peter R abbit and ,

now Pet er looked so truly sorry and at ,

the same time there was such a look o f



disappointm ent in Peter s eyes that ,

Grandfather Fr o g forgot all ab o ut his


c rossness .

“ ”
Ch u g a rum !
— —
said he Yo u and .

y o ur questions are a nuisan c e Peter ,

Rabbit and I m ay as well get rid of you


,

now a s to h ave y o u keep c om ing do wn


here a nd pestering me to death Besides .
,

a ny one wh o h as to keep such a sharp


wat c h for R eddy Fox a s you do ought to
kn ow why he wears a red coat I f you ll .

promise to sit perfectly still a nd ask no


’ ”
foolish questions I ll tell you the story
, .

Of course Peter promised and settled ,

himself comf ortably to listen And this .

is the story th at Gran df ather Frog told !



A l o ng time ago when the world was
,

young Old Mr Fox the grandfather a


,
.
,

thousand times removed of R eddy Fox ,


RE DDY FO! WEA RS R ED

tio ns he had two of the sharpest ears


,

a mong all the little meadow and forest


people and while he was going abou t
,

s eemi n g to b e j ust minding his own busi

n ess he was listening and listening to


,

all that was said E verything he heard .

he remembered so that it wasn t long ,


before he knew more about what w as go


ing on than all his neighbors toget h er .

B ut he kept his mouth tight closed did ,

M r Fox and was very humble and


.
,

polite to everybody E very ni ght he .

came home early and went to bed by

s u ndown and everybody s a id what g oo d


,

habits Mr Fo x had . .

But when everybody else was asleep ,

Mr Fo x used to steal out and b e g on e


.

half the night Yes S ir sometimes he d


.
, ,

b e g on e until almost m orning But he .

a lways took c are to get home before any

of his neighbors were a wake and then ,


he d wait until everybody was up before
some one was sure to tell him of mis
chief d on e during the darkness of the
night . S ometimes it was a storehouse
broken into and the best things taken
, .

S ometimes it was of terrible frigh ts that


some of the little s t people had received
by being wakened in the night and
seeing a fierce face with long sharp teeth ,

grinning at t h em S ometimes it was of


.

worse things that were told in whispers .

Mr Fox u sed to listen as if very much


.

Shocked a nd say t h at something o u ght


,

to b e d on e about i t and wonder who it


,

could b e who would do such dreadful


things .


By and by things got so bad that
they reached the ears of Old Mother
N ature and she came to find out what
,

it all meant N ow the very night bef o re


.
,

she arrived Mrs ! uack who lived on


,
.
,
REDDY FO! WEA RS RED 5
3

the river b ank had a terrible fright


, .

S omebody sprang u pon her as she was


sleeping a nd in the struggle she lost all
,

he r tail feathers She hurri ed to tell Old


.

M o ther Nature all about it and b ig tears ,

r olled do wn h er cheeks as she told how


she had lost all her b eautiful tail feathers .

M o ther N ature called all the pe o ple O f th e


forest a nd t he m eadows together She .

m ade the m all pass b efore her and she ,

looked sharply at each one as they we nt


by Mr F ox looked meeker than ever
.
,

and he was very humble and polite .

N ow when Mr Fo x had paid his.

r espects and turned his b ack Old Mother ,

N ature s a w s omething r ed on the tail


O f his c o at I t wa s no thing b ut a li ttle
.

smear of r ed clay b ut that was enough


,

for Old M o ther N ature Y ou see she .


,

kn ew that Mrs ! uack s home was right


.

a t the foot of a red clayb a nk She didn t .


sav a word until everybody had paid


5MOTH
4 E R WE ST WIN D WH Y S TO RIES

their respects and passed before her .

Then she told them how grieved she was


to hear of all the trouble there had been ,

but that she couldn t watch over each ’

one all the time ! they must learn to


watch out for themselves .


And so tha t you may know who to
watch out for from now on never trust
,


the one who wears a bright red coat ,

concluded Old Mother N at u re .


All of a sudden Mr Fo x b e cam e .

aware that everybody was looking at


him and in every face was hate He
,

glanced at his coat I t was bright red !


.

Then Mr Fox knew that he had b ee n


.

found out and he sneaked away with h is


,

tail between his legs The first chance .

he got he went to Old Mother N ature


,

an d b egged her to give him back his Old


coat S he promised that she would when
.

his heart changed and he changed his


,

ways But his hear t never did change


.
,
RE D DY FO! WEARS RED

and his childr en and his children s ’

children were j ust like him They have .

always b ee n the smartest and the sliest


a nd the m ost feared and disliked of all
the li ttle people on the meadows or in th e
forest And now you know why R eddy
.


Fox we ars a red coat concluded Grand
,

father Frog .

Peter R abbit drew a long breath .

Thank you thank you Grandfather


, ,

” “
Frog ! s ai d he I
. I thi nk her e after
I ll b e quite content with my own suit

,


eve n if it isn t handsome Jenn y Wren
.

was right A goo d hear t and h o n est ways


.

are b etter than fine clothes .


V

J I MM Y SKUN K NEVER H URRIES


V

WHY I
J MM Y S KU N K N E V E R H URR I E S

H E Merry Little Breezes of Old


Mother West Wind had j ust b ee n
r eleased from the big bag in
which she c arries the m every night to
their home b ehind the Purple Hills and
every morning brings them back to the
Green Meadows to romp and play all
day They romped a nd raced and danced
.

away some one way some a nother to


, , ,

see whom they co u ld find to play with .

Presently some o f the m spied Jimmy


S kunk slowly ambling down the Crooked
Little Path stopping every few steps t o
,

pull over a l oo se stone or stick They .

kn ew what h e w as doing th a t for They .

knew that he was l o oking for fat beetles


60 MO TH ER WES T WIND WHY ”
S TO RIE S

fo r h i s b reakfast They danced o ve r t o


.

h im a nd for m ed a r ing a round hi m while


they sang !
Wh o is it n eve r never hu rr i e s ?
,

Wh o is it n ever n e ve r wor r i es ?
,

Wh o is it d o e s j u st wh at he plea s e s ,

J u s t li ke us M err y Li ttle B r ee z e s ?
J i mmy Skunk ! J i mm y Skunk !

N ow not s o far away but that he could


he ar the m very pl ai nly sat Pete r Rabbit ,

j ust finish i ng his breakfast in a sweet


clover pat ch He sat up very straight
.
,

so as to hear bette r Of course some o f


.

th e Merry L ittle Breezes s aw h im right


aw ay They left Ji mmy to co m e over
.

and dance in a circle around Peter for ,

Peter is a great fa vorite with them .

And as they danced they sang


Wh o is it hops a n d skips a nd j umps ?
Wh o is it s o me ti me s lou dly thumps ?
Who is it d e ar l y love s to pla y ,

B u t wh e n there d ange r r u ns aw a

s

Peter Ra bb it ! Pe te r R a bbi t !
J I MM Y SKUN K NEVER H URRIES 61

Peter grinned good nature dly He is -


.

q uite used to being laughed a t f or a l wa ys


runni ng away and he d o es n t m ind it
,

in the le as t .


When danger s ne a r wh o r u ns away ,


will li ve to ru n a n o ther d ay r et orted ,

Pete r promptly Then he b egan the


.

maddest ki nd of a fr olic wi th the Merry


Little Breezes until they and he w ere
quite tir ed o ut and ready f or a g oo d
rest.


I wish said Peter as he stretched
, ,

h im s elf ou t i n the m iddle of the pat c h



Of sweet c l o ver that y o u wo ul d tell
,

me why it is th at Ji mm y S kunk never


hurr ies .


An d we wish th at y o u wo uld tell us
the same th i ng c ried o ne o f the Merry
,

Little Breezes .


Bu t I can t proteste d Peter
, .

E veryb o dy else seems t o hurr y at ,

times anyway b ut Jimmy never does


, .
62 MOTHER WES T WIND WHY S TO RIES

He says i t is a wa ste of energy whateve r ,


that means .

“ ’
I tell you what let s g o o ver t o

the S miling Pool and ask Gran df ather



Frog about it now He ll b e sure t o
.


kn ow spoke up one of the Merry Little
,

Breezes .


All right repli ed Peter hopping to
, ,


his feet But you ll have t o ask him
. .


I ve asked him for so many st o ries that
I don t dare ask for another right away

,

for fear that he will say that I am a


nuisance .

SO it was agreed that the Merry Little


Breezes sh o uld ask Grandfather Frog why
it is that Jimm y S kunk never hurries ,

and that Peter should keep out Of sight


until Grandfather Frog had begun the
story for they were sure that there
,

would b e a story Away they all hurried


.

to the Smiling P o ol The Merry Little


.

Breezes raced s o hard that they were


J I MM Y SKUN K NEVER H URRIES 63

quite ou t o f breath when they burst


thr o ugh the bulr ushes a nd sur rounded
Gran df ather Frog as he sat on his big ,

green lily pad -


.


Oh Grandf ather Fr o g why is it that
, ,


Ji mm y S kunk never hur ries ? they
panted .

Chug a rum—
replied Grandfather
-

Frog in his deepest gr uff est voice , .

Chug a rum ! Probably because he has


- -

learned better .

“ ”
Oh ! said one o f the Merry Little
Breezes in a rather faint disappointed
, ,

sort of voice Just then he spied a fat


.
,

foolish green fly a nd blew it right o ver


,

to Gran df ather Frog who snapped it up ,

in a flash Right away all the Merry


.

Little Breezes began to hunt for foolish


green flies a nd blow the m over to Grand

father Frog until he didn t have roo m
,

for a nother one inside his white and


yellow waistcoat I ndeed the legs of the .
64 MOTH E R WE ST WIND W HY ”
S TO RIE S

last one he tried to swallow stuck out of


one corner of his big mouth .

Chug a rum said Grandfather Frog


— —
,

trying very hard to get those legs out


of sight . Chu g a rum ! I always like
— -

to do something for those who do some


thing for me and I suppose n ow that I
,

o u ght to tell yo u why it is that Jimmy


S kunk never hurries I would if Peter .
,

R abbit were here I f I tell you the .

story Peter will be sure to hear of it


, ,

and then he will give me n o peace until


I tell it to him and I don t like to tell
,


st ories twice .

“ ”
But he is here ! cried one of the
“ ’
Little Breezes He s right over behind
.


that little clump of tall grass .

“ '
H u mph I thought he wasn t very ’

far away ,
grunted Grandfather Frog ,

with a twinkle in his great goggly eyes ,


.

Peter crept out of his hiding place -


,

looking rather shamefaced and very


J I M M Y SKUN K NE VER H URRIE S 6 5
foolish Then the Merry Little Breezes
.

settled themselves on the lily pads in a -

big circle around Gran df ather Frog and ,

Peter sat down as close to the edge of


the bank of the Smiling Pool as he dared
to get After what seemed to them a
.

very long time Grandfa ther Frog s wal,

lowed the legs of the last foolish gr een


fly opened his big mouth and began !
, ,


Of course you all know that long ,

long ago when the world was yo u ng


, ,

things were very di fferent from what they


are now very di fferent indeed The
,
.

great great ever s o gr eat grandfather of


— — — -

Jimmy S kunk was Slimmer and trimme r


than Jimmy is He was more like his .

cous ins Mr Weasel a n d Mr Mink


,
. . .

He was j ust as quick moving as they


were . Yes S ir Mr S kunk was very
, ,
.

lively on his feet He had to be to .

keep out of the way of his big neigh


bors for in those days he didn t have
,

JI MM Y SKUNK NEVER H URRIES 67

perfum e so strong that it would make


everybody ill but himself . Mother
N at u re thou ght it a ll o ver and the n she
,

did but she made him promise that he


,

would never use it u nless he was in great


danger .

Mr S kunk had to try his new defence


.

only once or twice b efore his ene m ies


took the greatest care to let hi m alone .

He found that h e no longer had to r u n


for a safe hiding place when he met Mr
-
.

Wolf or Mr Lynx o r Mr Panther


. . .

They j u st snarled a t hi m a nd p a sed s

without o ffering to tou c h him SO Mr . .

S kunk grew very independent and went


where he pleased when he pleased And .
,

bec ause he n o longer had to run from his


enemies he got out o f the habit of run
,

ning Then he made a discovery He


. .

wat c hed those of his neighb or s wh o were


f o rever h u rrying abo u t looking fo r f o od ,

hurryi n g b ec ause all the time there was


68 MOTHER WES T WIND WH Y S TO RIES

great fear upon them that an enemy


might b e near hurrying becau se each
,

was fearful that his neighbor would ge t


more than he I t wasn t long before
.

Mr S kunk saw that in their hurry they


.

overlooked a great deal I n fact by .


,

j u st following after them slowly he ,

found all he wan ted to eat .


S o Mr Skunk began to grow fat
. .

His neighbors who were having hard


,

work to make a living grew envio us , ,

and said unkind things abo u t him and ,

hinted that he must be stealing or he ,

never co u ld have so m uch to eat But .


Mr Sku nk didn t mind He went right
. .

on about his business He never worried


.
,

beca u se you know he feared nobody


, , .

And he ne ver hu rried because he found ,

that it paid best to g o slowly I n that .

way he never missed any O f the good


things that his hurrying worrying neigh ,

b o rs did S o he grew fatter and fatter


.
,
JI M M Y S KUN K N E VER HURR IES 6 9
while others grew thinner Af ter a while .

he almost forgot how to run Being fat .

and never hurrying or worrying mad e


him good natur ed -
He kept right on
.

minding his own aff airs and never med


d lin g in the aff airs of others so that by ,

and by his neighbors began to respect


him .


Of course he taught his chil dr en to do
as he did and the y taught their chil
,

dren And so ever since t h at long ago


.
,

d ay when the world was young that little


, ,

bag of perfu me has been handed down


in the S kunk family and none of them ,

h a s ever been afraid N ow you kn ow .

why Jimmy S kunk who m you all know , ,


is so independent and never hurries .


Thank you ! Thank you Grand ,


father Frog ! cried the Merry Little

Breezes Wh en you want some more
.

foolish green flies j ust let u s kn o w and


, ,


we ll get them for yo u .
70 MOTHER WES T WIND WH Y S TO RIES

Chug a rum ! What are you looking


— —


so wi stful for Peter R abbit ? demanded
,

Grandfather Frog .


I I was j ust wishing that I had
a be gan Peter Then suddenly he .


N O I don t either ! he

made a face .
,

“ ’
declar ed . I guess I d better be getting
home to the dear Old Briar patch now -
.

Mrs Peter probably thi nk s something


.

h as happened to me And away he .

went lipperty lipperty lip


,
- —
.
VI
WH Y SAM M Y J AY A F INE COAT
VI

WH Y S AM M Y J AY H A S A F INE CO A T

AM M Y JA Y has a very fine coat ,

a very beautiful coat E verybody .

knows that I n fact S am my s coat


.
,

has long been the envy of a great m any


of his neighbors in the Green Forest .

S ome Of them y o u know have very


, ,

m odest coats They are not beautiful at


.

all
. And yet the owners of some of
these plain coats are among the most
honest and hard working of all the little
-

people who live in the Green Forest .

They find it hard very har d indeed to , ,

u nderstand why such a scamp and mis

chiefm aker as S am my Jay sho ul d be


given such a wonderful blue coat with
white trim mings .
You do n t m e an t o s ay s o, P e te r ,

Grand f a th e r F ro g
.
S AMM Y JAY S F INE COA T ’

Peter grinned and wrinkled his n o se


at Grandfather Frog .


Yes said he
,
Old Mother N ature ,

knows a great deal more than I do but ,

it see m s to m e as if Sh e had m ade a


mistake in giving S ammy J ay suc h a
handsome coat There must be a reason
.
,

I suppose but for the life of me I cannot


,

understand it I should think that she


.

would give such a thief as S ammy Jay


the very homeliest sui t she could find .

Y ou may depend I would if I were in ,

her place .

Grandfather Frog chuckled until he


shook all over .

“ ’
I t s lucky for so m e of us that y o u

are not in her place ! said he Chug a .
-


rum ! I t certainly is lu c ky !

I f I were I would give yo u a hand
,


some coat t o o Gr a ndfather Frog re
, , ,

plied Peter .

Grandfather Frog suddenly swelled out


I have got Peter R abbit ? Tell me that !
,


Who s got a handsomer one ? Grand

father Frog glared with his great goggly ,

eyes at Peter .

’ ’
I didn t mean to say tha t you haven t
got a handsome coat Your coat i s.

handsome very handsome indeed Grand


, ,

” “
father Frog Peter hastened to say
,
I .

always did like green I j ust love it ! .

And I should think you would be ever


so proud of your whi te and yello w waist
coat I would if it were m ine Wh at I
. .

meant to say is tha t if I were in Old


Mother N ature s place I would give ,

some plain folks han ds ome suits Cer .

t a in ly I wouldn t give such a rascal as



,

S ammy Jay one of the h andsomest coats


in all the Green Forest Knowing S ammy .

as well as I do it is hard work to belie ve


,


that he came by it honestly .
SAMM Y JAY S F INE COAT ’

Grandf ather Frog chuckled way down


deep in his thr oat .


S ammy came by it honestly enough ,

Peter Yes S ir he came by it honestly


.
, ,

enough because it was handed down to


,

him b y his father who got it from his ,

father who got it from his father and


, ,

so o n way back to the days when the


,

w o rld was young but Grand


,

father Frog paused and that dreamy , ,

far away lo o k which Peter had seen so


-

o ften cam e into his great goggly eyes , .

“ ”
But what Grandf ather Frog ? asked
,

Peter eagerly when he co u ld keep still


,

no longer .

Grandf ather Frog settled himself com


fo rtably o n his big green lily pad and -

looked very hard at Peter .

“ ’
I m going to tell y o u a story Peter ,


R abbit said he ,
so that n ever again
,

will you b e led to doubt that Old Mother


Nature kn ows exactly what she is ab o ut .
78 MO TH ER WEST WIND WH Y S TO RI ES

In the first place S ammy Jay i s not


,

wholly to b lame for all his bad habits .

S ome of the m were handed down to him


with his fine coat j ust the same as your
,

troublesome curiosity was handed down


to you with the white patch on the seat

of your trousers .

Peter nodded He had felt a great


.

m any times that he j ust co ul dn t help ’

this habit o f poking t hat wobbly little


n ose of his in where it had no business
to be any more than he could change
,

that funny little bunch of white cott o n ,

which he c alled a tail for a really truly


, ,

tail .


Of cour se you have heard all ab o ut
,


what a very fine gentlema n S ammy Jay s
great gr eat ever so gr eat grandfather was
- - - -

thought t o b e until it was di scovered


th at he w as all the time stealing fro m
his neighbors and putting the blame on
o thers and how Old Mother N atur e pun
,
SAMM Y JAY S F INE COA T 7 9
ish ed him b y taking away the beautiful
voice of which he was so proud and ,

giving him instead the harsh voice which


S ammy has now and making him tell
,


j ust what he is by screaming thief thief , ,

thief ! every time he O pens his mouth


to speak .


At first Old Mother N ature had in
tended t o take away the fine coat o f
which Mr Jay was so proud but when
.
,

he di scovered that he had l o st his fine


voice he w a s so ashamed that he hurried
,

away t o hide himself from the eyes of


his neighb ors so that Old Mother N atur e
,


didn t have time to c hange his coat j ust
then .

’ ’

I ll wait a bit said sh e t o herself
, ,


and see how he beh aves Perhaps he is .

truly sorry for what he has d o ne a nd ,

I wi ll n ot have to punish hi m m ore .



But if Mr Jay w as truly sorry he
.
,

gave n o signs o f it Y o u see he h a d .


,
S AMM Y JAY S F IN E COAT

all the h arder for his neighbors to know



when he is about .


S o ins tead of giving him the plain ,

homely suit that she had thought of


giving him she made his coat of blue
,

brighter than before and trimmed it


with the whitest of whi te trimmings so ,

that Mr Jay had one of the very hand


.

s o m est coats in all the Green Forest .

At first he was very proud of it but it ,

wasn t long before he found that it was


very hard work to keep out of sight


when he wanted to That bright blue
.

c oat was forever giving him away when


he was out on mischief E verybody was .

a ll the time on the watch for it and so ,

where in the past Mr Jay had been .

able witho u t any trouble to steal all


, ,

he wanted to eat n o w he sometimes


,

a ctually h a d to work for his food and ,

get it honestly or else go hungry .

You wo u ld suppose that he w o uld


82 MOTH ER WES T WIND “
WHY ”
S TO RIE S

h ave mended his ways wouldn t you ? ,

Peter nodded .


But he didn t He gr ew more sly .

and crafty than ever But in spite of .


this h e didn t begin t o m ake as much
,


tro u ble as before He couldn t you .
,

know because of his bright coat When


,
.

Old Mother N at u re found that Mr Jay .

had passed along his bad habits to his


children she passed along his handsome
,

blue coat too a nd so i t has been fr o m


, ,

th at long ago day right down to this


-
.

’ ’
S ammy Jay s fine c o at i sn t a reward for
goodness as is Winsome Bluebird s bu t
,

,

is to help the o ther little people of the


Green Forest a nd the Green Meadows t o
protect themselves and keep track of ,

S am my when he i s sneaking and sno o p


ing a round looking f o r mischief No w .


what do you t hink Peter Rabbit ? ,

Pete r scratched one long ear and then


the othe r l o ng ear th o ughtfully and he ,
SAMM Y JAY S F INE COA T 83

l oo ked a wee bit ashamed as h e repli ed



I guess Old Mother Natur e m akes no
mistakes and always kn ows j us t what
s h e is doing .

“ ”
Chug a rum ! said Grandfather Frog
— -

in his deepest voice Yo u may be sure


.

she does . And another thing Peter ,

R abbit ! N ever j u dge any one by his


clothes I t is a gr eat mi stake a very
.
,

great mistake Plain clothes sometimes


.

cover the kindest hearts and fine clothes


,

often are a warning to beware of mis



chief
.

“ ’
I I don t know but you are right ,

a d mitted Peter

I kn o w I am said Grandfather Frog
,
.
VI I
J ERRY M USKR AT B UI L DS H IS HO USE
IN T H E WATER
VII
WHY JE RR Y M U S KRA T B U I L D S H I S H O U SE
IN TH E W AT E R

E T ER RABB I T and Johnny Chuck


had gone down to the S miling P o ol
for a call on their old friend Jerry ,

Muskr at But Jerry was nowhere to be


.

seen They waited and waited but no


.
,

Jerry Muskr at .


Probably he is taking a nap in that

big house of his said Johnny Chuck, ,

and if he is we ll have to sit here until
he wakes up or else g o back home and
,


vi sit him some other time .

“ ”
That s so replied Peter

,
I don t .

see wh at he has his house in the water


for anyway I f he had b ui lt it on land
,
.
,

like sensible people we might be able to ,


JERRY M USK RAT S HO USE 8 9
pad and he looks as if he might be feel
,

ing very good natured this morni ng -


.


Let s go ask him why Jerry M u skrat
builds his house in the water .

Grandfathe r Frog saw them coming ,

and he guessed right away that they


were coming for a story He grinned .

to himself and pretended to g o to sleep .

“ ”
Good morning Grandfather Frog , ,

said Johnny Chuck Grandfather Frog .


didn t answer Jo hnny tried again and
.
,

sti ll n o reply .

He s asleep

said J ohnny looking
, ,


dreadf t disappointed and I guess ,


we d b etter not dist u rb him for h e m ight ,


wake up cross and of co u rse we wouldn t
,


get a story if he did .

Peter l o oked at Grandfather Frog



sharply He wasn t so sure that that
.

was a real nap I t seemed to him that


.

th ere was j ust the least little hint of a


smile in the corners of Grandfath er
9
0 MOTH E R WE S T WIND WH Y ”
S TO RI E S

Frog s big m outh



Yo u sit here a
.


minute he whispered in Johnny Chuck s
,

ear.

S o Johnny Chuck sat down where he


was which was right where Grandfather
,

Frog could see him by lifting one eyelid


j ust the teeniest bit and Peter hopped ,

along the bank until he was right behind


Grandf ather Frog N ow j u st at that
.

place on the bank was gro wing a toad


stool Peter looked over at Johnny
.

Chuck and winked Then he turned.

a round and with one of his long hind


,

feet he kicked the toadstool with a ll


,

his m ight N ow toadstools as you all


.
,

know are not very well fastened at the


,

roots and this one was no di ff erent


,

from the rest When Peter kicked it


.

it flew out into the air and landed with


a great splash in t he S miling Pool ,close
be s ide the big green lily pad on which -

Grandfather Frog was sitting Of c ourse .


JERRY M USKRAT S HO USE ’

he di dn t see it coming and of cours e



,

it gave hi m a great start .

Chug a rum ! exclaimed Gran df athe r


- —

Frog and dived head first into the water .

A m inute later Peter s sharp eyes saw ’

him peeping o ut from under a lily pad -

t o see what had frightened hi m so .

“ ”
Ha ha ha ! shouted Peter dancing
, , ,


about on the bank Ha ha ha ! Grand , ,

father Frog afraid of a toadst o ol ! H a


, ,


h a ha !
,

At first Gran df ather Frog was angry ,

very a n gry indeed But he is too Old .

and too wise to lose his temper for long


over a j oke especially when he has been
,

fairly caught trying to play a j oke him


self SO presently he climbed b ack o n to
.

his b ig green lily pad blinking his great


-
, ,

goggly eyes a nd l oo king j u st a wee b it


foolish .


Chug a rum ! I might have kn o vm
— -

that that w as some of your w o rk Peter ,


JERRY M USKRA T S HO USE ’

across his white and yellow waistcoat


and half closed his eyes as if lookin g ,

way way back into the past


,
.

“ ”
Chug a rum ! he began
— —
A long .
,

long time ago when the world was,

young there was very little d ry land


, ,

and m ost of the a ni mals lived in the


water . Yes Sir most of the animals
, ,

lived in the water as sensible ani mals ,


do to day
-
.

Peter nudged Johnn y Ch u ck He .

m eans himself and his fam ily he ,

whispered with a chuckle .

“ ”
Af ter a time continued Grand ,


father Frog there began to be m ore
,

l and and still more Then some o f the .

a ni mals began to spend most of thei r


time on the land As there got to be .

more and m ore land more and more of ,

the animals left the water until finall y ,

most of them were spending n early all


of the ti m e on land No w Old M o ther .
9
4 MOTH ER WES T WIND WH Y ”
S TO RIE S

N ature had been keeping a sharp watch ,

as she always does and when she found


,

that they were foolish eno u gh to like the


land best she did all that she co u ld to
,

make things c omfortable for them S he .

taught them how to run and j ump and


climb and dig according to which things
,


they liked best to do so that it wasn t
,

very long before a lot of them forgot


that they ever had lived in the water ,

a n d they began to look down on those

who still lived in the water a nd to put


,

on airs and hold their heads very


h igh .


N ow o f c ourse Old Mother N atur e
, ,

didn t like this and to punish them she



,

said that they should no longer be able


t o live in the water even if they wanted
,

to At first they only laughed but a fter


.
,

a while they found that quite Often


there were times when it wo u ld be very
ni c e to be at home in the water as they
JERRY M USK RA T S HO USE ’

o nce had been But it was of no use


. .

So me could swi m as long as they c ould


keep their heads above water bu t as ,

soon as they put their heads under water


th ey were likely to drown You kn ow .

that i s the way with y o u t o day Pete r -


,

R abbit .

Peter n odded He knew that he co u ld


.

swi m i f he had to but only for a very


,

little way and he hated the thought of it


, .

N o w there w ere a few animals of ,

whom old Mr M u skr at the gra ndfather


.
,

a tho u sand times removed Of Jerry


Muskrat was one who learned t o walk
, ,

and ru n on dry land but who still ,


loved the water continued Grandf ather
,


Frog. One day Old Mother N at ure
f o und M r Muskr a t sitting on a ro c k
.
,

looking ve ry mo urnful .


What s the matter Mr M u skrat ?

,
.

she a sked .


Mr Muskrat looked very mu c h
.
JERRY M US KR AT S HO USE

ru shes and twi gs with a nice war m


,

bedroom li ned with grass above the


water and an entrance down under the
,

water so that no one except those who


,

still lived m ost of the time in the wat er


could possibly get into it N one of his .

friends on land had such a big fine ,

house and Mr Muskrat was very proud


,
.

of it But with all his pride he never


.

forgot that it was a reward for trying


to b e content with his surroundings and
makin g the best of them .


S o from that day to this the Musk ,

rats have built their houses i n the water ,

and have been among the m ost indus


trio u s contente d and happy of all the
, ,

animals And that is why Jerry Muskrat


.

has built that fine h ouse in the S miling



Pool and has so few enemies con cluded ,

Grandfather Frog .

Peter R abbit drew a long breath ,


which was alm o st a sigh I alm o st .
9
8 MOTH E R WE ST WIND WH Y S TO RIE S

wish my grandfather a thousand times


removed had been content to stay in
the water too he said
, ,
.

Chug a rum
— -
retorted Grandf ather

Frog. I f he had you wouldn t have the
,

dear Old Briar patch Be content with


-
.


what you ve got

.


I think I will said Peter,
.
VIII
WHY OLD COYO T E HAS V O I C ES
W HY O L D M A N CO YO T E H AS MA NY I
V O CE S

F co u rse Old Man Coyote has


o nly one voice but that one is
,

s u ch a wonderful voice that he


ca n make it sound like a great many
voices all yelping and howling and
,

shouting and laughing at the same time .

S o those who hear him always say that


he has m any voices and that certainly
,

is the way it seems The first ti me Peter


.

R abbit heard Old Man Coyote he was ,

sure absolutely s ur e that there was a


, ,

whole crowd of strangers on the Green


Meadows and you may be sure that he
,

kept very close to his dear Old Briar


patch I f you had been there and tried
.

to tell Peter that all that n oise was


1 02 MO TH ER WES T WIND WHY ”
S TO RIES

m ade by j u st o ne voice he wo u l d n t ,

have believed you NO S ir he wo uldn t


.
, ,


h ave believed you And you co u ldn t
.

have bl am ed him .

I t was the Merry Little Breezes of


Old Mother West Wind who first told
Peter who the stranger was and warned
him to watch out because Old M a n ,

Coyote is j ust as fond of R abbit as


Granny or R eddy Fox and is even m ore ,

crafty and sly than t hey Peter thanked .

the Merry Little Breezes for the warning ,

a n d t h e n he asked them how many of

his family Old Man Coyote had bro ught


with him Of course the Merry Little
.

Breezes told Peter that Old Man Coyote


was all alone and they becam e very
,

indignant when Peter laughed at them .

He j ust couldn t help it



.

“ ” “
Why said he every night I hear a
, ,

whole crowd yelping and h owling t o ! !


g ethe r
.
OL D MA N COYOTE S MA NY V O I C ES 1 03

’ ”
But you don t ! insisted the Merry

Little Breezes . I t is Old Man C o y o te

alone who makes all that noise .

“ ’
D on t you suppose I kn o w what I

hear ? demanded Peter .

“ ”
NO ! retorted the Merry Little

Breezes . Yo u may have big ears and
be able to hear a great deal sometimes ,

a great deal more than yo u have any


business to hear but you are Old enough
,

by this time to have learned that yo u



cannot believe all you hear And with .

that the Merry Little Breezes in d ig


n a n tly raced away to spread the news

all over the Green Mead o ws .

N ow Peter was quite as indignant


because they thought he couldn t or ’


shouldn t believe his own ears as they ,


were because he wouldn t believe wh at
they told him and all the rest of that
,

day he couldn t put the matter out of


his mind He was still thinking of it


.
OLD MAN CO YO T E S MA NY V OI CE S 5
10

right ,
m u ttered Peter to himself as ,

Old Man Coyote tro tted away in the


direction Of the Green Forest and he ,

felt a wee bit asha med to think that he


had refused to believe them .

Af ter that Peter co uld think of


,


nothing but Old Man Coyote s wonder
fu l voice that sounded like m any voices ,

and at the V ery first opportunity he


hurried over to the S miling P0 01 to ask
Grandf ather Frog what it meant .


Chug a -
s a i d G r a n df at h e r

Frog . I t m eans simply that Old Man
Coyote comes of a very s m art family ,

and that he knows how to make the


most of the gift of Old Mother N atur e
to his gran df ather a thousand time s
removed .

Thi s sounded s o m uch like a story


that Pe ter straightway teased Grand
f ather Frog to tell him all about it At .

last to get rid of him a nd enj oy a little


,
1 06 MO T HER WES T WIND WH Y S TO RI E S

quiet and peace Grandf ather Frog did


,

so
Chug a rum ! he began as he always
— —
,

does . The great great ever s o great - - - -

grandf ather of Old Man Coyote who ,

lived long long ago when the world was


,

y oung was
,
very much as Old Man
Coyote is to day He was j ust as smart
-
.

and j ust as clever I ndeed he was smart


.
,

e nough and clever enough not to let his

n eighbors know that he was smart and

clever at all Those were very peaceful


.

t imes at first and everybody was on the


,

b est O f terms with everybody else as ,

y o u know There was


. plenty to e a t
w ithout the trouble to steal and every ,

b ody was honest simply because it was


easier to be honest than it was to be
dishonest SO Old King Bear ruled in
.

the Green Forest and everybody was ,

happy and contented .

But there came a time when fo o d


OL D MA N COY O TE S MANY V O I C ES 107

w as scarce and it was no longer easy


,

to get plenty to eat I t was then that .

the stronger began to steal from the


weaker and by and by even to prey
,

upon those smaller than themselve s .

The times grew harder a nd harder and ,

because hunger is a hard and cruel


m aster it made the larger and stronger
,

people hard a n d cruel too S ome of ,


.

them it m ade very sly and cunning like ,

Old Mr Fo x Mr Coyote was another


. . .

whom it made sly and cunning He was


smart in the first place even smarter ,

than Mr Fo x a nd he very early made


.
,

u p his mind that if he w o u ld live it ,


must b e by his wits for he wasn t big ,

enough o r strong enough to fight with


his neighbors su c h as his big cousin ,

Mr Timber Wolf o r Mr Lyn x or Mr


.
,
.
, .

Panther o r Old King Bear who was ,

king no l o nger And yet he liked the


.

same things to eat .


OLD MA N CO YOTE S MA NY V O I C ES 9
10

hard times everybody was very very ,

selfish .

The times grew harder and harder ,

u ntil it seemed as if Old Mother N ature


had wholly forgotten her little people of
the Green Meadows and the Green
Forest Mr Coy o te still managed to
. .

pick up a li vi ng but he was hungry ,

most of the time and the less he h ad to


,

put in his stomach the sharper his wits ,

grew At last one day as he stole s o ft


.
,

f o oted through the Green Forest he ,

discovered Mr Lyn x having a great.

feast To kee p still a nd watch him


.

was almost more than M r Coyote could .

stand for he was so hungry that it


,

seemed as if the sides of his stomach


almost met it was so empty,
.

“ ‘
If I could m ake myself into three ,

we c o ul d take that dinn er away from



Mr Lynx ! thought he and right on
.
,

t o p of that thought came a gr e at idea .


1 1 0 MOTH ER WE S T WIND WHY ”
S TO RIE S

Why not make Mr Lynx think he had .

a lot of friends with him ? I t would do


no harm to try SO Mr Coyote put his
. .

nose up in the air and howled Mr . .

Lynx looked up and grinned He had .

no fear o f Mr Coyote Then Mr


. . .

Coyote hurried around to the other side


of Mr Lynx all the time keeping out of
.
,

sight and howled again and this time


, ,

he tried to make his voice sound di fferent .

Mr Lynx stopped eating and looked


.

up a little s u rprised I wonder if Mr .



.

Coyote has got a brother with him ,


thought he A minute later Mr Coyote


. .

howled again from the place where he


had howled in the first place He .

certai nly has thought Mr Lynx but


,

.
,


I m a match for two O f them and once ,

more he went on eating .


Then Mr Coyote began to run in a
.

circle around Mr Lynx always keeping .


,

out of sight in the thick brush a nd ,


OLD M AN CO YO TE S MANY VO I CES’
111

every few steps he yelped or howled ,

and each yelp or howl he tried to make


so u nd different N ow Mr Coyote could . .

ru n very fast and he ran now as hard


,

as ever h e could in a big circle yelping ,

and howling and making his voice sound


as di fferent as possible each time Mr . .

Lynx grew anxio u s and lost his appetite .


Mr Co yote must have a whole crowd
.


of brothers thought he ,

I guess this .


is no place for me ! With that h e started
to sneak away .


Mr Coyote followed him still try
.
,

ing to m ake his voice sound like t h e


voices of m any Mr Lynx gave a . .

hurried look over his shoulder and bega n


to run Mr Coyote kept after him
. .
,

yelping and howling until he was sure ,

that Mr Lynx was so frightened that


.


he wo ul dn t dare c ome back Then .

Mr Coyote returned to the di nner Mr


. .

Lynx had left a n d ate and ate u ntil ,


OLD MAN CO YOTE S MA NY V O I C ES 1 13

voice which sounded like many voices


,
.


SO he had plenty to eat fr om that
time on And all hi s childr en and his
.

c hildren s chil dr en had that same won


d erf ul voice j u st as Old Man Coy o te


,

h a s now Chug a ru m ! NOW scam per


.
— -

home Peter R abbit and see that you


, ,


don t let Old Man Coyote s sharp wits


get you into trouble .


Thank you Grandf ather Frog ! cried
,

Peter and scam pered as fast a s he Co ul d


go for the de ar safe Old Briar patch
,
-
.
I!

W HY M INER THE MOLE L IVE S UND E R


G R O UND
W H Y M INE R TH E M O LE LIV E S U ND E R
GR O U ND

T R IPE D CH I PM UN K s a t staring
at a little ridge where the grass
was raised up He had often seen
.

little ridges like that without thinking


much about them He knew that they
.

were made by Miner the Mole He .

had kno wn that e ver since he was big


e nough to begin to ask q u estions But .

now as he looked at this o n e it suddenly ,

s truck him that he had not seen Miner

the Mole m ore than once or twice in


a ll his life
.


Wh at a queer way O f living ! thought

S triped Chipm u nk .I t s all very we ll

to have a snug house under the ground ,


1 18 MO TH ER WE S T WIND WHY ”
S TO RI E S

where one can sleep the long cold winter


away and be perfectly safe but what ,

any one wants to live under the ground


all the time for in the beautiful spring
,

time and summertime and au tu m n tim e ,

I can t understand Just think of all



.

th at Miner misses the sunshine the ,

flowers the songs of the birds and the


, ,

Merry Little Breezes to play with ! I


wonder
“ ”
Wha t do yo u wonder ? The voice
was so close to S triped Chipmunk that
it m ade him j u mp He whirled about. .

There was Johnny Chuck who had tip ,

toed up a s softly a s he knew how to ,

give Striped Chipmu nk a scare Johnny .

“ ”
grinned . What do you wonder ? he
repeated .

S triped Chipmunk made a face at



Jo h nny . I wonder something that I


bet you don t know he replied ,
.


T h at s e a s y

r e p l i e d J oh n ny
,
.
M INER T HE MOL E UNDER G R O UN D 11 9

There are m ore things I don t kn ow

than I do know but I m always ready
,


t o learn What is it this time ?
.

Why does Miner the Mole live u nder



ground all the time ? S triped Chip
m u n k pointed to the ridge made by
lVIin er .

Johnny Chuck scratched his he a d


t ho u g htfully .


I don t know he co nf essed fin ally

, .

I never tho u ght of it before Of co u rse .

t here must be a reason He never comes .

o u t to play w ith the rest of us j ust


s pends all his time by himsel f down
in the dark digging and digging I w o n
,
.


W ell what do you wonder ?
,


The same thing you wonder laugh ed ,


If yo u haven t got any

Johnny Ch u ck

thing else to do let s g o down to the
,

S miling Pool and ask Grandfather Fr o g !



he ll be s u re to kn o w .
M INE R T HE MOLE UN D E R G R O UN D 1 21

one of their nearest n eighbors and yet ,


they didn t know the first t hing about
him .


I t happened a long time ago con ,

tin u ed Grandf ather Frog .

“ ”
When the world was young ? inter
ru pte d D anny Meadow Mo u se .

Of co u r se replied Grandfather Frog


, ,

pretending to be very m uch pu t out at


such a foolish question D anny hung .

his head and resolved that he would


bite his tongu e before he a s ked another
question .

“ ’
I n those days Miner s great great -

grandfather a thousand times removed



di dn t live under ground continued

,


Grandf ather Frog N obody di d
. He .

wasn t so very di ff erent from a lot of


other a nimals Food was plenty and


.
,

everybody was on the best of terms with


everybody else Mr Mole lived j u st as
. .

the rest did He went and came as he


.
122 MOTHER WES T WIND WHY ”
S T O RIES

pleased and enj oyed the sunshine and


,

took part in all the good times of his


neighbors E verybody liked him and
.
,

whenever he made a call he was s u re ,

of a welcome But one thing Mr Mole


. .

never did ! he never m ed dled in other


people s aff airs

N O S ir Mr Mole , , .

never poked his nose in where he ha d


no business .


For a long time everything went
smoothly with all the people of the
Green Forest and the Green Meadows .

Then came hard times They grew .

harder and harder Food was scarce .

and kept growing m ore scarce E very .

body was hungr y and yo u kn ow how ,

it is with hungry people they grow —

ugly and quarrelsome Matters grew .

worse and worse and then it was that ,

fear was born The big people like Old


.
,

King Bear and Mr Wolf and Mr Panther . .

and Mr Lynx began to look with


.
,
M INE R TH E MOLE UNDER G R O UND 1 23

hungry eyes on the little people and the ,

little people began to gr o w afraid and


hide fro m the b ig people and all the ,

time they were continually quarreling


among themselves and stealing from each
other to get enough to eat .


N ow as I said b efore Mr Mole
, , .

never had m eddled with other people s ’


business and he didn t now He w ent
, .

o ff b y himself to think th ings over It ‘


.


isn t safe to run around any more said ,


he. I m et Mr W olf this morning a nd
.
,

h e looked at m e with such a hungry


look in his eyes that it gave me the cold
shivers I believe he wo ul d h ave eaten
.


m e if I h adn t crawled int o an old
,


hollo w stum p N ow I can t run fast
.
,

because m y legs are too short I can t .


climb trees like Mr S quirrel and I can t .


,

swim like Mr Muskrat The only thing


. .


I can do is to dig .


You see Mr Mole always had been
,
.
M INER THE MOLE U NDER G R O UND 5
12

H ave you n oticed h o w very plum p he


looks ? ’

‘ ’ ‘
Yes replied Mr Fo x
,
He made . .

m y m o uth wate r the very l a st time I


saw hi m S eems to m e I can smell him
.

n ow I f he had made this hole j ust a


.

little bit bigger I would go down and


pull him out but I a m t o o tired to d o
,


any digging now .


I tell you what replied Mr Badger

,
. .


W e ll hunt together a little longer and

,


then if we can t find anything to eat ,


we ll co me back and I ll help you dig

,
.

I hate to hurt Mr Mole because he .


,

always m inds his own business but the se ,

are hard times and each one must look ,


out for himself .

With that they went away leaving ,

Mr M ole shaking wi th fright at the


.

‘ ’ ’
bottom o f his hole I t s of n o use .
,


thought Mr Mole I f I go outside
. .
,

they will soon find me and if I stay ,


1 26 MO THER WES T WIND WHY ”
S TO RIES

here they will dig m e out Oh dear


,
.
,

o h dear ! What ever can I do ?


He lay there feeling very helpless
and miserable when all of a sudde n a
,

thought came to him I f he had made .

his hole small j ust big enough for him


,

to crawl into Mr Badger and Mr Fox


, . .

would have had to do a great deal of dig


ging to make it big enough for either of
the m to get i n ! He would m ake a little
tunnel Off one side and hide in that S o he .

went to work and made a little tunnel


off o ne side j ust big enough for him to

squeeze into He worked very hard and


.

very fast and by the time Mr Badger


,
.

and Mr Fo x retu rned Mr Mole was


.
,
.

at the end of a long tunnel so far fro m ,

th e hole he had first dug that he knew it


would take t h em a long time to dig hi m
o ut even if they noticed his tunnel
,
.


But they didn t They dug down t o
.

the b o ttom of his hole and then bec ause ,


M INER T HE MOLE UNDER G RO UND 1 27


they didn t find hi m there they straight ,

way fell to quarreling each blaming the ,

other for suggesting such a lot of h ard


work for nothing Finally they went
.

away still calling each other names and


, ,

from that day to this Foxes and Badgers,

have never been friends .


Mr Mole was very thankf ul for his
.

narrow escape and it set him to thinking


,
.

I f he had a lot of these underground


tunnels no one would be able to catch
,

him I t was a splendid idea ! He went


.

to work on it at once And then he .

made a discovery such a splendid dis


co very ! There was plenty of food to
eat right down u n de r ground worms
and grubs all he needed Af ter that .
,

Mr Mole spent all his time in his tun


.

nels and seldom put his nose outside .

He was safe and h e was co mf ortable


, ,

and he could always find something to


eat by digging for it .
M INE R MOLE UN DE R G R O UN D 12 9
we are going back home perfectly happy
and satisfied .

to this day Peter R abbit wonders


what the story was that he missed .
X
MR . SNAKE CA NN OT WINK
X
WHY MR . S NAKE CA NN O T W I NK

E TE R RABB I T and J Ohn n y Chuck


were playing tag on the Green
Meadows Of course Peter can
.

run so m u ch faster than Joh nn y Chuck


“ ”
that he would never have been it if
he had tried his best to keep o u t o f the
way But he didn t N o S ir Peter
.

.
, ,


R abbit didn t do anything of the kind .

He pretended that one of his long hind


legs was lame so that he had t o run on
three legs while Johnny Chuck co ul d
,

use all fo u r I t was great fun They


. .

raced and dodged and twisted and tur ned .

S ometimes Peter was so excited that he


would forget and use all four legs Then .

“ ”
Johnny Chuck would s h out N o fair !
1 34 MOTH ER WES T WIN D WHY ”
S TO RIES

Peter would say t h at he didn t m ean ’


.

“ ”
to and to m ake up for it would be it
,

and try to catch Johnny .

N ow it happened that curled up on a


little grassy tussock taking an early ,

morning s u n bath lay little Mr Green


-
, .

s nake Of co u rse Peter Rabbi t and


.

Joh nny Chuck were n o t afraid of him .

I f it had been Mr R attlesnake or Mr


. .

Go phersn ake it would have bee n dif


,

feren t But from little Mr Green sn ake


. .

there was nothing to fear and sometimes , ,

j ust for fun Peter would j ump right over


,

him When he did that Peter always


.
,

winked good nature dly But Mr Green


-
. .

snake never winked ba c k I nstead he


wo ul d raise his head ru n his tongu e ,

out at Peter and hiss in what he tried


,

to m ake a very fierce and an gry m anner .

Then Pe ter would laugh and wink at


him again But n ever once did Mr
.

Green sn ake wi nk back .


He w ou l d ma k e no r e p l y , e
s av to run ou t h is ton gu e
at th e m .

P ag e 1 3 5.
MR . SNAK E CA NN O T WIN K 13 5
Peter was thi nking of this as he and
Johnny Chuck stretched o ut in a sunny
spot to get their b re a th a nd r est He .

had n ever though t o f it befo re but now ,


that he had noti c e d it he co uldn t ,

remember that he ever h a d seen little


Mr Green sn ake wink n or any o f Mr
.
, .

Green s n ake s relatives



H e me nti o ned .

the matter to Johnny Chuck .

“ ’
That s so replied Jo hnny th o ught ,


fully I never have seen any of them
.

wink either D O y o u suppose they can


,
.


wink ?

Let s go a sk Mr Green s n ake sai d

.
,

Peter .

Up they h o pped and raced over to


the grassy tussock where Mr Green sn ake .

lay but to all their questions he would


,

m ake no reply save to run out his tongue


at them Finally they gave up asking
.

h im .

“ ’
I tell you what let s go over to th e ,
13 6 MOTH E R WE S T WIN D WH Y S T O RI ES

S miling Pool and ask Grandfather Frog .

He ll be sure t o know and perhaps if



, ,

”’
he is feeling good he ll tell us a story
, ,

s aid Peter .

SO O ff they scampered to the S miling


Pool There they found Grandfather
.

Frog sitting o n his big green lily pad -

j ust as usual and Pete r knew by the look


,

in his great goggly eyes that Grandfather


,

Frog had a good b reakfast of foolish


green flies tu cked a way inside his white

and yellow waistcoat His eyes twinkled .

as Peter and Johnny very politely wished


him good m orning

Good m orning said he gruffly, .

But Peter had seen that twinkle in


his eyes and knew that Grandfather
Frog was feeling good natured in spite -

of his gruff greeting .


I f you please Grandf ather Frog why
, ,

d oesn t Mr Green s n ake wink at u s when



.


we wink at him ? he aske d .
MR . SNAK E CA NN OT WIN K

Chug a rum ! Becau se h e can t re
- -

,

plied Grandfather Frog .

cried Peter R abbit and


Johnny Chuck together .

” ’
T h at s what I said

can t replie d ,


Grandfather Frog And no more can
.

Mr Blacksnake or Mr R attlesnake or
.
,
.
,

Mr Goph ersn ake or any other member


.
,


O f the S nake family .


Why not ? cried Peter and Johnny ,

all in the same breath .


Chug a rum ! said Grandfa ther Frog
— -
,

folding his hands across his white and



yellow waistcoat if yo u will S it still
,


until I finish I ll tell you ! b ut if you
,

move or ask any foolish questions I ll ,



stop right where I am and yo u ll never ,

hear the end of the story for no one else ,


knows it .

Of course Peter and Johnny promised


to sit perfectly still and not say a word .

After they had m ade t h emselves com


MR . SNAKE CANN OT WIN K

m eadow and fores t people and that was ,

a bad thing I t certai nl y was a very


.


b a d thing Gran df ather Frog shook his
.

head gravely .

“ ”
You see he continued ,
as s o on as ,

he found that out he b egan to take ,

advantage of his neighbors a nd cheat


them but he would do it so smoothly
,

that they never once suspected t h at they


were being cheated Mr S nake wo uld . .

go about all day cheating everybody he


met At night he wo ul d go home and
.


chuckle over his smartness I t wasn t .

long before he began to look d own on his


neighbors for b eing so h o nest that they
didn t suspect other people o f being

di sho ne st a nd f o r b ei ng SO e asily
,

cheated .


N ow one bad habit almost always
leads to another From cheating Mr ,
.

S nake j ust natur ally slip pe d to stealing .

Y es S ir he became a thief Of cours e


, ,
.
1 4 0 MOTH ER WE S T WIND WHY ”
S TO RIES

that made trouble right away but still ,

n o one suspected Mr S nake He was


. .

always very polite to every one a n d


always o ffering to do favors for his
n eighbors I n fact Mr S nake was very
.
,
.

well liked and m uch respected When .

any one had been robbed he was always ,

the first to o ffer sympathy and j oin in


the hunt for the thief He was so spry
.

and slim and could slip through the


,

tall grass SO fast that he could go almost


,

where he pleased without being seen ,

and this m ade him very bold I f he did .

happen to be found near the scene of


trouble he always had a story ready to
,

account for his presence and it sounded,

so true and he told it in such an honest


,

manner that no one thought of doubt


,

ing it
.

SO Mr S nake found that lying


.

helped hi m to cheat and steal and all ,

the time he kept thinking ho w smart he


M R SN AKE CA NN O T WINK
. 14 1

was But even Mr S nake had a little


. .

bit of conscience and once in a while


,

it would trouble him S o what do you .

think he did ? Wh y cheating had be ,

come such a habit with hi m that he


actually tried to cheat himself to cheat
his conscience ! When he was telling a

lie he would wi nk one eye
,
That said .
,


he to himself means that it isn t true
,

,

and if these folks are not smart enough


to see me wink and know what it m eans ,

it is their o wn fault if they believe what



I am telling them But always he took
.

care to wink the eye that w as tur ned


away from the one he was talking to .


D ear me dear me such terrible
, ,

times as there were on the Green


Meadows and in the Green Forest !
They gr ew worse and w or se and when ,

at last Old Mother N atur e came t o see


how a ll the little people were getting
al o ng she heard so m any com plain ts
,
MR . SNAKE CA NN O T WIN K

all the trouble Mr S nake was ve ry


. .

bold. He held his head very high in


the air and pretended n ot to care .

When Old Mother N ature t u r ned her


head he even ran out his tongue at her
, ,

j ust a s all th e S nake family do at y o u


and m e to d ay When she had finished
-
.

telling them how che ating and s tealing



a nd lying isn t s m art a t all but very , ,

very drea df ul she turned to Mr S n ake


,
.

a nd said
From this time on no one will ,

b elieve anyt h i ng you say and you S hall ,

have n o friends Y ou will never wink .

a gain for yo u a nd your children a nd


,

your childr en s children forever will h ave


n o eyeli ds that all the world m ay know


,

that t h ose wh o m ake a wrong use o f the


things given them shall have t h em t aken

awa y .

An d now y o u kn o w why little M r



.

Greens n ake c an no t wi nk a t y o u ! he
1 44 MOTHER WE ST WIND W HY ”
S TO RIE S

hasn t any eyelids to wink wi th finished



,

Grandfather Frog .

Peter R abbit drew a long breath .

Thank you oh thank you ever s o


, ,

” “
much Grandf ather Frog he said
, ,
Will .

you tell us next time why Bobby Coon



wears rings on his tail ?

“ ”
Perhaps replied Grandfather Frog
,
.
XI
WHY B O BB Y C OO N HAS RIN G S
H I S TA I L
XI
WHY B OB B Y CO O N H AS R IN GS O N
H IS TA IL

E T ER RABB I T wo ul d give Grand


father Frog no peace E very day .

Peter V isited the S miling POO1 to


tease Grandf ather Frog for a story for
one particular st o ry He wanted to .

kn ow why it is th at B obby Coon wears


rings on his tail You see Peter had ,

admi r ed Bobby Co o n s tail for a long ’

time Peter has su c h a funn y little tail


.

himself j ust a little white b unch of


,

c o tton that such a h a ndsome tail as


,


Bobby Coon s sometim es stirs j ust a

wee bit of envy in Peter s heart .


But it wasn t envy s o m uch as cur iosity
th at prompted Peter to tease f o r that
148 MOTH ER WES T WIND WHY S TO RIE S

story Bobby Coon s tail is very hand
.

some you know It has beautiful rings


,
.

of black and gray and Peter didn t know


,

of any other tail at all like it S omehow .


,

he felt right down deep in his heart that


there must be a reason for those rings ,

j ust as there is a reason for his own


lo n g ears and long legs The m ore he.

thought about it the more he felt that


,

he simply must kn ow and the o nly way


,

he co uld find out w a s from Gran df ather


Fr o g wh o is very old and ve ry wise S o
,
.

he teased and h e teased until finally


Gr a n df ather Frog promised him that on
the next afternoon he wo u ld tell Peter
why Bobby Coon has rings on hi s tail .

Peter hur ried away to tell all the little


meadow and forest people and the next ,

afternoon they were all on hand on the


bank o f t h e S miling POO1 to hear the

story about Bobby C o on s tail .

Chug a rum !
— —
began Grandfather
B BBO Y COO N S RIN G ED TAI L 14 9
Frog smoothing down his white and
,


yellow waistcoat Chug a rum ! S ome .
— —

folks seem to think th at what they do


doesn t matter to anybody but them

selves That was the way with Old Mr


. .

R abbit who lived a long time ago when


,

the world was young He thought he .

could make all the trouble he pleased by


his dreadful c u riosity and if he was ,

found out no one would suff er but


,


himself But it wasn t so
. Here is .

Peter R abbit his grandchild a thousand


,

time s removed with long legs and long


,

ears and the bad habit of curiosity all


, ,

because old Mr R abbit had a bad habit .


and didn t try to overcome it .

I t was the same way with Old Mr .

Coon He was dishonest and stole from


.

Old King Bear Old Mother N ature .


-

punished him by putting mustard in his


food and Mr Coon though t he was so
,
.

s m art th at he could get ahead of Old


B BBO Y COO N S RIN GED TAI L

5
1 1

b ered the mustard and tried to fool


himself into thinking that he was simply
spiting Old Mother N ature b ut right ,

down in his heart he knew that even if


he should b e told that n ever again would
there be m ustard in his food he would ,

wash it j ust the same .


One day as he sat beside the Laugh
,

ing Brook eating his supper he noticed ,

that while his food had been washed


clean his hands were dirty They spo iled
,
.

his supper Yes S ir they spoiled his


.
, ,

supper .


What good do es it do to wash my
food if I eat it out o f dirty hands ?
,

said Mr Coon to himself and he hurried


.
,

to a quiet little pool to give them a


good scrubbing Then he washed his
.

face and brushed his coat N ow I .


feel better and I know my supper will


,


t aste better said he , .


From that ti m e he began to be par
5
1 2 M OT H E R WE ST WIND WHY ”
S TO RIE S

ticu lar , very particular about keeping ,

himself clean until finally there was no


,

one on the Green Meadows or in the


Green Forest quite so neat as Mr Coon . .


N ow at this time Mr Coon had a .

very plain tail I t was all of one color


.
,

a grayi sh white not at all pretty Mr


,
. .

Coon used to think a great deal about


that tail and wish and wish that it was
hands ome S ometimes he used to en vv
.

Mr Fox his bea u tiful red tail with its


.

black and white tip One day as he .


,

sat on an Old log with his chin in his


hands thinking about his tail who
, ,

should come along b ut Old Mother


N ature .

‘ ’
Good m orning Mr Coon said she ,
.
,

in h er pleasantest voice .


Mr Coon got up and made a very
.

l o w bow Good morning Mother


.

,

N ature he replied in his politest man


,

- r

ner which was very polite indeed


,
.
B OBB Y COO N S RIN GED TA I L 5
1 3

What were you thinking about so


hard ? asked Old Mother N ature

.


Mr Coon looked a little bit ashamed
. .


Then h e sighed I was wishing that my
.

’ ‘
tail was handsomer said he But it is
,
.


a very good tail as it is he added hastily , .


Old Mother N ature s eyes twinkled ’
.

S he sat down beside Mr Coon and asked .

him all about his affairs j ust as if she ,


didn t know all about them already .

S he told him how pleased she was to


find him SO neat and clean and Mr , .

Coon j ust tingled all over with pleasure .

At last she got up to go and her eyes ,

twinkled m ore than ever as she said ! ,


By the way Mr Coon I am so
,
.
,

pleased with your neatness that I am


leavi ng you a reward I hope you will .

like it .


Mr Coon didn t see any reward but
.

,

b e thanked her j ust the same and Old ,

Mother N ature went on her way Mr . .


O
B BB Y COO N S RIN GED TA I L 1 5
5
an o ther handsome black ring on his tail ,

because he hadn t gro wn careless but



,

had kept up his good habits .

N ow about this time hard ti m es ,

came to all the little people of the Green


Forest and the Green Meadows E very .

one began to grumble Mr Bear . .

grumbled . Mr Fox grumbled


. Mr . .

R abbit grumbled Mr Jay grumbled


. . .

Mr S quirrel grumbled E ven Mr Chuck


. . .

grumbled And one and all t hey began


.

to blame Old Mother N ature Then .

they began to quarrel among themselves


and to steal from each other S ome even .

left their homes and went out into the


Great W orld to try to find a b etter
place to live o nly to find that the Great
,

W orld was a harder place to live in than


the Green Fore st and the Green Meadows .


But Mr Coon didn t gr um ble and
.

,

he didn t go away N o S ir Mr Coon



.
, ,
.

j ust stuck to his home and did the best


1 5MOTHER WEST WI
6 ND WH Y ”
S TO RI E S

he co ul d to find enough to eat He kept .

himself as neat as ever and was always


cheerful Whenever he met one of his
.

grumbling neighbors he would say ,

Better times coming ! Better times


com m g ! Old Mother N ature is doing


the best Sh e can Better times coming !
.


The others would laugh at him for
his faith in Old Mother N at u re and ,

say ugly things about her and u r ge Mr , .

Coon to go with them out into the Great


World But he kept right on min di ng
.

his own business and keeping neat and


cheerful until at last Old Mother N ature ,

all worried and troubled came to see ,

what she could do to straighten matters


out I t didn t take her long to find out
.

how all the little meadow and forest


people except Mr Coon had grum bled
,
.
,

and been discontented and said ugly


things about her for you can t fool Old
,

Mother N ature and it s of no u s e to try


,

.
B BB O Y COO N S RIN GE D TA I L 5
1 7

S ome she punished one way and some ,

S h e punished another way for of co u rse ,

she hadn t been to blame for the hard


times but had been working night a n d


,

day to put an end to them .


Mr C oon was the last to be called
.

before her and instead of b eing frowning


,

and cross as she h ad been to the others


, ,

she was all smiles S he said a lot of .

nice things to him and when at last she ,

sent hi m away what do you th ink she


,


had given h im ?

More rings cried Peter R abbit
,
.


Yes replied Gran df ather Frog Mr
, ,
.

Coon s tail was ringed way to the tip



.

There was one for cheerful ness and o n e ,

for faith and one for persistence in


,

makin g the best of a bad matter and


m
staying at ho e And ever since that .

long ago day when the world was young


-
,

the Coons have been very proud of thei r


beautiful tails and have kept up t he
X II

WHY T H ERE ISA B LACK HE A D IN THE

B UZZ A RD FAM I L Y
WH Y T HE RE IS A B L A CK H E AD IN T HE

B U! ! AR D FA M I LY

L M IS TAH B U ! ! A R D had j ust


told the story of why he has a


bald h ead and is proud of it .

You know he hasn t a feather on it and ’


,

it is very very red I t was a very inter


,
.

esting story and it had been listened to


,

with the closest attention by a lot of the


little meadow and forest people U nc .

Billy Possum who is 01 Mistah Buz


,

z a rd s

particular friend bot h havi ng ,

“ ”
come from way down so u f happened ,

along j ust in time to h ear the end O f it .

“ ’
May Ah ask yo a question Brer ,


Buzzard ? said he .


Cert n ly

Cert nly Brer Possum

,
.
,


replied Cl Mistah Buzzard .
T HE B L ACK H E A DED B UZZARD 1 63

’ ’
Ah knows j es what yo done got in

your m ind Brer P o ssum said he
, It s , .

that trifling no count cousi n Of mine


,

.


He s a Buzzard or a V ulture if yo like , ,


that b etter j es like Ah am but he be
, ,

longs t o a nother branc h of the fam ly ’


He has a bald haid j es like Ah have but , ,

his haid is black instead of red That s .


’ ’
because his grandpap was trifling an po

trash j es like he is
,
.

Peter R abbit pricked up his e ars .

This s o unded like another story He .

wa s c u rious about that black he a ded -

c ousin of 01 Mistah Buzzard very ’


,

c ur ious indeed He wondere d if 01.


Mistah B u zzard would have to be teased


for a story like Grandfather Frog
,
.

Anyw ay he would find out


,
There .

w o ul d b e no har m in trying .


I f you please how does yo ur cousin ,

? ”
happen to have a b lack head asked
Peter a s politely as he kn e w ho w .
1 64 MOTHE R WE ST WIND “
WHY ”
S TO RIES

Because his grandpap asked too


many questions replied Ol Mistah
,

Buzzard slyly winking at the others


, .

E verybody laughed for everybody ,

knows that no one a sks more questions


than Peter R abbit Peter laughed with .

the rest although h e looked a wee bit


,

fooli sh But he di dn t m ean to give


.

up j ust because he was laughed at Oh .


,

my no !
,


Please Mr Buzzard please tell us
.
,

the story he begged ,


.

N ow 01 Mistah Buzzard is naturally


good natur ed and accommodating and


-
,

when Peter begged so hard he j ust ,

co uldn t find it in his heart to refuse



.

Besides he rather enj oys telling stories


,
.

S o he shook his feathers out half spread ,

his wings to let the air blow under them ,

looked down at all t h e little meadow and


forest people gathered about the foot of
the tall dead tree where he deligh ts to
,
THE B LACK HE AD E D B UZZ A RD 16 5
r oost grinned at them in the funniest
,

way and then began this story


,


W ay back in the days when Grand
pap Buzzard had his lil falling out with
01 King E agle and done fly so high he


sco tc h the feathers offen his haid he ,

had a cousin di d Grandpap Buzzard , ,


and this cousin was j es naturally lazy
and no count Like most no count

.

people he used to make a regu lar nuisance


,

of hisself poking his nose into ev ybo d y s


,
’ ’


business and never tending to his own .


Wasn t anything going on that this
trifling member of the Buzzard fam ly ’

didn t find out about and meddle in



.


He co ul d ask mo questions than Peter

R abbit can an anybody that can do
,

that has got to ask a lot .

E verybody looked at Peter and


laughed Peter m ade a funn y face and
.

laughed too .

’ ’
S eemed like he j es went round from

THE B LACK HEA DED B UZZA RD 1 67

keep our toes warm we uns are warm ,


all over .

“ ’
One day this no c ount trifling ,

c o usin Of Grandpap Buzzard get cold in



his feet He look round right smart fO
.


a chimney fo t o warm his toes an ,

pretty soon he see one where he never


been b efore I t was on a lil ol house
.

,

a lil Ol tumble down house



Mistah -
.


Buzzard fly right over an sit on that
chimney top f o to warm his toes
-
Of ’
.

course he r ight smart curious about that


lil o l tumble down h ouse and who live

-

there He hear somebody inside talking


.


to theirself but he can t hear what they
,

say j es a mumbling sound that come


,

up the chimney to him .


He listen an listen Then he shift .


round to the other side o f the chimney
a n listen NO m atter where he sit he

.
,

can t hear what being said down inside



th at lil ol tumble down house Then -
.
1 6 8 M OTH E R W E ST WIND WH Y ”
S TO RIE S

what do yO think Mistah Buzzard do ? ’

Why he j es stretch his fool haid as far


,

down that chimney as he can an listen ’

an listen Yes S ah that is j es what



.
, ,


that no count Buzzard do But all he .

h ear is j es a mumbling and a m umbling



,

an that make him more curious than


ever I t seem to him that he must go


.


clean outen his haid less he hear what

going on down ins ide that lil ol h ouse .


N ow when he stretc h his haid an ’

neck down the chimney that way he ,

get em all b lack with soot But he don t



.

mind that NO S ah he don mind that


.
, ,

a bit Fact is he don notice it He


.
,

.


so curious he don notice anything an ,


pretty soon he plumb f o get where he is
an that he is listening where he have

no bus iness He plumb fo get all about


.

this an h e holler down that chimney


,

.

Yes S ah he holler righ t down th at


, ,

chimney !
TH E B LAC K HEA DED BUZZ ARD 16 9
‘ ’
Will yo alls please speak a lil
-


louder h e holler down the chimney j es
, ,

like that .


N ow the lil Ol woman what lived by ’

h erself in that lil Ol tumble down house



-

’ ’
hadn t seen t h at no count Buzzard light

on the chimney fo to warm his toes an ,

when sh e hear that voice coming right


outen the fireplace she was some flu s ,


tra t ed and scared was that lil Ol woman,
.

Y es S ah she s ho ly was pl u mb scared


, ,

.

S he so scared she tip over a whole


kettleful O f soup right in the fire Of .


course that make a terrible mess an a

powerful lot of smoke an h ot ashes fly
up the chi m ney They like to choke
t hat no count Buzzard to death They

.


burn the feathers o ffen his haid an neck ,

an the soot make him black all but his



,

feet an laigs an the inside Of his wings


’ ’
,

which he keep closed .


Mistah Buzzard he give a mighty
TH E B LACK H EA DED B UZZA RD 1 71

’ ’
That s quite the nicest thing yo coul d
say

But it s true ! shouted all t ogethe

and then everybody gave three cheers


for 01 Mistah Buzzard before starting

o ff to attend to their own private a ff a irs .


X II I

B US TER EA R APPEA RS
B TO

NO TA I L
X III
WHY B U S TE R B E AR A PPE AR S T O HAV E
NO TA IL

E T ER RABB I T had so m ething ne w


t o bother his b ump of curiosity
And it did bo th er it a lot He .

h a d j ust see n Buster Bear for t h e fir st


time a nd wh at d o y o u thi n k h ad im
,

pressed hi m m ost ? W ell it was n t Bus ,


ter s great size o r wonderful strength o r



, ,

b ig claws o r deep grumbly rumb ly voice


, ,
-
.


N o S ir it w a sn t one of these I t was
, ,
.

the fact that Buster Be a r seemed to


have no t ail ! Peter c ouldn t get over ’

t hat . He al mo st pitied B u ster Bear .

Y ou see Peter h as a gr e at a dmiration


,

for fine t ails He h as always b een rather


.

ash am ed of the fu nny little one h e has


1 76 M OT H E R WE ST WIND WH Y ”
S TO RI E S

himself Sti ll it is a real tail and he


.
, ,

has O ften comforted him s elf with that


thought .

S o the first thing Peter did when he


saw Buster Bear was to look to see what
kind of a tail h e had Just imagine how .


surprised he was wh en h e co u ldn t make
S ur e t h at Bu s ter h ad any tail at all .

There was something that might j ust ,

might be meant for a tail and Peter


, ,

wasn t even sure of that I f it was it



.
,

was so ridiculously small that Peter felt


that he had no reason to be ashamed of
his own tail .

He was still thinking about this when


h e started for h ome Half way there he .
,

paused saw that the way to the S miling


,

Pool was clear and sudde nly m ade up


,

his mind to ask Gran df ather Fro g abou t


'

Buster Bear s tail Off he started



.
,

lipperty lipperty lip


- -
.

Oh Grandf ather Frog he panted


, , ,
B USTE R B E A R S S HO R T TA I L 1 77

as soon as he reached t h e edge of the



Smiling Pool has Buster Bear got a
,


tail ?
Gran df ather Frog regarded Peter in
silence for a minute or two .


Then very slowly h e asked ! What
are your eyes for Peter R abbit ? Couldn t
,


you see whether or not he has a tail ?

No ,
Grandfat h er Frog I really ,


couldn t tell wh ether he h as a tail or
not replied Peter quite truthfully
,
At

first I thought he hadn t and then I ,

thought he might have I f he has it .


,

doesn t seem to m e that it is en o ugh to



call a really truly tail .

W ell it is a really truly tail even if


, ,


you don t think so retorted Grand
,


father Frog and he has it for a re
,

m inder .

“ ”
A re m inder ! exclaimed Peter lo o k ,


ing very m uch puzzled A r emind er of
.
B US TER B EA R S S HO RT TA I L 17 9
f o r a tail and s o h e w as glad that he
,


ha dn t got one to bother with .


This wa s j ust Old Mot h er N atur e s ’

vi ew of the m atter S he h ad d o ne her


.

very best t o give everybody everything


that t h ey really needed a nd n o t to give,


them t h ings which they didn t need .

S he co ul dn t see that Mr Bear ha d the



.

least need of a tail and so she h a dn t ,


given hi m one Mr Bear was perfectly


. .

happy without o ne and wa s so busy ,


getting enough to eat t h at he didn t h ave
time for silly thoughts or vain wishes .


T h e n he was m a de king over all the
p eople of the Green F o rest and his word ,

was law . I t was a very great honor ,

and for a w hile he felt it so and did his


best to rule wisely He went about j ust
.

a s b efore h unting for his living and had


, ,

n o m ore time th a n b efore for foolis h


thoughts or vain wis h es But a fter a .

little the little people o ve r whom he


,
1 8 0 MOT H E R WE ST W IND WH Y S TO RIES

ruled began to bring him tribute so that ,

he no longer had to hunt for enough t o


eat I ndeed he had so much brought
.
,


to him that he couldn t begin to eat all
,

of it and he grew very dainty and fussy


,

about what he did eat Having nothing .

to do but eat and sleep he grew very f at ,

and lazy as is the case with most people


,

who have nothing to do He grew s o .

fat that when he walked he puffed and ,

wheezed He grew so lazy t h at he


.

wanted to be waited on all the time .


I t h appened about this time that he
overheard Mr Fox talking to Mr Wolf . .

when they both thought him asleep A .


pretty kind of a king he is ! sneered Mr ,



.


Fox . The idea of a ki n g without a
tail ! ’

‘ ’ ’
That s so assented Mr Wolf , . .


Why even that little upstart Mr
, ,

R abbit has got a make believe tail


,
-
.


Grandfather Frog s eyes twinkled as
B US TER B E AR S S HO R T TA I L 181

he said this and Peter looked very much


,

embarrassed But he didn t say any


.

thing S O Grandfather Frog went on


, .


Old King Bear pretended to wake u p
j ust then and right a way Mr Fox a n d
,
.

Mr W olf were as poli te and smiling a s


.

you please and began to flatter him .

They told him how proud they were of


their king and how handsome he was
, ,

and a lot Of other nice things all of ,

which he had heard often before and


had believed He pretended to believe
.

them now but after they were through


,

paying their respects and had gone away ,

he kept turning over and over in his


m ind what he had o verheard them s ay
when they thought he was asleep .


Af ter that he couldn t think O f any


thing but the fact that he hadn t any
tail
. He took particular notice of all
who came to pay him tribute a nd he ,

saw that every one of them had a tail .


B US TER B EA R S S HO RT TAI L 1 83

h er that he wanted a ta il ! that he could


never again b e happy unless he had a

t ail
. S he told him that he hadn t the
least use in the world for a tail and that ,

h e wouldn t b e any happier if he had


o ne. N othing that she could say made


a ny di ff erence he wanted a tail .

Finally s h e gave him one .


For a few days Old King Bear wa s
p erfectly happy He spent
. all his spare
time admiring his new tail He called .

t he a ttention of all his subj e cts to it ,

a n d t h ey all told hi m that it was a very

w onderful tail and was very becoming to


h im

.But it wasn t long before he found
t h at his new tail was very muc h in the
way I t bothered hi m when he walked
. .

I t was in the way when he sat down .

I t was a nuisance when he climbed a tree .

He di dn t h ave a single use for it and yet



,

h e h ad to carry it with hi m wherever he


w ent Worse still h e over h e ard little
.
,
1 84 MOTH E R WE ST WI ND WHY I
ST O R E S

Mr S quirrel and Mr Possum making


.
.

fun of it And then he discovered that


.

the very ones who admired his tail s o


to his face were laughing at him and
poking fun at him behind his back .


And then Old King Bear wi s hed t h at
he ha d n t a tail more than ever he wished

that he d id have a tail Again he lost


.

his appetite and grew cross and peevish ,

so that no one dared come near him .

S o matters went from bad to worse ,

until once more Old Mother N atur e


visited the Green Forest to see h ow
things were V ery humbly Old King
.

Bear went down on his knees and begged


her to take away his tail At fir st Old
.

Mother N ature refused but he begged


,

so hard and promised so faithfully never


again to be discontented that finally She
,

relented and took away his t ail all but,

j ust a wee little bit. That she left as a


reminder lest he Should forget the lesson
T h en Old Ki n g B e a r wi s h e d th a t h e hadn t a ta i

P a g e 1 84 .
B US TE R B EA R S S HO R T TA I L 18 5
h e had learned and sho u ld again grow
envious .


And every bear since that long ago -

d ay has carried about with him a


reminder you can hardly call it a real
tail of the si lly foolish discontent of
,

Old King Bear concluded Gr a ndf ather


,

Frog .

Peter R abbit scratched one long ear



thoughtfully as he replied ! Thank you ,

Grandfather Frog I think that here


.

after I will be quite content W i th what


I ve got and never want things it is n ot

m e a nt that I sh o uld h ave .


X IV

WHY FLI IT E R T H E B AT

FL IES AT NI GHT
I t mu st be fi n e to fl y , thou g h t P e te r . I wi s h
X IV
WH Y F LI T T E R TH E B AT F LIE S AT NI GH T

L I TT ER the Bat made Peter R ab


’ ’
bi t s head dizzy Pete r c o uldn t
.

help watching hi m He j ust had .

t o I t seemed s o w onderful th a t Flitter


.

c o uld reall y fly th a t whenever he s aw


,

him Peter had t o st o p and watch And


, .

then a s he saw Flitter t wist a nd turn


, ,

fly high fly l ow and g o r o u n d and ro und


, , ,
FL I TT ER T HE BAT FL IES AT NI GH T 1 1 9
could think of nothing else S o he .

watched until the way was clear a nd ,

then he started for the S miling Pool as


fas t as he c o uld go lipperty lipperty lip
,
— —
.

He hoped he w ou ld find Grandf ather


Frog sitting as usual o n his big green
lily pad and that he wo ul d be good
-
,


natured I f he wasn t feeling good
.

natur e d it wo ul d be of no use to ask him


,

for a story .

When Peter reached the Smiling Pool


he was disapp ointed terribly d is ap
,

pointed The big green lily pad was


.
-

there but there was no one sitting on


,

it S omehow the S miling Pool didn t


.

seem quite like itself without Grand


father Frog sitting there watching for

foolish green flies Peter s face S howed
.

j ust how di sappointed he felt He was .

j ust going to turn away when a great ,

deep voice said



Chug a ru m ! Where are your man
— — a
9 MOTHER WE ST WIND
1 2 W HY S TO RIES

ners Pete r R abbit that you forget to


, ,


speak to y o ur elders ?
Peter stared eagerly into the Smiling
Pool and presently he saw two gr eat
, ,

goggly eyes and the top of a green


head way out almost in the middle
,

of the S miling P ool I t wa s Grand .

father Frog himself having his morning


,

swi m .

“ ’
Oh Grandfather Fr og I didn t see
, ,


you at all ! cried Peter I f I h a d of .
,

c our se I would have sp oken The fact .

is I
,
I
You want a story finished Grand ,


father Frog for him You can t fool
.

me Peter R abbit You came over here


,
.

j ust to ask me f o r a story I kn ow you .


,

Peter ! I know you ! Well what is it ,


this time ?

If you please replied Peter politely
,

and happily for he saw that Gran df ather


,


Frog wa s feeling good natured why is -
,
F L I T TER TH E BAT FL I E S A T NI GHT 9
1 3

it that Flitter the Bat flies only at



night ?
Grandfather Frog climbed out on his
big green lily pad and made himself
-

comfortable Peter sat still and tried


.

not to S how how impatient he fel t .

Grandfather Frog took his time It .

tickled him to see how hard impatient


Peter was trying to be patient and his ,

big goggly eyes t winkled


,
.


Chug a rum ! said he at last with
— -
,

a suddenness that made Peter j ump .


That s very good Peter very good

, ,


indeed ! N ow I ll tell you the story

.


Of course he meant that Peter s effort
to keep still was very good but P e ter ,


didn t know this and he couldn t imagine


,

what Grandfath er Frog m eant H ow .

ever what he cared most about was the


,

story so he settled himself to listen his


, ,

long ears standing straight up and his ,

eyes stretched wide open as he watche d


FL I TTER T H E RAT FL IES AT NI GHT 1 5
9
is safest then and because he can find
plenty to eat .


Oh said Peter and his voice sounded
, ,

dr eadfully disappointed He had found .

out what he had wanted to know but he ,

hadn t had a story He fi d gete d about



.

and looked very hard at Grandfather


Frog but the latter seemed to think tha t
,

he had told Peter what he wanted to


kn ow and that was all there was to it
,
.

Finally Peter si ghed and it was such a ,

heavy sigh ! Then very slowly he t u rned


his back on the S miling Pool and started
to hop away .


Chug a rum ! said Grandfather Frog
- -


in his deepest story telling voice ,
A -
.

long time ago when the world was youn g ,

the great great ever s o great gra n df ather


- - - -

of Flitter the Bat first learn ed to fly


“ ”
I know ! cried Peter eagerly You .

told me about that and it was a splendid,


story .
9MOTHER WES T WIND
1 6 WHY ”
S TO RIE S

But when he learned to fly he found ,

that Old Mother N ature never gives all


her blessings to any Single one of her
little people continued Grandfa ther
,

Frog without paying the least attention


,


to Peter s interruption

Old Mr Bat . .

had wings something no other animal


,

had bu t he found that he could no


,

longer run and j ump He could j ust .

flop ab out on the ground and was ,

almost helpless Of course that meant .

that he could very easily be caught ,

a n d so the ground was no longer a safe

place for him But he soon found that .

he was not safe in the air in daytime .

Old Mr Hawk could fly even faster than


.

he and Mr Hawk was always watching


,
.

for him At first Mr Bat didn t know


.
,
.


what to do He didn t like to go to Old
.

Mother N ature and complain that his


new wings were not all that he h a d
thought they would be Th at would .
FL I T TE R T H E BAT FL IES AT NI GHT 1 7 9
look as if he were ungratefu l for her
kindne s s in giving him the wings .

I ve got to think of some way out


‘ ’


o f my troubles myself thought old Mr ,
.

‘ ’
Bat. When I m sure t h at I can t it

,

will be time enough to go to Old Mother


N ature .


N ow of course it is ve r y hard to
think when you are twisting and dodging

and tur ning in the air .


Of course ! said Peter R abbit j ust ,

as if he knew all about it .


SO Mr Bat went looking for a place
.

where he could be quiet all by himself


and think without danger of being gob
” ’
bled u p for some one s dinner con ,


tin u ed Grandfather Frog He flew .

and he flew a nd had almost given up


hope of finding any such place when he
saw a cave I t looked very black inside
.
,

but it was big enough for Mr B at to .

fly into and in he went He knew t ha t


, .
FL I T TER TH E BAT FL I E S AT NI GHT 1 9
9
him to see They didn t fill his stomach
.

,

but they kept him from starving AS .

he flew back to the cave a great idea ,

came to him the idea for which he had


,

b een th inking so h ard He would sleep .

days in the cave where he was perfectly


,

safe and come out to hunt bugs a nd


,

insects j ust a s soon as Mr Hawk had .

gone to bed ! Then he wo ul d b e safe


and would not h ave to compl ain to Old
M other N ature .


At first old Mr Bat wh o wasn t Old
.
,

then yo u kn ow had hard work t o c atch


, ,

enough insects before it grew too dark ,

but he found that every night he could


see a little longer and a little better than
th e night before until b y and by he
,

could see as well in the dusk as he us ed


to see in the daytime T h en he r eali z ed
.

th at Old Mother N atur e had once m ore


been very good to him a nd th at s h e had ,

helped him j ust a s she alwa ys helps those


200 MOTH ER WES T WIND WHY S TO RIE S

who help themselves She had gi ven .

him ni gh t seeing eyes and he no more


-
,

had to go hungry .

Mr Bat was V ery grateful and from


.
,

that day to this Bats have been content


,

to live in caves and fly in the evening .


You ask Flitter if it isn t S O .


Peter grinned He never stays in one
.

place long enough for me to ask him


“ ’
anything said he
,
I m ever so much
.

obliged for the story Grandfather Frog , .

I t pays to make the best O f what we



h ave doesn t it ?
,


I t certai nly does Chug a rum ! I t .
— -


certai nly d o es ! replied Gr a ndfather
Fro g.
XV

WH Y S POTT Y T HE T UR TL E CAR RI E S
HO USE WI TH H IM
WHY S P O TT Y TH E T UR T LE I
CARR E S H IS
H OU SE W IT H H IM

POTT Y the Turtle sat on an Old


log on the bank of the S miling Pool ,

taking a sun bath -


He had sat
.

that way fo r the longest time with out


o n c e m oving Peter R abbit had see n
.

him when he went by on his way to the


Laughing Brook and the Green Forest
to look for some one to pass the time o f
day with S potty was still there when
.

Peter returned a long time after and ,


he didn t look as if he had moved A .

s udden thought struck Peter He .

couldn t remember that he ever had


seen Spotty s house He had seen the



.

houses of most of his other friends but ,


204 M OTH E R WE ST WIND WH Y ”
S TO RIES

think a s hard as ever he co uld he didn t


remember having seen Spotty s .

“ ”
Hi S potty ! he shouted
,
Wh ere
.


do you live ?
S potty slowly t u rned his head and
looked up at Peter There was a twinkle
.

in his eye s though Peter didn t see it


,

.


Right here in the Smiling Pool .


Where else should I live ? he replied .


I mean where is your house ?
,


returned Peter . Of cours e I know you
live in the S miling Pool but where is ,

your hous e ? I s it in the bank or down



under water ?

I t is j ust wherever I happen to be .

Just now it is righ t here said Spott y ,


.


I always take it with me wherever I

go ! I find it much the handiest way .

With that S potty disap pe ared That .

is to say his head and legs and tail


,

disappeared . Peter stared very hard “

Then he began to laugh for it came to


,
H i S p o tty !
,
he s hou t ed . W he r e do y ou l i ve ?
P ag e 204 .
S PO TT Y T HE T UR TL E S HO USE 5
20

hi m that what S potty had said was true .

His h o use was with him and now he ,

had simply retired inside He didn t .


need any other house than j ust that hard ,

spotted S hell inside of which he was now


,

SO cosily tucked away .


That s a great idea ! Ho ho ho !

, ,


Tha t s a great idea ! shouted Peter

.

“ ”
Of course it is replied S potty put
, ,
s


ting nothing but his head out You .

will always find me at home whenever


you call Peter a n d that is more than
, ,


you can say of m ost other pe ople .

All the way to his own home in the


dear Old Briar patch Peter thought
-
,

about S potty and how queer it was that


206 MOTHE R WE S T WIND WH Y ”
S TO RIE S

he says he is always at home


,
Sti ll .
,

when he is in a hurry to get away from


an enemy it must be very awkward to
,

have to carry his house on his back .

I I why how stupid O f me ! He


,

doesn t have to run away at all ! All he


has got to do is to go inside his house


a nd stay there until the danger is past !
I never th o ug ht of that before Why .
,

that is the h andiest thing I ever heard



of.

N ow Peter knew that there mus t be


a good story about S potty and his house ,

and you know Peter dearly loves a good


story S o at the very first opportunity
.

the next day he hurried over to the


,

S miling PO O1 to ask Grandfather Frog


about it As usual Grandfather Frog
.
,

was sitting on his big green lily pad -


.

NO sooner did Peter pop h is head above


the edge Of the bank of the Smiling Pool
than Grandfather Frog exclaimed !
S PO TTY T HE T UR TL E S HOUSE 207

Chug a rum ! You ve kept m e wait


- -


ing a long time Peter R abbit I don t,
.

like to be kept waiting I f yo u wanted .

to know about S potty the Turtle why ,


di dn t you come earlier ? All the time

there was a twi nkle in the big goggly ,

eyes of Grandfather Frog .


Peter was so surprised that he co ul dn t

find his tongue He hadn t said a word
.

to any one about Spotty so how could ,

Grandfather Frog know what he had


come for ? For a long time he had had
a great deal of respect for Grandfather
Frog who as you kn ow i s very old and
, , ,

very wise but now Peter felt almost


,

afraid of hi m You see it seemed to


.
,

Peter a s if Grandfather Frog had read


his very thoughts .


I I di dn t know you were waiting

.

” “
Truly I di dn t stamm ered Peter

,
If .

I had I wo ul d have been here long ag o


, .

I f you please how did you know that I


,
POTT Y
S T HE TUR TL E S HO USE 9
20

great grandfather of S potty the Turtle


lived then and unlike S potty whom
, ,

you know he had no house


,
He was .

very quiet an d bashful was Mr T u rtle ,


.
,

and he never m eddled with any one s ’

business because he believed that the


,

best way of keeping out of trouble was


to attend strictly to his own aff airs .


He was a good deal like S potty j ust ,

as fond of the water and j ust as slow



moving but he didn t have the house
,

which S potty has now I f he had had .


,

he wo uld have been saved a great deal


of trouble and worry For a long time .

everybody lived at peace with everybody


else Then came the trying time o f
.
,

which you already know when those ,

who lived on the Green Meadows and


in the Green Forest had the very hardes t
kind of work to find enough to eat and ,

were hungry m ost of the time N ow .

Mr Turtle livi n g in the Smiling P oo l


.
, ,
21 0 MO TH ER WES T WIND WHY ”
S TO RIES

had plenty to eat He had noth i ng to


.

worry about on that score E verybody .

who lives in the S miling Pool kn ows th at



it is the best place in the world a nyway , .

Grandfather Frog winked at Jerry


Muskrat who was liste ni ng and Jerry
, ,

n odded his head .


But presently Mr Turtle discovered
.

that the big people were eating the little


people whenever they could catch them ,


and that he wasn t safe a minute when
on shore and not always safe in the
,


water ,
continued Grandfather Frog .


He had two or thr ee very narrow
escapes and these set him to thinking
,
.

He was too slow and awkward to run or


to fight The o n ly thing he could do
.

was to keep out Of sight as much as


possible S o he learned to swi m with
.

o n ly his head out of water and some ,

times with o nly the end of his nose out


o f water Wh en he went on land he
.
,
S POTT Y THE T URT L E S HO USE

21 1

wo ul d cover himself with mud and then ,

when he heard anybody coming he ,

would lie perfectly still wi th his legs


,

an d his t a il and his head dr a wn in j ust

as close as possible so that he looked


,

for a ll th e w o rld like j ust a little lum p of


brown earth .


One day he had crawled under a
piece o f bark t o rest and at the s ame
ti m e keep out Of sight of any wh o might
h appe n al o ng Whe n he g o t ready to
.

go on his way he found that the pie c e of


,

bark had caught o n his back a nd th at ,

he was carrying it with him At first .

he was annoyed and started t o shake it


Off. Before he suc c eeded he heard some
,

one coming s o he promptly drew in his


,

head and legs and tail I t was Mr . .

Fisher and he was very hungry a nd


,

fierce He looked at the piece of bark


.

under which Mr T u r tle was hiding but


.
,

all he saw was the bark because y o u , ,


S POTT Y T HE T UR TLE S HO USE 213

bark and get it on his back Wherever .

he went he carried the piece of bark so


as to ha ve it handy to hide under .

N ow all this time Old Mother N ature


had been watching Mr Turtle and it .
,

pleased her to see that he was smart


enough to think of such a clever way of
fooling his enemies SO S h e began to
.

study how she could help Mr Turtle . .

One day Sh e came up behind him j ust


as he sat down to rest The piece of .

bark was uncomfortable and scratched


his back . I wish said he talking to

,

,

himself for he didn t know that any


,


one else w as near I wish that I had a
,

house of my own that I could carry on


my back all the time and be perfectly
safe when I was ins ide of it .


You shall have said Old Mother ,

N ature and reaching out she touched


, ,

his back and turned the skin into hard


S hell
. Then she touched the skin of his
214 MOTH ER WE S T WIND WHY ”
S TO RIE S

stomach and turned that into hard shell .


N ow draw in your head and yo u r legs

and your tail said she ,
.

Mr Turtle did as he was told to d o


.
,

and there he was in the very best and


safest kind of a house perfectly hidden ,

from all his enemies !



Oh Mo ther N atur e how can I ever
, ,

th ank you ? he cried ’


.


By doing as you always have done
attending wholly t o your own affairs ,

replied Old Mother N ature .

S o ever Since that long ago day whe n -

the world was young all Turtles have ,

carried their houses with them and never


have m eddled in things that don t con ’

cern them concluded Gran df ather Frog


,


Oh thank you Grandfather Frog
, , ,

exclaimed Peter dr awing a long breath


,
.


That was a perfectly splendid thing

for Old Mother N ature to do .

Then he started for his own home in


S POTT Y T H E T URTLE S H O USE 21 5
the dear Old Briar patch and all the -
,

way there he wondered and wondered


h o w Gran df ather Frog knew that he
wanted that story and to this day he
,


h asn t found out

You see he didn t
.
,

notice that Grandfather Frog was listen


ing when he asked S potty about his
house . Of course Grandfather Frog,

kn ows Peter and his curiosity so well


that he had guessed right away that
Peter would come to him for the story ,

j ust as Peter did .


XVI

T HE BE AVER HAS A B R OAD


TA I L
XVI

WH Y PA D D Y THE B E AV E R H A S A
B R O AD TA IL

SUALLY the thing th at i nterests


us m ost i s somethi n g that we

haven t got our selves I t is th a t .

way with Peter R abbit Peter is n ot .

natur ally envious Oh my no ! Peter


.
, ,

is pretty well satisfied wi th what he has ,

which i s quite as it sh o uld be There is .

o nly one thi n g with whic h Peter is really


dissatisfied an d it i s o n ly once in a
,


while when he hasn t m uch of anything
,

else to think about that h e is dissatisfied


,

with this Can you guess wh at i t is ?


.

Well it is his t ail Yes S ir t h at is the


,
.
, ,

one thing th at ever really troubles


Peter .
PA DDY THE B EAVER S ’
B R OA D TA I L 221

fo olish little tail when she had give n


others such beautiful ones Grandf ather
,

Frog j ust opened his big m out h and


laughed until he had to hold his sides .


Why Peter said he
, ,
you look so
,

s ober that I thought you really had


,

something to worry about What would


.

you do with a big tail if you had one ?


,

I t would always be in your way Just .

think how many times R eddy Fo x or old


Granny Fox have almost caught you .

They certainly would have before this ,

if you had had a long tail sticking out


behind for them to get hold o f I ha d .

a long tail when I was young and I wa s ,


m ighty glad to get rid of it .

After he heard that Peter felt better


, .


But he didn t lose interest i n tails and ,

he spent a great deal of time in wonder


ing why some of his n eighbors h a d big ,

bushy tails a nd s o me had long sli m tails ,

and why he him self ha d almost no tail


222 MOTHE R WES T WIN D WH Y ”
S TO RIES

at all SO when Paddy the Beaver came


.

to live in the Green Forest and made ,

a pond there by building a wonderful


dam across the Laughing Brook the ,

first thing Peter looked to see was what


kind of a t ail Paddy has and the first
,

time he got a good look at it his eyes ,

popped almost out of his head He .

j ust stared and stared He hardly noticed


.

the wonderful dam or the equally won


d erfu l canals which Paddy had made .

All he could think of was that great ,

broad flat thick tail which is so unlike


, , ,

any tail he had ever seen or heard of .

The very next morning he hurried


over to the S miling Pool to tell Grand
father Frog about it Grandfather Frog 8
.

big goggly eyes twinkled


,
.

“ ”
Chug a rum ! said he
— -
Paddy the
.

Beaver has one of the most useful tails


I know of W ould you like to know
.


how he comes by such a queer tail ?
T h e fi r s t th i n g Pe ter l ooked to see was w ha t ki nd o f
a ta i l P addy h as .

P a g e 222.
PA DDY TH E B EAVER S B R OA D TA I L 223

Oh if you please ! I f you please


, ,

Grandfather Frog ! I didn t suppose ’

there was such a queer tail in all the



world and I don t see what possible use
,


it can be D o tell me about it ! cried
.

Peter .


Chug a rum ! I f you had used your
- -

eyes when you visited Paddy you might ,

have guess ed for your self how he came



by it replied Gran df ather Frog gru ffly
, .

S ome people never do learn to use their



eyes.

Peter looked a bit s heepish but ,

he said nothing and waited patiently .

Presently Grandfather Frog cleared his


throat two or three times and began to
talk.


Once upon a time long long ago , , ,

when the world was young



I t seems to me that everyt hing
224 MO THER WES T WIND WHY ”
S T O R IES

Grandfather Frog looked at Peter


severely and Peter hastened to beg his
,

pardon .

After a long time Grandfather Frog


began again .

Once on a time long long ago lived , , ,

Mr Beaver the great great ever SO great


.
,
- - - -

grand f at h er of Pad dy up there in the


Green Forest Old Mr Beaver was one
. .

of the hardest working of all of Old


Mother N ature s big family and one of

the smartest j ust as Paddy is to day


,
-
.

He always seemed happiest when he was


busiest and because he liked to be happy
,

all the time he tried to keep busy all


,

the time .


He was very thrifty was Mr Beaver ! ,
.

not at all like some people I know .

He believed in preparing to day for what -

might happen to morrow and so when he


-
,

had all the food he needed for the present ,

he stored away food for the time whe n


PA DDY T HE B EA VER S

B R OAD TAI L 5
22

it might not b e so easy to get And he .

believed in helping hi m self did Mr , .

Beaver and not in leaving everything


,

to Old Mother N ature as did most of


,

his neighbors That is how he first came


.

to think of m aking a d am and a pond .

Like his small cousin Mr Muskrat he


, .
,

was very fond of the water and felt ,

most at home and safest there But he .

found that sometimes the food which he


liked best which was the b ark of certain
,

kinds of trees grew some distance fro m


,

the water and it was the hardest kind


,

of hard work to roll and drag the logs


down to the water wh ere he could e at
,

the bark from them in safety .


He thought about this a great deal
but instead of going to Old Mother
N at ur e and complaining as most of his
,

neighbors would have done in his pl a ce ,

h e studied and studied to find so m e way


t o m ake the w o rk e asier One day he.
PA DDY TH E B E A VE R S B R OA D TA I L 227

people laughed at him and made fun of


him for working so hard Just as he .

had thought it would do the dam made ,

a pond and the pond grew bigger and


,

bigger until it reached the very place


,

where his food trees grew Mr Beaver . .

built hi m a big comfortable house out


,

in the pond and then he went to work


,

a s h ard a s ever he could to cut do wn


trees and then cut them up into the right
sized pieces to store away in his big
food pile for the winter .


N ow cutting down trees is hard work .

Yes S iree cutting down trees is the


, ,

h ardest kind of hard work Mr Beaver . .

had to sit up on his hind legs to do it and ,

his legs grew very very tired I n those


,
.

days he had a tail very much like the tail


O f Jerry Muskrat I t was very useful
.

when he was swimming but it was of ,

no use at all at any other time S ome .

times he tried to brace hi m self with it


228 MOTH ER WES T WIND WH Y ”
S TO R IES

when he was sitting up to cut trees and ,

found it of no help But he didn t co m.


plain ! he j ust kept right on working ,

and only stopped to rest when his legs


a ched so that he had to .

He was working j ust as usual one


day when Old Mother N ature came along
to see how he was getting on S he saw .

the new dam and the new pond an d she ,

asked Mr Beaver who had made them


. .

He told her that he had and explained


why Old Mother N ature was greatly
.


pleased but she didn t say so She j ust
,
.

passed the time of day with him and


then sat down to watch him cut a tree .

S he saw him try to brace himself with


his useless tail and she saw him stop
,

to rest his tired legs .

That looks to me like pretty hard


work said Old Mother N ature


,

.


So it is replied Mr Beaver stretch

,
.
,


ing first one leg and then another But .
PA DDY TH E B EAVER S B R OA D TA I L 9
22

things worth having a re w o rth working



fo r
,
a nd with th at he b egan cutting
again .


You ought to h ave something to

sit on said Old Mother N ature her
, ,

eyes twi nkling .

“ ‘
Mr Beaver grinned
. I t would be .

’ ‘
very nice he c onfessed but I never
, ,


waste time wishing for things I haven t
’ ’
got a nd can t get and went right on ,

cutting .


T he next morning when h e a woke ,

he had the greatest sur prise o f his life .

He had a new tail ! I t was bro a d and


thick and flat I t wa sn t like any tail .

h e h ad eve r seen or heard o f At first


h e di dn t kn o w how to ma n a ge it but

,

wh en he t ried t o swim h e fou n d that ,

i t was even b etter th a n his old tail f or


s wimming He hur ried o ver t o begi n
.


his day s wo rk a nd t h ere he m ade ,

an other dis co very ! his new tail was j ust