DANNY MEADOW MOUSE BECOMES WORRIED
ANNY MEADOW MOUSE limped around through the dear Old Briar-patch, where
he had lived with Peter Rabbit ever since he had
squirmed out of the claws of Hooty the Owl and dropped
there, right at the feet of Peter Rabbit. Danny limped
because he was still lame and sore from Hooty's
terrible claws, but he didn't let himself think much
about that, because he was so thankful to be alive at
all. So he limped around in the Old Briar-patch,
picking up seed which had fallen on the snow, and
sometimes pulling down a few of the red berries which
cling all winter to the wild rose bushes. The seeds in
these were very nice indeed, and Danny always felt
especially good after a meal of them.
Danny Meadow Mouse had grown very fond of Peter Rabbit,
for Peter had been very, very good to him. Danny felt
that he never, never could repay all of Peter's
kindness. It had been very good of Peter to offer to
share the Old Briar-patch with Danny, because Danny was
so far from his won home that it would not be safe for
him to try to get back there. But Peter had done more
than that. He had taken care of Danny, such good care,
during the first few days after Danny's escape from
Hooty the Owl. He had brought good things to eat while
Danny was too weak and sore to get things for himself.
Oh, Peter had been very good indeed to him!
But now, as Danny limped around, he was not happy. No,
Sir, he was not happy. The truth is, Danny Meadow Mouse
was worried. It was a different kind of worry from any
he had known before. You see, for the first time in his
life, Danny was worrying about some one else. He was
worrying about Peter Rabbit. Peter had been gone from
the Old Briar-patch a whole night and a whole day. He
often was sure that something had happened to Peter. He
thought of how he had begged Peter not to go up to
Farmer Brown's young peach orchard. He had felt in his
bones that it was not safe, that something dreadful
would happen to Peter. How Peter had laughed at him and
bravely started off! Why hadn't he come home?
As he limped around, Danny talked to himself:
"Why cannot people be content
With all the good things that are sent,
And mind their own affairs at home
Instead of going forth to roam?"
It was now the second night since Peter Rabbit had gone
away. Danny Meadow Mouse couldn't sleep at all. Round
and round through the Old Briar-patch he limped, and
finally sat down at the edge of it to wait and watch.
At last, just as jolly, round, red Mr. Sun sent his
first long rays of light across the Green Meadows,
Danny saw something crawling towards the Old
Briar-patch. He rubbed his eyes and looked again. It
was—no, it couldn't be—yes, it was
Peter Rabbit! But what was the matter with him? Always
before Peter had come home
lipperty-lipperty-lipperty-lip, but now he was
crawling, actually crawling! Danny Meadow mouse
didn't know what to make of it.
Nearer and nearer came Peter. Something was following
him. No, Peter was dragging something after him. At
last Peter started to crawl along one of his little
private paths into the Old Briar-patch. The thing
dragging behind caught in the brambles, and Peter fell
headlong in the snow, too tired and worn out to move.
Then Danny saw what the trouble was. A wire was fast to
one of Peter's long hind legs, and to the other end of
the wire was fastened part of a stake. Peter had been
caught in a snare! Danny hurried over to Peter and
tears stood in his eyes.
"Poor Peter Rabbit! Oh, I'm so sorry, Peter!" he