FARMER BROWN SETS A TRAP
ETER RABBIT was in trouble. He had gotten into mischief and now,
like every one who gets into mischief, he wished that
he hadn't. The worst of it was that he was a long way
from his home in the dear Old Briar-patch, and he
didn't know how he ever could get back there again.
Where was he? Why, in the stone wall on one side of
Farmer Brown's young peach orchard. How Peter blessed
the old stone wall in which he had found a safe
hiding-place! Bowser had hung around nearly all night,
so that Peter had not dared to try to go home. Now it
was daylight, and Peter knew it would not be safe to
put his nose outside.
Peter was worried, so worried that he couldn't go to
sleep as he usually does in the daytime. So he sat
hidden in the old wall and waited and watched. By and
by he saw Farmer Brown and Farmer Brown's boy come out
into the orchard. Bright away they saw the mischief
which Peter had done, and he could tell by the sound of
their voices that they were very, very angry. They went
away, but before long they were back again, and all day
long Peter watched them work putting something around
each of the young peach-trees. Peter grew so curious
that he forgot all about his troubles and how far away
from home he was. He could hardly wait for night to
come so that he might see what they had been doing.
Just as jolly, round, red Mr. Sun started to go to bed
behind the Purple Hills, Farmer Brown and his boy
started back to the house. Farmer Brown was smiling
"I guess that that will fix him!" he said.
"Now what does he mean by that?" thought Peter. "Who
will it fix? Can it be me? I don't need any fixing."
He waited just as long as he could. When all was still,
and the moonlight had begun to make shadows of the
tress on the snow, Peter very cautiously crept out of
his hiding-place. Bowser the Hound was nowhere in
sight, and everything was as quiet and peaceful as it
had been the night before. Peter had fully made up his
mind to go straight home as fast as his long legs would
take him, but his dreadful curiosity insisted that
first he must find out what Farmer Brown and his boy
had been doing to the young peach-trees.
So Peter hurried over to the nearest tree. All around
the trunk of the tree, from the ground clear up higher
than Peter could reach, was wrapped wire netting. Peter
couldn't get so much as a nibble of the delicious bark.
He hadn't intended to take any, for he had meant to go
right straight home, but now that he couldn't get any,
he wanted some more than ever,—just a bite. Peter
looked around. Everything was quiet. He would try the
next tree, and then he would go home.
But the next tree was wrapped with wire. Peter
hesitated, looked around, turned to go home, thought of
how good that bark had tasted the night before,
hesitated again, and then hurried over the third tree.
It was protected just like the others. Then Peter
forgot all about going home. He wanted some of that
delicious bark, and he ran from one tree to another as
fast as he could go.
At last, way down at the end of the orchard, Peter
found a tree that had no wire around it. "They must
have forgotten this one!" he thought, and his eyes
sparkled. All around on the snow were a lot of little,
shiny wires, but Peter didn't notice them. All he saw
was that delicious bark on the young peach-tree. He
hopped right into the middle of the wires, and then,
just as he reached up to take the first bite of bark,
he felt something tugging at one of his hind legs.
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