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The Adventures of Peter Cottontail by  Thornton W. Burgess
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PETER RABBIT GETS AN EARLY BREAKFAST

[22]

P
ETER RABBIT crept out of his snug little bed in the middle of the Old Briar-patch two hours before sun-up and hurried over to the big hickory-tree. Sure enough, close by, he found a beautiful bed of sweet clover, just as Reddy Fox had said was there. Peter chuckled to himself as he ate and ate and ate, until his little round stomach was so full that he could hardly hop.

When he had eaten all that he could, he hurried back to the Old Briar-patch to finish his morning nap, and all the time he kept chuckling to himself. You see, Peter was suspicious of Reddy Fox, and so he had gone over to the sweet clover bed alone two hours before sun-up.

Peter Rabbit had hardly left the sweet clover bed when Reddy Fox arrived. Reddy lay down to the long meadow grass and grinned to himself as he waited. Slowly the minutes went by, until up from behind the Purple Hills came jolly, round, red Mr. Sun—but no Peter Rabbit. Reddy stopped grinning.

"Perhaps," said he to himself, "Peter is waiting for me on the edge of the Old Briar-patch and wasn't going to try to fool me."

So Reddy hurried over to the Old Briar-patch, and sure enough there was Peter Rabbit sitting on the edge of it. When Peter saw him coming, he dodged in behind a big clump of friendly old brambles. Reddy came up with his broadest smile.

"Good morning, Peter Rabbit," said Reddy. "Shall we go over to that sweet clover bed?"

Peter put one hand over his mouth to hide a smile. "Oh," said he, "I was so dreadfully hungry for sweet clover that I couldn't wait until sun-up, and so I went over two hours ago. I hope you will excuse me, Reddy Fox. I certainly do appreciate your kindness in telling me of that new, sweet clover bed and I hope that I have not put you out."

"Certainly not," replied Reddy Fox, in his pleasantest manner, and you know Reddy Fox can be very pleasant indeed when he wants to be. "It is a very great pleasure to be able to give you pleasure. There is nothing I so like to do as to give pleasure to others. By the way, I have just heard that Farmer Brown has a new planting of young cabbage in the corner of his garden. Will you meet me here at sun-up to-morrow morning to go over there?"

"I will be delighted to, I will indeed!" replied Peter Rabbit, and all the time he smiled to himself behind his hand.

Reddy Fox bade Peter Rabbit good-by in the pleasantest way you can imagine, yet all the time, down in his heart, Reddy was so angry that he hardly knew what to do, for you see he had got to go back to Granny Fox without the tender young rabbit which he had promised her.

"This time I will be there two hours before sun-up, and then we will see, Peter Rabbit, who is the smartest!" said Reddy Fox to himself.


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