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JOHNNY CHUCK HELPS PETER
OHNNY CHUCK had watched Reddy Fox try to fool and catch Peter
Rabbit, and sometimes Johnny had been very much afraid
that Reddy would succeed. But Peter had been too smart
for Reddy every time, and Johnny had laughed with the
other little people of the Green Meadows whenever the
Merry Little Breezes had brought a new story of how
Peter had outwitted Reddy.
"Peter'll have to watch out sharper than ever now, for
Granny Fox is almost well, and she is very angry
because Reddy could not catch Peter Rabbit for her when
she was ill. She says that she is going to show that
stupid Reddy how to do it and do it quickly," said
Jimmy Skunk, when he stopped to chat with Johnny Chuck
one fine morning.
Johnny had just been laughing very hard over one of
Peter Rabbit's tricks, but now his face grew very
sober, very sober indeed. "It won't do to let old
Granny Fox catch Peter. It won't do at all. We must all
turn in and help Peter," said Johnny. "Why, what would
the Green Meadows and the Green Forest be like with no
Peter Rabbit?" he added.
Late that afternoon Johnny Chuck happened to find Peter
Rabbit taking a nap. Yes, Sir, Peter had actually gone
to sleep outside the dear Old Briar-patch. At first
Johnny thought that he would waken him and tell him
that Reddy Fox was hunting right near. But just then
Johnny's bright eyes saw something that made him
chuckle. It was the home of some hot-tempered friends
of his, a beautiful home made of what looked like gray
paper. It was fastened to a bush just above a little
patch leading to the very spot where Peter lay fast
asleep. Johnny chuckled again, then off he hurried. He
sat down on top of a little hill. Pretty soon Reddy Fox
came along through the hollow below.
"Hello, Reddy Fox! Do you want to know how you can
catch Peter Rabbit?" asked Johnny.
Reddy looked up. He didn't know just what to say. He
knew that Johnny Chuck and Peter had always been the
best of friends. Still, friends fall out sometimes, and
perhaps Johnny and Peter had. Reddy decided that he
would be polite.
"I certainly do, Johnny Chuck," he replied. "Can you
tell me how to do it?"
"Yes," said Johnny. "Peter is fast asleep over yonder
behind that little bunch of huckleberry bushes. There
is a little path through them. All you have to do is to
hurry up that little path as fast as and as still as
Reddy Fox waited to hear no more. His eyes glistened as
he started off at the top of his speed up the little
path. Just as Johnny had expected, Reddy went in such a
hurry that he didn't use his eyes for anything but
signs of Peter Rabbit.
Bang! Reddy had run head first into the paper house of
Johnny Chuck's hot-tempered friends. In fact he had
smashed the whole side in. Out poured old Mrs. Hornet
and all her family, and they had their little needles
with them. Reddy forgot all about Peter Rabbit. He
yelled at the top of his lungs and started for home,
slapping at old Mrs. Hornet, whom he never could hit,
and stopping every few minutes to roll over and over.
Of course when he yelled, Peter Rabbit awoke and sat up
to see what all the fuss was about. He was Reddy
running as if his life depended upon it. Over on the
little hill he saw Johnny Chuck laughing so that the
tears ran down his face. Then Peter began to laugh,
too, and ran over to ask Johnny Chuck to tell him all