PETER PREPARES FOR A LONG SLEEP
AY after day Peter Rabbit ran about this way and that over
the Green Meadows and through the Green Forest, as if
he had something on his mind. Jimmy Skunk noticed it.
So did Billy Mink and Bobby Coon. But Peter wouldn't
stop to explain. Indeed, he was always in such a hurry
that he wouldn't stop at all, but when he met them
would shout "Hello!" over his shoulder and keep right
on running, lipperty-lipperty-lip. Unc' Possum was the
only one who guessed what it meant.
Unc' Billy grinned as he watched Peter running about
with such a serious and important air. "Brer Rabbit is
trying dreadful hard to fool his-self. Ah reckon he's
looking fo' a place to curl up and try to sleep all
winter," said Unc' Billy.
Unc' Billy had guessed just right. Peter was looking
for a place to curl to sleep all winter. Peter was too
lazy dig a new house for himself. Then it was too late
in the fall, anyway. He would just find some old,
deserted house that some of jimmy Skunk's relatives or
Johnny Chuck's relations had given up using. So Peter
went poking into every old house he knew of, trying to
find one that wasn't so tumble-down that it wouldn't
do. At last he found one that he thought would be just
the place, and Peter chuckled to himself as he planned
how he would curl up in the bedchamber, way down at the
end of the long hall.
"Nobody'll ever guess where I am!" he said to himself
and laughed aloud.
Then Peter remembered that Unc' Billy Possum had told
him that it was necessary to eat a great deal so as to
be very fat before going to sleep, for that was the way
to keep warm all winter. So Peter started out to grow
fat. This would be fun, the very best kind of fun, for
there is nothing Peter Rabbit loves more than to fill
his stomach, unless it is to satisfy his curiosity.
Peter Rabbit's stomach is
A thing that's most amazing;
It takes so long to fill it up
His time is short for lazing.
Perhaps this is the reason why, when Peter isn't
eating, he wants to loaf around and watch other people
work. Anyway, Peter is a tremendous eater, and now that
he wanted to grow fat, he felt that he must eat more
than ever. So he began at once to eat and eat and eat.
But there was one very important thing that Peter had
forgotten. He had quite forgotten that it was now late
in the fall, and the tender, young, green things which
Peter dearly loves to eat were gone. He could no longer
go down to the sweet clover patch and fill himself full
to bursting. Farmer Brown had taken away all the
cabbages and carrots and turnips that had made his
garden so attractive to Peter.
So now Peter had to hunt for what he had to eat. That
made a great deal of running about, and it is very hard
work to grow fat when one runs about. The more Peter
ate, the more he had to hunt for his food; and the more
he had to hunt for his food, the more he had to run
about; and the more he had to run about, the more he
hurried and the faster he ran. Now, of course running
takes fat off.
"Oh, dear!" cried Peter Rabbit. "Getting fat is not as
easy as I thought!"
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