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PETER RABBIT DOESN'T ENJOY HIS JOKE
LL the time that Jimmy Skunk was punishing Reddy Fox for
rolling him down hill in a barrel, and while Reddy was
sneaking away to the green Forest to get out of sight,
Peter Rabbit was lying low in the old house of Johnny
Chuck, right near the place where Jimmy Skunk's wild
ride had come to an end. It had been a great relief to
Peter when he had seen Jimmy Skunk get to his feet, and
he knew that Jimmy hadn't been hurt in that wild ride.
Lying flat in the doorway of Johnny Chuck's old house,
Peter could see all that went on without being seen
himself, and he could hear all that was said.
He chuckled as he saw Reddy Fox come up and his eyes
were popping right out with excitement as he waited for
what would happen next. He felt sure that Reddy Fox was
in for something unpleasant, and he was glad. Of
course, that wasn't a bit nice of Peter. Right down in
his heart Peter knew it, but he had been chased so
often by Reddy and given so many dreadful frights, that
he felt now that he was getting even. So he chuckled as
he waited for what was to happen. Suddenly that chuckle
broke right off I the middle, and Peter cried "Ouch!"
He had felt a pain as if a hot needle had been thrust
into him. It made him almost jump out of the doorway.
But he remembered in time that it would never, never do
for him to show himself outside, for right
 away Reddy
Fox and Jimmy Skunk would suspect that he had had
something to do with that wild ride of Jimmy's in the
barrel. So it would not do to show himself now. No
All he could do was to kick and squirm and twist his
head around to see what was happening. It didn't take
long to find out. Even as he looked, he felt another
sharp pain which brought another "Ouch!" from him and
made him kick harder than ever. Two very angry little
insects were just getting ready to sting him again, and
more were coming. They were Yellow Jackets, which you
know belong to the wasp family and carry very sharp
little lances in their tails. The fact is, this old
house of Johnny Chuck's had been deserted so long the
Yellow Jackets had decided that as no one else
was using it, they
 would, and they had begun to build
their home just inside the hall.
Poor Peter! What could he do? He didn't dare go out,
and he simply couldn't stay where he was. Whatever he
did must be done quickly, for it looked to him as if a
regular army of Yellow Jackets was coming, and those
little lances they carried were about the most painful
things he knew of. By this time he had lost all
interest in what was going on outside. There was quite
enough going on inside; too much, in fact. He
remembered that Johnny Chuck digs his house deep down
in the ground. He looked down the long hall. It was
dark down there. Perhaps if he went down there, these
angry little warriors wouldn't follow him. It was worth
So Peter scrambled to his feet and scurried down the
long hall, and as he
 ran, he cried "Ouch! Ouch! Oh! Ohoo!"
Those sharp little lances were very busy, and there was
no way of fighting back. At the end of the long hall
was a snug little room, very dark but cool and
comfortable. It was just as he had hoped; the Yellow
Jackets did not follow him down there. They had driven
him away from their home, which was right near the
entrance, and they were satisfied.
But what a fix he was in! What a dreadful fix!
He ached and smarted all over. My goodness, how de did
smart! And to get out he would have to go right past
the Yellow Jacket home again.
"Oh, dear, I wish I had never thought of such a joke,"
moaned Peter, trying in vain to find a comfortable
position. "I guess I am served just right."
I rather think he was, don't you?