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PETER MAKES A FLYING JUMP
To risk your life unless there's need
Is downright foolishness indeed.
EVER forget that. Never do such a crazy thing as Peter
Rabbit was doing. What was he doing? Why, he was
running the risk of being caught by Reddy Fox all for
the sake of a joke. Did you ever hear of anything more
foolish? Yet Peter was no different from a lot of
people who every day risk their lives in the most
careless and heedless ways just to save a few minutes
of time or for some other equally foolish reason. The
fact is, Peter didn't stop to think what dreadful thing
might happen if his plans didn't work out as he
intended. He didn't once think of little Mrs. Peter
over in the dear Old Briar-patch and how she would feel
if he never came home again. That's the trouble with
thoughtlessness; it never remembers other people.
All the time that Reddy Fox was creeping
along behind the old stone wall on the edge of the Old
Orchard, Peter knew just where he was, though Reddy
didn't know that. If he had known it, he would have
suspected one of Peter's tricks.
"He'll peep over that wall, and just as soon as he sees
me, he will feel sure that this time he will catch me,"
thought Peter. "He will steal along to that place where
the wall is lowest and will jump over it right there. I
must be ready to jump the very second he does."
It all happened just as Peter had expected. While
seeming to be paying no attention to anything but to
Sammy Jay, he kept his eyes on that low place in the
old wall, and presently he saw Reddy's sharp nose, as
Reddy peeped over to make sure that he was still there.
The instant that sharp nose dropped out of sight, Peter
made ready to run for his life. A second later, Reddy
leaped over the wall, and Peter was off as hard as he
could go, with Reddy almost at his heels. Sammy Jay,
who had been so busy calling Peter names that he hadn't
seen Reddy at all, forgot all about his quarrel with
"Go it, Peter! Go it!" he screamed excitedly. That was
just like Sammy.
Peter did go it. He had to. He ran with all his might.
Reddy grinned as he saw Peter start towards the Green
Meadows. It was a long way
to the dear Old Briar-patch, and Reddy didn't have any
doubt at all that he would catch Peter before he got
there. He watched sharply for Peter to dodge and try to
get back to the old stone wall. He didn't mean to let
Peter do that. But Peter didn't even try. He ran
straight for the edge of the hill above the Green
Meadows. Then, for the first time, Reddy noticed an old
barrel there lying on its side.
"I wonder if he thinks he can hide in that," thought
Reddy, and grinned again, for he remembered that he had
passed that old barrel a few days before, and that one
end was open while the other end was closed. "If he
tries that, I will get him without the trouble of much
of a chase," thought Reddy, and chuckled.
Lipperty-lipperty-lip ran Peter, lipperty-lipperty-lip,
Reddy right at his heels! To Sammy Jay it looked as if
in a few more jumps Reddy certainly would catch Peter.
"Go it, Peter! Oh, go it! Go it!" screamed Sammy, for
in spite of his quarrels with Peter, he didn't want to
see him come to any real harm.
Just as he reached the old barrel, Reddy was so close
to him that Peter was almost sure that he could feel
Reddy's breath. The Peter made a splendid flying jump
right over the old barrel and kept on down the hill,
lipperty-lipperty-lip, as fast as ever he could,
straight for an old
house of Johnny Chuck's of which he knew. When he
reached it, he turned to see what was happening behind
him, for he knew by the screaming of Sammy Jay and by
other sounds that a great deal was happening. In fact,
he suspected that the joke which he had planned was
working out just as he had hoped it would.