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Brother Rabbit Tales

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How Brother Rabbit Frightened His Neighbours

In those days the animals lived like people and most of them worked in the fields. They had their good times, and they had their bad times. Some years their crops were good, and some years their crops were bad. Some of the animals were rich and many of them were poor. Brother Rabbit could never become rich because nobody worked for him, and he had a large family. He worked hard and he spent all that he earned.

That year Brother Rabbit had a very good crop of beans. He said to his wife:

"If I get a good price for them at the market, I shall buy many things which we do not have and which are quite necessary."

And Sister Rabbit answered:

"You must buy seven tin cups and seven tin plates for the children, and a coffee-pot for the family."

"Those are the things that I wanted to buy," said Brother Rabbit, "and I;-shall go to town next Wednesday and buy them."

Soon Brother Rabbit went out, and Sister Rabbit put on her bonnet and went across, the street to Sister Mink. She talked a little to Sister Mink and then said, "Brother Rabbit is going to town on Wednesday to buy something for the children."

Of course, when Brother Mink came home, Sister Mink said:

"I want to know why you can't buy something for your children, like Brother Rabbit."

And they quarrelled and quarrelled just like people. After that Sister Mink told the new" to Sister Fox, and Sister Fox told Sister Wolf. and Sister Wolf told Sister Bear.

When Brother Fox, Brother Wolf and Broth er Bear heard the news from their wives, the} gathered and began to talk about it.

"Now is the time to catch Brother Rabbit,' said Brother Fox. "Whe shall get his money, too, said Brother Wolf. And they made a plan to catch him on his way back from the town

Wednesday came, and Brother Rabbit at( his breakfast before sunrise and went to town He bought some tobacco and a handkerchief for himself, a coffee-pot for the old woman and seven tin cups and seven tin plates for the children. .

It was almost evening when he was going home, and the road was hot, and Brother Rabbit got tired. So he sat down to rest under a tree.

A little bird was making a noise among the leaves of the tree. Brother Rabbit said "shoo!" and tried to drive her away. The little bird got very angry and began to sing:

"Pilly-pee," pilly-wee!
You don't know what I can see!
And I see — pilly-pee!
Something that you do not see!"


The bird sang and sang, and at last Brother Rabbit began to look around and he saw some footprints on the sand, and he understood what I lie little bird's words were about. He said to himself:

"Here Brother Fox was sitting, and this is the print of his nice bushy tail. Here Brother Wolf was sitting, and this is the print of his nice long tail. Here Brother Bear was sitting, and this is the print which shows that he has no tail at all. They were sitting here, and now they are hiding behind that hill in the gully."

Brother Rabbit put his things in the bushes and ran to the hill. He crawled to the edge of the gully and looked in. Brother Fox "was lying on one side of the road, Brother Wolf was on the other side, and Brother Bear was sleeping in the shade near Brother Fox. When Brother Rabbit saw them, he put his hand on his mouth and laughed to himself. Then he ran back to the place where his things were, and there he danced and laughed, because he had a very funny plan.

Soon he began to work: he turned the coffee-pot upside down and put it on his head. Then he took a string, put it through the handles of the cups, and hung them on his neck. Then he took some of the plates in one hand and some in the other. After this he was ready. He crawled to the top of the hill, banged the plates together and ran down the hill into the gully with a great noise. There was never such a noise as Brother Rabbit made, and there was never such a man as Brother Rabbit was: the coffee-pot was on his head, and the cups were shining in the sun.

Brother Bear jumped up. He was sleeping, as you remember, and the noise frightened him so much that at first he did not see or understand anything and he jumped on Brother Fox. Then lie rushed into the road and when he saw the terrible sight, he turned and jumped on Brother Wolf. And before they could run away, Brother Rabbit was in the gully. He banged the plates together and shouted:

"Give me room! Give me room! I am the Old Boy with long claws and long teeth! Give me room!"

And after that Brother Fox, Brother Wolf and Brother Bear turned and ran away so fast that in a minute they were out of sight.

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