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The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse

Produced by K Nordquist, E & R Nordquist, Irma Spehar andthe Online Distributed Proofreading Team athttps://www.pgdp.net


_The Adventures of DANNY MEADOW MOUSE_


_by Thornton W. Burgess_





The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse


By THORNTON W. BURGESS


_Illustrated by_ HARRISON CADY





PUBLISHERS Grosset & Dunlap NEW YORK


COPYRIGHT, 1915, 1944, BY THORNTON W. BURGESS


PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BY ARRANGEMENT WITH LITTLE, BROWN AND COMPANY


ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


_The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse_





Contents


CHAPTER PAGE


I Danny Meadow Mouse Is Worried 11


II Danny Meadow Mouse and His Short Tail 17


III Danny Meadow Mouse Plays Hide-and-Seek 23


IV Old Granny Fox Tries for Danny Meadow Mouse 31


V What Happened on the Green Meadows 37


VI Danny Meadow Mouse Remembers, Reddy Fox Forgets 44


VII Old Granny Fox Tries a New Plan 52


VIII Brother North Wind Proves a Friend 59


IX Danny Meadow Mouse Is Caught at Last 68


X A Strange Ride and How It Ended 75


XI Peter Rabbit Gets a Fright 84


XII The Old Briar-Patch Has a New Tenant 91


XIII Peter Rabbit Visits the Peach Orchard 99


XIV Farmer Brown Sets a Trap 105


XV Peter Rabbit Is Caught in a Snare 113


XVI Peter Rabbit's Hard Journey 119


XVII Danny Meadow Mouse Becomes Worried 126


XVIII Danny Meadow Mouse Returns a Kindness 133


XIX Peter Rabbit and Danny Meadow Mouse Live High 141


XX Timid Danny Meadow Mouse 148


XXI An Exciting Day for Danny Meadow Mouse 158


XXII What Happened Next to Danny Meadow Mouse 165


XXIII Reddy Fox Grows Curious 172


XXIV Reddy Fox Loses His Temper 179





Illustrations


All Danny Meadow Mouse could thinkabout was his short tail 10


"Got plenty to eat and drink, haven'tyou?" continued Mr. Toad 19


Danny popped his head out of anotherlittle doorway and laughed at Reddy 29


Granny didn't finish, but licked her chopsand smacked her lips 46


It was a beautiful white world, a verybeautiful white world 64


Over in the Green Forest Hooty the Owlhad had poor hunting 72


Danny was being carried through the airin the cruel claws of Hooty the Owl! 77


"I tell you what, you stay right here!" saidPeter 97


All around the trunk of the tree waswrapped wire netting 109


Danny Meadow Mouse had set out tognaw that piece of stake all to splinters 137


"Where?" exclaimed old Mr. Toad, turningas pale as a toad can turn 153


"Why, Mr. Toad, where are you going insuch a hurry?" asked Danny 156


With a frightened squeak, Danny divedinto the opening just in time 169


Like a flash, Danny dodged into a tangleof barbed wire 185





The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse


_All Danny Meadow Mouse could think about washis short tail_]





I


Danny Meadow Mouse Is Worried


Danny Meadow Mouse sat on his doorstep with his chin in hishands, and it was very plain to see that Danny had something onhis mind. He had only a nod for Jimmy Skunk, and even PeterRabbit could get no more than a grumpy "Good morning." It wasn'tthat he had been caught napping the day before by Reddy Fox andnearly made an end of. No, it wasn't that. Danny had learned hislesson, and Reddy would never catch him again. It wasn't that hewas all alone with no one to play with. Danny was rather gladthat he was alone. The fact is, Danny Meadow Mouse was worried.


Now worry is one of the worst things in the world, and it didn'tseem as if there was anything that Danny Meadow Mouse need worryabout. But you know it is the easiest thing in the world to findsomething to worry over and make yourself uncomfortable about.And when you make yourself uncomfortable, you are almost sure tomake everyone around you equally uncomfortable. It was so withDanny Meadow Mouse. Striped Chipmunk had twice called him "CrossPatch" that morning, and Johnny Chuck, who had fought Reddy Foxfor him the day before, had called him "Grumpy." And what do youthink was the matter with Danny Meadow Mouse? Why, he wasworrying because his tail was short. Yes, Sir, that is all thatailed Danny Meadow Mouse that bright morning.


You know, some people let their looks make them miserable. Theyworry because they are homely or freckled, or short or tall, orthin or stout, all of which is very foolish. And Danny MeadowMouse was just as foolish in worrying because his tail was short.


It is short! It certainly is all of that! Danny never hadrealized how short until he chanced to meet his cousin Whitefoot,who lives in the Green Forest. He was very elegantly dressed, butthe most imposing thing about him was his long, slim, beautifultail. Danny had at once become conscious of his own stubbylittle tail, and he had hardly had pride enough to hold his headup as became an honest Meadow Mouse. Ever since, he had beenthinking and thinking, and wondering how his family came to havesuch short tails. Then he grew envious and began to wish and wishand wish that he could have a long tail like his cousinWhitefoot.


He was so busy wishing that he had a long tail that he quiteforgot to take care of the tail he did have, and he pretty nearlylost it and his life with it. Old Whitetail the Marsh Hawk spiedDanny sitting there moping on his doorstep, and came sailingover the tops of the meadow grasses so softly that he all butcaught Danny. If it hadn't been for one of the Merry LittleBreezes, Danny would have been caught. And all because he wasenvious. It's a bad, bad habit.








II


Danny Meadow Mouse and His Short Tail


All Danny Meadow Mouse could think about was his short tail. Hewas so ashamed of it that whenever anyone passed, he crawled outof sight so that they should not see how short his tail was.Instead of playing in the sunshine as he used to do, he sat andsulked. Pretty soon his friends began to pass without stopping.Finally one day old Mr. Toad sat down in front of Danny andbegan to ask questions.


"What's the matter?" asked old Mr. Toad.


"Nothing," replied Danny Meadow Mouse.


"I don't suppose there really is anything the matter, but what doyou think is the matter?" said old Mr. Toad.


Danny fidgeted, and old Mr. Toad looked up at jolly, round, redMr. Sun and winked. "Sun is just as bright as ever, isn't it?" heinquired.


"Yes," said Danny.


"Got plenty to eat and drink, haven't you?" continued Mr. Toad.


_"Got plenty to eat and drink, haven't you?"continued Mr. Toad_]


"Yes," said Danny.


"Seems to me that that is a pretty good-looking suit of clothesyou're wearing," said Mr. Toad, eyeing Danny critically. "Sunnyweather, plenty to eat and drink, and good clothes--must be youdon't know when you're well off, Danny Meadow Mouse."


Danny hung his head. Finally he looked up and caught a kindlytwinkle in old Mr. Toad's eyes. "Mr. Toad, how can I get a longtail like my cousin Whitefoot of the Green Forest?" he asked.


"So that's what's the matter! Ha! ha! ha! Danny Meadow Mouse, I'mashamed of you! I certainly am ashamed of you!" said Mr. Toad."What good would a long tail do you? Tell me that."


For a minute Danny didn't know just what to say. "I--I--I'd lookso much better if I had a long tail," he ventured.


Old Mr. Toad just laughed. "You never saw a Meadow Mouse with along tail, did you? Of course not. What a sight it would be! Why,everybody on the Green Meadows would laugh themselves sick at thesight! You see, you need to be slim and trim and handsome tocarry a long tail well. And then what a nuisance it would be! Youwould always have to be thinking of your tail and taking care tokeep it out of harm's way. Look at me. I'm homely. Some folkscall me ugly to look at. But no one tries to catch me as FarmerBrown's boy does Billy Mink because of his fine coat; and no onewants to put me in a cage because of a fine voice. I am satisfiedto be just as I am, and if you'll take my advice, Danny MeadowMouse, you'll be satisfied to be just as you are."


"Perhaps you are right," said Danny Meadow Mouse after a little."I'll try."





III


Danny Meadow Mouse Plays Hide-and-Seek


Life is always a game of hide-and-seek to Danny Meadow Mouse. Yousee, he is such a fat little fellow that there are a great manyother furry-coated people, and almost as many who wear feathers,who would gobble Danny up for breakfast or for dinner if theycould. Some of them pretend to be his friends, but Danny alwayskeeps his eyes open when they are around and always begins toplay hide-and-seek. Peter Rabbit and Jimmy Skunk and StripedChipmunk and Happy Jack Squirrel are all friends whom he cantrust, but he always has a bright twinkling eye open for ReddyFox and Billy Mink and Shadow the Weasel and old Whitetail theMarsh Hawk, and several more, especially Hooty the Owl at night.


Now Danny Meadow Mouse is a stouthearted little fellow, and whenrough Brother North Wind came shouting across the Green Meadows,tearing to pieces the snow clouds and shaking out the snowflakesuntil they covered the Green Meadows deep, deep, deep, Danny justsnuggled down in his warm coat in his snug little house of grassand waited. Danny liked the snow. Yes, Sir, Danny Meadow Mouseliked the snow. He just loved to dig in it and make tunnels.Through those tunnels in every direction he could go where hepleased and when he pleased without being seen by anybody. It wasgreat fun!


Every little way he made a little round doorway up beside a stiffstalk of grass. Out of this he could peep at the white world,and he could get the fresh, cold air. Sometimes, when he wasquite sure that no one was around, he would scamper across on topof the snow from one doorway to another, and when he did this, hemade the prettiest little footprints.


Now Reddy Fox knew all about those doorways and who made them.Reddy was having hard work to get enough to eat this coldweather, and he was hungry most of the time. One morning, as hecame tiptoeing softly over the meadows, what should he see justahead of him but the head of Danny Meadow Mouse pop out of oneof those little round doorways! Reddy's mouth watered, and hestole forward more softly than ever. When he got within jumpingdistance, he drew his stout hind legs under him and made ready tospring. Presto! Danny Meadow Mouse had disappeared! Reddy Foxjumped just the same and began to dig as fast as he could makehis paws go. He could smell Danny Meadow Mouse and that made himalmost frantic.


All the time Danny Meadow Mouse was scurrying along one of hislittle tunnels, and when finally Reddy Fox stopped diggingbecause he was quite out of breath, Danny popped his head out ofanother little doorway and laughed at Reddy. Of course Reddy sawhim, and of course Reddy tried to catch him there, and dugfrantically just as before. And of course Danny Meadow Mousewasn't there.


_Danny popped his head out of another littledoorway and laughed at Reddy_]


After a while Reddy Fox grew tired of this kind of a game andtried another plan. The next time he saw Danny Meadow Mouse stickhis head out, Reddy pretended not to see him. He stretchedhimself out on the ground and made believe that he was verytired and sleepy. He closed his eyes. Then he opened them justthe tiniest bit, so that he could see Danny Meadow Mouse and yetseem to be asleep. Danny watched him for a long time. Then hechuckled to himself and dropped out of sight.


No sooner was he gone than Reddy Fox stole over close to thelittle doorway and waited. "He'll surely stick his head out againto see if I'm asleep, and then I'll have him," said Reddy tohimself. So he waited and waited and waited. By and by he turnedhis head. There was Danny Meadow Mouse at another little doorway,laughing at him!





IV


Old Granny Fox Tries for Danny Meadow Mouse


Danny Meadow Mouse had not enjoyed anything so much for a longtime as he did that game of hide-and-seek. He tickled andchuckled all the afternoon as he thought about it. Of course,Reddy had been "it." He had been "it" all the time, for neveronce had he caught Danny Meadow Mouse. If he had--well, therewouldn't have been any more stories about Danny Meadow Mouse,because there wouldn't have been any Danny Meadow Mouse any more.


But Danny never let himself think about this. He had enjoyed thegame all the more because it had been such a dangerous game. Ithad been such fun to dive into one of his little round doorwaysin the snow, run along one of his own little tunnels, and thenpeep out at another doorway and watch Reddy Fox digging as fastas ever he could at the doorway Danny had just left. FinallyReddy had given up in disgust and gone off muttering angrily totry to find something else for dinner. Danny had sat up on thesnow and watched him go. In his funny little squeaky voice Dannyshouted:


"_Though Reddy Fox is smart and sly, Hi-hum-diddle-de-o! I'm just as smart and twice as spry. Hi-hum-diddle-de-o!_"


That night Reddy Fox told old Granny Fox all about how he hadtried to catch Danny Meadow Mouse. Granny listened with her headcocked on one side. When Reddy told how fat Danny Meadow Mousewas, her mouth watered. You see, now that snow covered the GreenMeadows and the Green Forest, Granny and Reddy Fox had hard workto get enough to eat, and they were hungry most of the time.


"I'll go with you down on the meadows tomorrow morning, and thenwe'll see if Danny Meadow Mouse is as smart as he thinks he is,"said Granny Fox.


So, bright and early the next morning, old Granny Fox and ReddyFox went down on the meadows where Danny Meadow Mouse lives.Danny had felt in his bones that Reddy would come back, so he waswatching, and he saw them as soon as they came out of the GreenForest. When he saw old Granny Fox, Danny's heart beat a littlefaster than before, for he knew that Granny Fox is very smart andvery wise, and has learned most of the tricks of all the otherlittle meadow and forest people.


"This is going to be a more exciting game than the other," saidDanny to himself, and scurried down out of sight to see that allhis little tunnels were clear so that he could run fast throughthem if he had to. Then he peeped out of one of his littledoorways hidden in a clump of tall grass.


Old Granny Fox set Reddy to hunting for Danny's little rounddoorways, and as fast as he found them, Granny came up andsniffed at each. She knew that she could tell by the smell whichone he had been at last. Finally she came straight toward thetall bunch of grass. Danny ducked down and scurried along one ofhis little tunnels. He heard Granny Fox sniff at the doorway hehad just left. Suddenly something plunged down through the snowright at his very heels. Danny didn't have to look to know thatit was Granny Fox herself, and he squeaked with fright.





V


What Happened on the Green Meadows


Thick and fast, things were happening to Danny Meadow Mouse downon the snow-covered Green Meadows. Rather, they were almosthappening. He hadn't minded when Reddy Fox all alone tried tocatch him. Indeed, he had made a regular game of hide-and-seek ofit and had enjoyed it immensely. But now it was different.Granny Fox wasn't so easily fooled as Reddy Fox. Just Grannyalone would have made the game dangerous for Danny Meadow Mouse.But Reddy was with her, and so Danny had two to look out for, andhe got so many frights that it seemed to him as if his heart hadmoved right up into his mouth and was going to stay there. Yes,Sir, that is just how it seemed.


Down in his little tunnels underneath the snow Danny Meadow Mousefelt perfectly safe from Reddy Fox, who would stop and digfrantically at the little round doorway where he had last seenDanny. But old Granny Fox knew all about those little tunnels,and she didn't waste any time digging at the doorways. Insteadshe cocked her sharp little ears and listened with all her might.Now Granny Fox has very keen ears, oh, very keen ears, and sheheard just what she hoped she would hear. She heard Danny MeadowMouse running along one of his little tunnels under the snow.


Plunge! Old Granny Fox dived right into the snow and rightthrough into the tunnel of Danny Meadow Mouse. Her two blackpaws actually touched Danny's tail. He was glad then that it wasno longer.
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