The Baldwn Library
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PETS AND PLAYMATES.
ULBERRY Farm is just the very best place
in the world to live at, quite the very best I
think, Willy and Lily thought so, and you would be
of the same opinion, if only you were fortunate enough
to be asked to stay there on a visit. Perhaps, if you
are very good, you will be invited some day, but it's
quite impossible to say for certain.
Lily and Willy had no end of pets and playmates,
and so had plenty to do from the time they popped
their curly heads out of the window in the morning
to see if it was a fine day, to the moment when the
dustman came and closed up their pretty eyes for
the night. The cocks and the hens and the chickens,
the ducks and drakes and the ducklings had to have
their breakfast given to them, and a nice fuss they.
made if it did not arrive punctually. .Then Miss
Tibby, the kitten,had, to have her milk, and dear old
Rover, the big dog, and Master Trump, the'puppy,
had to be looked after, while even the calves expected
a handful of hay'; so you see the children had really
a great deal of work to .do.
Well, it. was one fine day that Lily and Willy
were out in the fields with some little friends gathering
flowers and pretty grass, when John, one'of the farm-
boys, came. towards them .with a hamper, in his arms.
Now a hamper is always a delightful thing to arrive,
I think. I never knew a hamper to make.its appear-
ance without something nice inside of'it; either
oranges or apples, or a cake, or a kitten, or'-a plum.
pudding, or a puppy.
"-What have you got? What's in the hamper ?'"
cried the children, crowding round the boy. "Cut
the string, let us see, please John."
Presents for you from Farmer Giles," said John,
"and you are to try and guess what they-are.'
Then John' put the hamper on the grass'and
coolly sat upon it, just as if opening that hamper
wasn't the most important thing in the world.
The children guessed all manner of things, buit
to every one John only shook his head and grinned.
At last he said to help.them, "It's alive."' Then
came another string of guesses, but. still, John shook
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his head and continued to grin in a most teasing
way and it wasn't till poor Lily was on the point
of tears, and Willy was getting quite cross, that
John cut the string and pulled out the presents.
The presents kicked a good deal as they were taken
out of the hamper, but as soon as they were put
down they began to nibble the grass, and seemed
Now, what do you think they were ? Why, three
dear little brown rabbits, as tame as kittens, and very
much better behaved. The children clapped their
hands with glee, and then carried their new pets home,
where John immediately set to work and made them a
comfortable hutch to live in. The arrival of the little
Brown-Bunny family made somewhat of a stir amongst
the animals at the farm. Master Trump, the puppy,
was highly delighted, for he looked upon the rabbits as
Playthings things, indeed !" cried Mrs. Duck,
who was not of a very agreeable turn of mind-she
had a large family of ducklings to look after, and they
were rather trying to her, poor thing !-"Playthings,
indeed, trouble enough to get our breakfast in time as
it is, what it will be now with more mouths to
feed, I don't know "; then she pulled Master Trump's
tail, and sent him off howling, which was really very
unkind of her.
As long as they don't drink my milk, and take
S -. my place before the
-~-- .. fire, I don't mind
--- how many there are,"
-- -- _. cried Miss Tibby,
the kitten. Then she
--- turned her attention
to running round
after her own tail
minutes, till she be-
came quite giddy,
when she went to sleep till tea-time. Rover did not
worry his head much about the new pets, for he knew,
in his heart, that he was the favourite, and would
remain so as long as he lived.
Well, the day after the arrival of the rabbits was
a very busy time at Mulberry Farm, for it was washing
day, and, as a rule, Lily and Willy must help, other-
wise they thought the clothes could not possibly be
properly cleaned; but on this particular morning they
allowed the maid to wash the clothes by herself, while
they hurried away to the yard, at the back of )the
house, to say good morning to their new pets.
But alas! and almost too terrible to relate,
although they found the rabbit-hutch with the clean
hay and the fresh grass they had put there the evening
before, the little Brown-Bunny family was missing.
The hutch door was open and the rabbits gone!
The children looked at one another, the tears
coming into Lily's eyes, and a big lump into Willy's
throat-he wasn't going to cry if he could help it, for
you see he was a boy-and then they ran off to look
for John to ask him if he had seen their pets.
But John was as much surprised and alarmed as
they were. He had not seen the bunnies, and it was
very evident that they had managed to open the hutch
door during the night and made their escape.
Even Mrs. Duck was sorry for the children when
she saw how miserable they were, and said: Poor
little things," as she set about looking for the missing
In fact, everybody hunted high and low-here,
there, and everywhere. Master Trump thought it a
very good joke, and did his best, but the most he could
do was to get in everyone's way. He certainly did
manage to find something, and that was Miss Tibby,
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who was hunting for mice under the kitchen floor that
was being repaired, and so had some boards up. All
Trump got for his trouble was a box on the ear, for
the kitten was very indignant at being disturbed during
But although everyone searched, the bunnies
could not be found; in consequence, a very miserable
little couple were the children as they trudged across
the fields (Lily with her doll under her arm to
console her) to thank their friend, Farmer Giles, for
his present, and at the same time to tell him the
present had run away.
A very miserable little couple also went to bed that
night, thinking about their lost bunnies, who had no
one to look after them, and who could not look after
themselves like wild rabbits.
Next morning the sun-who is an early riser in
the summer, but who hates getting out of bed in
the winter, like one or two other people I know-
had been up some hours before the children were
awakened by something scratching at their bedroom
Come in," said Willy, drowsily, sitting up in bed
and rubbing his eyes.
Come in," repeated Lily in a dreamy voice, and
thinking that time to get up had come rather earlier
But no one came in, only the scratching continued
to grow louder and louder, so at last the little boy got
up and opened the door to find Rover.standing on the
landing wagging his tail, and looking immensely proud
Oh, Rover cried Willy, shaking his. little
finger at the big dog, "you -know you ought not to
come into the' house, you ---- "
But Willy suddenly stopped speaking in his
great surprise. There, on 'the mat, sat the three
bunnies, quite happy and contented, just as if. they
had been used to mats all their lives.
SGood old Rover, quietly going to work,,without
making afy fuss or saying a word to anyone, had found
the rabbits during the night. He had taken .them
into his kennel, arid made them a.nice snug bed in the
straw, while he sat.at the kennel door to make sure
that they would, not run away. Then, as soon as the
house was opened had carried them up to the children's
room o'ne by one.
There was joy at Mulberry. Farm that day! A
grand tea-party was given in honotir of finding .the
bunnies. Farmer Giles iand his- childYen came, and
'Lily's and Willy's other little playmates, and'tjhere was
such fun and great romps. As they had the tea in the
garden on the grass; most of the p'ets were-,able to.
come, including, of course, the rabbits, who had ribbons
tied round their necks; then they 'were put back into
their hutch, and never tried again to. get away.
As to Rover, he had a new collar given him,
and an extra bone, and everybody agreed that he
Even Mrs. Duck said so, and the ducklings would
have said the same if they had been old enough to
understand such matters.