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Planning A Picnic

from The Tale Of Nimble Deer





While he was only a fawn Nimble became very fond of water lilies. But he
didn't carry them as a bouquet, nor wear one in his buttonhole. He was
fond of lilies in a different way: he liked to eat them, and their flat,
round, glossy pads. At night his mother often led him to the edge of the
lake on the other side of Blue Mountain and there they feasted.

It was wonderful to stand in the cool water, not too far from the shore,
with the moonlight shimmering on the ruffled lake, and breathe in the
sweet scent of the lilies while nibbling at their pads.

"There's nothing," said Nimble to his mother one night, "nothing so good
to eat as water lilies."

His mother said, "Humph! Wait till you've tasted carrots!"

"Carrots!" Nimble echoed. "What are carrots and where can I find some?
Do they grow in this lake?"

"Carrots," his mother explained, "are vegetables and they grow in Farmer
Green's garden."

When he heard that, Nimble wanted to start for Farmer Green's place at
once. But his mother said, "No!" And he soon saw that she meant it, too.

However, the word carrots was in his mouth a good deal of the time,
for days and nights afterward. But Nimble wasn't satisfied with having
only the word in his mouth. There was no taste to that at all. Nor
could he chew it, nor swallow it. He was wild to bite into a carrot and
see if it actually was more toothsome than a water lily. Again and again
he said to his mother, "Can't we go down to Farmer Green's garden patch
to-night? If we wait much longer somebody else will eat all the carrots
before we get a taste of them." Or maybe he would exclaim, "Let's have
some carrots for supper! Please!"

It was no wonder that Nimble's mother grew very tired of his teasing. At
last she said to him, when he was urging her to take him down the hill
and across the meadow to Farmer Green's vegetable garden, "There's no
sense in our going down there now. The carrots aren't big enough yet.
They aren't ready to eat. But later, if you show you're trustworthy, and
if you mind well, and if you grow enough, and if you can start quickly
and run fast, perhaps I'll see that you have your first meal of
carrots. Now, don't bother me any more!"

Well, there were so many ifs in his mother's promise that Nimble
almost gave up hope of ever getting to Farmer Green's garden patch. He
didn't quite dare expect that his mother would take him there with her.
But he made up his mind that if she didn't he would go on a carrot hunt
alone as soon as he could.

At the same time he practiced minding his mother, which was not always
a pleasant thing to do. And he practiced starting and running, both of
which were a good deal of fun. As for growing, Nimble did not need to
practice that at all; for he was getting heavier and taller every day,
without doing anything more than to eat and to sleep and to have the
best time possible.

Meanwhile he told everybody he met that if all went well he would be
eating carrots some day. And when his friends learned that he planned
to go on an excursion to Farmer Green's garden patch there wasn't one
of them that didn't say he would like to go too.

Jimmy Rabbit said he really ought to have a look at the cabbages. And if
Nimble didn't mind he thought it would be pleasant to join the party.
Patty Coon remarked that there were certain matters connected with corn
which he must attend to, and if there was no objection he would go along
with the rest, when the time came for the excursion. Even Cuffy Bear,
who almost never went near the farm buildings, declared that there was
nothing he would enjoy more than to make the trip with Nimble and his
mother. He had once tasted baked beans. And ever since that occasion he
had meant to see if he couldn't find some around Farmer Green's house.

Of course it would have been awkward to say no. So Nimble said yes to
everybody. He even promised that he would let all his friends know when
the excursion should take place.

But of all these things he said not a word to his mother. He was not
sure that they would please her. In fact he was sure that they
wouldn't.





Next: Nimble's Mistake

Previous: An Interrupted Nap



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