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The New Hat-rack

from The Tale Of Nimble Deer





The night of Jimmy Rabbit's party arrived at last. The time was an hour
after sunset. The place was Farmer Green's back pasture. And Jimmy
Rabbit was waiting eagerly. He had told Nimble Deer to come early,
before the other guests, because Nimble was going to help him.

Jimmy Rabbit hadn't waited long when he heard a muffled thud, followed
by a swift patter.

"There's Nimble now!" he exclaimed. "He just jumped the stone wall and
he's coming this way."

Jimmy Rabbit was right. In a few seconds more Nimble Deer stood before
him.

"Here I am!" Nimble cried. "I've come early and I'm ready to help you."

"Good!" said Jimmy Rabbit. "Step this way, please!" And he hopped over
to a clump of evergreens. Nimble followed him.

"Now," Jimmy Rabbit went on, "step inside this thicket and let only your
head and neck stick out!"

"What shall I do with my antlers?" Nimble asked him. "They won't come
off, because it's the wrong time of year to shed them."

"Oh! I want your antlers to show too," Jimmy Rabbit assured him.

So Nimble did exactly as Jimmy Rabbit had told him.

Then Jimmy sat up a little way off, cocked his head on one side, and
looked at Nimble. "That's fine!" he declared. "When the moon comes up
everybody will be able to see you--except what's hidden by the
evergreens."

"What am I going to do here?" Nimble inquired.

"You're to stand perfectly still," Jimmy explained.

"And what else?"

"Nothing!" Jimmy Rabbit answered. "The other guests will do the rest....
And now, if you don't mind, I'll leave you here; for I hear somebody
coming."

He scampered away then. But soon he came hurrying back.

"There's something I forgot to say," he told Nimble hurriedly. "You
mustn't talk. You mustn't even open your mouth. You mustn't even chew
your cud."

"I suppose I can wink if I want to," said Nimble Deer.

"No, indeed!" Jimmy Rabbit cried. "That would spoil everything."

"It's going to be hard," Nimble complained, "to keep so still."

"Oh, no!" Jimmy Rabbit assured him. "It will be easy. Just act as if you
were stuffed!"

"Stuffed!" Nimble exclaimed. "I've never been stuffed. I hope I never
shall be. And I don't know how to act as if I were."

Jimmy Rabbit didn't even wait to hear what Nimble said, but whisked away
again.

"Dear me!" Nimble muttered. "I wish I hadn't said I'd come to the party
and help. For it certainly won't be any fun to stand still in this
thicket, with only my head and neck sticking out."

However, he had promised to help. So there was nothing to be done except
to follow Jimmy Rabbit's orders. And at once Nimble could hear Jimmy
Rabbit welcoming some early guests.

"Come this way and leave your hats and coats!" Jimmy Rabbit was saying.
And soon he returned with Billy Woodchuck and Fatty Coon at his heels.
Jimmy led them straight to the place where Nimble stood.

"Hang your things on my new hat-rack!" Jimmy Rabbit told them as he
waved a paw toward Nimble's antlers.

And to Nimble's amazement they reached up to do as they were told.

But Nimble's antlers were too high for them.

It was a bad moment for Jimmy Rabbit.





Next: How Nimble Helped

Previous: An Untold Secret



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