Uncle Jerry Chuck





Soon Jimmy Rabbit's friends arrived at his party in throngs. And soon

Nimble Deer's antlers bristled with hats and coats of many kinds and

colors.



"I must look like a Christmas tree," Nimble thought. "I wish Jimmy

Rabbit and his friends would come and dance around me so I might see

the fun."



But they didn't. They stayed down in a little hollow some distance

away. Nimble could hear their voices. And they seemed to be having

a delightful time.



As for Nimble, he wasn't having a good time at all. "I'll never help

at another party!" he promised himself. He couldn't believe that

midnight--and the end of the party--would ever come.



At last, however, he took heart. For old Uncle Jerry Chuck came hurrying

up and began taking hats and coats off Nimble's antlers. And Nimble knew

then that the party must be almost over.



"This is a good hat!" Uncle Jerry muttered to himself. "I'll take it."

And then he said, "This is a good coat! I'll take it." Then he looked

closely at another hat. "This is a good one, too!" he remarked. "I might

lose the other. I'll take this one, too--and this coat here," he added,

selecting a second coat that pleased him.



Little did Uncle Jerry Chuck dream that the Deer's head was a real, live

one. And just as the old chap reached for the second coat Nimble Deer

had to cough. He didn't want to. Hadn't Jimmy Rabbit cautioned him not

to stir--not to open his mouth?



But the cough came all the same, right in Uncle Jerry Chuck's ear. And

Uncle Jerry jumped. He dropped both hats and both coats. And then he

waddled off as fast as he could go and scrambled over the stone wall,

out of sight. He didn't even wait to get his own rusty coat and tattered

hat, which he had left lying on the ground.



Uncle Jerry hadn't been gone long when all the company came jostling up

to Nimble. Everybody--except Nimble--was very merry. Amid a good many

jokes the company put on their hats and coats, until only Aunt Polly

Woodchuck's poke bonnet hung from Nimble's horns.



Then--just for fun--Jimmy Rabbit set the bonnet on Nimble's head and

tied its strings under his chin. And Aunt Polly Woodchuck herself

laughed hardest of all.



And then all at once something happened. A dog barked. "It's old dog

Spot!" somebody cried.



Nimble Deer was the first to run. One leap took him out of the evergreen

thicket in which he had been standing all the evening. Three leaps more

took him over the stone wall.



After that nobody saw him--nor Aunt Polly Woodchuck's bonnet--again that

night.



The whole company scattered and vanished like baby grouse surprised in

the woods. And when old dog Spot reached the clump of evergreens a few

moments later he found nothing to show that there had been a party

there--that is, he found nothing except a battered hat and a rusty

coat lying on the ground.



Spot sniffed at them. "Unless I'm mistaken, Uncle Jerry Chuck has

forgotten something," he murmured. "No doubt he'll be back here in

a little while."



So Spot waited and waited there.



But Uncle Jerry Chuck was half a mile away and sound asleep in his

underground chamber.



And Nimble Deer was a mile away, over in Cedar Swamp, trying to tear

Aunt Polly's bonnet off his head by rubbing his horns against a young

cedar.





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