: ANIMAL STORIES
: Boys And Girls Bookshelf
BY L. FRANK BAUM
Author of "Queen Zixi of Ix," "The Wizard of Oz," etc.
"Oh, Mama!" cried Fuzzy Wuz, running into the burrow where her mother
lay dozing, "may I go walking with Chatter Chuk?"
Mrs. Wuz opened one eye sleepily and looked at Fuzzy.
"If you are careful," she said; "and don't go near Juggerjook's den; and
watch the sun so as to get home before the shad
"Yes, yes; of course," returned Fuzzy, eagerly.
"And don't let Chatter Chuk lead you into mischief," continued Mrs. Wuz,
rubbing one long ear with her paw lazily. "Those red squirrels are
reckless things and haven't much sense."
"Chatter's all right," protested Fuzzy Wuz. "He's the best friend I have
in the forest. Good-by, Mother."
"Is your face clean, Fuzzy?"
"I've just washed it, Mother."
"With both paws, right and left?"
"Then run along and be careful."
Fuzzy turned and darted from the burrow, and in the bright sunshine
outside sat Chatter Chuk on his hind legs, cracking an acorn.
"What'd she say, Fuz?" asked the red squirrel.
"All right, I can go, Chat. But I've got to be careful."
As the white rabbit hopped away through the bushes and he glided along
beside her, Chatter Chuk laughed.
"Your people are always careful, Fuz," said he. "That's why you see so
little of the world, and lose all the fun in life."
"I know," replied Fuzzy, a little ashamed. "Father is always singing
this song to me:
Don't get funny;
Run along and mind your eye;
It's the habit
Of a rabbit
To be diffident and shy."
"We squirrels are different," said Chatter Chuk, proudly. "We are always
taught this song:
See the world, so bright and gay.
For a rover
All that happens day by day."
"Oh, if I could run up a tree, I shouldn't be afraid, either,"
remarked Fuzzy Wuz. "Even Juggerjook couldn't frighten me then."
"Kernels and shucks! Juggerjook!" cried Chatter Chuk, scornfully. "Who
cares for him?"
"Don't you fear him?" asked Fuzzy Wuz, curiously.
"Of course not," said the squirrel. "My people often go to his den and
leave nuts there."
"Why, if you make presents to Juggerjook, of course he won't hurt you,"
returned the rabbit. "All the beasts carry presents to his den, so he
will protect them from their enemies. The bears kill wolves and carry
them to Juggerjook to eat; and the wolves kill foxes and carry them to
Juggerjook, and the foxes kill rabbits for him. But we rabbits do not
kill animals, so we cannot take Juggerjook anything to eat except roots
and clover; and he doesn't care much for those. So we are careful to
keep away from his den."
"Have you ever seen him or the place where he lives?" asked the
"No," replied Fuzzy Wuz.
"Suppose we go there now?"
"Oh, no! Mother said--"
"There's nothing to be afraid of. I've looked at the den often from the
trees near by," said Chatter Chuk. "I can lead you to the edge of the
bushes close to his den, and he'll never know we are near."
"Mother says Juggerjook knows everything that goes on in the forest,"
declared the rabbit, gravely.
"Your mother's a 'fraid-cat and trembles when a twig cracks," said
Chatter, with a careless laugh. "Why don't you have a little spirit of
your own, Fuzzy, and be independent?"
Fuzzy Wuz was quite young, and ashamed of being thought shy, so she
"All right, Chat. Let's go take a peep at Juggerjook's den."
"We're near it, now," announced the squirrel. "Come this way; and go
softly, Fuzzy Wuz, because Juggerjook has sharp ears."
They crept along through the bushes some distance after that, but did
not speak except in whispers. Fuzzy knew it was a bold thing to do. They
had nothing to carry to the terrible Juggerjook, and it was known that
he always punished those who came to his den without making him
presents. But the rabbit relied upon Chatter Chuk's promise that the
tyrant of the forest would never know they had been near him. Juggerjook
was considered a great magician, to be sure, yet Chatter Chuk was not
afraid of him. So why should Fuzzy Wuz fear anything?
The red squirrel ran ahead, so cautiously that he made not a sound in
the underbrush; and he skilfully picked the way so that the fat white
rabbit could follow him. Presently he stopped short and whispered to his
"Put your head through those leaves, and you will see Juggerjook's den."
Fuzzy Wuz obeyed. There was a wide clearing beyond the bushes, and at
the farther side was a great rock with a deep cave in it. All around the
clearing were scattered the bones and skulls of animals, bleached white
by the sun. Just in front of the cave was quite a big heap of bones, and
the rabbit shuddered as she thought of all the many creatures Juggerjook
must have eaten in his time. What a fierce appetite the great magician
The sight made the timid rabbit sick and faint. She drew back and hopped
away through the bushes without heeding the crackling twigs or the
whispered cautions of Chatter Chuk, who was now badly frightened
When they had withdrawn to a safe distance the squirrel said peevishly:
"Oh, you foolish thing! Why did you make such a noise and racket?"
"Did I?" asked Fuzzy Wuz, simply.
"Indeed you did. And I warned you to be silent."
"But it's all right now. We're safe from Juggerjook here," she said.
"I'm not sure of that," remarked the squirrel, uneasily. "One is never
safe from punishment if he is discovered breaking the law. I hope the
magician was asleep and did not hear us."
"I hope so, too," added the rabbit; and then they ran along at more
ease, rambling through the forest paths and enjoying the fragrance of
the woods and the lights and shadows cast by the sun as it peeped
through the trees.
Once in a while they would pause while Fuzzy Wuz nibbled a green leaf or
Chatter Chuk cracked a fallen nut in his strong teeth, to see if it was
sound and sweet.
"It seems funny for me to be on the ground so long," he said. "But I
invited you to walk with me, and of course a rabbit can't run up a tree
and leap from limb to limb, as my people do."
"That is true," admitted Fuzzy; "nor can squirrels burrow in the ground,
as rabbits do."
"They have no need to," declared the squirrel. "We find a hollow tree,
and with our sharp teeth gnaw a hole through the shell and find a warm,
dry home inside."
"I'm glad you do," remarked Fuzzy. "If all the animals burrowed in the
ground there would not be room for us to hide from each other."
Chatter laughed at this.
"The shadows are getting long," he said. "If you wish to be home before
sunset, we must start back."
"Wait a minute!" cried the rabbit, sitting up and sniffing the air. "I
"Never mind," said the squirrel.
"Never mind carrots? Oh, Chatter Chuk! You don't know how good they
"Well, we haven't any time to find them," he replied. "For my part, I
could run home in five minutes, but you are so clumsy it will take you
an hour. Where are you going now?"
"Just over here," said Fuzzy Wuz. "Those carrots can't be far off."
The squirrel followed, scolding a little because to him carrots meant
nothing especially good to eat. And there, just beside the path, was an
old coverless box raised on a peg, and underneath it a bunch of juicy,
fat, yellow carrots.
There was room under the box for Fuzzy Wuz to creep in and get the
carrots, and this she promptly did, while Chatter Chuk stood on his hind
legs a short distance away and impatiently waited. But when the white
rabbit nibbled the carrots, the motion pulled a string which jerked out
the peg that held up the box, and behold, Fuzzy Wuz was a prisoner!
She squealed with fear and scratched at the sides of the box in a vain
endeavor to find a way to escape; but escape was impossible unless some
one lifted the box. The red squirrel had seen the whole mishap, and
chattered angrily from outside at the plight of his captured friend. The
white rabbit thought he must be far away, because the box shut out so
much the sound of his voice.
"Juggerjook must have heard us, and this is part of his revenge," said
the squirrel. "Oh, dear! Oh, dear! I wonder what the great magician will
do to me."
He was so terrified by this thought that Chatter Chuk took flight and
darted home at his best speed. He lived in a tree very near to the
burrow where Mrs. Wuz resided, but the squirrel did not go near the
rabbit-burrow. The sun was already sinking in the west, so he ran into
his nest and pretended to sleep when his mother asked him where he had
been so late.
All night Mrs. Wuz waited for Fuzzy, and it was an anxious and sleepless
night for the poor mother, as you may well believe. Fuzzy was her one
darling, several other children having been taken from her in various
ways soon after their birth. Mr. Wuz had gone to attend a meeting of the
Rabbits' Protective Association and might be absent for several days; so
he was not there to help or counsel her.
When daybreak came, the mother rabbit ran to the foot of the squirrels'
tree and called:
"Chatter Chuk! Chatter Chuk! Where is my Fuzzy Wuz? Where is my darling
Chatter Chuk was too frightened to answer until his mother made him.
Then he ran down to the lowest limb of the tree and sat there while he
"We went walking," he said, "and Fuzzy found some carrots under a box
that was propped up with a peg. I told her not to eat them; but she did,
and the peg fell out and made her a prisoner."
You see, he did not mention Juggerjook at all, yet he knew the magician
was at the bottom of all the trouble.
But Mrs. Wuz knew rabbit-traps quite well, being old and experienced; so
she begged the red squirrel to come at once and show her the place where
Fuzzy had been caught.
"There isn't a moment to lose," she said, "for the trappers will be out
early this morning to see what they have captured in their trap."
Chatter Chuk was afraid to go, having a guilty conscience; but his
mother made him. He led the way timidly, but swiftly, and Mrs. Wuz
fairly flew over the ground, so anxious was she to rescue her darling.
The box was in the same place yet, and poor Fuzzy Wuz could be heard
moaning feebly inside it.
"Courage, my darling!" cried the mother, "I have come to save you."
First she tried to move the box, but it was too heavy for her to stir.
Then she began scratching away the earth at its edge, only to find that
it had been placed upon a big, flat stone, to prevent a rabbit from
This discovery almost drove her frantic, until she noticed Chatter Chuk,
who stood trembling near by.
"Here!" she called; "it was you who led my child into trouble. Now you
must get her out."
"How?" asked the red squirrel.
"Gnaw a hole in that box--quick! Gnaw faster than you ever did before in
your life. See! the box is thinnest at this side. Set to work at once,
The red squirrel obeyed. The idea of saving his friend was as welcome to
him as it was to the distracted mother. He was young, and his teeth were
as sharp as needles. So he started at the lower edge and chewed the wood
with all his strength and skill, and at every bite the splinters came
It was a good idea. Mrs. Wuz watched him anxiously. If only the men
would keep away for a time, the squirrel could make a hole big enough
for Fuzzy Wuz to escape. She crept around the other side of the box and
called to the prisoner: "Courage, dear one! We are trying to save you.
But if the men come before Chatter Chuk can make a hole big enough,
then, as soon as they raise the box, you must make a dash for the
bushes. Run before they can put in their hands to seize you. Do you
"Yes, Mother," replied Fuzzy, but her voice wasn't heard very plainly,
because the squirrel was making so much noise chewing the wood.
Presently Chatter Chuk stopped.
"It makes my teeth ache," he complained.
"Never mind, let them ache," replied Mrs. Wuz. "If you stop now, Fuzzy
will die; and if she dies, I will go to Juggerjook and tell him how you
led my child into trouble."
The thought of Juggerjook made the frightened squirrel redouble his
efforts. He forgot the pain in his teeth and gnawed as no other
squirrel had ever gnawed before. The ground was covered with tiny
splinters from the box, and now the hole was big enough for the prisoner
to put the end of her nose through and beg him to hurry.
Chatter Chuk was intent on his task, and the mother was intent upon
watching him, so neither noticed any one approaching, until a net fell
over their heads, and a big voice cried, with a boisterous laugh:
"Caught! and neat as a pin, too!"
Chatter Chuk and Mrs. Wuz struggled in the net with all their might, but
it was fast around them, and they were helpless to escape. Fuzzy stuck
her nose out of the hole in the box to find out what was the matter, and
a sweet, childish voice exclaimed: "There's another in the trap, Daddy!"
Neither the rabbits nor the squirrel understood this strange language;
but all realized they were in the power of dreadful Man and gave
themselves up for lost.
Fuzzy made a dash the moment the box was raised; but the trapper knew
the tricks of rabbits, so the prisoner only dashed into the same net
where her mother and Chatter Chuk were confined.
"Three of them! Two rabbits and a squirrel. That's quite a haul,
Charlie," said the man.
The little boy was examining the box.
"Do rabbits gnaw through wood, Father?" he asked.
"No, my son," was the reply.
"But there is a hole here. And see! There are the splinters upon the
The man examined the box in turn, somewhat curiously.
"How strange!" he said. "These are marks of the squirrel's teeth. Now, I
wonder if the squirrel was trying to liberate the rabbit."
"Looks like it, Daddy; doesn't it?" replied the boy.
"I never heard of such a thing in my life," declared the man. "These
little creatures often display more wisdom than we give them credit for.
But how can we explain this curious freak, Charlie?"
The boy sat down upon the box and looked thoughtfully at the three
prisoners in the net. They had ceased to struggle, having given way to
despair; but the boy could see their little hearts beating fast through
their furry skins.
"This is the way it looks to me, Daddy," he finally said. "We caught the
small rabbit in the box, and the big one must be its mother. When she
found her baby was caught, she tried to save it, and she began to burrow
under the box, for here is the mark of her paws. But she soon saw the
flat stone, and gave up."
"Yes; that seems reasonable," said the man.
"But she loved her baby," continued the boy, gazing at the little
creatures pitifully, "and thought of another way. The red squirrel was a
friend of hers, so she ran and found him, and asked him to help her. He
did, and tried to gnaw through the box; but we came too soon and
captured them with the net because they were so busy they didn't notice
"Exactly!" cried the man, with a laugh. "That tells the story very
plainly, my son, and I see you are fast learning the ways of animals.
But how intelligent these little things are!"
"That's what my mother would do," returned the boy. "She'd try to save
me; and that's just what the mother rabbit did."
"Well, we must be going," said the man; and as he started away he picked
up the net and swung it over his shoulder. The prisoners struggled madly
again, and the boy, who walked along the forest path a few steps behind
his father, watched them.
"Daddy," he said softly, coming to the man's side, "I don't want to keep
"Oh, they'll make us a good dinner," was the reply.
"I--I couldn't eat 'em for dinner, Daddy. Not the mama rabbit and the
little one she tried to save. Nor the dear little squirrel that wanted
to help them. Let's--let's--let 'em go!"
The man stopped short and turned to look with a smile into the boy's
upturned, eager face.
"What will Mama say when we go back without any dinner?" he asked.
"You know, Daddy. She'll say a good deed is better than a good dinner."
The man laid a caressing hand on the curly head and handed his son the
net. Charlie's face beamed with joy. He opened wide the net and watched
the prisoners gasp with surprise, bound out of the meshes, and scamper
away into the bushes.
Then the boy put his small hand in his father's big one, and together
they walked silently along the path.
* * *
"All the same," said Chatter Chuk to himself, as, snug at home, he
trembled at the thought of his late peril, "I shall keep away from old
Juggerjook after this. I am very sure of that!"
"Mama," said Fuzzy Wuz, nestling beside her mother in the burrow, "why
do you suppose the fierce Men let us go?"
"I cannot tell, my dear," was the reply. "Men are curious creatures, and
often act with more wisdom than we give them credit for."
"Nop, interning a muzzle."]