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XIX
PETER RABBIT TRIES TO HELP  

PETER RABBIT is one of the kindest hearted little people of the Green Forest or the Green Meadows. He is happy-go-lucky, and his dreadful curiosity is forever getting him into all kinds of trouble. Perhaps it is because he has been in so many scrapes himself that he always feels sorry for others who get into trouble. Anyway, no sooner does Peter hear of some one in trouble, than he begins to wonder how he can help them. So just as soon as he found out for himself that Sammy Jay had told the truth about Chatterer the Red Squirrel, and that Chatterer really was in a prison at Farmer Brown's house, he began to think and think to find some way to help Chatterer.

Now of course Peter didn't know what kind of a prison Chatterer was in. He remembered right away how Prickly Porky the Porcupine had. gnawed a great hole in the box in which Johnny Chuck's lost baby was kept by Farmer Brown's boy. Why shouldn't Prickly Porky do as much for Chatterer? He would go see him at once. The trouble with Peter is that he doesn't think of all sides of a question. He is impulsive. That is, he goes right ahead and does the thing that comes into his head first, and sometimes this isn't the wisest or best thing to do. So now he scampered down into the Green Forest as fast as his long legs would carry him, to hunt for Prickly Porky. It was no trouble at all to find him, for he had only to follow the line of trees that had been stripped of their bark.

"Good afternoon, Prickly Porky. Have you heard the news about Chatterer?" said Peter, talking very fast, for he was quite out of breath.

"Yes," replied Prickly Porky. "Serves him right. I hope it will teach him a lesson."

Peter's heart sank. "Don't you think it is dreadful?" he asked. "Just think, he will never, never be able to run and play in the Green Forest again, unless we can get him out."

"So much the better," grunted Prickly Porky. "So much the better. He always was a nuisance. Never did see such a fellow for making trouble for other people. No, Sir, I never did. The rest of us can have some peace now. Serves him right." Prickly Porky went on chewing bark as if Chatterer's trouble was no concern of his.

Peter's heart sank lower still. He scratched one long ear slowly with a long hind foot, which is a way he has when he is thinking very hard. He was so busy thinking that he didn't see the twinkle in the dull little eyes of Prickly Porky, who really was not so hard-hearted as his words sounded. After a long time, during which Peter thought and thought, and Prickly Porky ate and ate, the latter spoke again.

"What have you got on your mind, Peter?" he asked.

"I I was just thinking how perfectly splendid it would be if you would go up there and gnaw a way out of his prison for Chatterer," replied Peter timidly.

"Huh!" grunted Prickly Porky. "Huh! Some folks think my wits are pretty slow, but even I know better than that. Put on your thinking cap again, Peter Rabbit."

"Why can't you? You are not afraid of Bowser the Hound or Farmer Brown's boy, and' everybody else is, excepting Jimmy Skunk," persisted Peter.

"For the very good reason that if I could gnaw into his prison, Chatterer could gnaw out. If he can't gnaw his way out with those sharp teeth of his, I certainly can't gnaw in. Where's your common sense, Peter Rabbit?"

"That's so. I hadn't thought of that," replied Peter slowly and sorrowfully. " I must try to think of some other way to help Chatterer."


"I'd be willing to try it if it was of any use. But it isn't," said Prickly Porky.

 "I'd be willing to try if it was of any use. But it isn't," said Prickly Porky, who didn't want Peter to think that he really was as hard-hearted as he had seemed at first.

So Peter bade Prickly Porky good-bye and started for the dear old Briar-patch to try to think of some other way to help Chatterer. On the way he waked up Unc' Billy Possum and Bobby Coon, but they couldn't give him any help. "There really doesn't seem to be any way I can help," sighed Peter. And there really wasn't.


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