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THE FISHING PARTY
One clear, warm evening about sunset Brother Rabbit was walking down a road which led to the old mill. He was saying to himself: “It has been a week or more since I have had any fun. I do wish something would happen to make times a little livelier. I’m—”

“A fine sunset, Brother Rabbit! A penny for your thoughts. I do believe you would have passed me without speaking.”

“Good evening, Brother Terrapin,” said the rabbit, stopping and holding out his hand in a most cordial way. “I am very glad to see you, for I like your opinion immensely. I’ll tell you what I was thinking about, my friend. I was planning a little fishing party. Come, let us sit down here on the roadside and talk it over.”
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21Brother Terrapin replied: “A fishing party! That will be fine sport. We should become very dull indeed in this neighborhood, Brother Rabbit, if it were not for your plans. Have you decided whom to invite?”

“Well,” said Brother Rabbit, “I think it unwise to invite too many. Perhaps five, including ourselves, are enough, because, you see, we must keep very quiet, and if the party is large, there is danger of too much merriment. Have you any particular friend who enjoys fishing?”

“Oh, yes, indeed. Brother Bear is very quiet and sensible, and he loves to fish for mud turtles,” replied Brother Terrapin.

“Well, I have in mind Brother Fox and Brother Wolf. Look, here they come! What good luck! Let us see what they think about the plan.” And the rabbit danced away up the road to meet his friends and tell them about the fishing party.

“Exactly the kind of sport I enjoy most,” 22said Brother Wolf, interrupting Brother Rabbit. “I’ll fish for hornyheads. Come, Brother Fox, what do you say?”

“First, I wish to thank Brother Rabbit for his kind invitation,” said Brother Fox, politely. “Of course, you all know that I shall fish for perch, and I think I shall use a dip net. Good evening, Brother Terrapin. What an interesting party ours will be. What will you fish for?”

“Oh,” laughed Brother Terrapin, “minnows suit my taste very well.”

“All right,” said Brother Rabbit. “Now let us meet at the mill pond about eight o’clock this evening. Brother Terrapin, may I trouble you to bring the bait? The others will each bring a hook and line, and, Brother Fox, please do not forget your fine dip net. About twelve o’clock you are all invited to a fish supper at my house. Don’t forget the time and place of meeting. Farewell.”

All hurried away to prepare for the evening’s amusement, and, at the appointed time, the five merry brothers met at the mill pond.

Brother Rabbit was very anxious to begin; 23so he baited his hook and stepped up to the very edge of the water. Then he stopped suddenly, looked straight down into the pond, dropped his fishing pole, and scratched his head.

“Mercy!” said Brother Fox. “What in the world is the matter with Brother Rabbit? Let us slip up to him and see what is the trouble. Come, all together.”

But Brother Rabbit turned and walked toward them, shook his head seriously, and said: “No fishing to-night, my friends. We might as well go home.”

“What is it? What did you see?” began the bear, the fox, and the wolf. Brother Terrapin crept up to the edge of the pond, looked straight into the water, jumped back, and said, “Tut, tut, tut! To be sure! To be sure!”

“Come, come, tell us. We cannot bear this suspense,” snapped the fox.

Then Brother Rabbit said slowly, “The moon has dropped into the mill pond, and if you don’t believe me, go and look for yourselves.”

24“Impossible!” cried Brother Bear.

They all crept up to the edge of the pond and looked in and there they saw the golden moon right down in the clear water.

“Isn’t that too bad?” said Brother Wolf.

“Well, well, well,” sighed Brother Fox; and Brother Bear shook his head slowly and said, “The impossible has happened!”

“Now, I’ll tell you something,” began the rabbit, who was not to be easily daunted, “we must get that moon out of the water before we begin to fish. I tell you truly no fish will bite while that great golden ball is near.”

“Well, Brother Rabbit,” said the wolf, “can’t you make a suggestion in this matter? You usually know what to do.”

“I have it, my friends,” said the rabbit jumping up and down. “I have it! I know where I can borrow a sieve. I’ll run and get it and then we can dip up the moon in no time. We’ll have our fishing party yet!” and off he ran.

Brother Terrapin was thinking. In a little 25while he looked up and said, “My friends, I have often heard that there is a pot of gold in the moon.”

“What’s that?” said Brother Fox, quickly.

“I was saying that my grandmother has often told me that there is a pot of gold in the moon. But here comes Brother Rabbit with the sieve.”

“My good friend,” said Brother Fox, “you were kind enough to go after that sieve and now you must let Brother Bear, Brother Wolf, and myself do the work. No, don’t take off your coat. You are such a little fellow that it would be dangerous for you to go into the water. You and Brother Terrapin stand here on the bank and watch us. Come, give me the sieve.”

So Brother Terrapin and Brother Rabbit stood on the bank and watched the others wade into the pond.

They dipped the sieve down once. “No moon,” said Brother Bear.

Again they dipped. “No moon,” said Brother Wolf.

26“Come,” said Brother Fox, “we must go farther in.”

“Oh, do be careful, my friends,” called the rabbit, “you are near a very deep hole.”

Buzz, buzz! The water was roaring in Brother Bear’s ears and he shook his head violently. Down went the sieve again.

“No moon,” sighed Brother Fox. “A little farther out, friends. Now, down again with the sieve.”

Splash! Splash! Splash! Down they all went with the sieve. They kicked and tumbled and splashed as if they would throw all the water out of the mill pond. Then they swam for the shore and all came out dripping wet. “No moon,” said Brother Fox, sulkily. “What! No moon? Well, well, well!” said Brother Rabbit.

“Too bad! Too bad!” said Brother Terrapin.

“My friends,” said the rabbit, seriously, “I think you ought to go home and put on some dry clothes. I do, indeed. And I hope we shall have better luck next time. Good night.”


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