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DOCTOR RABBIT KEEPS STILL AND LISTENS
When Doctor Rabbit heard Tom Wildcat say he was going to have his friend Jack Rabbit for dinner, he listened with all his ears to hear, if possible, how Tom expected to catch poor innocent Jack Rabbit. The wily Tom, thinking Doctor Rabbit was asleep, kept right on talking.

“It’s mighty lucky,” he said, “that I found where Jack Rabbit takes his nap. Ha! ha! ha! Right under the big sycamore tree. It will be as easy as anything to catch him. Along about noon he’ll be asleep there, and I’ll just creep up behind that big tree. Then I’ll slip up into the tree and walk out on that long limb, right over him; and then, kerplunk! I’ll pounce down on him.[Pg 11] Yum! yum! yum! I can almost taste him now! I’ll hurry home this minute and see that Kit Wildcat has the water boiling and everything ready. By dinner time I’ll be as hungry as a bear!”

“Ouch!” Tom Wildcat suddenly cried out, and then he said, “Whew!” softly. You see, he had licked his sore foot and the salve burned his tongue. “That salve is certainly hot,” he said; but as he was thinking about fat Jack Rabbit he didn’t even complain. He was feeling pretty good again, and he went slipping along through the moonlit woods toward his home. Every now and then a twig or a vine brushed against his long whiskers and he turned aside quickly. Tom Wildcat’s whiskers help him a great deal after dark. They often protect his eyes from sticks and briars and tell him when a hole is big enough to go through.

[Pg 12]When slinky Tom had got a little distance away, Doctor Rabbit opened the door just enough so that he could peek out. Tom Wildcat would creep along a little distance, then stop and listen and look all around. Once he crawled close to the ground and made a sudden spring. Jack Rabbit gave a great jump and came very near being caught, but he darted away just in the nick of time. Tom stood for a moment jerking his tail from side to side and muttering his disappointment; then trotted out of sight among the shadows.
 
Doctor Rabbit closed the door and went back to his big rocking chair. He could scarcely wait until daylight to run over and warn his friend Jack Rabbit. Doctor Rabbit knew well enough that there was a nice sunny spot under the big sycamore tree at the edge of the Big[Pg 13] Green Woods, and he knew Jack Rabbit often stretched out to sun himself there after he had eaten some of the tender blue grass. The fact was, Doctor Rabbit himself had stretched out there a number of times.

Doctor Rabbit didn’t even wait to get breakfast. Just as soon as it began to be daylight he started through the woods to see Jack Rabbit, out on the Wide Prairie. “I certainly hope I shall find Friend Jack at home,” Doctor Rabbit said as he hurried along.


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