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DOCTOR RABBIT THINKS OF A NEW SCHEME
Sophy Woodchuck was very, very glad that her Stubby had come through his terrible adventure safely, but she said she would be troubled now as long as Tom Wildcat was around. “I certainly do wish we could think of some plan to get rid of him”, she said, and Doctor Rabbit chuckled.
I have a plan, Mrs. Woodchuck

“I have a plan, Mrs. Woodchuck.”

“I have a plan, Mrs. Woodchuck,” he said. “It came to me only this morning, so you must give me a few days to get everything ready. And don’t you worry any more about Tom Wildcat being around. No, sir! Don’t you worry a bit! I’ve got an idea, and pretty soon old Tom will go tearing out of these woods, and he’ll stay out! Indeed he[Pg 65] will! Ha, ha, ha!” And Doctor Rabbit laughed until his fat sides shook.

This made the Woodchuck family feel pretty fine, and it made them curious, too. They knew that Doctor Rabbit was very wise in a good many things, and especially wise in planning ways to get rid of a very bad enemy. They remembered how he had got rid of troublesome Ki-yi Coyote. Of course Doctor Rabbit’s plan of getting rid of Tom Wildcat in that hole had failed; but we must admit it was a good scheme, anyway.

Well, of course the Woodchucks wanted to know right away what Doctor Rabbit’s new scheme was, but he only chuckled, and said he would have to be going now to get things ready. “I’ll need you and all our other friends and neighbors to help me,” Doctor Rabbit said. “None of you will have to do very much, but[Pg 66] what you do, you must do exactly right. Now I am going to slip around among our friends and get them to promise to be ready at any time, and to do just what I tell them.”

“You certainly can count on us!” exclaimed Stubby and Sophy, in the same breath.

“I was sure of that,” Doctor Rabbit replied, and then bidding them a very good morning, he went swiftly away, hoppity, hoppity, to tell all the others.

In a short time all the little creatures of the Big Green Woods knew that Doctor Rabbit was working on a new scheme to get rid of Tom Wildcat. For several days Doctor Rabbit was mysteriously engaged in some kind of work at his house. He did not go out at all, except to Farmer Roe’s garden once or twice a day, to get some green peas to eat. And[Pg 67] Doctor Rabbit would not say a word to anyone. He was surely busy.

Blue Jay and Jim Crow, and several others, came to Doctor Rabbit when he was in the pea patch one morning and wanted him to tell them what the scheme was; but he only laughed, and said he would have to be going right home, because he was so busy.

“Pretty soon I’ll be ready, and then I’ll tell you about it,” Doctor Rabbit said as he hurried away.

Finally, after a day or two, Blue Jay became so curious he could not wait any longer. So he hid in a tree near Doctor Rabbit’s house and watched. Perhaps Blue Jay ought not to have done this, but it seemed as if he just couldn’t wait. He hid in the tree and watched all day, but he did not see anything until along toward evening. Then he saw Doctor[Pg 68] Rabbit open his kitchen door. He had in his hand a bucket of paint and a paint brush. But that was all that Blue Jay saw, for Doctor Rabbit wiped the sweat off his face and went back into the house, shutting the door behind him.

Well, that was a little news anyway, and busy Blue Jay slipped around and told what he had seen. Then all of the little creatures were curious. They couldn’t imagine what Doctor Rabbit was doing with that paint. Cheepy Chipmunk said perhaps Doctor Rabbit was going to paint himself all up terribly black, and scare Tom Wildcat away. But the others said this could not be so, because Doctor Rabbit had had plenty of time to paint himself, if that was what he intended. “No,” Blue Jay said, scratching his head, “that’s not it. I can’t figure out what he’s doing.”


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