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CHAPTER III
 HOW NIBBLE1 TRICKED A FOE—AND MADE A FRIEND
Tommy Peele had tried to make his cage a comfortable one for Nibble to sleep in. But he didn’t know that a proper rabbit hole has fresh air blowing into it from above. The cage had only one dark, stuffy2 corner to hide in, or the open part behind a wire front. And there Nibble crouched3 in the hay Tommy had given him. But he kept cheerful. Chirp4 had said, “We’ll see what can be done about it,” and Nibble knew the clever Sparrow. So he just made a little song of the words until he sang himself to sleep with them.
 
Way ’long late toward the morning he woke up. His furry5 feet were tickling6. So were his ears. And presently his shoulders tickled7, too, where the fur stood straight up on them. Something was gnawing8 the floor of his cage.
 
“Who’s there?” he called softly. And oh, how he did pray it might be the field-mouse who had shown him the way through Ouphe’s tunnels! He could see the haystack where the wicked Rat lived, but it was so dark that that was all he could see.
 
“It’s I,” said the honey voice of Ouphe. “I’ve come to show you what can be done about it. I’m sorry to be late, but I had to attend to a little business with Chirp Sparrow.” The words were all right, but the way he said them was enough to make your skin crawl.
 
“What are you going to do?” demanded Nibble.
 
“I’m going to have breakfast with you,” said Ouphe. “I’m going to make a nice little door so I can come in and we’ll have a cozy9 time. I love little rabbits, I do.” And Nibble knew very well the way he loved them—like Slink the Weasel. For no wild beast needs to be warned against any one who has the horrid10 musky, flesh-eater’s smell about him. And Nibble smelled Ouphe.
 
“I’ll fasten my teeth right in your nose,” said Nibble, “the minute you poke11 it through my floor.”
 
“What good will that do?” sneered12 Ouphe. “You’ll hurt me almost as much as Chirp Sparrow. He pecked my ear, he did—the bold, bad bird! All the same, I ate him.”
 
“You didn’t!” sobbed13 Nibble. He just couldn’t believe it.
 
“Didn’t I just?” jeered14 Ouphe. “You can smell him on my whiskers when you bite me. Sparrow for supper and rabbit for breakfast. Mmn!” And he smacked15 his lips.
 
But Nibble almost forgot to be scared, he was so angry. He thumped16 his feet.
 
“Stop that!” snarled18 Ouphe. “Do you want the Dog to eat you?”
 
Thump17, Thump, THUMP!” went Nibble. He was bound to do whatever Ouphe didn’t want him to.
 
“Arrh!” cursed the bad Rat. Kerflip, kerflop, he jumped down and shuffled19 off to his haystack. Sure enough, there came the Dog, calling, “What’s the matter here?” And Nibble was too scared to answer.
 
“What’s the matter here?” repeated the Dog. He was standing20 in front of the cage wagging his long, plumy tail. But all Nibble could look at was the great teeth he showed when he smiled.
 
“Please,” said Nibble very faintly, “please, Mr. Dog, Ouphe the Rat ate Chirp Sparrow for supper to-night. I thought I ought to tell you because Chirp said you were friends.”
 
“He did, did he?” laughed the Dog. And he ran out his pink tongue, which scared Nibble more than ever. “And who brought you the news?”
 
“Ouphe did. He’s been trying to get into my cage.”
 
“You don’t say?” The Dog sniffed21 carefully. “Great Bones, Bunny!” he exclaimed, “Why didn’t you call me an hour ago. I’ll hate to show that to Tommy. He’ll think I wasn’t watching.”
 
“Ouphe said you’d eat me,” whispered Nibble.
 
“Eat you?” repeated the Dog. “Lies! All lies! And Ouphe knew it. I’ll tell you, Bunny, don’t believe a word that creature says. He never tells the truth, even by accident. And he’s always up to some devilment.”
 
Somehow Nibble knew he could believe the things the Dog said in his rough but friendly voice. All the same, he wanted to be pretty careful. “Why wouldn’t you want to eat me?” he asked.
 
“Why, because you belong to my Tommy. I’m not saying what I might do if you didn’t,” answered the Dog, wagging his tail harder than ever because he was so amused at Nibble. “Though I guess I’m too old and fat to catch you. But as long as you live in my Man’s barns and have my Man’s smell about you I’ll never touch you. My job is to take care of my Man’s things and see that nobody hurts them.”
 
Now it was queer, but just the way that nice, big, growl22 Dog said he might possibly try to catch him if he wasn’t Tommy Peele’s rabbit made Nibble feel better. He felt the Dog wasn’t pretending like Ouphe the Rat did after he’d been shouting horrid things at Chirp Sparrow. He gave a little laugh—a sniffly one, because he wasn’t quite over being afraid. “Please, Mr. Dog,” he murmured, “Chirp said I was to make friends with you.”
 
“Well, then, my name is Watch,” the Dog continued; “it’s my job to watch this farm and see that things don’t go wrong on it. And that’s why you should have called me the minute Ouphe put his ugly teeth into this.” He sniffed the gnawed23 spot on Nibble’s cage.
 
“Yes, sir.” Nibble apologized. “Chirp didn’t tell me that. He just said you were once a wolf, like Silvertip—only much more clever.”
 
“Urr!” remarked Watch, cocking an ear. “So Chirp’s been going into my family history? He’s a gossipy bundle of feathers.”
 
“No,” insisted Nibble honestly.
 
“Just about how the Wolves ate the Cows in the very First-Off Beginning.”
 
“All right,” answered Watch. “Then I’ll finish it for myself.”

点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 nibble DRZzG     
n.轻咬,啃;v.一点点地咬,慢慢啃,吹毛求疵
参考例句:
  • Inflation began to nibble away at their savings.通货膨胀开始蚕食他们的存款。
  • The birds cling to the wall and nibble at the brickwork.鸟儿们紧贴在墙上,啄着砖缝。
2 stuffy BtZw0     
adj.不透气的,闷热的
参考例句:
  • It's really hot and stuffy in here.这里实在太热太闷了。
  • It was so stuffy in the tent that we could sense the air was heavy with moisture.帐篷里很闷热,我们感到空气都是潮的。
3 crouched 62634c7e8c15b8a61068e36aaed563ab     
v.屈膝,蹲伏( crouch的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • He crouched down beside her. 他在她的旁边蹲了下来。
  • The lion crouched ready to pounce. 狮子蹲下身,准备猛扑。
4 chirp MrezT     
v.(尤指鸟)唧唧喳喳的叫
参考例句:
  • The birds chirp merrily at the top of tree.鸟儿在枝头欢快地啾啾鸣唱。
  • The sparrows chirp outside the window every morning.麻雀每天清晨在窗外嘁嘁喳喳地叫。
5 furry Rssz2D     
adj.毛皮的;似毛皮的;毛皮制的
参考例句:
  • This furry material will make a warm coat for the winter.这件毛皮料在冬天会是一件保暖的大衣。
  • Mugsy is a big furry brown dog,who wiggles when she is happy.马格斯是一只棕色大长毛狗,当她高兴得时候她会摇尾巴。
6 tickling 8e56dcc9f1e9847a8eeb18aa2a8e7098     
反馈,回授,自旋挠痒法
参考例句:
  • Was It'spring tickling her senses? 是不是春意撩人呢?
  • Its origin is in tickling and rough-and-tumble play, he says. 他说,笑的起源来自于挠痒痒以及杂乱无章的游戏。
7 tickled 2db1470d48948f1aa50b3cf234843b26     
(使)发痒( tickle的过去式和过去分词 ); (使)愉快,逗乐
参考例句:
  • We were tickled pink to see our friends on television. 在电视中看到我们的一些朋友,我们高兴极了。
  • I tickled the baby's feet and made her laugh. 我胳肢孩子的脚,使她发笑。
8 gnawing GsWzWk     
a.痛苦的,折磨人的
参考例句:
  • The dog was gnawing a bone. 那狗在啃骨头。
  • These doubts had been gnawing at him for some time. 这些疑虑已经折磨他一段时间了。
9 cozy ozdx0     
adj.亲如手足的,密切的,暖和舒服的
参考例句:
  • I like blankets because they are cozy.我喜欢毛毯,因为他们是舒适的。
  • We spent a cozy evening chatting by the fire.我们在炉火旁聊天度过了一个舒适的晚上。
10 horrid arozZj     
adj.可怕的;令人惊恐的;恐怖的;极讨厌的
参考例句:
  • I'm not going to the horrid dinner party.我不打算去参加这次讨厌的宴会。
  • The medicine is horrid and she couldn't get it down.这种药很难吃,她咽不下去。
11 poke 5SFz9     
n.刺,戳,袋;vt.拨开,刺,戳;vi.戳,刺,捅,搜索,伸出,行动散慢
参考例句:
  • We never thought she would poke her nose into this.想不到她会插上一手。
  • Don't poke fun at me.别拿我凑趣儿。
12 sneered 0e3b5b35e54fb2ad006040792a867d9f     
讥笑,冷笑( sneer的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • He sneered at people who liked pop music. 他嘲笑喜欢流行音乐的人。
  • It's very discouraging to be sneered at all the time. 成天受嘲讽是很令人泄气的。
13 sobbed 4a153e2bbe39eef90bf6a4beb2dba759     
哭泣,啜泣( sob的过去式和过去分词 ); 哭诉,呜咽地说
参考例句:
  • She sobbed out the story of her son's death. 她哭诉着她儿子的死。
  • She sobbed out the sad story of her son's death. 她哽咽着诉说她儿子死去的悲惨经过。
14 jeered c6b854b3d0a6d00c4c5a3e1372813b7d     
v.嘲笑( jeer的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • The police were jeered at by the waiting crowd. 警察受到在等待的人群的嘲弄。
  • The crowd jeered when the boxer was knocked down. 当那个拳击手被打倒时,人们开始嘲笑他。 来自《简明英汉词典》
15 smacked bb7869468e11f63a1506d730c1d2219e     
拍,打,掴( smack的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • He smacked his lips but did not utter a word. 他吧嗒两下嘴,一声也不言语。
  • She smacked a child's bottom. 她打孩子的屁股。
16 thumped 0a7f1b69ec9ae1663cb5ed15c0a62795     
v.重击, (指心脏)急速跳动( thump的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • Dave thumped the table in frustration . 戴夫懊恼得捶打桌子。
  • He thumped the table angrily. 他愤怒地用拳捶击桌子。
17 thump sq2yM     
v.重击,砰然地响;n.重击,重击声
参考例句:
  • The thief hit him a thump on the head.贼在他的头上重击一下。
  • The excitement made her heart thump.她兴奋得心怦怦地跳。
18 snarled ti3zMA     
v.(指狗)吠,嗥叫, (人)咆哮( snarl的过去式和过去分词 );咆哮着说,厉声地说
参考例句:
  • The dog snarled at us. 狗朝我们低声吼叫。
  • As I advanced towards the dog, It'snarled and struck at me. 我朝那条狗走去时,它狂吠着向我扑来。 来自《简明英汉词典》
19 shuffled cee46c30b0d1f2d0c136c830230fe75a     
v.洗(纸牌)( shuffle的过去式和过去分词 );拖着脚步走;粗心地做;摆脱尘世的烦恼
参考例句:
  • He shuffled across the room to the window. 他拖着脚走到房间那头的窗户跟前。
  • Simon shuffled awkwardly towards them. 西蒙笨拙地拖着脚朝他们走去。 来自《简明英汉词典》
20 standing 2hCzgo     
n.持续,地位;adj.永久的,不动的,直立的,不流动的
参考例句:
  • After the earthquake only a few houses were left standing.地震过后只有几幢房屋还立着。
  • They're standing out against any change in the law.他们坚决反对对法律做任何修改。
21 sniffed ccb6bd83c4e9592715e6230a90f76b72     
v.以鼻吸气,嗅,闻( sniff的过去式和过去分词 );抽鼻子(尤指哭泣、患感冒等时出声地用鼻子吸气);抱怨,不以为然地说
参考例句:
  • When Jenney had stopped crying she sniffed and dried her eyes. 珍妮停止了哭泣,吸了吸鼻子,擦干了眼泪。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The dog sniffed suspiciously at the stranger. 狗疑惑地嗅着那个陌生人。 来自《简明英汉词典》
22 growl VeHzE     
v.(狗等)嗥叫,(炮等)轰鸣;n.嗥叫,轰鸣
参考例句:
  • The dog was biting,growling and wagging its tail.那条狗在一边撕咬一边低声吼叫,尾巴也跟着摇摆。
  • The car growls along rutted streets.汽车在车辙纵横的街上一路轰鸣。
23 gnawed 85643b5b73cc74a08138f4534f41cef1     
咬( gnaw的过去式和过去分词 ); (长时间) 折磨某人; (使)苦恼; (长时间)危害某事物
参考例句:
  • His attitude towards her gnawed away at her confidence. 他对她的态度一直在削弱她的自尊心。
  • The root of this dead tree has been gnawed away by ants. 这棵死树根被蚂蚁唼了。


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