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CHAPTER VI
 THE CLEVERNESS OF CHIRP1 SPARROW
Watch must have kept his word about sending the cows to talk to Nibble2 Rabbit. For the first thing they did when the barn door was opened was to come trooping up to his cage. And an old White Cow put her big starey eye right up close to it, because she’s very near-sighted, and sniffed3. Nibble’s fur blew as hard as it did the time of the terrible storm. But her breath was all warm and sweet with clover, so he wasn’t afraid, though she was three times as big as the dog.
 
The very first thing the White Cow said was: “Why don’t you eat your breakfast?”
 
“I can’t. I’m all cramped4 up in this cage,” answered Nibble.
 
“He’s too much afraid of being eaten,” laughed Chirp Sparrow, and he perched right on the White Cow’s horn.
 
“Why, there’s no one going to hurt him,” drawled the Cow in a surprised tone.
 
“There was Ouphe the Rat last night. Nibble felt pretty trembly about him.”
 
“Ouphe! The disgusting thing. He came in and messed up our feed and danced over us with his pricky feet so we couldn’t sleep. I just called Watch,” mooed the White Cow in her nice fluty voice. It reminded Nibble of the South Wind.
 
“Aren’t you afraid of Watch?” Nibble asked, for now he was truly going to find out whether Watch was bad. “He said he’d kill you if his Man told him to.”
 
“Watch? Why, Watch couldn’t kill any one. He’s too fat and sleepy and good-natured. And no man would ever tell him to.”
 
“Aren’t you afraid of Man?” Nibble asked next.
 
“Man!” The White Cow snorted again, and most of the others snorted, too. “Why, Tommy Peele’s all the man that ever milks me. And he’s only a little boy. He snuggles right in beside me as though he were my own Calf5. I love Tommy Peele.”
 
“I don’t like Tommy Peele,” bellowed6 the Red Cow Nibble had taken for a log when Silvertip chased him. “I don’t like Tommy Peele. He threw stones at me when he drove me out of the cornfield.” She nudged the White Cow away and sniffed at Nibble’s carrot. “I’d like that,” said the greedy thing.
 
“You’d quarrel with any one,” drawled the White Cow. “You’re always doing something you’ve no business to do.” And she moved off.
 
Then Chirp Sparrow had a fine idea. “Look here,” he whispered in the Red Cow’s ear. “If you want to get even with Tommy Peele you just catch your horn in that wire and let out his rabbit.”
 
“Um-m, I dunno——” mumbled7 the Red Cow. She didn’t like stones the way Tommy could throw them.
 
“Then you can have the carrots—all the carrots. There are lots of them under the hay,” lied Chirp.
 
The Red Cow lurched her head awkwardly. Her horn caught on the wire. Then she got scared and tried to break loose again. But what she broke loose was the whole door. She bounced off with it dangling8 against her face. “Moo-oo-oo!” she bawled9 as she plunged10 about the barnyard. “Take it off! Take it off! It hurts my no-o-se!”
 
But Nibble didn’t care. He took a fine long jump that stretched his long legs. And then who ever said a rabbit couldn’t dance? He danced a proper hornpipe and he twiddled his puffy tail and flopped11 his ears—all at once—because it felt so good to be free. And Chirp Sparrow squawked and sat down on his tail feathers because he was laughing too hard to fly. Half at Nibble and half at the Red Cow.
 
Of course all the other sparrows came cheeping and chirping12, and Chanticleer the Rooster crowed, though he didn’t know what he was crowing about. And the noise brought Watch the Dog on the run—and after him came Tommy Peele, not nearly so fast, for he still had his tall rubber boots on.
 
And Nibble took to the only hole he knew anything about—which was Ouphe’s—but he was so startled he didn’t stop to think of that. And the bad old rat woke up and started to come out of that very hole to see what all this noise was about.
 
Then wasn’t Nibble in a nice fix? Just wasn’t he?
 
In front of him Watch was sniffing13 and digging at the hay. Behind him Ouphe was murmuring in his sticky, trickly voice: “Come right in, little Friend Rabbit. Come right in.”
 
Just then Watch barked to Tommy Peele: “Here he is. I’ve got him.” And Tommy said in a very severe voice: “Go ’way, Watch. Don’t you hurt my bunny.”
 
“There,” barked Watch, “he says you’re still his bunny, even if you are wild again. Come along!” But Nibble didn’t move.
 
“Go away!” said Tommy again. “Go on, Watch; he’ll never come out until you do.”
 
But Watch didn’t move. He could hear Ouphe saying in a horrid14 voice: “Come in here, or I’ll take you by the tail and pull you in.” And he held his very breath—and his wagger with it!
 
Of course Ouphe thought he had gone away. And he wasn’t very scared of Tommy Peele. So he caught hold of Nibble’s tail. And then Nibble was so frightened he began to squeal15 and pull. And Ouphe held back.
 
“Come along, Nibble, come quick,” pleaded Chirp Sparrow. He meant that the dog was safer than the rat. But Ouphe thought he meant that the dog was gone. So he let Nibble pull him to the very edge of the hole.
 
“Aurgh!” sang Watch, very joyfully16 indeed. For he never touched Nibble at all, but nipped Ouphe the Rat right through the heart with those very long teeth he shows when he laughs.
 
Nibble sat right down there in the sunlight until he got his breath, and nobody tried to catch him.
 
Watch couldn’t. He had his mouth all full of Ouphe. And he was walking around on the tips of his toes, looking so vain that all the sparrows laughed at him. Even Tommy Peele joined in. But Watch didn’t care a bit. He just smiled as wide as he could let his mouth go and not lose Ouphe out of it.
 
And Nibble slipped over and ate his carrot. How good it tasted, now he was free!

点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 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。
2 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。
3 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》
4 cramped 287c2bb79385d19c466ec2df5b5ce970     
a.狭窄的
参考例句:
  • The house was terribly small and cramped, but the agent described it as a bijou residence. 房子十分狭小拥挤,但经纪人却把它说成是小巧别致的住宅。
  • working in cramped conditions 在拥挤的环境里工作
5 calf ecLye     
n.小牛,犊,幼仔,小牛皮
参考例句:
  • The cow slinked its calf.那头母牛早产了一头小牛犊。
  • The calf blared for its mother.牛犊哞哞地高声叫喊找妈妈。
6 bellowed fa9ba2065b18298fa17a6311db3246fc     
v.发出吼叫声,咆哮(尤指因痛苦)( bellow的过去式和过去分词 );(愤怒地)说出(某事),大叫
参考例句:
  • They bellowed at her to stop. 他们吼叫着让她停下。
  • He bellowed with pain when the tooth was pulled out. 当牙齿被拔掉时,他痛得大叫。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
7 mumbled 3855fd60b1f055fa928ebec8bcf3f539     
含糊地说某事,叽咕,咕哝( mumble的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • He mumbled something to me which I did not quite catch. 他对我叽咕了几句话,可我没太听清楚。
  • George mumbled incoherently to himself. 乔治语无伦次地喃喃自语。
8 dangling 4930128e58930768b1c1c75026ebc649     
悬吊着( dangle的现在分词 ); 摆动不定; 用某事物诱惑…; 吊胃口
参考例句:
  • The tooth hung dangling by the bedpost, now. 结果,那颗牙就晃来晃去吊在床柱上了。
  • The children sat on the high wall,their legs dangling. 孩子们坐在一堵高墙上,摇晃着他们的双腿。
9 bawled 38ced6399af307ad97598acc94294d08     
v.大叫,大喊( bawl的过去式和过去分词 );放声大哭;大声叫出;叫卖(货物)
参考例句:
  • She bawled at him in front of everyone. 她当着大家的面冲他大喊大叫。
  • My boss bawled me out for being late. 我迟到,给老板训斥了一顿。 来自《简明英汉词典》
10 plunged 06a599a54b33c9d941718dccc7739582     
v.颠簸( plunge的过去式和过去分词 );暴跌;骤降;突降
参考例句:
  • The train derailed and plunged into the river. 火车脱轨栽进了河里。
  • She lost her balance and plunged 100 feet to her death. 她没有站稳,从100英尺的高处跌下摔死了。
11 flopped e5b342a0b376036c32e5cd7aa560c15e     
v.(指书、戏剧等)彻底失败( flop的过去式和过去分词 );(因疲惫而)猛然坐下;(笨拙地、不由自主地或松弛地)移动或落下;砸锅
参考例句:
  • Exhausted, he flopped down into a chair. 他筋疲力尽,一屁股坐到椅子上。
  • It was a surprise to us when his play flopped. 他那出戏一败涂地,出乎我们的预料。 来自《简明英汉词典》
12 chirping 9ea89833a9fe2c98371e55f169aa3044     
鸟叫,虫鸣( chirp的现在分词 )
参考例句:
  • The birds,chirping relentlessly,woke us up at daybreak. 破晓时鸟儿不断吱吱地叫,把我们吵醒了。
  • The birds are chirping merrily. 鸟儿在欢快地鸣叫着。
13 sniffing 50b6416c50a7d3793e6172a8514a0576     
n.探查法v.以鼻吸气,嗅,闻( sniff的现在分词 );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:
  • We all had colds and couldn't stop sniffing and sneezing. 我们都感冒了,一个劲地抽鼻子,打喷嚏。
  • They all had colds and were sniffing and sneezing. 他们都伤风了,呼呼喘气而且打喷嚏。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
14 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。
15 squeal 3Foyg     
v.发出长而尖的声音;n.长而尖的声音
参考例句:
  • The children gave a squeal of fright.孩子们发出惊吓的尖叫声。
  • There was a squeal of brakes as the car suddenly stopped.小汽车突然停下来时,车闸发出尖叫声。
16 joyfully joyfully     
adv. 喜悦地, 高兴地
参考例句:
  • She tripped along joyfully as if treading on air. 她高兴地走着,脚底下轻飘飘的。
  • During these first weeks she slaved joyfully. 在最初的几周里,她干得很高兴。


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