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CHAPTER IX
 THE GREAT WOODCHUCK—FUR CHARM AGAINST OWLS1
Nibble2 Rabbit and Doctor Muskrat3 sat among the bulrushes on the Frozen Pond and laughed and chuckled4 over the joke they were planning on the old woodchuck in Nibble’s hole. He had everybody believing that he came out of his hole on the day we call Groundhog Day (though the woodsfolk never use a rude nickname like that even for a woodchuck) and predicted the weather. That is, everybody believed it except Nibble Rabbit and Doctor Muskrat.
 
This was their plan. They would get every fieldmouse in the woods and fields looking for the woodchuck on that particular day. Then if he did wake up the joke would be on the fieldmice. And if he didn’t—well, you just listen!
 
Nibble hopped6 all about, from the Frozen Pond to the little cornstalk tents in the Broad Field, looking for field-mice. And every time he found one he’d say, “What’s this story that’s going around? I hear that woodchuck fur plucked the day after the first February moon is a sure charm against owls. Just the littlest tuft woven into a nest will keep the young mice from being caught. Is there any truth in it?”
 
The mouse wouldn’t let on that any one knew more about mouse secrets than he did, so he’d say “Oh, that used to be an old mouse custom, but of late years it’s been hard to find a woodchuck.” And then he’d scuttle7 off to the holes and tunnels where the mice live and fuss and gossip and chatter8 about it.
 
Then they all ended up at the great hollow stump9, where Great-grandfather Mouse has lived for so very many years that his ears are all crinkled, and set that agog10. And poor old Great-grandfather Mouse got so bewildered that he dragged himself down to the Frozen Pond to talk with Doctor Muskrat. Which was exactly what Doctor Muskrat had been hoping for.
 
The Doctor was very polite and pleased to see him. “Certainly,” he said, “I’ve heard the story. Fact is, I might have heard it from you yourself when we were both very young. But, dear, dear, my memory isn’t very good any more. Only I’m perfectly11 sure it was the day after the first February moon!” He didn’t want any mistake about that.
 
“Yes, yes,” agreed Great-grandfather Mouse, “I remember. I remember it all, now you call it to mind. But where could I find a woodchuck?”
 
“Well, seeing we’re such old friends,” whispered Doctor Muskrat, “I’ll let you know. But it’s a secret. He’s down in Nibble Rabbit’s hole. I expect that sly young bunny means to be married in the spring, and won’t his hole be nicely lined with woodchuck fur, just won’t it?”
 
“Great grass seeds!” exploded Great-grandfather Mouse. “It’s a mouse charm. No rabbit has anything to do with it.” So he stumped12 off home, dragging his fat old tail and wagging his crinkled ears, and in half an hour more people knew about Doctor Muskrat’s secret than if Chatter Squirrel had shouted it from the treetops. They knew where the woodchuck was and they meant to get some fur off him, too.
 
And Nibble Rabbit was all but turning somersaults on his little paddy feet out behind the bulrushes because he was so amused over it.
 
The great day came at last—Groundhog Day—the day when the woodchuck ought to come out to foretell13 the weather for spring. And Nibble Rabbit and Doctor Muskrat weren’t the only ones who were watching for him.
 
For all the snow around the mouth of Nibble’s hole was tunnelled by the mice, and they were scuffling and squeaking14 beneath it; so it’s a wonderful thing Silvertip the Fox didn’t hear them. And Nibble thought what a wonderful joke it would be if that woodchuck did come walking out of the hole. So he shook him and jounced him and pulled his round, mousy ears and his long spiky15 whiskers. But, no! That woodchuck just wouldn’t wake up. So finally Nibble gave it up and crawled out of doors. And there at the mouth of the hole he met old Great-grandfather Fieldmouse, who was too fat and clumsy for any tunnel.
 
“Good morning,” said Nibble. “I see you’ve come to greet my friend Mr. Woodchuck when he comes out to foretell the weather.”
 
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” said Great-grandfather Fieldmouse very severely16. “This is the day we come for our regular charm of woodchuck fur to keep our young safe from owls.” He spoke17 as solemnly as though he had done it every year of his life. “It’s strictly18 a mouse charm,” he went on, “and no rabbit is going to keep us from it!” He said that because Doctor Muskrat had given him the idea that Nibble meant to keep it all for himself. And Doctor Muskrat gave him that idea because he didn’t want Great-grandfather Mouse to suspect that Nibble had invented the whole story about the charm. Doctor Muskrat knew they’d never bother about coming after the woodchuck fur unless they thought that someone else wanted it as much as they did.
 
“Very well,” Nibble answered meekly19; “but please leave a little for me.”
 
“We’ll see if there’s enough to go round,” replied the mouse. And with that he laid back his ears—he’s so old that they’re all crinkled—and marched down into Nibble’s own hole. And out he came with a mouthful of fur. And every fieldmouse from all the woods and fields solemnly marched in and did the very same thing as if they’d done it every year of their lives, too.
 
And maybe you think Nibble Rabbit and Doctor Muskrat didn’t laugh until their sides were fit to split—maybe you think they didn’t. Because they knew they were going to be able to prove to every one of the woodsfolk just where Mr. Woodchuck was and what he was doing on the next day after the first February moon.
 
After the last mouse had left his hole, Nibble went in to see what they had done. He came out again in a hurry. “Whew!” he said to Doctor Muskrat. “I’ll have to sleep in the Pickery Things to-night. It’s all mousy in there. But they’ve plucked that sleepy old woodchuck as bare as an egg.”
 
And Doctor Muskrat chuckled. “Just you wait until he wakes up in the spring!”
 
That wasn’t till a long way after St. Patrick’s Day, when the little gray pussies20 hung on all the willows21. And he took three whole days to wake up in. For the first day he just grunted22 and groaned23 and made the noise that the woodsfolk take his name from. “Snoof, snoof!” he’d go as though he were trying to sneeze, but was too lazy to do it. And the minute he did that, Nibble hurried down to Doctor Muskrat in the marsh24 and told him about it.
 
“Very good,” said Doctor Muskrat. “Tell me how he behaves to-morrow.”
 
On the second day Snoof Woodchuck had turned over in the hole with his feet in the air and was acting25 as a dog does when he has a dream. Nibble told Doctor Muskrat.
 
“Very well,” said the Doctor. “He’ll stand on them to-morrow, and we’ll all be there to greet him.” Then he waddled26 off to the hollow stump where Great-grandfather Fieldmouse lives. And Great-grandfather Fieldmouse poked27 his head out.
 
“Well, well?” he demanded in his crotchety voice, because he’s very old— so old that his ears are all crinkled. “What do you want now?”
 
“I just wanted to let you know that to-morrow morning Snoof Woodchuck will take the air an hour after sun-up,” said Doctor Muskrat very politely.
 
“Well, what’s that got to do with me?” demanded Great-grandfather Fieldmouse.
 
“I let you know because we’re such old friends,” said Doctor Muskrat. “Surely you remember that as long as the mice kept up the good old custom of gathering28 to thank the woodchuck, the woodchuck stayed here and you always had your charm.”
 
“I suppose so, I suppose so,” grunted Great-grandfather Fieldmouse.
 
So on the third day, when Snoof Woodchuck climbed out into the air, all the fieldmice were assembled. He was very much complimented. He bowed pompously29, this way and that—and oh, how funny he looked, as though the moths30 had been at him! “Hmm, hmm!” he began importantly. “As I told you when I predicted the weather on the next day after the first February moon——”
 
But he never got any further. For the mice simply squealed31 in surprise, “Why, that was the day we came for our charms of woodchuck fur. You were fast asleep!”
 
“You old bluffer,” jeered32 Doctor Muskrat, “we caught you napping this time!”
 
“Look at yourself!” squealed Nibble Rabbit, standing33 on his tallest toes to hop5 about. “See if you’re not mouse-eaten! You’re as naked as you were born—yah! I’m ashamed to look at you!” And the mice all echoed him.
 
And that woodchuck scuttled34 back into the very bottom of the hole and hid there until midnight. And then he went so far away that no one ever saw him again or even heard of him.
 

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1 owls 7b4601ac7f6fe54f86669548acc46286     
n.猫头鹰( owl的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • 'Clumsy fellows,'said I; 'they must still be drunk as owls.' “这些笨蛋,”我说,“他们大概还醉得像死猪一样。” 来自英汉文学 - 金银岛
  • The great majority of barn owls are reared in captivity. 大多数仓鸮都是笼养的。 来自辞典例句
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 muskrat G6CzQ     
n.麝香鼠
参考例句:
  • Muskrat fur almost equals beaver fur in quality.麝鼠皮在质量上几乎和海獭皮不相上下。
  • I saw a muskrat come out of a hole in the ice.我看到一只麝鼠从冰里面钻出来。
4 chuckled 8ce1383c838073977a08258a1f3e30f8     
轻声地笑( chuckle的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • She chuckled at the memory. 想起这件事她就暗自发笑。
  • She chuckled softly to herself as she remembered his astonished look. 想起他那惊讶的表情,她就轻轻地暗自发笑。
5 hop vdJzL     
n.单脚跳,跳跃;vi.单脚跳,跳跃;着手做某事;vt.跳跃,跃过
参考例句:
  • The children had a competition to see who could hop the fastest.孩子们举行比赛,看谁单足跳跃最快。
  • How long can you hop on your right foot?你用右脚能跳多远?
6 hopped 91b136feb9c3ae690a1c2672986faa1c     
跳上[下]( hop的过去式和过去分词 ); 单足蹦跳; 齐足(或双足)跳行; 摘葎草花
参考例句:
  • He hopped onto a car and wanted to drive to town. 他跳上汽车想开向市区。
  • He hopped into a car and drove to town. 他跳进汽车,向市区开去。
7 scuttle OEJyw     
v.急赶,疾走,逃避;n.天窗;舷窗
参考例句:
  • There was a general scuttle for shelter when the rain began to fall heavily.下大雨了,人们都飞跑着寻找躲雨的地方。
  • The scuttle was open,and the good daylight shone in.明朗的亮光从敞开的小窗中照了进来。
8 chatter BUfyN     
vi./n.喋喋不休;短促尖叫;(牙齿)打战
参考例句:
  • Her continuous chatter vexes me.她的喋喋不休使我烦透了。
  • I've had enough of their continual chatter.我已厌烦了他们喋喋不休的闲谈。
9 stump hGbzY     
n.残株,烟蒂,讲演台;v.砍断,蹒跚而走
参考例句:
  • He went on the stump in his home state.他到故乡所在的州去发表演说。
  • He used the stump as a table.他把树桩用作桌子。
10 agog efayI     
adj.兴奋的,有强烈兴趣的; adv.渴望地
参考例句:
  • The children were all agog to hear the story.孩子们都渴望着要听这个故事。
  • The city was agog with rumors last night that the two had been executed.那两人已被处决的传言昨晚搞得全城沸沸扬扬。
11 perfectly 8Mzxb     
adv.完美地,无可非议地,彻底地
参考例句:
  • The witnesses were each perfectly certain of what they said.证人们个个对自己所说的话十分肯定。
  • Everything that we're doing is all perfectly above board.我们做的每件事情都是光明正大的。
12 stumped bf2a34ab92a06b6878a74288580b8031     
僵直地行走,跺步行走( stump的过去式和过去分词 ); 把(某人)难住; 使为难; (选举前)在某一地区作政治性巡回演说
参考例句:
  • Jack huffed himself up and stumped out of the room. 杰克气喘吁吁地干完活,然后很艰难地走出房间。
  • He was stumped by the questions and remained tongue-tied for a good while. 他被问得张口结舌,半天说不出话来。
13 foretell 9i3xj     
v.预言,预告,预示
参考例句:
  • Willow trees breaking out into buds foretell the coming of spring.柳枝绽青报春来。
  • The outcome of the war is hard to foretell.战争胜负难以预卜。
14 squeaking 467e7b45c42df668cdd7afec9e998feb     
v.短促地尖叫( squeak的现在分词 );吱吱叫;告密;充当告密者
参考例句:
  • Squeaking floorboards should be screwed down. 踏上去咯咯作响的地板应用螺钉钉住。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Can you hear the mice squeaking? 你听到老鼠吱吱叫吗? 来自《简明英汉词典》
15 spiky hhczrZ     
adj.长而尖的,大钉似的
参考例句:
  • Your hairbrush is too spiky for me.你的发刷,我觉得太尖了。
  • The spiky handwriting on the airmail envelope from London was obviously hers.发自伦敦的航空信封上的尖长字迹分明是她的。
16 severely SiCzmk     
adv.严格地;严厉地;非常恶劣地
参考例句:
  • He was severely criticized and removed from his post.他受到了严厉的批评并且被撤了职。
  • He is severely put down for his careless work.他因工作上的粗心大意而受到了严厉的批评。
17 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
参考例句:
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
18 strictly GtNwe     
adv.严厉地,严格地;严密地
参考例句:
  • His doctor is dieting him strictly.他的医生严格规定他的饮食。
  • The guests were seated strictly in order of precedence.客人严格按照地位高低就座。
19 meekly meekly     
adv.温顺地,逆来顺受地
参考例句:
  • He stood aside meekly when the new policy was proposed. 当有人提出新政策时,他唯唯诺诺地站 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • He meekly accepted the rebuke. 他顺从地接受了批评。 来自《简明英汉词典》
20 pussies 9c98ba30644d0cf18e1b64aa3bf72b06     
n.(粗俚) 女阴( pussy的名词复数 );(总称)(作为性对象的)女人;(主要北美使用,非正式)软弱的;小猫咪
参考例句:
  • Not one of these pussies has been washed in weeks. 这帮娘儿们几个星期都没洗过澡了。 来自电影对白
  • See there's three kinds of people: dicks pussies and assholes. 哥们,世上有三种人:小弟弟、小妹妹,还有屁股眼。 来自互联网
21 willows 79355ee67d20ddbc021d3e9cb3acd236     
n.柳树( willow的名词复数 );柳木
参考例句:
  • The willows along the river bank look very beautiful. 河岸边的柳树很美。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Willows are planted on both sides of the streets. 街道两侧种着柳树。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
22 grunted f18a3a8ced1d857427f2252db2abbeaf     
(猪等)作呼噜声( grunt的过去式和过去分词 ); (指人)发出类似的哼声; 咕哝着说
参考例句:
  • She just grunted, not deigning to look up from the page. 她只咕哝了一声,继续看书,不屑抬起头来看一眼。
  • She grunted some incomprehensible reply. 她咕噜着回答了些令人费解的话。
23 groaned 1a076da0ddbd778a674301b2b29dff71     
v.呻吟( groan的过去式和过去分词 );发牢骚;抱怨;受苦
参考例句:
  • He groaned in anguish. 他痛苦地呻吟。
  • The cart groaned under the weight of the piano. 大车在钢琴的重压下嘎吱作响。 来自《简明英汉词典》
24 marsh Y7Rzo     
n.沼泽,湿地
参考例句:
  • There are a lot of frogs in the marsh.沼泽里有许多青蛙。
  • I made my way slowly out of the marsh.我缓慢地走出这片沼泽地。
25 acting czRzoc     
n.演戏,行为,假装;adj.代理的,临时的,演出用的
参考例句:
  • Ignore her,she's just acting.别理她,她只是假装的。
  • During the seventies,her acting career was in eclipse.在七十年代,她的表演生涯黯然失色。
26 waddled c1cfb61097c12b4812327074b8bc801d     
v.(像鸭子一样)摇摇摆摆地走( waddle的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • A family of ducks waddled along the river bank. 一群鸭子沿河岸摇摇摆摆地走。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The stout old man waddled across the road. 那肥胖的老人一跩一跩地穿过马路。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
27 poked 87f534f05a838d18eb50660766da4122     
v.伸出( poke的过去式和过去分词 );戳出;拨弄;与(某人)性交
参考例句:
  • She poked him in the ribs with her elbow. 她用胳膊肘顶他的肋部。
  • His elbow poked out through his torn shirt sleeve. 他的胳膊从衬衫的破袖子中露了出来。 来自《简明英汉词典》
28 gathering ChmxZ     
n.集会,聚会,聚集
参考例句:
  • He called on Mr. White to speak at the gathering.他请怀特先生在集会上讲话。
  • He is on the wing gathering material for his novels.他正忙于为他的小说收集资料。
29 pompously pompously     
adv.傲慢地,盛大壮观地;大模大样
参考例句:
  • He pompously described his achievements. 他很夸耀地描述了自己所取得的成绩。 来自互联网
30 moths de674306a310c87ab410232ea1555cbb     
n.蛾( moth的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • The moths have eaten holes in my wool coat. 蛀虫将我的羊毛衫蛀蚀了几个小洞。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The moths tapped and blurred at the window screen. 飞蛾在窗帘上跳来跳去,弄上了许多污点。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
31 squealed 08be5c82571f6dba9615fa69033e21b0     
v.长声尖叫,用长而尖锐的声音说( squeal的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • He squealed the words out. 他吼叫着说出那些话。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The brakes of the car squealed. 汽车的刹车发出吱吱声。 来自《简明英汉词典》
32 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》
33 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。
34 scuttled f5d33c8cedd0ebe9ef7a35f17a1cff7e     
v.使船沉没( scuttle的过去式和过去分词 );快跑,急走
参考例句:
  • She scuttled off when she heard the sound of his voice. 听到他的说话声,她赶紧跑开了。
  • The thief scuttled off when he saw the policeman. 小偷看见警察来了便急忙跑掉。 来自《简明英汉词典》


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