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CHAPTER XI
 THE SINGULAR MISHAP1 OF DOCTOR MUSKRAT2
Don’t you ever believe that a small boy who grows up in the open air like Tommy Peele doesn’t know just as much about the ways of the wild things as any of the wild things know about the ways of men. Only he doesn’t know he knows it. Because he doesn’t have to hunt for every meal as he used to in the First-Off Beginning. And the only way you find out what you really do know, deep down inside you, is to use it. All the same, the very day Tommy Peele got out his trap was the day the muskrats3 began their spring running. He hadn’t seen their footprints, even yet, but that something deep down inside him told him it was time to expect them.
 
That trap wasn’t a very good one. He got it from Louis Thomson, who had a lot that he set out all through other people’s woods where he thought the other people wouldn’t catch him, because he wasn’t quite satisfied to hunt just on his own. And he knew this particular trap was slow because it was all rusty4, and it hadn’t a good spring. But he made Tommy give him a two-bladed knife and his big glass shooter and twenty cents to boot. For the Red Cow wasn’t the only one who was greedy.
 
But Tommy oiled it and cleaned it and got it to work. And he specially5 showed it to Watch the Dog and told him to be very careful not to sniff6 around and get his nose in it. And Watch spread himself out beside Tommy while Tommy worked. Watch snoozed contentedly7 in the sun and flopped8 his tail whenever Tommy talked to him. For the weather was beginning to grow warmer. The thaw10 that the poor partridge had wanted so badly had come.
 
Down by the pond the ice was getting so soft that Nibble11 didn’t dare thump12 on it to call Doctor Muskrat. And he wanted to call him a great deal of the time. For he knew the wise old doctor was very careful about making tracks near his warm spring. But all sorts of careless young muskrats were wandering up and down the stream. They said it was mating time, and they were trying to find some lady muskrat who would be foolish enough to start housekeeping then. They ran in and out among the willows13, gnawing14 and digging and making the plainest sort of trail, and then they would flop9 with their muddy feet right into the drinking hole.
 
I can tell you it made Nibble angry enough. He didn’t fancy drinking after them, but they didn’t pay any attention to him. And Chaik the Jay got into such a rage that he forgot he should have kept quiet there. He perched on the tallest bulrush and cursed and squalled at them. But when Doctor Muskrat heard the rumpus and lifted his head up through the ice, with his long teeth showing between his gray whiskers, they scuttled15 off as though Silvertip himself were after them.
 
And then the old doctor would fume16. “The Mink17 take them and their love-making, the silly young things! What’s the sense of disturbing the whole marsh18 just because they want everyone to know they’re old enough to dig a nursery? Eh?” He forgot that he’d done the very same thing in his own first spring.
 
But Nibble thought they were having a mighty19 good time over it all. Only he wished they wouldn’t leave quite so many tracks for Tommy Peele to find.
 
And the very next day there came Tommy, splashing through the big puddles20 in his tall rubber boots, sloshing through the last of the snowdrifts, and whistling a lively tune21. And Nibble pricked22 up his ears to listen. Because he thought that maybe Tommy was on a spring wandering of his own, and this was his mating song. For he never dreamed that whole generations of bunnies and muskrats and piping birds would grow old and die before Tommy even thought of such a thing.
 
Tommy had on his blue sweater, but he’d left his red mittens23 hanging back of the stove because he’d got them all wet snowballing. And Watch was dancing along in front of him singing “Aourgh! aorugh!” which is neither a mating song nor a proper hunting song. It was like Tommy’s whistle—it showed that he was perfectly24 happy.
 
But Nibble wasn’t. He was awfully25 uncomfortable. For all the footprints of those foolish young beasts led straight to the warm spring, which was still the only open water, though the ice was soft and melting all over the pond. And you remember this was the wise old doctor’s front door.
 
Of course Tommy followed them right there. And Nibble crouched26 into a clump27 of bulrushes close behind him—close enough to hear him working over something; close enough to hear Watch saying in an excited tone, “It’s all right! I can smell ’em—lots of ’em!”
 
Nibble was so worried he nearly squirmed. He wanted to get out to the little round house in the middle of the pond and warn Doctor Muskrat. The minute Tommy’s back was turned he started to creep over the crumbly ice toward it. But Watch’s back wasn’t turned. He bounced out after Nibble. And he bounced right through the ice. And the minute Doctor Muskrat heard that splashing and thrashing right in his front pond, out he popped. “Clang!” That ugly trap had him by the paw!
 
“Oh-h-h! Oow-w-w!” screamed the poor old doctor. But he didn’t lose his head entirely28. “Quick, Nibble,” he begged, “bite off my toes before that dog gets here! I can’t reach them.” His own poor old teeth were chattering29 with fear and pain.
 
And that’s exactly what Nibble was trying to do when Watch floundered out of the water. “Aourgh! I’ve got you!” he barked joyfully30. Then he stopped short and wagged his tail in the friendliest way. “Why, you’re Tommy’s rabbit!” he said. And he tried to explain to Tommy Peele.
 
But Tommy wouldn’t listen. He couldn’t think of anything but that poor old beast, squealing32 over his hurt paw. It made Tommy’s own throat hurt to hear him. He wanted to help, but the doctor couldn’t understand. He just gnashed his teeth and snapped at Tommy. Then Tommy managed to touch the spring of the trap with his toe. He stepped, and it yawned open—just for an instant. Away went Doctor Muskrat.
 
But Nibble wasn’t looking. He had leaped back into his hiding place in the reeds and closed his eyes.
 
He wished he could close his long ears as well. He expected to hear his good old friend squeal31 when Tommy killed him. But all he heard was a splash.
 
Then Watch the Dog said, “I told you you’d be glad you were Tommy Peele’s rabbit!” He was standing33 close beside Nibble and he was looking over his shoulder to give an affectionate wag of his tail toward Tommy Peele. Nibble looked, too. And there was Tommy unfastening his trap from where he had tied it to a reed clump so it couldn’t be dragged away. But there was no sign of any muskrat.
 
“He’s gone,” Watch explained. “Tommy let him go. I expect that was because he was a friend of yours.” Of course there was still too much wolf in Watch for him to understand that Tommy had just been sorry for hunting the doctor. But Watch was sure anything that small boy did was wonderful, and reflected forever to his credit.
 
“But why did he bite him if he didn’t mean to eat him?” Nibble asked in a trembly voice. That was something he never did understand. And Watch didn’t try to. He was cocking his ears to see what next Tommy was going to do.
 
Tommy yanked the trap loose from the reed clump. And he wasn’t proud of owning it any more. He hated it— quite as much as Nibble or even Doctor Muskrat did. He swung it about his head and threw it splash into the hole Watch had made when he fell through the ice chasing Nibble.
 
Then he looked at a hole the doctor’s long teeth had slashed34 in his tall rubber boot. “I don’t care,” he said defiantly35. “I don’t care a bit! I hurt him awfully. He had a perfect right to hurt me if he wanted to.”
 
The teeth hadn’t gone in deep enough really to bite Tommy’s toe, but of course neither Nibble nor Doctor Muskrat ever guessed that. Their hides belong to them and they couldn’t ever imagine that his tall rubber boots weren’t any more a part of Tommy than those steel jaws36 of his traps were. Watch could, because he sometimes wore a collar, and on very cold nights Tommy covered him up with a blanket, but he never thought of explaining it.
 
 
Then Tommy marched all the way up to the house and got his cap full of the same delicious meal he had given Nibble and the White Cow the day the Red Cow chased him. It was “Thank you” to them for helping37 him get away from her. He set out two little piles. Then he called: “Here Bunny, Bunny, Bunny!” And that showed Nibble that one of those piles was for him. So Watch was right. It was nice to be Tommy’s rabbit.
 
And Watch explained: “The other is for your friend the Muskrat. Don’t you eat it.”
 
As though Nibble would!
 

点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 mishap AjSyg     
n.不幸的事,不幸;灾祸
参考例句:
  • I'm afraid your son had a slight mishap in the playground.不好了,你儿子在操场上出了点小意外。
  • We reached home without mishap.我们平安地回到了家。
2 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。
3 muskrats 3cf03264004bee8c4e5b7a6890ade7af     
n.麝鼠(产于北美,毛皮珍贵)( muskrat的名词复数 )
参考例句:
4 rusty hYlxq     
adj.生锈的;锈色的;荒废了的
参考例句:
  • The lock on the door is rusty and won't open.门上的锁锈住了。
  • I haven't practiced my French for months and it's getting rusty.几个月不用,我的法语又荒疏了。
5 specially Hviwq     
adv.特定地;特殊地;明确地
参考例句:
  • They are specially packaged so that they stack easily.它们经过特别包装以便于堆放。
  • The machine was designed specially for demolishing old buildings.这种机器是专为拆毁旧楼房而设计的。
6 sniff PF7zs     
vi.嗅…味道;抽鼻涕;对嗤之以鼻,蔑视
参考例句:
  • The police used dogs to sniff out the criminals in their hiding - place.警察使用警犬查出了罪犯的藏身地点。
  • When Munchie meets a dog on the beach, they sniff each other for a while.当麦奇在海滩上碰到另一条狗的时候,他们会彼此嗅一会儿。
7 contentedly a0af12176ca79b27d4028fdbaf1b5f64     
adv.心满意足地
参考例句:
  • My father sat puffing contentedly on his pipe.父亲坐着心满意足地抽着烟斗。
  • "This is brother John's writing,"said Sally,contentedly,as she opened the letter.
8 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》
9 flop sjsx2     
n.失败(者),扑通一声;vi.笨重地行动,沉重地落下
参考例句:
  • The fish gave a flop and landed back in the water.鱼扑通一声又跳回水里。
  • The marketing campaign was a flop.The product didn't sell.市场宣传彻底失败,产品卖不出去。
10 thaw fUYz5     
v.(使)融化,(使)变得友善;n.融化,缓和
参考例句:
  • The snow is beginning to thaw.雪已开始融化。
  • The spring thaw caused heavy flooding.春天解冻引起了洪水泛滥。
11 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。
12 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。
13 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》
14 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。
15 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》
16 fume 5Qqzp     
n.(usu pl.)(浓烈或难闻的)烟,气,汽
参考例句:
  • The pressure of fume in chimney increases slowly from top to bottom.烟道内压力自上而下逐渐增加,底层住户的排烟最为不利。
  • Your harsh words put her in a fume.你那些难听的话使她生气了。
17 mink ZoXzYR     
n.貂,貂皮
参考例句:
  • She was wearing a blue dress and a mink coat.她穿着一身蓝色的套装和一件貂皮大衣。
  • He started a mink ranch and made a fortune in five years. 他开了个水貂养殖场,五年之内就赚了不少钱。
18 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。
19 mighty YDWxl     
adj.强有力的;巨大的
参考例句:
  • A mighty force was about to break loose.一股巨大的力量即将迸发而出。
  • The mighty iceberg came into view.巨大的冰山出现在眼前。
20 puddles 38bcfd2b26c90ae36551f1fa3e14c14c     
n.水坑, (尤指道路上的)雨水坑( puddle的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • The puddles had coalesced into a small stream. 地面上水洼子里的水汇流成了一条小溪。
  • The road was filled with puddles from the rain. 雨后路面到处是一坑坑的积水。 来自《简明英汉词典》
21 tune NmnwW     
n.调子;和谐,协调;v.调音,调节,调整
参考例句:
  • He'd written a tune,and played it to us on the piano.他写了一段曲子,并在钢琴上弹给我们听。
  • The boy beat out a tune on a tin can.那男孩在易拉罐上敲出一首曲子。
22 pricked 1d0503c50da14dcb6603a2df2c2d4557     
刺,扎,戳( prick的过去式和过去分词 ); 刺伤; 刺痛; 使剧痛
参考例句:
  • The cook pricked a few holes in the pastry. 厨师在馅饼上戳了几个洞。
  • He was pricked by his conscience. 他受到良心的谴责。
23 mittens 258752c6b0652a69c52ceed3c65dbf00     
不分指手套
参考例句:
  • Cotton mittens will prevent the baby from scratching his own face. 棉的连指手套使婴儿不会抓伤自己的脸。
  • I'd fisted my hands inside their mittens to keep the fingers warm. 我在手套中握拳头来保暖手指。
24 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。
25 awfully MPkym     
adv.可怕地,非常地,极端地
参考例句:
  • Agriculture was awfully neglected in the past.过去农业遭到严重忽视。
  • I've been feeling awfully bad about it.对这我一直感到很难受。
26 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。
27 clump xXfzH     
n.树丛,草丛;vi.用沉重的脚步行走
参考例句:
  • A stream meandered gently through a clump of trees.一条小溪从树丛中蜿蜒穿过。
  • It was as if he had hacked with his thick boots at a clump of bluebells.仿佛他用自己的厚靴子无情地践踏了一丛野风信子。
28 entirely entirely     
ad.全部地,完整地;完全地,彻底地
参考例句:
  • The fire was entirely caused by their neglect of duty. 那场火灾完全是由于他们失职而引起的。
  • His life was entirely given up to the educational work. 他的一生统统献给了教育工作。
29 chattering chattering     
n. (机器振动发出的)咔嗒声,(鸟等)鸣,啁啾 adj. 喋喋不休的,啾啾声的 动词chatter的现在分词形式
参考例句:
  • The teacher told the children to stop chattering in class. 老师叫孩子们在课堂上不要叽叽喳喳讲话。
  • I was so cold that my teeth were chattering. 我冷得牙齿直打战。
30 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。
31 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。
32 squealing b55ccc77031ac474fd1639ff54a5ad9e     
v.长声尖叫,用长而尖锐的声音说( squeal的现在分词 )
参考例句:
  • Pigs were grunting and squealing in the yard. 猪在院子里哼哼地叫个不停。
  • The pigs were squealing. 猪尖叫着。
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 slashed 8ff3ba5a4258d9c9f9590cbbb804f2db     
v.挥砍( slash的过去式和过去分词 );鞭打;割破;削减
参考例句:
  • Someone had slashed the tyres on my car. 有人把我的汽车轮胎割破了。
  • He slashed the bark off the tree with his knife. 他用刀把树皮从树上砍下。 来自《简明英汉词典》
35 defiantly defiantly     
adv.挑战地,大胆对抗地
参考例句:
  • Braving snow and frost, the plum trees blossomed defiantly. 红梅傲雪凌霜开。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • She tilted her chin at him defiantly. 她向他翘起下巴表示挑衅。 来自《简明英汉词典》
36 jaws cq9zZq     
n.口部;嘴
参考例句:
  • The antelope could not escape the crocodile's gaping jaws. 那只羚羊无法从鱷鱼张开的大口中逃脱。
  • The scored jaws of a vise help it bite the work. 台钳上有刻痕的虎钳牙帮助它紧咬住工件。
37 helping 2rGzDc     
n.食物的一份&adj.帮助人的,辅助的
参考例句:
  • The poor children regularly pony up for a second helping of my hamburger. 那些可怜的孩子们总是要求我把我的汉堡包再给他们一份。
  • By doing this, they may at times be helping to restore competition. 这样一来, 他在某些时候,有助于竞争的加强。


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