NCE there was a little furry rabbit, who lived with his mother deep down
in a nest under the long grass. His name was Raggylug, and his mother's
One day, after his mother had gone, he was lying very still in the nest,
looking up through the feathery grass. By just cocking his eye,
could see what was going on up in the world. Once a big
The sun was warm, and it was very still.
Suddenly Raggylug heard a little sound, far off. It sounded like "Swish, swish," very soft and far away. He listened. It was a queer little sound, low down in the grass, "rustle—rustle—rustle"; Raggylug was interested. But he never moved his nose or his paws; he lay still. Then the sound came nearer, "rustle—rustle—rustle"; then grew fainter, then came nearer; in and out, nearer and nearer, like something coming; only, when Raggylug heard anything coming he always heard its feet, stepping ever so softly. What could it be that came so smoothly,—rustle—rustle—without any feet?
He forgot his mother's warning, and sat up
on his hind paws; the sound
stopped then. "Pooh," thought Raggylug, "I'm not a baby rabbit, I am three
weeks old; I'll find out what this is." He stuck his head over the top of
the nest, and looked—straight into the wicked eyes of a great big snake.
"Mammy, Mammy!" screamed Raggylug. "Oh, Mammy,
Ah, but Mammy had heard the first cry. Straight over the fields she flew, leaping the stones and hummocks, fast as the wind, to save her baby. She wasn't a timid little cottontail rabbit then; she was a mother whose child was in danger. And when she came to Raggylug and the big snake, she took one look, and then hop! hop! she went over the snake's back; and as she jumped she struck at the snake with her strong hind claws so that they tore his skin. He hissed with rage, but he did not let go.
Hop! hop! she went again, and this time she hurt him so that he twisted and turned; but he held on to Raggylug.
Once more the mother rabbit hopped, and once more she struck and tore the snake's back with her sharp claws. Zzz! How she hurt! The snake dropped Raggy to strike at her, and Raggy rolled on to his feet and ran.
"Run, Raggylug, run!" said his mother, keeping the snake busy with her jumps; and you may believe Raggylug ran! Just as soon as he was out of the way his mother came too, and showed him where to go. When she ran, there was a little white patch that showed under her tail; that was for Raggy to follow,—he followed it now.
Far, far away she led him, through the long grass, to a place where the big snake could not find him, and there she made a new nest. And this time, when she told Raggylug to lie low you'd better believe he minded!