Bobby and the Big Road  by Maud Lindsay


T HERE were no houses or people nearer than the town, but Bobby and Mother and Father in the little brown house had plenty of neighbors.

Every time Bobby went out to swing or to play he saw some of them peeping at him from bush, or tree, or hurrying away through the grass at the sound of his feet.

There was the big lively jay-bird that was not afraid of anything; and a shy brown thrush that sang every day in a hedge near by; and a pair of buntings as blue as indigo that lived in the wood beyond the house.

A slim green lizard went slipping through the grasses almost every day; and a tree-frog with a shrill little voice lived next door in a maple-tree.

And just at twilight time the katydids would begin their music in the trees. "Katy did! Katy didn't! Katy did! Katy didn't!" Over and over and over it went, but what Katy did or did not do Bobby never could find out.

Then too there was old Neighbor Owl, who sometimes came, when the night was dark, to sit in a tree on the other side of the Big Road.

"Who-o? Who-o?" he called just as if he wanted to know who lived in the little brown house.

Father would answer him politely: "Mr. and Mrs. Randolph and their little boy Bobby." But it made no difference. The very next night perhaps the owl would ask, Whoo? Whoo?

But of all the neighbors, the one that Bobby liked best was the little brown rabbit with long ears and a scrap of a tail.

The first time he saw the brown rabbit, he ran after her as fast as he could, for he thought to himself, "How nice it would be to have a Bunny rabbit for a pet!"

But dear me, how quick the rabbit was! She was into the wood before Bobby could say Jack Robinson or anything else; and when he got there he spied her going like a streak of lightning through the bushes.

Bobby stumbled over a sourwood stump, and tumbled over a hickory log, and got his feet tangled in a wild grape-vine trying to catch that rabbit. And after all he had to go home without her.

When he got home he was sorry he had chased the rabbit. He was so afraid that he had frightened her away.

But the next day he caught a glimpse of her again, leaping across the road.

Bobby told Father about the little brown rabbit and not long after Father said to him:

"How would you like to go with me to the little brown rabbit's home?"

"Really, Father?" asked Bobby.

"Really, Bobby," answered Father.

And as Bobby thought nothing could be pleasanter they started right out.

The little brown rabbit lived in a hole in the ground that was called a burrow. She had dug it for herself in a bank of earth that sloped from a green field down to the Big Road.

Father pushed aside the leaves and vines that covered it and there in the snug safe burrow, that was lined with hair from the little brown rabbit's own coat, Father and Bobby saw—what do you think? Five baby rabbits! And when Bobby saw those baby rabbits he was glad, you may be sure, that he had not caught their mother, the little brown rabbit.