Gateway to the Classics: The Tale of Peter Mink by Arthur Scott Bailey
The Tale of Peter Mink by  Arthur Scott Bailey

Settling a Dispute

W HILE Jimmy Rabbit was looking for wise old Mr. Crow, Peter Mink stuck close behind him.

"You needn't think you can run away with my  rabbit's lucky left hind-foot," Peter kept saying. "That's my  foot! You promised to give it to me for helping you out of the mud. And I intend to have it. I'm going to follow you wherever you go. I wish you'd try to be a little more careful where you step with my foot."

But Jimmy Rabbit didn't seem the least bit worried.

"You stand by your bargain, and I'll stand by mine," he told Peter. And that was all he would say.

At last Jimmy found Mr. Crow. And as soon as Peter Mink spied him he hurried up and began to complain to Mr. Crow that Jimmy Rabbit wouldn't stand by his bargain.

"What was it?" Mr. Crow asked.

"He promised to give me his left hind-foot, if I'd pull him out of the creek," said Peter Mink.

"Did he pull you out?" Mr. Crow asked Jimmy Rabbit.

And Jimmy admitted that Peter had helped him out.

"He helped me in, too," added Jimmy. "But I didn't have to pay him for doing that."

"You're out of order!" Mr. Crow told Jimmy sharply.

And looking down at his mud-stained clothes, Jimmy Rabbit said that he supposed he was.

"Can you repeat the exact words of the bargain?" Mr. Crow asked Peter Mink.

"Yes," Peter began. "He said——"

"That will do!" Mr. Crow cautioned him. "I said, 'Can  you repeat them?' I didn't tell  you to repeat them, did I?"

"No," Peter Mink admitted.

"I advise you to be very careful," Mr. Crow warned him. Then Mr. Crow turned to Jimmy Rabbit.

"Can you  repeat the exact words of the bargain?" he asked.

"Yes, sir!" said Jimmy Rabbit promptly.

"Good!" Mr. Crow exclaimed. "I'll settle this dispute in no time. Now, I want you, Jimmy Rabbit, to whisper the exact words in my right  ear, while Peter Mink whispers the exact words in my left  one. In that way I shall know at once if there's anybody that isn't telling the truth."

Mr. Crow was very particular. He made Peter and Jimmy begin at the same time. And he said that if they both told the truth it seemed to him that they ought to finish  at the same time, too.

And that's just the way it happened!

"I don't see what the dispute is," said Mr. Crow. "You both agree. And how can two people have a dispute, when they agree perfectly? The only difference I noticed in your stories was that Peter whispered much louder than Jimmy."

"The trouble," Peter Mink cried, "the trouble is, he won't let me cut off his left hind-foot!"

Mr. Crow looked astonished.

"And why should he?" he exclaimed. "You agreed to take, along with the foot, all the luck and everything else that goes with it.  And if the rest of Jimmy Rabbit doesn't go with his left hind-foot, why—I should like to know what does!"

Peter Mink looked very sour. But pretty soon he brightened up.

"All right!" he said. "I get the whole of him, then—don't I?"

"You certainly do," said Mr. Crow. "And what's more, you have to carry him in your pocket,  for that was part of the bargain."

Now, when you stop to remember that Jimmy Rabbit was four times bigger than Peter Mink, you can understand how angry Peter must have been. He saw right away that such a thing was impossible.

"I can't do that!" he cried.

"Then I declare the agreement to be broken," said Mr. Crow. "And I advise Jimmy Rabbit to run home at once, for I happen to know that his mother is looking for him."

Afterward, Peter Mink always claimed that there was no use trying to get the better of anybody that had the left hind-foot of a rabbit. He said that they certainly were lucky, and that he knew what he was talking about.

 Table of Contents  |  Index  |  Home  | Previous: The Bargain 
Copyright (c) 2005 - 2023   Yesterday's Classics, LLC. All Rights Reserved.