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

Good News about Peter

"Y ES! They say he has at last decided to go to work," Mrs. Rabbit was saying to Billy Woodchuck's mother.

"It's the best news I've heard in a long while," Mrs. Woodchuck remarked. "And I hope he'll be so busy that he won't have time to come around here and get our sons into any more mischief."

"Have you learned what his work is going to be?" Mrs. Rabbit inquired.

But Mrs. Woodchuck said she didn't know that. She only knew that Peter Mink was going to turn over a new leaf and do some sort of honest work.

Now, Peter Mink had a plan. And he hadn't told any one exactly what it was.

The Grouse boys and the Woodchuck brothers gave a concert that very night. You see, Mr. Fox had taught them to make music like a fife-and-drum corps—the Grouse boys drummed and the Woodchuck brothers whistled. And whenever they gave a concert, almost everybody went to it.

Well, when the forest-people reached the hollow where the concert was to be given, there was Peter Mink, all smiles. He stepped up to each newcomer and said:

"Check your hat and coat?"

Some of the forest-people didn't know what he meant, until Peter explained to them that he would take care of hats, coats, umbrellas, walking-sticks, or anything else that anybody might like to leave with him during the concert.

"How are you going to find my hat, if I leave it with you?" Mr. Rabbit asked.

Peter Mink showed him a heap of oak leaves.

"I'll tear one of these in two," he said, "give you half of it, and stick the other half inside your hatband. When the concert is over and you come away, all you have to do is to hand me your half of the oak leaf and I'll see which piece matches it among those that I have kept. And the hat in which the other half happens to be stuck must be your hat. Do you understand? It's quite simple," Peter said.

Mr. Rabbit said that he understood, and that it was a good idea, too. But he thought he'd keep his hat with him.

Then his wife said to him in a low voice that he ought to do whatever he could to help Peter Mink.

"Now that Peter has gone to work," she told her husband, "everyone ought to encourage him. And I want you to leave your hat with him. I'll have him check my spectacles, as he calls it," Mrs. Rabbit added, "for I shall not need them. I can hear exactly as well without them."

Mr. Rabbit always tried to please his wife. So he let Peter Mink check his hat. But he felt uncomfortable during the whole concert. It was a new hat. And he didn't like the thought of losing it.

That same thing happened in a good many families. Most of the gentlemen said that Peter's idea was a good one, but they thought they would wait till another time. And their wives generally persuaded them to let Peter Mink check something, just to help him along.

But Uncle Jerry Chuck refused to leave a single thing with Peter.


Uncle Jerry refused to leave a single thing.

He said he had had his hat for a great many years.

The music was not so good as usual that night. And when the fife-and-drum corps played "Pop! Goes the Weasel!"—which was their favorite tune, and the first they had ever learned—they had to stop in the middle of it three times, and begin again, because there were so many interruptions. People kept standing up in their seats and looking around to see if Peter Mink was still there. And almost everybody except Uncle Jerry Chuck seemed worried.

But Uncle Jerry had a fine time. You see, whenever the fifers and drummers had to stop, and begin again, Uncle Jerry felt he was getting more music. And he enjoyed it especially because he had found his ticket in the woods and didn't have to pay for it. And on account of what happened when the concert was over, Uncle Jerry was even happier the next day.

 Table of Contents  |  Index  |  Home  | Previous: Peter Learns a New Word  |  Next: Uncle Jerry Helps
Copyright (c) 2005 - 2023   Yesterday's Classics, LLC. All Rights Reserved.