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

Helping Jimmy Rabbit

P ETER MINK was feeling even more peevish than usual. And this was the reason: Jimmy Rabbit had a new sled.

Now, Peter had never owned a sled; and it made him envious to see what a good time Jimmy was having, coasting down the side of Blue Mountain.

There was only one thing that Jimmy Rabbit did not like about his sled. It went so fast that he always fell off long before he reached the end of the slide.

"I can fix that," Peter Mink told him. "You go home and borrow your father's hammer and a few nails, and I'll show you how you can coast 'way down into Pleasant Valley without once tumbling off."

Jimmy thanked him. And he hurried home at once. He dragged his new sled after him, too; for he was afraid that if he left it behind he might not be able to find Peter Mink—or the sled, either—when he came back again.

But Peter did not seem to care. Perhaps he had something on his mind. Anyhow, when Jimmy Rabbit returned with the hammer and nails, Peter Mink was waiting patiently for him.

"Now, then," said Peter, as he took the nails and the hammer, "you sit on the sled, Jimmy, and I'll fix you up in no time."

So Jimmy Rabbit sat down on his new sled. And in a few minutes Peter Mink had nailed Jimmy's trousers fast to the sled.

"Now you simply can't  fall off," Peter said. "I'll give you a push; and the first thing you know, you'll be down in the valley."

Jimmy Rabbit said to himself that Peter Mink was very bright, to think of such a splendid plan as nailing his trousers to the sled. He thanked Peter; and he gripped the sled tightly—though he didn't need to—while Peter gave him a push that sent him flying down the mountainside.

Though he went like the wind, he never fell off once. And soon he was down in Pleasant Valley, skimming over the crust which covered the drifts in Farmer Green's meadow.

At last the sled stopped. And then Jimmy Rabbit decided that Peter Mink had forgotten something. How was he to get off the sled with his trousers nailed fast to it? And what would his mother say, when she saw the nail-holes in his trousers? And what would his father do, when he  saw the nails in Jimmy's new sled?

It was not very pleasant for Jimmy Rabbit, sitting all alone in the meadow, with such thoughts running through his head.

After he had sat there a while Jimmy heard something that worried him even more. He heard old dog Spot barking. And he saw that he would be in a good deal of a fix if Spot should happen to come along and find him. For he couldn't stir from his sled.

Jimmy began to hate that sled. He wished he had never seen it. . . . And then he heard somebody scampering over the crust. He was almost too frightened to look around to see who it was. But he turned his head. And he was glad to find that it was Peter Mink, who had run all the way down from Blue Mountain.

"You had a fine ride, didn't you?" said Peter Mink.

"Yes," Jimmy answered. "But I liked the beginning of it better than the end."

"Why, what's the matter?" Peter inquired.

"I can't get off the sled," Jimmy said.

Peter Mink pretended to be surprised. And he said that he hadn't thought of that.

"But I'll help you," he promised.

Jimmy Rabbit thanked him.

"But," said Peter Mink, "I can't do all these things for you for nothing, of course. I have too much else to do, to be wasting my time like this, without pay."

"What do you want?" Jimmy Rabbit asked him.

"Give me the sled," said Peter Mink, "and I'll help you to get off it."

"All right," Jimmy agreed. He would even have given Peter his wheelbarrow, too, he was so anxious to be freed from his seat. "I think, though, that you might pull me up the mountain," Jimmy added. "I don't feel like walking." And that was quite true, because he had been so frightened, when he heard old Spot barking, that his legs were still shaking.

"Well," said Peter Mink, "I'm pretty particular who rides on my sled. But I'll pull you up the mountain, because I'm going that way myself, to slide."

And he started off, dragging Jimmy Rabbit behind him.

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