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

How To Be Lucky

T HERE was one thing that Peter Mink couldn't understand. No matter how hard he tried to get Jimmy Rabbit into trouble, Jimmy always managed to escape. Peter wondered what the reason might be. And one day he said to Jimmy:

"Why is it that you're always able to get out of a scrape?"

"Don't you know?" Jimmy Rabbit asked him. "I thought everybody knew that. . . . It's because I'm lucky."

"Oh, I know that!" said Peter Mink. "What I'd like to know is what makes you so lucky?"

"I supposed everybody knew that, too," Jimmy Rabbit answered. "It's because I have the left hind-foot of a rabbit."

Peter Mink answered that he didn't see what that had to do with being lucky.

"You ask anybody about it," Jimmy told him. "There's Mr. Crow, over on the fence. Go and ask him why I'm lucky."

So Peter Mink went over to the fence where Mr. Crow was resting, and put the question to him.

"Oh, ask me something hard!" Mr. Crow cried. "That's too easy. Everybody knows that one."

For once Peter Mink remembered the word Jimmy Rabbit had taught him when he was caught beneath the big log.

"Please!" he said. "I'd really like to know, Mr. Crow!"

"Left hind-foot!" Mr. Crow replied briefly. "It's a rabbit's, you know; and there's nothing like 'em to bring luck."

That set Peter Mink to thinking. He couldn't help wishing that he might have Jimmy's left hind-foot for himself. It ought to bring luck to him, he thought, just as it did to Jimmy Rabbit.

After Peter Mink had thought the matter over for some time, he said to Jimmy:

"I wish you'd come over to the creek with me. There's something there that I want to show you. Of course, it's a long way off; and maybe your mother wouldn't like to have you go so far from home."

"I'll come!" Jimmy Rabbit said quickly.

"Maybe you'd better ask your mother first," Peter suggested.

But Jimmy Rabbit shook his head.

"That wouldn't do any good," he replied. "Let's be on our way!"

So Peter Mink started off toward the creek, with Jimmy close behind him.

At last they reached the bank of the creek. The water was low. And before them was a stretch of mud, which looked dry and firm. There were a few weeds growing in it. And it certainly looked harmless enough.

"What is it you're going to show me?" Jimmy asked.

"Follow me!" said Peter Mink. "You'll see pretty soon what it is." And he jumped off the bank and landed lightly on his feet on the mud-flat, and started on again.

It never once entered Jimmy Rabbit's head that there could be any danger. So he jumped off the bank, too. And to his great surprise his legs sank entirely out of sight in the mud.

You see, he was at least four times heavier than Peter Mink. And when he landed on the thin, sun-baked crust that covered the mud-flat he had broken through it.

Jimmy Rabbit had a terrible feeling that he was going right down until the mud closed over his head.

"Help!" he shrieked. "Help! Help!"

But Peter Mink walked straight on. He never once looked around.

And though Jimmy Rabbit called and called, he couldn't seem to make Peter Mink hear him.

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