Gateway to the Classics: The Adventures of Peter Cottontail by Thornton W. Burgess
The Adventures of Peter Cottontail by  Thornton W. Burgess

Peter Rabbit Has a Bright Idea

P ETER RABBIT had a bright idea. At least Peter thought it was, and he chuckled over it a great deal. The more he thought about it, the better it seemed. What was it? Why, to follow the plan of Johnny Chuck and Grandfather Frog to avoid the cold, stormy weather by sleeping all winter. Yes, Sir, that was Peter Rabbit's bright idea.

"If Johnny Chuck can sleep and sleep

The whole long, stormy winter through,

It ought to be, it seems to me,

The very thing for me to do."

Peter Rabbit said this to himself, as he sat in the middle of the Old Briar-patch, chewing the end of a straw. If Johnny Chuck could do it, of course he could do it. All he would have to do would be to find a snug, warm house which nobody else was using, fix himself a comfortable bed, curl up, and go to sleep. Peter tried to picture himself sleeping away while the snow lay deep all over the Green Meadows and the Smiling Pool could smile no more because the ice, the hard black ice, would not let it.

Finally Peter could sit still no longer. He just had to tell some one about his bright idea and—and—well, he wasn't quite sure of just the way to go to sleep and sleep so long, for never in his life had Peter Rabbit slept more than a very, very short time without waking to see that no danger was near.

"I'll just run up and see Uncle Billy Possum!" said Peter.

Unc' Billy Possum was sitting in his doorway in his big, hollow tree in the Green Forest, when Peter Rabbit came hurrying up, lipperty-lipperty-lip. Peter hardly waited to say good morning before he began to tell Unc' Billy all about his bright idea. Unc' Billy listened gravely, although there was a twinkle in his eyes.

"The first thing yo' must do is to find a warm place to sleep, Brer Rabbit," said Unc' Billy.


"The first thing yo' must do is to find a warm place to sleep, Brer Rabbit," said Unc' Billy.

"Oh, that's easy enough!" said Peter.

"And then yo' must get fat, Brer Rabbit," continued Unc' Billy.

"What's that?" exclaimed Peter Rabbit, looking very much puzzled.

"Ah say yo' must get fat," repeated Unc' Billy, slapping his own fat sides.

"What for?" asked Peter.

"To keep yo' warm while yo' are asleep," replied Unc' Billy.

"Must I get very fat?" Peter asked.

"Yes, Sah, yo' must get very fat indeed," said Unc' Billy, and smiled, for it was hard to think of Peter Rabbit as very fat.

"How—how can I get fat?" asked Peter, and looked just a little bit worried.

"By eating and eating and eating, and between times sitting still," replied Unc' Billy Possum.

"That's easy, at least the eating is!" said Peter, who, you know, thinks a great deal of his stomach. "Is that all, Uncle Billy?"

"That's about all, excepting yo' mustn't have anything on yo' mind when yo' try to go to sleep, Brer Rabbit. Yo' mustn't get to worrying fo' fear Brer Fox gwine to find yo' while yo' are asleep," said Unc' Billy, and grinned when Peter happened to turn his head.

Peter thanked Unc' Billy and hurried back to the Old Briar-patch to think over all that Unc' Billy had told him.

"I certainly will try it," said Peter.

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