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

Peter Rabbit Gets Another Surprise

P ETER RABBIT sat on Johnny Chuck's door-step for five long minutes, scratching his head first with one hand, then with the other.

"Now, what did Johnny Chuck mean by saying that he would see me in the spring?" said Peter Rabbit to himself. "Here it isn't winter yet, and it will be a long, long time before spring, yet Johnny Chuck spoke just as if he didn't expect to see me until winter has passed. Is he going away somewhere? If he isn't, why won't I see him all winter, just as I have all summer?"

The more Peter thought about it, the more puzzled he became. At last he had a happy thought. "I'll just run down to the Smiling Pool and ask Grandfather Frog. He is very old and very wise, and he will surely know what Johnny Chuck meant."

So, kicking up his heels, Peter Rabbit started down the Lone Little Path, lipperty-lipperty-lip, across the Green Meadows to the Smiling Pond. There he found Grandfather Frog sitting as usual on his big lily-pad, but the lily pad wasn't as green as it used to be, and Grandfather Frog didn't look as smart as usual. His big, goggly eyes looked heavy and dull, just as if they didn't see much of anything at all. Grandfather Frog nodded sleepily and once nearly fell off the big lily-pad.

"Good morning, Grandfather Frog!" shouted Peter Rabbit.

"Eh? What?" said Grandfather Frog, blinking his eyes and putting one hand behind an ear, as if he was hard of hearing.

"I said good morning, Grandfather Frog!" shouted Peter Rabbit, a little louder than before.

"No," replied Grandfather Frog grumpily, "it isn't a good morning; it's too chilly." He shivered as he spoke.


"No," replied Grandfather Frog grumpily, "it isn't a good morning."

Peter Rabbit pretended not to notice how grumpy Grandfather Frog was. In his most polite way he asked: "Can you tell me, Grandfather Frog, where Johnny Chuck spends the winter?"

"Spends it at home, of course. Don't bother me with such foolish questions!" snapped Grandfather Frog.

"But if he is going to spend the winter at home, what did he mean by saying that he would see me in the spring, just as if he didn't expect to see me before then?" persisted Peter Rabbit.

Grandfather Frog yawned, shook himself, yawned again, and said:

"Johnny Chuck probably meant just what he said, and I think I'll follow his example. It's getting too cold for an old fellow like me. I begin to feel it in my bones. I'm getting so sleepy that I guess the sooner I hunt up my bed in the mud at the bottom of the Smiling Pool the better. Chugarum! Johnny Chuck is wise. I'll see you in the spring, Peter Rabbit, and tell you all about it."

And with that, Grandfather Frog dived with a great splash into the Smiling Pool.

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