P ETER RABBIT came hopping and skipping down the Crooked Little Path. Unc' Billy Possum always calls him Brer Rabbit, but everybody else calls him Peter. Peter was feeling very fine that morning, very fine indeed. Every few minutes he jumped up in the air, and kicked his heels together, just for fun. Presently he met Jimmy Skunk.
Jimmy was on his way back from Farmer Brown's corn field, where he had been helping Blacky the Crow get free from a snare. Jimmy was still tickling and laughing over the way Blacky the Crow had been caught. He had to tell Peter Rabbit all about it.
Peter thought it just as good a joke as did Jimmy, and the two trotted along side by side, planning how they would spread the news all over the Green Meadows that Blacky the Crow, who thinks himself so smart, had been caught.
"That reminds me," said Jimmy Skunk suddenly, "I haven't had my breakfast yet. Have you seen any beetles this morning, Peter Rabbit?"
Peter Rabbit stopped and scratched his long left ear with his long left hind foot.
"Now you speak of it, it seems to me that I did," said Peter Rabbit.
"Where?" asked Jimmy Skunk eagerly.
Peter pretended to think very hard.
"It seems to me that it was back at the top of the Crooked Little Path up the hill," said Peter.
"I think I will go look for them at once," replied Jimmy.
"All right," replied Peter, "I'll show you the way."
So up the Crooked Little Path hopped Peter Rabbit, and right behind him trotted Jimmy Skunk. By and by they came to an old pine stump. Peter Rabbit stopped. He put one hand on his lips.
"Hush!" whispered Peter. "I think there is a whole family of beetles on the other side of this stump. You creep around the other side, and I'll creep around this side. When I thump the ground, you spring right around and grab them before they can run away."
So Jimmy Skunk crept around one side of the stump, and Peter Rabbit crept around the other side. Suddenly Peter thumped the ground hard, twice. Jimmy Skunk was waiting and all ready to spring. When he heard those thumps, he just sprang as quickly as he could. What do you think happened?
Why, Jimmy Skunk landed thump! right on Reddy Fox, who was taking a sun nap on the other side of the pine stump!
"Ha, ha, ha," shouted Peter Rabbit, and started down the Crooked Little Path as fast as his long legs could take him.