He trundled the wheelbarrow home again
Jimmy Rabbit wanted a new tail. To be sure, he already had a tail — but it was so short that he felt it was little better than none at all. Frisky Squirrel and Billy Woodchuck had fine, bushy tails; and so had all the other forest-people, except the Rabbit family.
Jimmy had tried his hardest to get a handsome tail for himself. And once he had nearly succeeded. For he almost cut off Frisky Squirrel’s big brush. But Mrs. Squirrel had appeared just in time to save her son from so dreadful a mishap.
After that, Jimmy Rabbit tried to buy a tail; but no one would sell him one. Then he set out to find one, in the hope that some day some one would forget his tail and go off and leave it lying in the woods, and not be able to remember where he left it.
In fact, Jimmy Rabbit often lurked behind trees and bushes, watching his neighbors as they took naps in the sunshine. But when they awaked and stretched themselves, and went trotting off, there was not one of them that didn’t take his tail right along with him.
It was disappointing. Still, Jimmy Rabbit continued his search.
Now, Jimmy had decided that if he could only get a long tail he didn’t care what color it was, if it was only a brownish yellow, to match the rest of him. And at last, as he was wandering through the woods one day, to his great joy he found almost exactly what he wanted. Lying near a heap of chips was a beautiful tail! But it was red, with a black tip. That was the only drawback about it.
This tail, however, was so handsome that Jimmy made up his mind that he would wear it, anyhow, even though it did not match his coat. So with a bit of string which he had carried with him for weeks for that very purpose, he tied the red tail to his own short stub.
There was great excitement among the forest-people when Jimmy Rabbit appeared among them. Most everyone told him how much better he looked. In fact, old Mr. Crow was about the only person who didn’t say something pleasant. He only shook his head, and muttered something to himself about “handsome is as handsome does.” But Jimmy Rabbit paid little attention to him.
“Whose tail is that?” Mr. Crow finally asked.
“Mine, of course!” Jimmy told him.
“Well, you’d better look out!” said Mr. Crow. “Unless that tail is bought and paid for, there’s trouble ahead of you, young man.”
To his friends Frisky Squirrel and Billy Woodchuck, Jimmy said something about Mr. Crow in a low voice. And they laughed loudly. Whereupon Mr. Crow flew away, croaking to himself about the shocking way children are brought up nowadays. You know, Mr. Crow was a great gossip. And everywhere he went that day he spread the news about Jimmy Rabbit’s finding a red tail in the woods.