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Full Online Book HomeShort StoriesThe Tale Of Jimmy Rabbit - VII - A Fast Runner
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The Tale Of Jimmy Rabbit - VII - A Fast Runner Post by :RTRIECKE Category :Short Stories Author :Arthur Scott Bailey Date :April 2012 Read :3533

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The Tale Of Jimmy Rabbit - VII - A Fast Runner

VII - A Fast Runner

On Blue Mountain, and in Pleasant Valley as well, there lived many fast runners. And among the swiftest was Jimmy Rabbit. But he never ran very far. Whenever he was startled he would go bounding off like the wind; but pretty soon he would stop and listen to see if anyone was following him. And if it happened to be dog Spot, he always hurried to a hollow stump, or perhaps a woodchuck's hole--or a skunk's--and hid there until Spot went away.

Of course, there was some risk in going into somebody else's house. For if the owner happened to be at home there was likely to be a quarrel. Naturally, nobody likes to have some outsider burst into his house without even stopping to knock.

Now, everyone said that Jimmy Rabbit could run fast--that is, all but Tommy Fox. He never would admit that Jimmy Rabbit was much of a runner. I should hate to say that Tommy Fox was jealous. But it certainly did annoy him to hear so much said about Jimmy's wonderful speed.

Perhaps he never would have suggested the race, if Jimmy Rabbit hadn't boasted so much about his running. You see, in time Jimmy's head became turned. And he was often heard to say that there was no one in that part of the country who could beat him.

"Of course, there may be some one, somewhere, who can outrun me," Jimmy Rabbit said. "But I have yet to meet him."

That was a little more than Tommy Fox could bear. And he went off, looking very sour. He trotted over to the creek, did Tommy Fox. And there he might have been seen talking to Mr. Turtle. He talked with him for a long time. And when at last he went away Tommy's face wore a very different look. He was actually smiling.

The very next day Jimmy Rabbit met Tommy Fox in the woods.

"You'd better go home!" Tommy told him. "You have a caller waiting to see you. I just happened to pass your house, and the caller asked me if I had seen you."

"Who is it?" Jimmy asked him.

But Tommy Fox would not tell him.

"It's really none of my business," he said.

Jimmy Rabbit hurried off. He wondered who wanted to see him, and why.

He was surprised--and disappointed, too--to find that it was nobody but Mr. Turtle. And he was still more surprised when he learned his errand.

"I have come to challenge you to a race," Mr. Turtle told him.

Jimmy Rabbit laughed right in his face.

"A race!" he exclaimed. "Why--you can't run. I guess you've come to the wrong house. I guess you've made a mistake."

But Mr. Turtle said that he knew what he was about.

"I want to race you all the way from the creek to Broad Brook, where it runs into Swift River," he said.

Jimmy Rabbit had hard work to keep a straight face.

"My dear sir!" he said. "I could run that distance a hundred times while you were waddling it once. I don't care to race with you. It would be no fun at all for me."

When Mr. Turtle heard that, his beady little eyes snapped.

"Don't be so sure!" he said. "I believe I can beat you. And I will bet you----"

Jimmy Rabbit did not wait for him to finish.

"Bet!" he cried. "I never bet! I'm not allowed to. My mother doesn't approve of betting. And if she heard you mention such a thing to me she would be very angry."

"I didn't mean to say that," Mr. Turtle told him hastily. "It was just a slip of the tongue. What I meant to say was this: If you win the race, I'll give you a fine new sled; and if I win, you can give me your wheelbarrow."

Jimmy Rabbit began to be interested. He had always wanted a sled. And by another month or two there ought to be good coasting. It certainly wasn't betting, he thought. And as for losing the race--and his wheelbarrow--he knew that such a thing could never happen.

"I'll race you!" he cried. "When shall it be?"

"How would to-morrow do?" said Mr. Turtle. "It's a long way from the creek to Broad Brook--a good day's journey, I call it. It's too late to start to-day."

Jimmy Rabbit grinned. He knew that he could run that far fifty times a day.

"I'll be at the creek early in the morning," he promised.

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