The night shadows were leaving just as Peter Rabbit yawned and stretched himself. He had hoped to sleep longer but his mate Mrs. Fuzzytail was telling him to
watch their children while she went to visit her friend Mrs. Molly the Wood mouse who had promised to have her bonnet and scarf ready today.
She nuzzled his cheek then hopped quickly away. Peter sighed as he watched her leave. Just then he hears the sound of his children shouting: “Daddy! Daddy! Can we go out to play”. Peter’s eyes roll as he had hoped they would sleep for a while yet. But little Billy, Joey, Mazy, and Jenny were wide a wake, and making a fuss. Though he tried his best to ignore them they wouldn’t give up.
Finally Peter turns to face them and says: “Only if you promise behave your selves, and you must watch out for Freddy Fox. If he catches you he will take you home to put you in a pie for his supper. The little bunnies all shivered at the thought and said they would be careful.
Each one in turn hopped out of the friendly old briar patch as Peter watched. He then followed along to look after them. He calls to them and says: “That’s far enough. Stay near the briar patch in case you must run.
The little bunnies nod to their father and begin to play. Billy, and Joey decide to play hide n seek. While Mazy and Jenny play near a puddle of water. Peter smiles then nibbles on some sweet clover while keeping watch. But soon his full stomach and the warm morning sun cause Peter to doze off to sleep.
Billy hops over to his brother and whispers. Daddy has fallen asleep. Let’s go over to the frog pond. Joey nods and they both start hopping away. They have to pass their sisters who both sit up and ask where they are going.
We are going to the frog pond if you must know said Billy. Jenny shakes her head, ears flopping as she does. “You both will get in trouble. You know what daddy said.” Billy makes a face at his sister. “We won’t if you don’t tell.”
Mazy shakes her head as well: ”What if Freddy Fox finds you. Then you both will be in his pie. Joey shivers a little as his brother remarks. “Aww we aren’t afraid of that old fox. He couldn’t catch us.”
“Just the same you shouldn’t go” said Mazy. Joey starts to change his mind. But Billy tells him there is nothing to fear. So soon they are hopping toward the pond which is across a small meadow from the briar patch.
Jenny, and Mazy watch them go then look at each other. Just then Peter blinks and sits upright looking around. He only sees Mazy and Jenny.
He quickly hops over to ask them where their brothers are. Mazy points toward the frog pond, and said. “They went over there.” Jenny nods as Peter sits up straight trying to spot them and said “You both return to the briar patch while I go after them.”
The two bunny girls nod and obey their father. After making sure they
were safely home he again sits up looking to make sure Freddy Fox wasn’t around, then started
for the pond hopping quickly.
Being only a short distance Peter was soon at the edge of the
pond. Again he sits up looking for his wayward bunnies. Old Mister Frog croaks. ”Hello Peter
Rabbit. What brings you here today?” He turns and says; “Morning, I am looking for my two
sons. Have you seen them?”
“I have not, I am sorry to say.” Peter nodded. “Thank you, but I must
keep looking.” He then hopped through the tall weeds and along the cat tails. Every now and
then he calls out. “Billy, Joey. Where are you?”
Watching from behind a thick clump of grass Billy whispers to his
brother. “Keep out of sight so daddy won’t find us.” Joey nods then remarks. “But we will just
get in more trouble if we hide.” Just then they are both startled by the voice of Sammy
A youngster his self Sammy playfully pounces on the two bunnies just
as he shouts: “Tag your it!” Billy and Joey both squeal with surprise till they realize who it
They both sit up and watch as the young
otter stops a short distance away and calls out: “Aren’t you
going to try to catch me?” They start to answer, but just then
they hear their father’s voice behind them.
“Billy! Joey! What do you think you are
doing?” Billy turns to look and says: Joey suggested we visit
the pond. I tried to talk him out of it.” With this Joey’s mouth
drops open as Peter turns to him: “Is this true Joey?”
The little bunny’s eyes fill with tears
as he looks up at his father. “It.. it was Billy’s idea to come
here not mine.” He starts to cry as Billy continues to put the
blame on his brother.
Peter Rabbit frowns as he listens to
Billy. He snaps off a small hickory switch. Then Sammy otter
runs up to say. “You’re not going to whip them?” Peter shakes
his head: “I don’t plan to. It’s just to hurry them home.”
Sammy tells his friends goodbye and is
gone in a flash. Then Peter points with the switch to the briar
patch and says: “I only want to see your tails, now go home,
both of you! Now they knew he meant business. So they both
quickly hopped across the small meadow with Peter close
Freddy fox’s sharp ears had heard all
the fuss and decided to hide behind a bush at the entrance to
the briar patch and grinned. “I will catch those two tender
bunnies for my supper as they pass by."
Peter Rabbit spotted Freddy’s tail
sticking out from behind the bush just as Billy and Joey were
nearing that very same bush. He shouts for them to freeze just
as the fox pounces on them both.
Now Peter wasn’t usually very brave when it comes to foxes. But when he saw both of his boys pinned to the ground by the drooling fox. All caution was lost as he used that hickory switch to strike the tender nose of the fox.
Freddy grabs his nose with a yelp then growls as the bunnies and Peter scramble into the briar patch just out of his reach. All Freddy got for his trouble was a sore nose and a bit of fur from Peters tail as he tried to catch him.
From inside the briar patch they could here the fox making threats that made them all shiver. Billy looked up at his father to say: “I .. I am sorry. It was my idea to visit the pond. It would have been my fault if the fox had made us his supper.” Then the small bunny hung his head low in shame.
Peter looked sternly at the small bunny: “I am glad you admitted what you did.” He turns to Joey: I know Billy talked you into going. But you both will be punished for disobedience. I don’t restrict you just to be mean. It’s for your safety.” Peter points to where the fox nearly caught them both.
“Now you both will only go out to eat. No playing for the next two days.” The little bunnies nodded as their father sent them to bed. Jenny and Mazy looked with some sympathy as the boys passed them. Each said they were very glad the fox didn’t have them for his supper.
Soon after the bunnies went to bed Peters wife Mrs. Fuzzytail came hopping into the briar patch with her scarf and bonnet on. She smiled at Peter and snuggled up close beside him, and said. "Did you all have a nice day?"
Peter looks at his wife and nods: "It was a fair day. But the boys were bad so I sent them to bed, and not to play outside for two days. Your Bonnet looks very nice too" Mrs. Peter smiled at the compliment on her bonnet. She nuzzled his face saying "you're a good father." She then added: "What did the boys do to require punishment."
He hesitated for a moment then said: "They went to the pond when I told them to stay close, and were nearly caught by Freddy Fox." Before he could tell her what happened she exclaimed! "My boys, are they alright?" And before he could answer she hurried to their bedroom to check on them.
Peter followed and found her kissing them both. She then scolded them for being so bad.
A few minutes later Peter and his wife saw the girls. She kissed and praised them for being so good. She smiled and they both returned to another part of the briar patch where she snuggled up beside Peter once more. She said: "I am so glad you and the boys are safe. I don't know what I would do without you and them. Peter smiled: And I don't know what I would do without you either.
We will leave Peter and his family for now.