By MARY WADDELL, COPYRIGHT, 1922. American Issue Publishing Company
day Nina ran across the field, crawled through -an' old rail fence, and
had a great time playing in the border of the forest. After a while she
felt tired and sat down by a little tree near the fence.Just then a,
rabbit hopped by and disappeared through the underbrush. Resting her
head on her knees, -Nina sang- softly to herself:
'The raccoon had a busy tail,
The possum's tall was bare,
The rabbit didn't have any tail at all
Just a little bunch of hair,
Just a little-bunch-of-'
Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit, and Jack and Bunny Rabbit and several of their
friends appeared before her.-Mr. Rabbit too ok off his hat and bowed,
and Mrs. Rabbit bowed also. Bunny's's curiosity-led him nearer: than
the others, but be was ready for flight at any moment. They all looked
so funny that Nina laughed.
"Why how do you do, Mr. Rabbit, and Mrs. Rabbit, and Jack and
Bunny all the rest," she said. "I am very glad to see you I am sure;
but pray tell me why I am ho honored by this visit?"
Mr. Rabbit bowed again and said: "We chanced to be passing
by on the other side of the fence when we heard you singing about our
tails. Jack and Bunny urged us to stop and explain to you how we happen
to have 'just a little bunch of hair' instead of a bushy tail like the
racoon, or a long slick cl-one like the 'possum."
"Indeed, I shall be very glad to know. I have often wonder about it-but won't you all sit down while you talk?"
-no, thank you," replied Mrs. Rabbit. "I'm afraid we'd muss our
clothes. The grass is getting damp and-Jack! Ho many times must I tell
you to stop that sniffing! You should break yourself of such a bad
"Well," said Mr. Rabbit, as he took a bite from a
cabbage leaf he carried in his pocket, "it was many, many years ago
that all rabbits had longer tails than the 'possum, and a mor bushy one
than the racoon. One of my ancestors met with very serious and painful
accident one day. He- was hopping along through the fields when his
long bushy tail collected s many burs from the plants growing there,
that it became ver heavy and cumbersome, indeed. He was just trying to
thin of some plan to get rid of the burs when all at once a fierce do
came bouncing toward him. My noble ancestor ran as fast he could; but
what chance for escape had he with that heavy tail dragging along
behind him? the dog kept getting closer and closer till at last it
grabbed the tail at no great distance from the body. The rabbit,
however, did not wait. It was ver painful of course; but when he looked
back and saw the do with a part of the tail in his mouth and the rest
stuck tight t the fur on his face, he just hopped for joy. The weight
being gone he was able to escape with ease.
"When all the other rabbits found how fast my
ancestors could travel, they were filled with envy. They began at on to
hold conventions to discuss ways by which they might r move their
"Why couldn't they get the dog to bite theirs off, too asked Nina.
dear girl," said Mrs. Rabbit, while Jack and Bunny snickered, "such a
thing- was impossible. That dog choked t death on the burs, and all
other dogs refused to attempt it. they could not get beyond the tail,
they gave up the chase."
"Go on," urged Bunny. "Tell her what they did
next." "Well," continued Mr. Rabbit, "they tried all kinds of thing One
fellow left his tail sticking out in the cold at night, hoping it would
freeze off; but it only fluffed the more when war weather came. I can
not tell you all the things they did, b some got all the hair off, and
others made theirs sore. At last however, one wise rabbit thought of
soaking his in a jar of whisky."
"What did that do?" asked Nina.
the whisky burnt up all that could be kept in the vessel. just a little
next to the body was left. That is why the little bunch of hair is
"Did you all fix your tails that way?"
no indeed! That was a long, long time ago; but it became the style and
was done so much that after a while all rabbits ceased to have tails.
It was a good thing any way for-"
"O my! Where am I? Oh! My neck hurts. I think
I've been asleep." jumping up, Nina ran home as fast as she could to
tell her mother about her strange dream. "Why do you suppose I dreamed
about burning tails off with whisky, Mother?" she asked.
"Perhaps it was because I had been reading to you about the effects of alcohol on the body."
I remember now. Our bodies are made of little bits of things called
cells. Every time any one drinks whisky, the alcohol in it burns some
of them up and they stay burned always."
"Yes; and the more cells there are destroyed,
the weaker the body becomes. It is very easy then to take some disease.
In your dream, only that part of the rabbit's tail that was covered
with whisky was burned; but alcohol on the inside goes through all
parts of the body."
"Mother, why don't our country make people quit drinking?"
"There is a law against it, Nina; but the law will do no good unless people are compelled to obey it."
"If I learn to respect and obey you, it will be easier to obey the laws of the country, won't it, Mother?
"Yes, dear. To be a good child or citizen is a great thing. I hope-Nina, what are you laughing at?"
"I beg your pardon, Mother, I was listening to you, but Ijust happened to think about how funny the rabbits looked.
PUBLISHED BY THE LINCOLN-LEE LEGION, WESTERVILLE, OHIO