It was a warm summer day.
Bunny and Billy were over in the meadow eating clover.
Mother Rabbit and Bobtail were in the garden eating cabbage.
Billy was fond of cabbage, too. But the garden was far away, across the field and over the other side of the road.
So Billy ate clover in the meadow.
Bunny had eaten cabbage the day before. So he ate clover in the meadow with Billy.
The two little rabbits nibbled at the tender leaves.
“I have had enough to last me all day,” said Bunny. “Now let’s go and play.”
“Oh, no!” said Billy. “I am going home and take a nap.”
“Oh, do come and play with me,” said Bunny.
But Billy only shook his head and hopped off toward home.
Bunny looked around to see if there was any one to play with.
He could not see any of his friends.
“I think I will go over to the garden and find mother and Bobtail,” he said to himself.
Now when Bunny thought of anything he always did it the very next minute.
So he hopped off as fast he could go.
He hopped across the field and across the road.
When he came to the barn he stopped to see if Mr. Man or Jip were anywhere in sight.
“Cock-a-doodle-doo!” called the rooster, who was sitting on the fence.
“Where are you going so fast this bright day?”
“I am going to the garden again,” said Bunny. “Mother and Bobtail are there eating cabbage.”
Bunny hopped along past the hen-yard fence, and into the orchard.
All at once he stopped. He saw something in the grass ahead of him.
It was white and round and furry. And it had two long ears just like his own.
Bunny stood very still and looked and looked.
“That must be a snow rabbit,” he said to himself.
“But I never saw a snow rabbit in the summer. I am sure this hot sun would melt the snow.”
Just then the white rabbit saw Bunny.
“Who are you?” he asked. “I never saw you before.”
“I never saw you,” said Bunny. “Where did you come from?”
“I live in a little house near the barn,” said the white rabbit.
“Jack left the gate open this morning when he fed me, and so I thought I would take a walk.”
“Do you like to live in a little house?” asked Bunny.
“Oh, yes," answered the white rabbit. “I always have something to eat and I am never cold.
“And when Jack forgets to close the gate, I have a good play in the field.”
“I live in the woods,” said Bunny. “My door is never closed, and I can run out any time I wish.
“But sometimes I am hungry, and sometimes I am cold.”
“Come and live with me,” said the white rabbit. “There is room enough in my house for two.”
Now Bunny knew he would not like to live in a house all the time, but he thought he might go and visit the white rabbit.
So Bunny and Whitie, as Bunny called him, hopped off toward the barn.
“That is my home,” said the white rabbit, and he pointed to a little house under the apple tree.
There was a yard in front of the house. And there was a fence around the yard, – a fence with a gate that could be shut and locked.
Bunny saw the house and he hopped along after Whitie.
But he was frightened. He had never been so near the barn before.
What if Mr. Man or Jip should see him.
At last they reached Whitie’s house and the two little rabbits hopped through the gate.
“Oh, see these cabbage leaves,” said Whitie. “Jack left them here for my dinner.”
But Bunny did not look at the cabbage leaves, for just at that moment he heard Jip barking.
And then he heard Jack talking to the dog.
Poor Bunny’s heart began to beat very fast.
“What shall I do? What shall I do?” he said.
“Jack and Jip will not hurt you,” said Whitie. “I think Jack is coming to close the gate.”
Bunny hid himself in one corner of the house and held his breath for fear Jack would see him.
“Why, Whitie!” Bunny heard Jack say, “I left your gate open this morning. I must close it now or you will be taking a walk in the garden.”
Jack closed the gate, and Bunny was caught.
When Jack had gone away, Whitie called to Bunny to come out in the yard.
“Come and eat some of these good cabbage leaves,” he said.
But Bunny could not eat. He could only sit and look at the closed gate.
“I want to go home,” he said to Whitie. “I don’t like to stay in this yard all the time.”
“But you will never be hungry here,” said Whitie. “Come and eat something now.”
Bunny was not hungry. He could not eat.
All day long he sat in the house.
He wondered what Bobtail and Billy were doing.
He wondered if Mother Rabbit was hunting for him.
Just before dark he heard Jack coming to see Whitie again.
He did not hear Jip barking.
“Perhaps Jack is alone,” thou| Bunny. “If he is I think I can get away.”
He sat very still and listened.
Then he peeped out and saw Jack coming across the grass.
He was all alone. The dog was not running along beside him.
Bunny turned around and looked at Whitie.
“Good-by,” he said. “I am going to hop out when Jack opens the gate.
“You have a very good home here. But I like my home in the woods much better.
“Sometime when you run away come and see me.”
Just then Jack opened the gate and out jumped Bunny! Jack was so frightened that he dropped Whitie’s supper on the ground.
He looked around to see what had flashed by him so quickly.
But Bunny was out of sight!
He did not stop or look around until he was safe in his own home.
“Where have you been?” asked Mother Rabbit. “I thought you were lost.”
“I thought so, too,” said Bunny.
“I went to visit the white rabbit who lives in a little house under the apple tree.
“And then Jack came and shut the gate and I could not get away.”
“Oh, Bunny, Bunny!” said Mother Rabbit. “I thought you were too wise to get caught in a trap.”
“I am now,” Bunny answered, and he ran out to have a game of tag with Billy and Bobtail.