The Story of a Candy Rabbit/Chapter 4
UP IN THE AIR
Madeline and Dorothy were so surprised at first at seeing the bad cat in the room that they did not know what to do, except that Madeline called "Scat!" to him.
But when the cat jumped down and started to run out of the room, the little girls began to talk very fast.
"Oh, wasn't he a bold thing!" cried Madeline.
"Did he get any of your goldfish?" Dorothy asked.
She and Madeline hurried over to the bowl and counted the swimming fishes.
"No, there are five there, and that's all we had," said Madeline. "The naughty cat didn't get any."
"What do you suppose made that noise like the ringing of a bell ?" asked Dorothy.
"It was the Candy Rabbit," answered Madeline. "Look! He fell over against the glass bowl, and, lots of times, when I've been feeding the fish and have struck the bowl, it has rung like a bell. The Candy Rabbit did that, and that's what made me look around."
"Wouldn't it have been funny if the Rabbit had made the bowl tinkle all by himself?" asked Dorothy, with a laugh.
"Yes. But he couldn't," said Madeline.
And, now I come to think of it, maybe the Candy Rabbit did topple over by himself, to strike against the bowl and so cause Dorothy and Madeline to turn
around in time to stop the bad cat from getting the goldfish. Mind you, I am not saying for sure that this happened. The cat's tail certainly brushed against the Candy Rabbit, but the sweet chap may have tinkled against the glass globe himself. He surely wanted to save the fish from being eaten.
During the rest of Easter Sunday the children played quietly with their toys, Mirabell and Arnold, the other little boy and girl, came over to Madeline's house with their gifts and every one had a happy time.
The Candy Rabbit was looked at over and over again, but, though he liked this and was glad and happy he had come to live with Madeline, yet he could not help worrying about what the cat had said.
"I wonder if a cat can do anything to me," thought the sweet chap, over and over again. "I must be on the watch. He may try to sneak in again."
But, as the days passed and nothing happened, the Candy Rabbit did not worry so much, nor think so much about it. He saw nothing more of the cat.
Madeline took very good care of her Candy Rabbit. She got a piece of pink ribbon and tied it around her Easter toy's neck, making him look very pretty.
"Now I am as stylish as Dorothy's Sawdust Doll, who has a blue ribbon on her hair," thought the Candy Rabbit.
And because of that very same pink ribbon something dreadful happened a few days later. I will tell you about it. After Easter the weather gradually became warmer and sunnier. Doors and windows could be left open, and the flowers in the yard began to blossom.
One day the Candy Rabbit was placed by Madeline on a chair in the dining room, near the bowl of goldfish on their little round table. The Sawdust Doll was not in the room, for Dorothy had her toy out in her own yard playing. The Candy Rabbit was lonesome, for he did not know how to talk to the goldfish.
All of a sudden, in through the open window, jumped the same bad cat that had been there before. His tail was lashing to and fro, and his whiskers were wiggling up and down.
"Meow!" said the cat.
"Oh, dear, here he is again!" said the Candy Rabbit, and, being able, as all toys are, to speak and understand animal language, the Candy Rabbit went on:
"Have you come to try to catch a goldfish, Mr. Tom?"
"Not now!" was the snarling answer. "I came to pay you back, as I said I
would! Only for your toppling over and making the glass globe tinkle, I would have had a goldfish before this. It's all your fault, and I'm going to pay you back!"
"It was not my fault!" said the Rabbit. "You knocked me over yourself with your switching tail. But if I could have stopped you in any other way from getting a goldfish, I would have done it."
"Ha! So that's the way you feel about it, is it?" growled the cat. "Well, I'm going to fix you!"
"How?" asked the Candy Rabbit, wondering what was going to happen. "What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to carry you off to the fields and lose you in the tall grass," was the answer. "Then the next time I want to catch a goldfish you will not give the alarm."
"Oh, please don't take me away!" begged the Candy Rabbit.
"Yes, I will!" said the cat. "I'll carry you away by that pink ribbon around your neck."
All of a sudden, before the Candy Rabbit could hop out of the way, the bad cat sprang across the room and caught in his teeth the end of the pink ribbon that was around the neck of the Candy Easter toy.
"Stop it! Stop! Please let me go!" cried the Candy Rabbit.
"I'll fix you!" was all the cat answered.
Then, carrying the Candy Rabbit in his mouth by means of the ribbon, the bad cat sprang out of the window again and was soon trotting through the tall grass of the lots near the house where Madeline lived.
The grass swished and swashed against the legs and ears of the Candy Rabbit as the cat carried him along. The Rabbit was not hurt any, because the ribbon was not tied very tightly about his neck. And of course the cat's teeth did not touch him. But, for all that, the Candy Rabbit was very angry and somewhat alarmed.
"What are you going to do with me?" he asked the cat.
"You'll see!" was the answer. "I'm going to fix you for spoiling my chance of getting a goldfish dinner! I'm going to lose you, and then I'll go back and get a fish."
Carrying the Candy Rabbit a little way farther into the tall grass, the cat suddenly let go of the ribbon. The Rabbit fell down, but as the grass was soft, like a cushion, he was not hurt. He gave a little grunt as he fell down.
"Now you stay here a while and see how you like it," said the bad cat, and away he trotted, hoping to get a meal of goldfish this time. And there came to the poor Candy Rabbit from the distance the sound of the Cat's voice as he laughed, "Ha-ha," and snarled, "I've fixed you all right! Ha-ha!"
"Dear me!" thought the poor Candy Rabbit, "I wonder what will happen to me. I must try to get out of here. I can hop, as long as no human eyes see me. Maybe I can get back in time to warn the goldfish of their danger."
The Rabbit tried to hop, but, being made of candy as he was, with rather stiff legs that were not very long, he could not go very fast. And when he had made a few hops he was very tired.
"Dear me! I shall have to stay here forever, perhaps," he sighed. "And, if it rains and I get wet, I'll melt and there will be nothing left of me! Oh, what trouble I am in!"
The Candy Rabbit crouched down in the grass, and pretty soon he heard some voices talking. He knew they were the voices of boys, and, in a little while, he heard one say:
"Now, Herbert, you hold the kite and I'll run with it."
"All right, Dick," said some one else. "I hope it flies away up high in the air."
"I'll keep the tail clear of the weeds," said another boy.
"That's the way, Dick," said the first boy.
The Candy Rabbit, down in the grass, heard this.
"They must be Dick, Herbert and Arnold," he thought. "They have come here to fly their kite. I hope they find me and take me home in time to save the goldfish from the cat."
There was more talk and laughter among the boys, but the Candy Rabbit could not see what they were doing. All at once, though, one boy said.
"The tail of the kite is not heavy enough. We've got to tie something to it. And, oh, here is the very thing!" he went on. "We'll give him a ride up in the air!"
"Give who a ride?" asked Dick, for it was Herbert who had spoken.
"Give Madeline's Candy Rabbit a ride on the end of the kite tail," went on Herbert. "Here's her Rabbit down in the grass."
"How did he get here?" asked Arnold.
"I don't know. Maybe my sister carried him over the fields to show to some girl and dropped him. But we'll give the Candy Rabbit a ride in the air. He will be just heavy enough for the kite tail. I'll tie him on."
And then, before the Candy Rabbit could hop away, even if he had been allowed to do so (which he was not) Herbert began tying him on the end of the kite tail by means of the pink ribbon.
A moment later the Rabbit felt himself sailing through the air.