Read STORY IX - GRANDFATHER GOOSEY-GANDER IN TROUBLE of Lulu‚ Alice and Jimmie Wibblewobble, free online book, by Howard R. Garis, on ReadCentral.com.

On their way home, after having seen the mud turtle fairy prince, Jimmie, Lulu and Alice Wibblewobble, of course, talked of nothing else.  They wished the prince had done something wonderful, instead of merely sending them away when he ate his dinner, and they hoped he would perform a magical feat another time.  He really did, as I shall tell you about later, if I do not forget it.  The gold fish swam a little way back with the duck children, as she said the prince always liked to be alone when he ate.

“Well, how did you like him?” asked Fan Tail of the ducks.

“Not very much,” replied Lulu.  “I never did care for mud turtles.”

“Nor I,” added Jimmie.

“I don’t believe he was really a mud turtle at all,” declared Alice.  “He was a real, truly, fairy prince, and he only looked like a mud turtle, because we did not have the right kind of eyes with which to see him or else because we had no faith in him.  It is always so, in fairy stories.  You must believe, or you can’t see the beautiful things.”

“Well, I’d rather have some snails to eat,” said Jimmie.  “You don’t care how they look; it’s how they taste.  I’m never going to bother with fairies again.”

It was about three days after this that Jimmie and Lulu were walking in the deep, green woods, under the trees, picking tender leaves and roots to eat.  They were hoping they might meet Johnnie and Billie Bushytail, the squirrels whom they had not seen for some time.  Alice stayed home to curl her feathers.

All at once, as they were walking along, the little boy and girl duck heard a funny noise.

“What’s that?” cried Jimmie.

“I don’t know,” answered Lulu.  “It sounds like some one calling.”

And, sure enough, it was.  As they stopped to listen they could hear some one crying:  “Help!  Help!  Oh, help!”

“Let’s go and see who it is,” suggested Jimmie.

“Maybe it’s a dog, or a bad rat, or a fox,” objected Lulu.

“No,” said her brother, “they would never call for help.  Come on.”

So they walked on, looking this way and that, to see what they could see; on and on through the woods, until, just as they came from behind a big oak tree, what should they catch sight of, but poor, Grandfather Goosey-Gander, caught fast in the middle of a pile of brush.

“Oh dear me!  Oh my goodness me sakes alive!  Oh, floppy! floppy! floppy!  Oh, a bag of salt and some corn meal!” cried the poor old gentleman duck.  “I am in a terrible state!  Help me!”

Then Lulu and Jimmie ran right up to him, and asked him what was the matter.

“Oh dear,” he said, “I really can’t say.  I’ve lost my glasses, and I can’t see very well.  All I know is that I was walking in the woods, thinking what a nice day it was, when, all of a sudden, in about a quack and a half, I found myself caught fast.  And the worst part of it is that I can’t get loose!”

“Let me take a look,” said Jimmie.

So he went quite close and looked, and he saw that Grandfather Goosey-Gander’s right leg was held in between two sticks.  The old gentleman duck was in great pain.

“Is my leg broken?” he asked Jimmie.

“No,” answered the little boy duck, “but some of the skin is scraped off.”

“I knew it!” cried Grandfather Goosey-Gander.  “Now I won’t be able to go fishing next week.  Oh, I do seem to have the worst luck; don’t I?”

“We will get you out,” Lulu said to him, and then she and her brother went to the aid of the poor old duck.  They pushed this way and that way, and they pulled that way and this way, and they lifted up on the pieces of sticks, and they pushed down on them, but it was no use.  Poor Grandfather Goosey-Gander was stuck fast there, and I think it was a shame, but it couldn’t be helped.  Oh my no, and a bit of peppermint candy besides!

“Well, I guess I will have to stay here and die,” said the discouraged old duck, and he felt so badly that he wept.  Lulu and Jimmie cried also, they felt so sorry.  The three of them cried, and their tears were so many that if they had cried long enough there would have been quite a pond there, and they could have gone in swimming.  That is, of course, all but Grandfather Goosey-Gander, and he couldn’t swim for he was held fast.  But they didn’t weep long enough.

“Let’s try once more,” said Lulu, after a while, and then she and Jimmie tried harder than ever to get grandfather’s leg out.  But they couldn’t.

“If I only had a saw!” cried Jimmie, “I could get him loose.”

“Ha! perhaps I can help you!” suddenly exclaimed a voice.

Then, as quickly as you can break an egg by dropping it on the floor (only of course you must not do it without permission), who should appear but Nurse Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy, the muskrat.  She was out walking with Sammie and Susie Littletail.

“Oh, somebody do please help me!” cried Grandfather Goosey-Gander.  “I’ve lost my glasses, my leg is caught, and I have a pain in my back.  Oh, oh, oh!”

“I’ll gnaw through those sticks in a jiffy!” cried Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy, for a jiffy is very quick time indeed.  Oh, yes, and a broken down couch besides!

So, telling Sammie and Susie Littletail to stand back, and calling to Jimmie and Lulu to remain with them, the muskrat nurse set to work to free Grandfather Goosey-Gander.  Her teeth were like the chisels the carpenter uses and in a few seconds the old duck’s leg was free.  Oh, how glad he was, and how thankful to Nurse Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy!  Of course the duck and rabbit children also were glad.

Then Jane gnawed out a little crutch for grandfather to walk with, as he was a trifle lame, and what do you think?  Why, Susie Littletail found his glasses for him; and Sammie and Jimmie rubbed his back so nicely that the pain all went out of that.  Now I call that doing something don’t you?

Well, Grandfather Goosey-Gander started for home, and Jimmie and Lulu asked Sammie and Susie to come and play with them.  Nurse Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy said they might, and they had a fine time under the trees in the woods, playing tag of all kinds; cross-tag, wood-tag, dirt-tag, leaf-tag, stump-tag, and a new kind, called acorn-tag, which I will explain about later.  Then the bunny children went home with their nurse and Jimmie and Lulu also went home and about two days after that a very funny thing happened.

What it was you shall hear to-morrow night if the trolley car doesn’t get off the track, but I’ll let you know this much — it’s going to be about the rooster trying to swim.