Read STORY XIII - A VISIT FROM AUNT LETTIE of Lulu‚ Alice and Jimmie Wibblewobble, free online book, by Howard R. Garis, on ReadCentral.com.

One day it was so very pleasant out of doors that Lulu and Alice and Jimmie Wibblewobble didn’t want to go to school.  The sun was sparkling on the water in the duck pond, and Alice said, as she felt the wind blowing on her feathers: 

“Oh, I just wish I could go see the fairy prince again!”

“Pooh!  I don’t,” spoke Jimmie.  “But I wish we could stay home from school.  Bully, the frog, and I were going to get up a baseball nine.  Let’s go ask papa if we can stay home.”

“Can’t I play on your ball team?” asked Lulu, who could throw a stone almost as well as a boy.

“No,” said Jimmie.  “Girls never play on ball teams.”

“Couldn’t I even umpire?” went on his sister.

“No, Uncle Wiggily Longears is going to do that,” replied Jimmie.  “Billie and Johnnie Bushytail and Sammie Littletail are going to play on the team.  But let’s go ask papa if we can stay home.  It’s too nice to go to school.”

So they went and asked Mr. Wibblewobble, who had remained at home from work that day, because, you see, he happened to swallow a shoe button by mistake for a grain of corn, and he had indigestion something awful; yes, really.

You know it was a tan shoe button, and if your eyesight isn’t very good, why it does look like a grain of corn, especially if you’re very hungry and in a hurry.  So Mr. Wibblewobble wasn’t feeling very well when Jimmie and Lulu came in to ask him if they could stay home from school, and he was the least bit cross, perhaps, because his indigestion was really very bad at that moment.  So he answered them: 

“No, indeed, you can’t stay home.  Go to school at once!  Quack!”

Now when a duck says one quack, instead of a double quack-quack, you may know he is feeling very, very miserable, and you don’t want to bother him any more than you can help.

Lulu and Jimmie knew this, and they hurried out of the pen to go to school.  Then their papa felt sorry for them, because, you see, he did not really mean to be cross, only he knew it was best for them to learn all they could.  So he said “Quack-quack,” which meant he was feeling better, and he added:  “When you come home, my dears, you may each have a penny.  Run along now, like good ducks.”

So, though Jimmie felt badly about not being able to get up a ball nine, he waddled along with his sisters, and pretty soon they were at the owl school, where they met Sammie and Susie Littletail and Billie and Johnnie Bushytail, and Sister Sallie and Bully, the frog.  Yes, they were all there, and, what’s more, they had their lessons, too, so they were not kept in.

They hurried home after school, Alice and Lulu and Jimmie, I mean, because this story is about them, you see; and they got their pennies from their papa, and each one bought some watercress snails, preserved in salted cornmeal; very fine they were, too, for ducks.

Just as the three Wibblewobble children were finishing the last of the snails, who should come hopping along but Bully, the frog.  He hopped into the water to cool himself off and then, when he had hopped out again, he asked: 

“I say, Jimmie, are your folks expecting company?”

“I don’t think so,” answered Jimmie.  “I saw mamma setting the table and she wasn’t putting the clean cloth on.  No, I guess we’re not going to have company, or there’d be a clean cloth put on.  Why do you ask?”

“Because, as I was coming through the woods just now I met a funny looking creature asking the way to your pen.”

“Who was it?” inquired Lulu.

“Oh, it was a nice old lady.  She had long hair and she carried a basket and she wore such a funny bonnet!  Two sharp things stuck right out of the top of it.  I offered to show her the way here, but she said I went in the water so often that she couldn’t follow me, for she didn’t want to get her feet wet.  You must be going to have company.”

“Maybe we are!” cried Alice.  “Let’s go ask mamma.”

So they went, and asked their mother, but she said she did not know of any company coming, but, for fear some one might come along unexpectedly she did put the clean table cloth on, and she got out the napkins, and opened a jar of preserved sweet flag root.

“Come on,” proposed Lulu, after a bit, “let’s go through the woods.  Bully, you show us where you met the queer lady, and maybe we’ll see her.”

So the four started off, Bully hopping along in front, and pretty soon, just as they got to the place where the weeping willow tree stands, what should they hear but a funny noise.  It sounded like “Ma-a-a-a-a!” You know, just like a sheep cries.

“There she is!” exclaimed Bully.  “That’s just the way she talks.  And there she is!  Look!  The nice old lady!”

The three Wibblewobble children looked, and what should they see but a big white goat.  She was an old lady goat, and she was walking along with her basket on her arm, and the things sticking out of her bonnet were her horns.  As soon as she saw the children she called: 

“Oh, my dears, can you show me the way to Mrs. Wibblewobble’s?  I’m afraid I’m lost!”

“Why, Mrs. Wibblewobble is our mamma,” answered Lulu, quickly.

“Oh, my dears!  You don’t mean it!” cried the goat.  “Then you must be my little nieces and nephew I’ve heard so much about.  But who is this little green boy?  I’ve seen him before.”

“Oh, he’s the catcher on our base ball nine,” said Jimmie.  “He catches the balls in his mouth.  But, who are you, if I may be so bold as to ask?”

“I’m your Aunt Lettie,” replied the goat.  “I’ve come to pay you a long visit.  Oh, I’m so glad I found you, for I feared I would never get to your house!  See, I have brought you some apple turnovers, and some gooseberry tarts.  Now let’s hurry home, but first kiss me.”

So Aunt Lettie kissed them all, even Bully, the frog, and then she and the Wibblewobble children went to the ducks’ pen, where she stayed several days.

And quite a number of things happened, too.  In fact, one took place the very next day, as you shall hear to-morrow night, when I am going to tell you about Lulu and the pussy willows, provided a doggie with a yellow nose and pink ears doesn’t scare me.