Read STORY XIV - LULU AND THE PUSSY WILLOWS of Lulu‚ Alice and Jimmie Wibblewobble, free online book, by Howard R. Garis, on ReadCentral.com.

“What shall we do now?” asked Lulu the next morning after Aunt Lettie came, and the duck children had gone out to play, leaving their mamma and the old lady goat to do the dishes.

“Let’s go see the fairy prince,” suggested Alice.

“Oh, you’re always thinking of that fairy prince,” objected Jimmie.  “I say let’s go for a walk.”

“All right,” agreed Lulu.  “I know where there are some nice pussy willows.  We’ll get some to take to our school teacher next Monday.”

So they started off up the pond to the place where the pussy willows grew.  They gathered quite a number, breaking off the stems in their strong yellow bills, and then, putting the willows under their wings, they started back home again.  They didn’t have to hurry because, you see, it was Saturday, and there wasn’t any school.  Oh, my no!  Ducks don’t have to go to school on Saturday any more than you do, even if they are only in the kindergarten class.

Now, if you please, pay close attention, for something is going to happen very shortly, if Uncle Wiggily Longears doesn’t come along and bother me, and I don’t believe he will.  Well, Lulu and Alice and Jimmie got safely home with the pussy willows, and as they were putting them in water to keep until Monday, Aunt Lettie came into the room.

“What have you there, my dears?” she asked, wiggling her horns and looking over the tops of her glasses as easily as you can draw a picture of a horse.  “What have you there, my dears?”

“They are pussy willows, Aunt Lettie,” replied Lulu.

“Oh dearie me! oh Sacramento!” cried Aunt Lettie, who was quite excitable at times.  “Why ever did you bring them here, little ones?”

“Why, we want them for teacher,” explained Alice.

“I don’t,” declared Jimmie.  “Boys never bring the teacher flowers; that is unless they don’t want to be kept in when there’s a ball game.  But don’t you like pussy willows, Aunt Lettie?”

“Oh, no indeed,” she answered.  “I don’t like cats of any description.”

“But these are only pussy willows,” said Alice.

“Oh, they’ll turn into cats quickly enough,” remarked Aunt Lettie.  “There was a family who once lived next to us, and they had kittens.  Why it wasn’t any time at all before those kittens had turned into cats, and land goodness, how they did howl nights and keep me awake!  And I had lumbago that summer, too!  Oh, yes, indeed, kittens are all very well, but when they turn into old cats they’re not so nice.”

“Oh, but Aunt Lettie, you don’t understand,” explained Jimmie, smiling the least bit.  “You see these are only plant pussies.  They can’t ever become real cats you know.”

“They grow, don’t they?” asked the old lady goat, shaking her horns again, “Don’t they grow?”

“Yes,” admitted Lulu.  “They certainly grow.”

“Well, if they’re pussies now they’ll grow to be cats soon enough, you mark my words,” went on Aunt Lettie quite sorrowfully.  “That is unless they drown in that water,” she added quickly.

“Why, no; pussy willows can’t drown in water,” said Lulu.  “We put them there to keep them fresh.  You don’t need to worry about those pussy willows, dear Aunt Lettie.”

But Aunt Lettie did worry.  In fact she had to worry about something, anyhow, so I suppose it is just as well that she worried about the pussy willows.  And, when they all went to bed that night, the last thing she said was: 

“Now, you mark my words!  Those pussies will be cats before you know it.”

But Lulu and Alice and Jimmie did not think so.  However you just wait and see what happened.

Along in the middle of the night, when it was all still and quiet, and when even the frogs had stopped croaking, and it wasn’t time for the roosters to begin to crow; yes, when it was dark, and still and silent and not a sound was heard, suddenly what should happen but that right in the Wibblewobble house there came a loud:  “Mew!  Mew!  Mew!”

“There!” exclaimed Aunt Lettie, jumping out of bed.  “What did I tell you?  Those pussy willows have turned into cats, and the house will be full of them!  Oh, dear!  Why did you bring them in here?  It’s dreadfully bad luck!”

Lulu and Jimmie and Alice jumped out of bed, too.  So did Mr. and Mrs. Wibblewobble.  All the while they kept hearing that:  “Mew!  Mew!  Mew!”

“Whatever can it be?” asked Mamma Wibblewobble.  “Maybe it’s a burglar.”

“Nonsense!” replied Mr. Wibblewobble, “burglars don’t mew.  I’ll go look.”

So he went to look, and what do you think he found?  Why, right under a vase of the pussy willows, on a cushion, was a dear, sweet, little white kitten.  Yes, sir, as true as I’m telling you!  And so soon as Lulu saw it she cried:  “It’s mine!  One of my pussy willows has turned into a kittie!  Oh, how glad I am!”

And, honestly, the kittie was right under Lulu’s vase of pussy willows, just as sure as that two and two make four.

“I told you so!” cried Aunt Lettie.  “Now, maybe you’ll believe me next time.  The pussy willows turned into a kitten.”

“Oh, but this kitten can’t be from those willows,” said Papa Wibblewobble.  “This is a real pussy.  It must have come in from out of doors.  I guess I must have left a window open.”

And the funny part of it was that he had left a window up, and it was a real kittie that had wandered in, straying away from its mamma.  But Aunt Lettie was sure it had come from a pussy willow.  Lulu didn’t care, because she was allowed to keep the kittie for herself, and what do you think?  Why that kittie joined Jimmie’s baseball nine, and to-morrow night I’ll tell you about a game of ball that was played.  That is if the man in the moon doesn’t tumble down and hurt his nose.