Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, Mr. Rocking-Horse, and Mr. Rabbit Go Traveling (1921)

Barbara’s sequel to “The Life of the Spinning-Wheel, the Rocking Horse, and the Rabbit“, completed in June 1921.

Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, Mr. Rocking-Horse, and Mr. Rabbit Go Traveling (1921)

Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, Mr. Rocking-Horse, and Mr. Rabbit Go Traveling

Chapter I

As I told you before Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, Mr. Rocking-Horse, Mr. Rabbit, and Miss Silver-Leaf all lived together in a house in the forest. It was a little white house with green blinds and a red roof. There was a rose vine climbing up the side of the house; the roses were both pink and white and the two colors together looked very lovely. Every day Mrs. Spinning-Wheel would go out and get a bunch of them and put them on a table in the library.

All around the place there were some oak trees which were so tall and so thick that you could hardly see the house. There were some chestnut trees too, and sometimes Mrs. Spinning-Wheel would go out in the yard and get some. She would roast them and eat them; and sometimes she would have a tea-party of just chestnuts, and maybe a little milk to drink with them because she thought chestnuts alone would be pretty dry.

One day while Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, Mr. Rocking-Horse, Mr. Rabbit, and Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty were having one of these parties an idea came into Mr. Rabbit’s head (because, as you all know, Mr. Rabbit is the smart one). It occurred to him that they could take a trip across the ocean to China and dig down in the hills and maybe they could find some precious stones if the hills were the right kind.

So Mr. Rabbit said: “I have thought of something—let’s take a trip across the ocean to China and we can find some precious stones if the hills are the right kind. Just before you go I will tell you how we will go.”

“But how are we going to get the precious stones?” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel. “You know how little they are sometimes, and maybe they are never large in that country?”

“Oh,” said Mr. Rabbit, “don’t you know how precious stones shine?”

“Oh yes,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel. “I forgot all about that.”

“Well,” said Mr. Rabbit, “that will show us exactly where the precious stones are.”

“Yes,” said Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty, “don’t you know how rubies shine?”

“Yes,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, “I remember all about it; and I even call myself stupid for not thinking of it.”

Everybody laughed; even Mrs. Spinning-Wheel laughed when she realized what she had said. Just then the clock happened to strike six, and Mrs. Spinning-Wheel said that it was mighty near time for supper. So they all had supper and went to bed very early that night so they could get a good night’s sleep because you know that the next day was going to be a very busy one for them because they had to get their suit-cases packed up and that was quite a job, for, in order to go to China, they needed a lot of things.

Chapter II

The next morning when they went down to breakfast, Mr. Horse said, “Say you, ain’t I going on this trip?”

“Of course,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, “we couldn’t get along without you.”

“We could get along without Mr. Horse,” said Mr. Rabbit, “but we want him to go with us so that he can have a nice time.”

“Of course,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, “you are such a smart rabbit I should think you could take the place of Mr. Horse very easily, but still I think we had better let Mr. Horse go this time because he is so funny and he will keep us laughing.”

“Yes,” said Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty, “I agree with you. I, too, think he is very funny.”

Mr. Horse laughed as loudly as his lungs would keep up with him at hearing Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty say he was funny. He laughed so much that he made Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, Mr. Rabbit, and Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty laugh to see him. By and by Mr. Horse stopped laughing and said: “Ain’t it time we began packing up?”

“Yes,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, “we want so many things that I think we had better begin putting them in, now.”

So they went upstairs and began packing their suit-cases. They really did need quite a lot of things; and packing one suit-case with a lot of things in it was quite a job; besides they couldn’t help each other, but each had to attend to his own business.

They put in a brush and comb, and Mr. Rabbit took a coat and the fairy wand. Mrs. Spinning-Wheel took a coat, and Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty took a coat and her rubies and her pink satin dress with the gold china lace on it. They each took some clothes and a tooth-brush and some Kolynos; and maybe for all I know Mr. Horse took a box of cigarettes.

When they finished packing, Mr. Horse said: “Well, what yuh going to do now?”

Mrs. Spinning-Wheel said: “Well, what shall we do next?”

Mr. Rabbit said: “Let’s get started.”

Mrs. Spinning-Wheel said: “Started where?”

Mr. Rabbit said: “Started on our trip.”

“Oh yes,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel. “I’m so stupid!”

“Yes,” said Mr. Rabbit, “but let’s get started, or we shan’t get there until one day more than six weeks. I wanted to get there in six weeks. But first I must tell you how to go. First take the train from the station to either San Francisco or Seattle—whichever you please. I think we’d better have it San Francisco. Then take a steamboat headed for China. So now let’s go.”

When they reached the station it was quite dark; so, instead of taking a parlor car, they took a sleeping car and went to sleep. Mr. Rabbit and Mrs. Spinning-Wheel slept together, Mr. Horse slept in another berth, and Miss Silver-Leaf slept alone, too. Mr. Horse snored so loudly that he kept Mr. Rabbit, Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, and Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty awake almost all night.

Chapter III

The next morning they had already got to San Francisco, and if they had slept any longer they would have gone past San Francisco. So they took a steamboat headed for China.

It was indeed a very interesting trip. Several times they saw a hydroplane, sometimes floating and sometimes flying. Once they saw a big steamboat ten yards longer than the one they were in; the chimney was higher by seven feet, and the smoke was blacker. The captain of that boat did not know it, but there was a big hole in the bottom of the boat. Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, Mr. Rabbit, Mr. Horse, and Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty saw it sink.

“I’m glad we’re not in that boat,” said Mr. Rabbit. “I’m afraid many of the people will get drowned.”

“Do’uh remember that time when Miss Silver-Leaf called me funny?” said Mr. Horse.

“Yes,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel.

“Why don’t yuh laugh about it?” said Mr. Horse.

They sailed on and on, the sea-swallows singing above their heads. Every now and then they came to a shallow place in the water where they could see the seaweed above the surface. Once in a while there came a little breeze, just the right size to make the air very comfortable; if they had been near the shore, that little breeze would have carried the smell of flowers to them. The sky was as blue as it would be in midsummer; the sun shone very brightly; and the ocean was a wonderful deep blue.

“If we were only in China now,” said Mr. Rabbit, “I think we could find many pretty flowers this beautiful day,” and all the rest of them agreed with him.

Suddenly it occurred to Mr. Horse that they hadn’t had anything to eat. So he said: “Say, you, we hain’t had no breakfast!” Then they all remembered that they hadn’t had any breakfast; so when the dining bell rang they ate an enormous dinner, to pay for the breakfast that they had skipped. They had a roast of lamb, some potatoes, some onions [? might not be “onions”; my copy is too blurry to decipher], some bread and butter sandwiches, and for dessert they had the most delicious vanilla ice-cream that they had ever tasted.

When they came back on deck they looked up into the sky; not a cloud was to be seen, but just blue, except the sun which shone brighter than it ever did before.

Because it was so beautiful outdoors, they decided to read, so they all got together. Mr. Rabbit read about the flowers and butterflies; Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty read about the fairies; Mr. Horse read about the animals; and Mrs. Spinning-Wheel read about the birds. They read for two hours or so, and they thought they read for one hour, because the reading was so interesting that the minutes flew by quickly.

After they had stopped reading Mr. Horse said: “Ain’t it time we had something to eat?”

“I guess you’re right,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, “but let’s let it get a little darker before we have supper.”

So they waited. The sun went down making all the clouds a rosy color; in a minute the sky, the clouds, and the sun were reflected in the water. The birds stopped singing and went to sleep. All was still, except sometimes the steam from the steamboats made a little noise; nothing else stirred.

At last Mrs. Spinning-Wheel said: “I guess it’s time we had supper now.”

“I guess we can,” said Mr. Rabbit.

So they all had supper and went to bed.

Chapter IV

The next morning when they woke up, a small voice from Mr. Rabbit piped up: “Wasn’t the sea lovely last night before we went to bed?”

“I think it was very lovely indeed,” said Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty.

“I think everything was beautiful last night,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel and Mr. Horse said the same thing.

Once Mr. Rabbit strained his eyes, and looked very curious.

“What are you looking at, Mr. Rabbit?” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel.

“I saw a speck,” said Mr. Rabbit, “and I – I – think,” he hesitated, “I think it’s China.”

Then they all strained their eyes to see the speck that Mr. Rabbit thought was China. Sure enough they saw a speck; not one of them thought that Mr. Rabbit was joking.

Then Mr. Rabbit spoke up: “If the weather is clear and there is no storm that will stop the boat—I think we can get to China tomorrow.”

Then Mr. Horse spoke up: “Say you, I seem to be the rememberer of the meals; we hain’t had no breakfast yet.”

So they all had breakfast. When they came back on deck, they all looked for the speck once more, and there it was, only it seemed a little bigger.

“Ha, ha!” said Mr. Rabbit. “I know that speck is China, now; it’s a little bigger than it was in the first place. Besides, the speck is right in front of us, and so it must be China because this steamboat is headed for China.”

“Aren’t you a smart rabbit!” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel. You tell us many things we could never think of, and you told us why the speck should be China.”

Mr. Rabbit laughed. “Goodness knows I don’t know everything,” he said.

“Mrs. Spinning-Wheel,” said Mr. Horse, “Mr. Rabbit told us how to go to China!”

“Ha,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, “I was just going to say that myself; I think Mr. Rabbit is very smart to tell us that.”

Mr. Rabbit didn’t say a word; in fact, he didn’t have anything to say.

Finally he said: “Bigger and bigger,” his face looking very curious.

“Bigger and bigger what?” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel.

“The speck is getting bigger almost every second!” said Mr. Rabbit.

“My,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, “the steamboat must be going pretty fast.”

“It is,” said Mr. Rabbit.

“Do you think we can get there tomorrow?” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel.

“I shouldn’t be at all surprised if we could get there this evening,” explained Mr. Rabbit.

Slowly the wind began to blow; harder and harder it blew till at last quite big waves were seen on the ocean. In a minute the wind began to go down, until there was nothing left but a little breeze, and the air was very comfortable.

Mrs. Spinning-Wheel laughed. “Why does the wind blow that way,” she said, “first hard and then soft.”

“Goodness knows,” said Mr. Rabbit. “Ask the wind.”

“Please Sir Wind, why do you blow that way?” questioned Mrs. Spinning-Wheel.

“I do it for my exercise,” said Mr. Wind.

“Yes, I know that,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, “but why do you blow first hard and then soft?”

“Oh,” said Mr. Wind, “you didn’t tell me that. I do it because I like to rest sometimes.”

“Oh,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, “I thought you never rested.”

Then Mr. Wind spoke up: “It’s North Wind that never rests; I’m South Wind.”

“Oh,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, “I didn’t think any of the winds ever rested.”

“North Wind and East Wind never rest,” said Mr. Wind, “but West Wind and I rest.”

“Thank you,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, “now I’ll let you go on with your sailing.”

“I’m sure you’re very welcome,” said Mr. Wind, as he blew away.

Mr. Rabbit, Mr. Horse, and Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty had been listening to what Mr. Wind said so there was no need to ask.

In the evening they arrived at the wharf and saw loads of people.

Then Mr. Rabbit spoke up: “We don’t want to be in the city here; we want to be in the forest, in the part of the forest where the mountains are.”

“Of course we do,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, “but anyway let’s wander on, and we’ll get there sooner or later.”

“Let’s make a little house of sticks,” said Mr. Rabbit, “and we’ll make the roof over some moss, so that all we have to do for the beds is to find some blankets, and the moss will make them nice and soft. The moss will help a great deal because we won’t have to get leaves to make the floor soft for our feet.”

“But how shall we get our food?” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel.

“Pooh,” said Mr. Rabbit, “that’s easy enough, all we have to do is to walk down to some little pond and catch a fish.”

“But we don’t want to eat fish all the time,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel. “What else could we eat?”

“I have some potato seeds with me,” said Mr. Rabbit. “I suppose we could plant a crop of potatoes.”

“Oh yes, that would be fine,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, “but first, let’s find a place to build a house.”

Finally Mr. Rabbit stopped, and said: “Here is a little pond.”

“And here are the mountains,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel.

“Why not build our house right here, and every day we can catch in this pond, and we can get our precious stones in these mountains,” said Mr. Rabbit.

“Let me pile the sticks,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel.

“Let me carry the sticks,” said Mr. Horse.

“And let me find the blankets for the beds,” said Mr. Rabbit.

“Let me find a place for the beds,” said Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty.

“Then we all have something to do,” said Mr. Rabbit.

So Mrs. Spinning-Wheel piled the sticks, Mr. Horse carried the sticks, Mr. Rabbit found the blankets for the beds, and Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty found a place for the beds.

When they finished their work, Mr. Rabbit said: “Do you think we can make one trip in the mountains and find some precious stones?”

“No,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, “I’m getting rather sleepy. Let’s go to sleep now, and make all our trips tomorrow morning.”

“But we’ve got to have supper, you know,” said Mr. Rabbit.

“All right,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, “we’ll all go down to the pond and catch a fish.”

So they all had supper and went to bed.

Chapter V

The next morning when they woke up, Mr. Rabbit said: “Well, shall we make our trip for the precious stones?”

“Yes,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel.

“Shall I begin to dig in the mountains?” said Mr. Rabbit.

“Yes,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel.

So Mr. Rabbit began to dig; he dug and dug and dug.

Finally he stopped, and said: “Here it is.”

“What?” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel.

“Here is a precious stone,” said Mr. Rabbit.

“What kind is it?” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel.

“A ruby,” said Mr. Rabbit.

“And here is a precious stone,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, going on a little farther.

“Do you want me to tell you what kind it is?” said Mr. Rabbit.

“Yes,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel.

“That is a topaz,” said Mr. Rabbit.

“And here is a precious stone,” said Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty.

“Do you want me to tell you what kind it is?” said Mr. Rabbit.

“Yes,” said Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty.

“That is a sapphire,” said Mr. Rabbit.

“And here is a precious stone,” said Mr. Horse.

“Do you want me to tell you what kind it is?” said Mr. Rabbit.

“Yes,” said Mr. Horse.

“That is a garnet,” said Mr. Rabbit.

“And here is a precious stone,” said Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty.

“Do you want me to tell you what kind it is?” said Mr. Rabbit.

“Yes,” said Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty.

“That is a turquoise,” said Mr. Rabbit.

“Now,” said Mr. Rabbit, “let’s go and find some gold and silver.”

“Just what for?” asked Mrs. Spinning-Wheel.

“Well,” said Mr. Rabbit, “I was planning that we could take a little knife and shape the gold and silver into rings, then we could put the precious stones in. But here is an aqua-marine.”

“Let’s not put the aqua-marines into rings,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, “but cut the gold and silver into little squares; then find three white pearls, and lay them on the gold and silver. After that, take a little piece of gold, shape it into the link of a chain, and join one end onto the aqua-marine and the other onto one corner of the square, and that will make a little pendant. But first let’s find all the aqua-marines and pearls we can.”

“A bright idea!” exclaimed Mr. Rabbit.

“Look at that light coming near us,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel.

“Oh, that’s probably just some miner with a torch,” replied Mr. Rabbit, “but anyway, here are eight aqua-marines.”

“If we could find 24 pearls we should have enough to make those little pendants I told you about,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel.

“If we could find 27 pearls we should have enough to make those little pendants you told me about,” said Mr. Rabbit, “because I found an aqua-marine before.”

“Here are 9 pearls,” said Mr. Horse.

“Here are 18 pearls,” said Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty.

“Now,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, “let’s go out of the mountain and make some pendants.”

“But first we must find some gold and silver,” said Mr. Rabbit.

“Oh yes,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, “I forgot all about that!”

So they went to look for some gold and silver. After they thought they had enough, Mr. Rabbit said: “Now we’ll go and make some pendants.”

“Yuh shure you know the way?” questioned Mr. Horse.

“Oh, I guess we’re all right,” replied Mr. Rabbit. “Anyway, let’s make our pendants down at the bank of the pond where the buttercups and daisies grow.”

“That would be splendid!” exclaimed Mrs. Spinning-Wheel.

“Some day we’ll make a little boat, and go fishing,” said Mr. Rabbit.

“Are there any water lilies down there?” asked Mrs. Spinning-Wheel.

“Yes, I think there are a few,” said Mr. Rabbit.

So they went out of the mountain and down to the pond. It was a little circular pond, so clean that it was almost transparent. In it bloomed some water lilies. Yes, sir, Mr. Rabbit was right. Crops of buttercups and daisies grew on the banks; there were a few violets, too. Yes, sir, it was a lovely place.

As soon as they got there, Mr. Rabbit began to carve the gold and silver into little squares. Then Mrs. Spinning-Wheel gave him three pearls, and he laid them on the gold. Mr. Rabbit took a little piece of gold, shaped it into a link of a chain, and hitched one end of it on to one corner of the square. Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, then, gave him an aqua-marine, and he hitched the other end on to it.

“There’s a little pendant!” exclaimed Mr. Rabbit as soon as he finished it. “Why not shape another link, and hitch it on to the opposite corner of the square; carve a little piece of gold into a chain, then we can wear it around our necks?”

“All right,” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel. “That’s fine.”

So they did it.

“Let’s pick a bunch of flowers,” spoke Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty, “so long as it’s Sunday, we might get the house a little bit decorated. We’ll pick a bunch of violets with ferns around them.”

“But where shall we get the vase and the water to put them in?” said Mrs. Spinning-Wheel.

“There is plenty of water in the pond,” replied Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty.

“But where shall we get the vase?” questioned Mrs. Spinning-Wheel.

“I have a little vase,” spoke up Mr. Rabbit, “which has a picture of violets growing by a pond.”

So Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty took the vase, filled it with water from the pond, and put the bunch of violets and ferns into it. Meanwhile, Mr. Rabbit had been picking some buttercups and daisies. He took out of his suit-case another little vase which had the picture of two little squirrels sitting in a tree, washing their faces, filled it with water from the pond, and put the buttercups and daisies into it. Then they carried the flowers into the house, and—suddenly it occurred to Mr. Horse that they hadn’t had anything to eat. So he said: “Hey you, we hain’t had no breakfast.”

“That’s right!” cried Mrs. Spinning-Wheel. “I thought I felt a little bit hungry.”

After they had eaten their breakfast, Mrs. Spinning-Wheel said rather sharply: “What’s that noise?”

“That roaring?” asked Mr. Rabbit.

“That roaring,” answered Mrs. Spinning-Wheel.

“I think that is a lion,” said Mr. Rabbit, as he pricked up his ears.

“Let us get into bed as we did once before and you go down to the front door; but don’t forget to take your wand.”

So Mr. Rabbit took his wand, and went down stairs to the front door, opened it, and looked out upon the piazza. There stood Mr. Lion. Mr. Rabbit raised his wand and struck him very hard. In an instant Mr. Lion had changed into a little white rabbit and a little gray squirrel, a little gray rabbit, and a little brown rabbit. Mr. Rabbit said to the little gray squirrel: “What is your name?”

“Black-eye,” replied the little gray squirrel.

Mr. Rabbit said to the little white rabbit: “What is your name?”

“Pink-eye,” replied the little white rabbit.

Mr. Rabbit said to the little brown rabbit: “What is your name?”

“Clover-Leaf,” replied the little brown rabbit.

Mr. Rabbit said to the little gray rabbit: “What is your name?”

“Clover-Bug,” replied the little gray rabbit.

“Will you not come and live with us?” said Mr. Rabbit.

“Us,” said the little gray rabbit, “what is us, you only live here alone so the question can only be me?”

“But Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, Mr. Rocking-Horse, and Miss Silver-Leaf Beauty live here too,” said Mr. Rabbit.

“Oh,” said the little gray rabbit, “then I made a mistake. I thought you lived here all alone.”

“No,” said Mr. Rabbit, “but are you sure you want to live with us?”

“Yes,” said Clover-Leaf.

“Well, if you want to live with us you are not going to stay here very long,” said Mr. Rabbit.

“Why not,” said they all together.

“Because we only came to China for a visit and we are going home in a few days.

“Oh, I thought you lived here,” said Clover-Bug, “however I will stay here with you and go home when you go.”

So the little animals stayed with Mr. Rabbit and at last they went home over the six weeks of ocean and landed in the little white house in the forest.

THE END

June 14, 1921

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