Peter Rabbit sat at the top of the Crooked Little Path where it starts down the hill. He was sitting there when jolly, round, red Mr. Sun threw his nightcap off and began his daily climb up into the blue, blue sky. He saw Old Mother West Wind hurry down from the Purple Hills and turn her Merry Little Breezes out to play on the Green Meadows.
Peter yawned. The fact is, Peter had been out nearly all night, and now he didn’t know just what to do with himself. Presently he saw Striped Chipmunk whisk up on top of an old log. As usual the pockets in Striped Chipmunk’s cheeks were stuffed so full that his head looked to be twice as big as it really is, and as usual he seemed to be very busy, very busy indeed. He stopped just long enough to wink one of his saucy black eyes and shout, “Good morning, Peter Rabbit!”
Then he disappeared as suddenly as he had come. A few minutes later he was back on the old log, but this time his cheeks were empty.
“Fine day, Peter Rabbit,” said Striped Chipmunk, and whisked out of sight. Peter Rabbit yawned again. Then he closed his eyes for just a minute. When he opened them there was Striped Chipmunk on the old log just as before, and the pockets in both cheeks were so full that it seemed as if they would burst.
“Nice morning to work, Peter Rabbit,” said Striped Chipmunk, in spite of his full cheeks. Then he was gone.
Once more Peter Rabbit closed his eyes, but hardly were they shut when Striped Chipmunk shouted,
“Oh, you Peter Rabbit, been out all night?”
Peter snapped his eyes open just in time to see the funny little tail of Striped Chipmunk vanish over the side of the old log. Peter scratched one of his long ears and yawned again, for Peter was growing more and more sleepy. It was a long yawn, but Peter cut it off right in the middle, for there was Striped Chipmunk back on the old log, and both pockets in his cheeks were stuffed full.
Now Peter Rabbit is as curious as he is lazy, and you know he is very, very lazy. The fact is, Peter Rabbit’s curiosity is his greatest fault, and it gets him into a great deal of trouble. It is because of this and the bad, bad habit of meddling in the affairs of other people into which it has led him that Peter Rabbit has such long ears.
For a while Peter watched busy Striped Chipmunk. Then he began to wonder what Striped Chipmunk could be doing. The more he wondered the more he felt that he really must know. The next time Striped Chipmunk appeared on the old log, Peter shouted to him.
“Hi, Striped Chipmunk, what are you so busy about? Why don’t you play a little?”
Striped Chipmunk stopped a minute. “I’m building a new house,” said he.
“Where?” asked Peter Rabbit.
“That’s telling,” replied Striped Chipmunk, and whisked out of sight.
Now Peter Rabbit knew where Reddy Fox and Jimmy Skunk and Bobby Coon and Happy Jack Squirrel and Johnny Chuck and Danny Meadow Mouse lived. He knew all the little paths leading to their homes. But he did not know where Striped Chipmunk lived. He never had known. He thought of this as he watched Striped Chipmunk hurrying back and forth. The more he thought of it the more curious he grew. He really must know.
Pretty soon along came Jimmy Skunk, looking for some beetles.
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