Mrs. Peter Rabbit by Thornton W. Burgess
Chapter XV. A Pleasant Surprise for Peter
Sticks will break and sticks will bend, And all things bad will have an end. Peter Rabbit.
All morning, while someone was fooling Old Jed Thumper, the cross old Rabbit who thought he owned the Old Pasture, Peter Rabbit lay stretched out on the warm little sunning-bank, dreaming of soft, gentle eyes and beautiful little footprints. It was a dangerous place to go to sleep, because at any time fierce Mr. Goshawk might have come that way, and if he had, and had found Peter Rabbit asleep, why, that would have been the end of Peter and all the stories about him.
Peter did go to sleep. You see, the sunning-bank was so warm and comfortable, and he was so tired and had had so little sleep for such a long time that, in spite of all he could do, he nodded and nodded and finally slipped off into dreamland.
Peter slept a long time, for no one came to disturb him. It was past noon when he opened his eyes and blinked up at jolly, round, red Mr. Sun. For a minute he couldn't remember where he was. When he did, he sprang to his feet and hastily looked this way and that way.
"My gracious!" exclaimed Peter. "My gracious, what a careless fellow I am! It's a wonder that Old Jed Thumper didn't find me asleep. My, but I'm hungry! Seems as if I hadn't had a good square meal for a year."
Peter stopped suddenly and began to wrinkle his nose. "Um-m!" said he, "if I didn't know better, I should say that there is a patch of sweet clover close by. Um-m, my, my! Am I really awake, or am I still dreaming? I certainly do smell sweet clover!"
Slowly Peter turned his head In the direction from which the delicious smell seemed to come. Then he whirled around and stared as hard as ever he could, his mouth gaping wide open in surprise. He blinked, rubbed his eyes, then blinked again. There could be no doubt of it; there on the edge of the sunning-bank was a neat little pile of tender, sweet clover. Yes, Sir, there it was!
Peter walked all around it, looking for all the world as if he couldn't believe that it was real. Finally he reached out and nibbled a leaf of it. It was real!
There was no doubt in Peter's mind then. Some one had put it there while Peter was asleep, and Peter knew that it was meant for him. Who could it have been?
Suddenly a thought popped into Peter's head. He stopped eating and hopped over to the big fern from behind which he had first seen the two soft, gentle eyes peeping at him the day before. There in the soft earth was a fresh footprint, and it looked very, very much like the footprint of dainty little Miss Fuzzytail!
Peter's heart gave a happy little jump. He felt sure now who had put the clover there. He looked wistfully about among the ferns, but she was nowhere to be seen. Finally he hopped back to the pile of clover and ate it, every bit, and it seemed to him that it was the sweetest, tenderest clover he had ever tasted in all his life.