Mrs. Peter Rabbit by Thornton W. Burgess
Chapter V. In the Old Pasture
Brambles never scratch those who understand and are considerate of them. Peter Rabbit.
Peter Rabbit sat under a friendly bramble-bush on the edge of the Old Pasture and panted for breath, while his heart went pit-a-pat, pit-a- pat, as if it would thump its way right through his sides. Peter had had a terrible fright. There were long tears in his coat, and he smarted and ached dreadfully where the cruel claws of Hooty the Owl had torn him. And there he was in a strange place, not knowing which way to turn, for you know he never had visited the Old Pasture before.
But Peter had had so many narrow escapes in his life that he had learned not to worry over dangers that are past. Peter is what wise men call a phi-los-o-pher. That is a big word, but its meaning is very simple. A philosopher is one who believes that it is foolish to think about things that have happened, except to learn some lesson from them, and that the best thing to do is to make the most of the present. Peter had learned his lesson. He was sure of that.
"I never, never will forget again to watch out for Hooty the Owl," said he to himself, as he nursed his wounds, "and so perhaps it is a good thing that he so nearly caught me this time. If he hadn't, I might have forgotten all about him some time when he could catch me. I certainly wouldn't have watched out for him way up here, for I didn't think he ever came up to the Old Pasture. But now I know he does, Mr. Hooty'll have to be smarter than he's ever been before to catch me napping again. My, how I do smart and ache! I know now just how Danny Meadow Mouse felt that time Hooty caught him and dropped him into the Old Briar-patch. Ouch! Well, as my mother used to say:
'Yesterday has gone away; Make the most of just to-day.'
Here I am up in the Old Pasture, and the question is, what shall I do next?"
Peter felt a queer little thrill as he peeped out from under the friendly bramble-bush. Very strange and wonderful it seemed. Of course he couldn't see very far, because the Old Pasture was all overgrown with bushes and briars, and they made the very blackest of black shadows in the moonlight. Peter wondered what dangers might be awaiting him there, but somehow he didn't feel much afraid. No, Sir, he didn't feel much afraid. You see those briars looked good to him, for briars are always friendly to Peter and unfriendly to those who would do harm to Peter. So when he saw them, he felt almost at home.
Peter drew a long breath. Then he cried "Ouch!" You see, he had forgotten for a minute how sore he was. He was eager to explore this new wonderland, for Sammy Jay had told him wonderful tales about it, and he knew that here old Granny Fox and Reddy Fox had found safety when Farmer Brown's boy had hunted for them so hard on the Green Meadows and in the Green Forest. He felt sure that there must be the most splendid hiding- places, and it seemed as if he certainly must start right out to see them, for you know Peter is very, very curious. But the first move he made brought another "Ouch" from him, and he made up a wry face.
"I guess the best thing for me to do is to stay right where I am," said he, "for here I am safe under this friendly old bramble."
So with a sigh Peter settled down to make himself as comfortable as he could, and once, as far, far away on the Green Meadows he heard the voice of Old Man Coyote, Peter even smiled.
"I haven't anything to fear from him, anyway, for he'll never think of coming way up here," said he.