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The famous race between Grumpy Weasel and Jimmy Rabbit went on and on. Jimmy turned and twisted this way and that, up and down and back and forth through Pleasant Valley. He could still run faster than Grumpy Weasel, it is true. But he was growing tired. Now and then Jimmy stopped to rest. And he kept hoping that Grumpy Weasel had become so weary that he had given up the chase.
But Grumpy Weasel never stopped once. And whenever Jimmy Rabbit spied him coming along his trail Jimmy would spring up with a sigh and rush off again.
He began to understand that such a race was no joke. He certainly didn't want to lose the race. And he certainly didn't want Grumpy Weasel to come up with him. He had always kept at a good safe distance from that ill-natured fellow. And Jimmy felt most uneasy now at the thought of Grumpy's catching him.
"He must be very hungry, after running so far," Jimmy Rabbit said to himself anxiously. "If he's as hungry as I am he wouldn't be a pleasant person to meet." And that thought made Jimmy run all the faster, for a time. But he soon found that he had to stop more often to rest. And to his great alarm Grumpy Weasel kept drawing nearer all the time.
At last Jimmy Rabbit became so worried that he swept around by the stone wall again and stopped to whisper to old Mr. Crow.
"He's still chasing me. And I can't run forever. What shall I do?" Jimmy asked the old gentleman.
"I'll think the matter over and let you know to-morrow," Mr. Crow muttered hoarsely. To tell the truth, he was alarmed himself. And he had no idea what Jimmy Rabbit could do to save himself from Grumpy Weasel.
While they talked, Grumpy's cousin, Peter Mink, watched them slyly.
"Who do you think is going to win the race?" he jeered.
Mr. Crow did not even turn his head. He felt very uncomfortable. But he tried to look unconcerned.
"Run along!" he said to Jimmy. "To-morrow I'll tell you what to do."
"To-morrow—" Jimmy Rabbit panted—"to-morrow will be too late."
Then all at once Mr. Crow had an idea. And he whispered something in one of Jimmy Rabbit's long ears that made the poor fellow take heart.
"All right!" Jimmy cried. "I'll see you again—sometime!" And away he ran, just as Grumpy Weasel came racing along the stone wall, looking as fresh as a daisy.
"You'd better stop and rest a while!" Mr. Crow croaked. "If you get too tired you'll never win."
"Rest!" Grumpy exploded. "I don't need to rest! I never felt better in my life, except that I'm pretty hungry. But I'm bound to win this race." As he spoke of feeling hungry he cast a longing glance at Jimmy Rabbit, who was just dodging out of sight behind a distant tree.
"Wait here a bit, anyhow!" Mr. Crow urged him. "Since you're sure to win—as you say—there can be no hurry." And Peter Mink too begged his cousin Grumpy to stop just a minute. And he laughed, "Ha, ha!" whenever he looked at Mr. Crow.
And strange to say, Mr. Crow said, "Ha, ha!" too.
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