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The Army Is Put to Rout — Adventures of the Teenie Weenies by William Donahey

The old derby hat which the Teenie Weenies used as a school house was also used as an armory. The second floor was given over to the army and here the little soldiers drilled every Wednesday night.

Their tiny guns and uniforms were kept in little cases which stood around the room. The uniforms were spotless and the tiny guns shone as bright as the new moon.

About four times a year the General ordered the army out for a practice march. “It toughens the men up and makes better soldiers out of them,” he said, and most of the little soldiers seemed to like the experience.

One morning a tiny paper was pasted on the bulletin board and this is what it said, just as it was written by the General:

SPECIAL NOTICE Thursday morning at eight o’clock every enrolled member of the army will meet at the armory for a practice march to the big woods and back. The General, Commander in chief of the Teenie Weenie army. “Ah, crickety!” growled the Dunce, when he had read the notice. “It’s too cold to go marchin’ around in the snow.”

“It won’t hurt you any,” said Paddy Pinn, who was standing near. “It’s good for you—that’s what it is—it’s good for you.”

“It may be good for me all right,” answered the Dunce, “but it would be much better for me to be sittin’ in front of the fire in weather like this.”

On Thursday morning the little men gathered at the armory promptly at eight o’clock and when they had slipped into their uniforms the General stepped onto a little platform, at one side of the room, and made a speech.

“Men,” he began, “while we get a great deal of good drilling in the armory once a week, it is quite necessary for us to get out of doors occasionally. We need the long marches to keep the army in good shape, for we never know just when it may be necessary to tackle a hard task and it is very wise to be prepared.”

The soldiers formed in line in front of the school house and when the command was given the little army swung off, led by the General, who looked every inch a commander, sitting astride a big gray mouse.

As the little army trudged along through the snow they were suddenly thrown into a panic by the unexpected appearance of a huge rabbit, who popped into view over a snow bank directly in their path.

The appearance of the rabbit was so sudden the little army were frightened half out of their wits, and most of the soldiers turned and ran, in spite of the commands of the Old Soldier.

The mouse, on which the General rode, reared up on his hind feet, and the General was tumbled off into the snow.

“Well! Well! This is rather unusual!” cried the rabbit. “This is the first time I ever saw anybody run away from me; I’m usually the one that runs.”

The rabbits voice was so pleasant the Teenie Weenies felt quite sure he would not harm them and soon they were gathered all about the big fellow, feeling his soft fur and asking many questions.

“Great grief!” exploded the General, picking himself up and brushing the snow off his coat. “That’s a fine way to come bouncing onto an army. You came on us so quietly and suddenly you gave us a great start.”

“I have to go along quietly,” said the rabbit. “I have to sneak around, for there are so many hunters and dogs, who are always on the lookout for us poor rabbits. This spring I had thirty-three sons and daughters and now—now I am a widower with only seventeen children. Only last night I had to call in old Doc. Woodchuck to take some shot out of my oldest boy’s skin.”

“Ah, Mr. Rabbit,” cried the Poet, “your sad story has given me an idea for a verse. While you were talking to my friends here I have been scribbling and with your kind permission I’ll recite what I’ve written.”

“I would be delighted to hear it if it isn’t too long,” said the rabbit. “You see, I’ve got to always be on the jump; can’t stay very long in one place.”

“This verse is very short,” said the Poet. “In fact, it is no longer than its name. It’s called ‘The Tale of a Rabbit.’”

“The rabbit’s life is full of strife,
His days are short and few;
For dodging shot becomes his lot
From the cradle to the stew.”

“A very truthful and beautiful piece of poetry,” said the rabbit, brushing a tear from his furry cheek. “I hope you will excuse me now, for I must hurry home and call the roll and see whether any more of my children are missing.”

The Teenie Weenie soldiers watched the rabbit hop away and then they fell into line and continued their march to the big woods.

Paddy Pinn and the Cook had gone ahead of the army with food for the soldiers. They drove one of the army wagons, which was pulled by a team of mice, and when the hungry little soldiers arrived they found a thimble full of hot soup and other good things to eat.

After the men had rested for a time they set out on the trip home, where they arrived safely, a tired but happy and rosy, cheeked army.

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