Frolic of the Wild Things

By Ada M. Skinner and Eleanor L. Skinner

Illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright

Out on the prairie in a buffalo skull live the little field-mice.

Merry little field-mice
All snug and warm.

At night they build a big bright fire and dance and sing.

Merry little field-mice
All snug and warm,
Dance and sing,
“We—oh,
We—oh,
We—oh.”

The snow falls white and fast but the fire burns bright and they are warm and dry as they sing,

“We—oh,
We—oh,
We—oh.”

But what is this strange thing we see hopping and hopping over the snow? It is Big White Rabbit. He hops and hops. Each time his hind feet come together they make one track in the snow—a funny, funny track.

Illustration for Frolic of the Wild Things by Blanche Fisher Wright

He sits up straight on his strong hind legs and his fore paws hang down. His long ears stand up high and his big eyes see all around. He calls and wriggles his funny nose and more rabbits come, and more, and more! They dance around the buffalo skull when

Merry little field-mice
All snug and warm,
Dance and sing,
“We—oh,
We—oh,
We—oh.”

What strange sound comes on the wind? It is not the song of the merry little field-mice. Big White Rabbit sits up straight and gives a cry. Away to the east, south, and west they all go.

Illustration for Frolic of the Wild Things by Blanche Fisher Wright

Lean Gray Wolf comes creeping, creeping, creeping up. He smells in the snow the tracks of the little white rabbits. He sniffs, and sniffs, and sniffs. Dragging his long tail over the snow, around and around he goes. Then he sits and howls to the moon. He wants the little white rabbits for his supper. But they have gone hopping, hopping, hopping, while in the buffalo skull out on the prairie

Merry little field-mice
All snug and warm,
Dance and sing,
“We—oh,
We—oh,
We—oh.”

Hark! What other strange sound comes on the wind?

Illustration for Frolic of the Wild Things by Blanche Fisher Wright

“Hoot—ta—hoot—ta—hoo—a,
Hoot—ta—hoot—ta— hoo,”

says Big Owl.

Away to the woods runs Lean Gray Wolf.

Out go the fires in the buffalo skull and the mice creep away to bed.

“Quick! Quick! Quick!” says Mother Mouse. She knows that Big Owl is fond of mice. She knows, too, that Big Owl watches over the prairie for fires in the buffalo skull.

Now the merry little field-mice are snug in bed all covered up tight. No longer they sing,

“We—oh,
We—oh,
We—oh.”

Morning comes. Big Owl goes to sleep with his head under his wing and his big eyes are shut up tight. He cannot see the merry little field-mice come out of the buffalo skull and scamper away to hunt for dried seeds. All day they sing,

“We—oh,
We—oh,
We—oh.”

Hark! Another strange sound comes on the wind.

“Hi—oh, ki—oh,
Hi—oh, ki—oh!”

call the little Indian boys and girls. They come running over the hill with a net on a pole. They catch Big Owl and carry him home to the camp. He is tied to the lodge-pole. All day he sits and blinks in the sun. All night he calls out,

“Hoot—ta—hoot—ta—hoo—a,
Hoot—ta—hoot—ta—hoo!”

The little Indian boys and girls are wrapped in a buffalo-skin. With their heads to the fire they sleep and dream while the snow falls fast and white.

The white rabbits hop, the lean wolf howls, and the merry little field-mice sing,

“We—oh,
We—oh,
We—oh.”

From Nursery tales from many lands, by Ada M. Skinner and Eleanor L. Skinner.
New York, Chicago, Boston: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1917.

Nursery tales

North AmericaNative American Tribes

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