A Slight Mistake
Mrs. Woodchuck was glad that she had gone to Aunt Polly Woodchuck's house to tell her the news about the Muley Cow. Aunt Polly was all in a flutter, she was so eager to see the Muley Cow in her new poke bonnet.
"Is the poke becoming to her?" Aunt Polly asked Mrs. Woodchuck.
"I haven't set eyes on it," Mrs. Woodchuck said. "Old Mr. Crow told me the news only this morning. I asked him to describe the poke. But all he could say was that I'd be surprised when I saw it."
"That's the way with men folks," Aunt Polly Woodchuck declared. "They never know anything about the styles--except that queer Mr. Frog, the tailor."
Both ladies giggled at the mere mention of Ferdinand Frog. And while they were busy tittering, Mrs. Woodchuck's son Billy helped himself to a piece of carrot from Aunt Polly's store of roots and herbs.
"I must have a look at the Muley Cow this very morning," Aunt Polly told her caller. "Won't you come with me?"
Mrs. Woodchuck said that nothing would please her more. So she ordered Billy to scamper home.
"You'll have to wait till I put on my best poke," Aunt Polly said. "If the Muley Cow has a new one I don't want to call on her in my second best."
So Mrs. Woodchuck waited. And at last they set off together to find the Muley Cow. They hadn't gone far before old Mr. Crow flapped down on a hummock near them.
"If you're looking for the Muley Cow," he squawked, "you'll find her down near the lane. And she's wearing her new poke, too."
They thanked him. And as soon as they had passed on Mrs. Woodchuck remarked what a busybody he was.
"Always poking his bill into other people's affairs!" Aunt Polly sniffed.
Still, his advice saved them a good many steps. For they found the Muley Cow just where Mr. Crow had said they would.
But she wasn't wearing a poke bonnet at all. They noticed that as soon as they caught sight of her.
"Perhaps it has fallen off her head and she doesn't know it," Aunt Polly suggested.
"I'll ask her," said Mrs. Woodchuck. And she hurried up to the Muley Cow.
"Where's your poke?" she cried. "You haven't lost it--have you?" As she spoke she noticed a peculiar something about the Muley Cow's neck. It was a sort of huge wooden collar, with a long stake that stuck out in front of her.
The Muley Cow acted very grumpy.
"Don't be impertinent!" she snapped.
"Excuse us, please!" Aunt Polly Woodchuck said to the Muley Cow. "We heard you were wearing a poke; and we wanted to see it. You know, I always wear a poke in summer. In fact, I put on my best one before leaving home."
The Muley Cow stared at her in a puzzled fashion. And at last the truth dawned upon her.
"You've made a mistake," she said. "You've misunderstood. It's not a poke bonnet that I have. It's a poke
--this thing around my neck."
The Muley Cow Explains What a POKE is.
Well, Aunt Polly and Mrs. Woodchuck didn't know what to say. And they felt so uncomfortable that they turned away and started off.
"Wait a moment!" the Muley Cow called to them. "How did you hear about this poke?"
"Old Mr. Crow told me," Mrs. Woodchuck replied.
"I thought so," said the Muley Cow. "And I'd like to have a talk with him."