"Spring must be here," Pluto heard Mickey tell Minnie, one fine morning, "'cause it sure feels that way."
Pluto wondered what Mickey meant, so he poked his head out of the door. He sniffed. Ummm! Something was in the air, there was no denying it! If this was spring, Pluto felt that he simply MUST find out more about it.
Pluto slipped out of the house quietly and trotted down the road toward the woods. He felt suddenly happy and carefree and gay. He hopped up onto a fallen log at the edge of the woods and pointed his long nose toward the sky. "Woo...oo, Woo...oo," he howled, in complete rapture. Then he perked up his ears to see if there would be an echo. But the breeze carried the echo away, and so, instead, Pluto heard a lot of little sounds that he had never noticed before. Maybe that was part of spring! There was a tinkly, silvery melody....
Pluto skipped down from his log, took a deep breath of freash air, and it made him feel so good that he bounded like a young puppy in between the trees. The silver, tinkly sound seemed very near. Pluto did not look where he was going -- and he stepped right in the middle of it. And something splashed in his eyes and all over him. It was a babbling brook, and it sang the cheerful little melody as it hurried across the pebbles and roots in its little path.
Pluto shook his head to get the water out of his eyes, rubbed his wet feet on the pine needles, and squinted up at the sun to find out if it would soon be warm so that the rest of him would dry too. For Pluto had really given himself a ducking.
As he looked up, Pluto saw a bird, high in the treetop. The bird stood on a swaying branch, and sang the sweetest of bird music to his lady love who was in the nest. Surely this must be part of spring, Pluto thought. Pluto watched and listened for a long time. Then, just as his neck was getting uncomfortably stiff from looking up, he heard another sound. "Baa...aa, baa...aa!" He looked down through the lane of trees that opened out on the meadow. Several snowy white lambs were frisking about. They looked so carefree that Pluto wished he were a lamb too -- and he began to frolic, all by himself, just as the lambs were doing.
But again, Pluto did not look where he was going. He landed smack into a clump of brush, almost in the middle of a family of quail.
"Come along, children," Mrs. Quail said, "this isn't a wolf in sheep's clothing, but he's too clumsy for us." She scurried out from the brush, her children following in a line behind her.
Pluto watched them go with interest. Indeed, he was so fascinated that he followed them down the path. Suddenly, as the last little quail passed around a small hole in the ground, it stopped. Pluto stopped too, and they both listened. From down in the hole came the strangest kind of voice; it was so deep and so loud that the grasses around the hole shook from the roots on up, with the vibration. Pluto and the quail listened to the song:
"Oh, I'm a very special kind of worm,
I love to make the children squirm
But mostly I stay out of sight
So birds won't eat me in one bite."
The little quail peered into the hole and stood waiting. The worm did not know he was in danger, because he had been thinking only of the song he was making up. And he sang straight into the quail's mouth!
Snap! The little quail thought, "Umm, breakfast!" but the worm was quick and zipped back into the hole before the quail got him. The little bird could not see his breakfast disappear without trying to do something about it -- so he went down, too. But the passageway was dark and narrow, and when the worm hunched up and gave the quail a quick push, he was glad enough to back out and run after the rest of his family.
Pluto sat down near the worm hole to see what would happen next. The "very special" worm crawled out and wiggled over to him. Pluto did not move a muscle; he could see the worm was up to something and he wondered what it could be. The worm crawled up on Pluto's tail. At first it felt ticklish, but when the worm started spinning silk to make a cocoon for itself, Pluto forgot everything else in his amazement. After a few minutes the cocoon burst and out came...not the worm...but a beautiful big butterfly that whirled and swirled gracefully around Pluto and even lit on Pluto's nose as a thank-you for his patience, in keeping still so long.
Pluto was really thrilled. This must be spring, to feel as playful as the lambs, as bubbly as the brook, and as graceful as the butterfly, all at once. Pluto felt that he just had to join in the spirit and fun of it, and he grabbed at a long vine that hung from the tree and swung out in a wide half-circle. Once, twice he whirled -- and then -- the vine broke! Poor Pluto was sent flying into a beehive that he did not know was there at all!
Zzz...zzz...zzzz! The bees stormed out of their nest. The worker bees swarmed up above him, in formations like fighter planes. Zoom...mmm! they came, rat...tat...as they hit him like machine gun bullets, and tried to sting. Pluto wasted not asecond. He got under cover, under the first bush that he found. The bees swarmed again -- but when they got close to the bush that covered Pluto, they fairly stopped in mid-air and backed away as though they knew something that he did not. For a minute Pluto could not understand their actions...and then he began to itch! Pluto had hidden in a clump of poison ivy!
"Owoo...Owoo!" Pluto wailed, as he rolled back and forth on the ground, trying to scratch all the itching places at once. If this sort of thing was also part of spring, he didn't want any of it, thank you!
Suddenly he sat up. Something else was happening. A big drop of water had hit him. Then another, and another...and then the rain and hail came pelting down. A jagged fork of lightning struck at a tree near him. Pluto felt that this was a mighty good time to think of starting for home -- and he was off like a flash.
Mickey opened the door as Pluto, dripping and sneezing, scratched at the screen. "Why, Pluto," he said, "Come inside this minute. You've caught a cold and I'll have to doctor you up. Don't you know that you have to expect unexpected showers these days? Don't you know that's part of spring, and that spring has come?"
"Ka...choo!" sneezed Pluto. He knew, all right. He had learned the hard way, all about spring. And if he had been able to speak in words he would have said, between sniffles, "Oh, yes, indeed, I dow that sprig has cub!" But all he could do was shiver and sneeze --
Ka-choo! Ka-Choo! KA-CHOO!