See the meadows green and fair!
Hear the music in the air!
Life and love for all were born
On the blessed Easter morn.
Peter Rabbit brushed his coat with care and combed out his whiskers. Peter was very fussy this morning, very fussy, indeed. It was so unusual for Peter to care how he looked that Jimmy Skunk, who happened to come down the Lone Little Path, paused at the edge of the deal Old Briar Patch and asked Peter what he was fixing up so for.
"Why!" cried Peter in the most surprised way. "Don't you know that this is Easter morning? I'm getting ready to make my Easter calls, of course! How do I look?
Jimmy stepped back and looked Peter all over as he turned around to show himself off, and there wasn't a trace of a smile, though there was a twinkle in his eyes, as he said:
"You look very fine, Peter. Mixed brown and gray are very becoming to you. For myself I prefer black and white stripes, rather broad. I see you still wear a white patch on the seat of your pants."
For just a second Peter's face clouded over. "Y-e-s," he replied slowly. "You see I have to wear that because it has been in the family ever since the days when the world was young. Do-do you think it is so dreadfully unbecoming, Jimmy Skunk?"
Jimmy looked at Peter' s funny little white tail and laughed outright. "Of course it isn't, Peter, he cried. "Why without it it wouldn't be you! No, sir, you wouldn't be you at all."
Peter's face cleared and together he and Jimmy Skunk started on down the Lone Little Patch across the Green Meadows. It seemed as if every one they met had on a new suit, and some of the suits were very handsome. There was Sammy Jay's--such a wonderful blue with the very whitest of white trimmings! And there--Peter suddenly sat up very straight. "Look, Jimmy!" he cried excitedly. "There's Bubbling Bob the Bobolink! He must have just arrived from the South, and see what a wonderful black and white coat he has, with cap to match! When he left last Fall he wore the shabbiest kind of a suit. Just hear him sing! I believe I could sing if I had a suit like that."
"Ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho! A great singer you'd make, Peter Rabbit! A great singer you'd make."
Peter turned to find Johnny Chuck laughing at him. Johnny had on a new suit, too. It was very plain and sober, but Johnny didn't seem to mind this in the least. In fact he didn't seem to think of it at all. "What are you thinking about clothes for, Peter Rabbit?" continued Johnny.
"Because it's Easter. What else is Easter for?" replied Peter.
Johnny Chuck scratches his head thoughtfully. "It isn't just to think about what we wear; I'm sure of that," said he. "It's-it's-why it's to make you glad that you're alive, and that Summer is coming, and that everything is so beautiful, and--and that no matter how brown and dead things look they will become lovely again, and that
Joy and love are in the air
All about us everywhere
and-and to try to make others feel as happy as we do."
Peter kicked his heels together happily. "I guess you are exactly right, Johnny Chuck," said he, "and I guess our new clothes are to please those who see us and not our own selves, and so I'm going to think how nice others look and not of how I look myself. Now I must hurry and wish everybody a happy Easter. Isn't it good to be alive? I feel as if I just love all the world, even Reddy Fox."
Peter hurried off to make his Easter calls and Johnny Chuck smiled as he watched him. "I guess that Peter has found out what Easter means," said he. And Peter knew that he had.