All through the summer Peter wandered through the Woods and fields and learned to speak the different languages of all the woodland creatures.
"Oh, dear, he was thinking to himself, "the sunshine is starting to move south again and autumn is coming. Soon my Big Year will be over and I'll never be able to talk to the fields and the trees any more."
"Cheer up, Peter," said the voice of Uncle Peppercorn. The little man was sitting in an acorncup, rocking gently back and forth.
"You've got something very precious, that you can keep forever."
"What's that?" asked Peter, surprised.
"You've got Memory. If you can keep your mind from getting cloudy with all the cobwebs people collect as they grow up, you'll continue to have the Big Year for ever and ever. It will be a Big Life instead of just one year."
"Oh, Uncle Peppercorn!" Peter could have hugged him, but he was afraid of hurting
his little friend.
"If you'll put me down. . . !" spluttered Uncle Peppercorn indignantly. "This is no position for a dignified old gentleman!"
Then Peter saw that he was holding Uncle Peppercorn upside down. He quickly apologized and turned him over. Uncle Peppercorn straddled Peter's little finger and went on talking:
"You still have some time left before the year is over, anyway, and the more you manage to find out, the more treasures you'll have to remember. So you'd better get on with it," he added sternly and vanished.
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