“Howdy, Mistah Buzzard! Ah cert’nly hopes yo’all feel right smart,” said Unc’ Billy.
Ol’ Mistah Buzzard’s eyes twinkled as he replied: “Ah feel right pert, Brer Possum, thank yo’. Ah hopes yo’ feel the same. Yo’ look like nothing ever bothers yo’.”
Unc’ Billy grinned, but at the same time he looked a little foolish as he said: “That’s right, Mistah Buzzard, that’s right! Nothing ever does bother me.” And all the time he was wondering however he should ask for Ol’ Mistah Buzzard’s advice and not let him know that something really was bothering him a great deal.
“Ah watched yo’ take a long walk this mo’ning, Brer Possum,” said Ol’ Mistah Buzzard.
“Did yo’, indeed; yo’ have keen eyes, Mistah Buzzard!” replied Unc’ Billy.
“Ah saw yo’ meet a lot of yo’ friends. It’s fine to have a lot of friends, isn’t it, Brer Possum?” said Ol’ Mistah Buzzard.
Unc’ Billy looked at Ol’ Mistah Buzzard sharply. He wondered if Mistah Buzzard had noticed that all those friends had turned their backs on Unc’ Billy that morning, but Mistah Buzzard looked as sober and solemn as a judge. All at once Ol’ Mistah Buzzard hopped up and turned around, so that all Unc’ Billy could see of him was his back. Unc’ Billy stared, and for a minute he couldn’t find his tongue. Then he heard a noise that sounded very much like a chuckle. In a few minutes it was a laugh. Finally Unc’ Billy began to laugh too.
“Yo’ take mah advice and bring mah ol’ friend Mockah out of his hiding-place and introduce him to the Green Meadows and the Green Forest,” said Ol’ Mistah Buzzard.
Unc’ Billy shook his head doubtfully. He was afraid that they might not forgive the tricks that Mr. Mocker had played on them, and then of course he couldn’t stay in the Green Forest. So Unc’ Billy scratched his head and thought and thought of how he could get Mr. Mocker out of the trouble he had got him into. Finally he went home and told all his troubles to old Mrs. Possum and asked her advice, as he should have done in the first place.
“Serves yo’alls right! It cert’nly does serve yo’alls right!” grunted Mrs. Possum, who was so busy looking after her eight lively babies that she had little time for fooling.
“Ah know it. It cert’nly does,” replied Unc’ Billy meekly.
“Mischief always trots ahead of
grim ol’ Mistah Trouble,
They look and act enough alike to be each other’s double.
Whoever fools with Mischief’s gwine to wake some day or other
And find that Trouble’s just the same as Mischief’s own twin brother.”
Unc’ Billy Possum listened to this just as if he had never heard it before, and nodded his head as if he agreed with every word of it. Old Mrs. Possum grumbled and scolded, but all the time she was thinking, and Unc’ Billy knew that she was. Finally she finished sweeping the doorsteps and looked thoughtfully at Unc’ Billy.
“Why don’t yo’ give a party fo’ Mistah Mocking-bird?” she inquired.