“The very thing!” cried Unc’ Billy, and like a flash back came his old-time grin.
UNC’ BILLY POSSUM GIVES A PARTY
Unc’ Billy Possum’s party was the greatest event in the Green Forest since the famous surprise party which Peter Rabbit gave when Unc’ Billy’s family arrived from way down in Ol’ Virginny. At first Unc’ Billy had been afraid that no one would come. You see, he had been the cause of a lot of the trouble on the Green Meadows and in the Green Forest, and he knew that now all the little meadow and forest people had found him out. So he didn’t dare send his invitations around by the Merry Little Breezes of Old Mother West Wind, for fear that no one would pay any heed to them. Of course that meant that Unc’ Billy must take them around himself.
My, but that was hard work! It was the hardest work that Unc’ Billy had ever done in all his life, for you know Unc’ Billy is happy-go-lucky and takes things easy. But getting those invitations around—well, as Unc’ Billy said, he “like to wore holes plumb through the soles of mah feet” before he got all of them delivered. It took him two whole days. In the first place there were so many to see. And then it was such hard work to deliver the invitations, because when his old friends saw him, they would promptly turn their backs to him and pretend they didn’t see him at all. Then Unc’ Billy would take off his hat and make a sweeping bow just as if the one he was talking to was facing instead of back to him, and he would say:
“Ah begs yo’ pardon, ’deed
Fo’ all the trouble Ah’ve caused yo’,
And hopes that Ah may sho’ly choke
If it was meant fo’ more’n a joke.
So please fo’give ol’ Uncle Bill
And show yo’ friendship for him still
By taking this as an invite
To join with me next Monday night
Aroun’ mah famous hollow tree,
And help me to full merry be,
And also meet a friend of mine;
Ah’m sho’ yo’s bound to like him fine.”
Then Unc’ Billy would make another low bow and hurry on to the next one. Of course he couldn’t tell whether or not any one would accept the invitation, but he went right on with his plans, just as if he expected everybody to be there. And when the time came, sure enough everybody was there, even Sammy Jay, to whom Unc’ Billy had sent a special invitation by Ol’ Mistah Buzzard. Mistah Buzzard had found Sammy Jay in the far-away Old Pasture, and Sammy had moved back to the Green Forest that very day.
Such a good time as everybody did have! There were heaps and heaps of good things to eat. They danced and played hide and seek. Finally Unc’ Billy climbed up on a stump. He was dressed in his finest suit, and he wore his broadest grin. Everybody crowded around to hear what Unc’ Billy was about to say.
“Mah friends and neighbors,” said Unc’ Billy, “Ah have a great surprise fo’ yo’alls.”