“Didn’t suppose Unc’ Billy ever worried about his health,” muttered Jimmy Skunk with a puzzled look, as he watched Unc’ Billy disappear.
Just as jolly, round, red Mr. Sun dropped out of sight behind the Purple Hills, Unc’ Billy gave it up and turned toward home. His neck ached from looking up in the tree-tops, and his feet were sore from walking. And just then Unc’ Billy for the first time thought of that dinner that old Mrs. Possum had sent him to get. Unc’ Billy sat down and mopped his brow in dismay.
“Ah ‘specks Ah’m in fo’ it this time, sho’ enough!” he said.
UNC’ BILLY COMES HOME
Unc’ Billy Possum crept along in the darkest shadows he could find as he drew near to the great hollow tree which is his home.
“Ah ‘specks Ah’m in fo’ it. Ah ‘specks Ah sho’ly am in fo’ it this time,” he kept muttering.
So Unc’ Billy crept along in the black shadows until he got where he could look up and see his own doorway. Then he sat down and watched a while. All was still. There wasn’t a sound in the great hollow tree.
“Perhaps mah ol’ woman am out calling, and Ah can slip in and go to bed before she gets back,” said Unc’ Billy hopefully to himself, as he started to climb the great hollow tree.
But at the first scratch of his toe-nails on the bark the sharp face of old Mrs. Possum appeared in the doorway.
“Good evening, mah dear,” said Unc’ Billy, in the mildest kind of a voice.
Old Mrs. Possum said nothing, but Unc’ Billy felt as if her sharp black eyes were looking right through him.
Unc’ Billy grinned a sickly kind of grin as he said:
“Ah hopes yo’alls are feeling good tonight.”
“Where’s that dinner Ah sent yo’ fo’?” demanded old Mrs. Possum sharply.
Unc’ Billy fidgeted uneasily. “Ah done brought yo’ two eggs from Farmer Brown’s hen-house,” he replied meekly.
“Two eggs! Two eggs! How do yo’ think Ah am going to feed eight hungry mouths on two eggs?” snapped old Mrs. Possum.
Unc’ Billy hung his head. He hadn’t a word to say. He just couldn’t tell her that he had spent the whole day tramping through the Green Forest looking for an old friend, whose voice he had thought he heard, when he ought to have been helping her find a dinner for the eight little Possums. No, Sir, Unc’ Billy hadn’t a word to say.
My, my, my, how old Mrs. Possum did scold, as she came down the great hollow tree to get the two eggs. Unc’ Billy knew that he deserved every bit of it. He felt very miserable, and he was too tired to have a bit of spirit left. So he just sat at the foot of the great hollow tree and said nothing, while old Mrs. Possum bit a hole in the end of one egg and began to suck it. All the time she was looking at Unc’ Billy with those sharp eyes of hers. When she had finished the egg, she pushed the other over to him.