Inside the hollow log Reddy Fox was getting stiff and sore, because, you know, he didn’t have room enough to even turn over. Worse still, he was so hungry that he could cry. You see, he had crept in there very early in the morning without any breakfast, because he had planned that when Sammy Jay should break up Peter Rabbit’s party, he would steal all the good things he wanted. Now, he could smell them, and hear the others talking about the feast they were going to have, and he knew that not so much as a tiny, tiny crumb would be left for him, when Prickly Porky should choose to let him out.
Shadow the Weasel felt just as uncomfortable as Reddy Fox, and Shadow is very short-tempered. Every time Reddy moved and squeezed Shadow, Shadow would snap at him. Now, of course, they could hear everything that was said outside, and the things that were said were not pleasant to listen to. Bobby Coon and Billy Mink and Johnny Chuck and Little Joe Otter and Jimmy Skunk told about all the mean things and all the sharp tricks that Reddy Fox and Shadow had done. It made the two little prisoners so angry that they ground their teeth, but every time they made the least little movement, Prickly Porky would shake his thousand little spears and settle himself still more firmly against the opening in the hollow log. He certainly was enjoying himself. It tickled him almost to pieces to think how easily he had trapped smart Reddy Fox, the boaster.
So they waited all the long day for the coming of Unc’ Billy Possum’s family, and when at last they did arrive, there was the merriest surprise party ever seen. Only Sammy Jay, Blacky the Crow, Reddy Fox and Shadow the Weasel were unhappy, and of course no one cared for that.
UNC’ BILLY POSSUM GROWS HUNGRY
Unc’ Billy Possum spent the very coldest days of winter curled up in his warm, snug home in the big hollow tree in the Green Forest. Unc’ Billy didn’t like the cold weather. Sometimes he would stick his head out of his doorway and then, as he heard rough Brother North Wind whooping through the Green Forest, he would turn right around and go back to his bed for another nap. And all the time he would be saying:
“Way down Souf de sun am shinin’—
Yas, Sah, dat am so!
Fo’ dat lan’ mah heart am pinin’—
Yas, Sah, dat am so!
“De mocking-bird he
sings all day,
De alligators am at play,
De flowers dey am bloomin’ fair,
And mah heart aches to be down there—
Yas, Sah, dat am so!”
Now Unc’ Billy had prepared for the winter by getting just as fat as he knew how. He was so fat that he could hardly waddle when Jack Frost first came to the Green Forest. You see he knew that if he was very, very fat he wouldn’t have to worry about getting anything to eat, not for a long time, anyway. So when the ice and snow came, and Unc’ Billy decided that it was more comfortable indoors than outdoors, he was almost as fat as Johnny Chuck was when he went to sleep for the long winter.