After Jimmy Skunk had mentioned his fine breakfast of fresh eggs, Unc’ Billy Possum couldn’t think of anything else. He knew well enough where Jimmy had found those eggs. Yes, indeed, Unc’ Billy knew all about it. He could shut his eyes and just see the inside of Farmer Brown’s hen-house with the rows of hens and roosters sitting on the roosts at one end, their heads tucked under their wings. He could see the rows of nests and the beautiful brown eggs in them. Jimmy Skunk couldn’t climb, and so he could have gotten only the eggs in the lower nests. Now if he, Unc’ Billy, had been there, he could have climbed to the very topmost nest and—but what was the use of thinking about it? He hadn’t been there, and he couldn’t go now, because it was daylight.
All the rest of the day Unc’ Billy tried to sleep, but when he did sleep he dreamed about eggs, nice, fresh, delicious eggs, and when he was awake he though about eggs. It made him more and more uneasy and fidgety. Old Mrs. Possum couldn’t stand it.
“What all am the matter with yo’?” she snapped. “Ah do wish yo’ would keep still a minute!”
Unc’ Billy muttered something, but all that Mrs. Possum could hear was “eggs.”
“Now don’t yo’all get to thinking of such foolishness as eggs,” she commanded. “It isn’t safe to be snooping around Farmer Brown’s hen-house when there’s snow on the ground. Yo’ just fo’get all about eggs! Do yo’ hear what Ah say?”
Unc’ Billy nodded that he did. But just the same he couldn’t think of anything else. He knew that old Mrs. Possum was right, and that it wasn’t safe to go fooling around Farmer Brown’s hen-house and leaving his tracks for everybody who came along to see. Just the same, Unc’ Billy felt that he had got to have a nice fresh egg. He had got to have it. That is all there was about it.
As soon as jolly, round, red Mr. Sun had gone to bed behind the Purple Hills that night, Unc’ Billy crept out of his home in the hollow tree.
“Where are yo’ going?” demanded Mrs. Possum.
“Just to stretch the kinks out of mah legs,” replied Unc’ Billy.
Old Mrs. Possum looked after him suspiciously. “Don’t yo’ go fo’ to do any foolishness!” she called.
Unc’ Billy didn’t answer. He was on his way to Farmer Brown’s hen-house.
WHY UNC’ BILLY POSSUM DIDN’T GO HOME
Unc’ Billy Possum had a very good reason for not going home, a very good reason, indeed. Even old Mrs. Possum would have thought it was a good reason, could she have known it. But she didn’t know it, and so she sat in the home in the big hollow tree in the Green Forest and worried herself almost sick, because Unc’ Billy didn’t come home, and she didn’t know what might have happened to him.
Sometimes Unc’ Billy wished that he was back in the old hollow tree, and sometimes he was glad that he was right where he was. Sometimes he felt little shivers of fear run all over him as he thought of what might become of him if he should be found. Sometimes a little tickly feeling of pleasure ran all over him, as he bit a hole in the end of a freshly laid egg and sucked the egg out of the shell.