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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 53 pages of information about The Adventures of Unc' Billy Possum.

Now it never does to let one’s wits go to sleep.  Some folks call it forgetting, but forgetting is nothing but sleepy wits.  And sleepy wits get more people into trouble than anything else in the world.  Unc’ Billy Possum’s wits were asleep when he left Farmer Brown’s hen-house.  If they hadn’t been, he would have remembered this little saying: 

    The wits that live within my head
      Must never, never go to sleep,
    For if they should I might forget
      And Trouble on me swiftly leap.

But Unc’ Billy’s wits certainly were asleep.  He was so tickled over the idea that he could get out of the hen-house, that he couldn’t think of anything else, and so he forgot.  Yes, Sir, Unc’ Billy forgot!  What did he forget?  Why, he forgot that that nice, soft snow, which so kindly buried the dreadful traps so that they could do no harm, couldn’t be waded through without leaving tracks.  Unc’ Billy forgot all about that, until he was half way to the Green Forest, and then, as he sat down to rest and get his breath, he remembered.

[Illustration:  There all the way from Farmer Brown’s hen-house was a broad trail in the smooth white snow.]

Unc’ Billy looked behind him, and he turned pale.  Yes, Sir, Unc’ Billy Possum turned pale!  There, all the way from Farmer Brown’s hen-house, was a broad trail in the smooth white snow, where he had plowed his way through.  If Farmer Brown’s boy should come out to look at his traps, he would see that track at once, and all he would have to do would be to follow it until it led him to Unc’ Billy.

“Oh, dear!  Oh, dear!  Whatever did Ah leave the hen-house for?” wailed Unc’ Billy.

His wits were all wide awake now.  It wouldn’t do to go back.  Farmer Brown’s boy would see that he had gone back, and then he would hunt that hen-house through until he found Unc’ Billy.  No, there was nothing to do but to go on, and trust that Farmer Brown’s boy was so snowed in and would be kept so busy shovelling out paths, that he would forget all about looking at his traps.  Unc’ Billy drew a long breath and began to wade ahead toward the Green Forest.

“If Ah only had snowshoes!” he panted.  “If Ah only had snowshoes like Mrs. Grouse.”

XXI

FARMER BROWN’S BOY CHOPS DOWN A TREE

   “There was an old Possum lived up in a tree;
          Hi, ho, see the chips fly! 
    The sliest old thief that you ever did see;
          Hi, ho, see the chips fly! 
    He ate and he ate in the dark of the night,
    And when the day came not an egg was in sight,
    But now that I know where he’s making his bed,
    I’ll do without eggs and will eat him instead! 
          Hi, ho, see the chips fly!”

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