The only answer was another snore. Unc’ Billy waited a minute. Then he put his head in once more.
“Yo’ better come out of mah house, Mr. Who-ever-yo’-are, before Ah comes in and puts yo’ out!” shouted Unc’ Billy.
The only answer was a snore louder than before. Then Unc’ Billy quite lost his temper. Some one who had no business there was in his house! He didn’t know who it was, and he didn’t care. They were going to come out or he would know why not. Unc’ Billy gritted his teeth and in he went.
My! my! my! such a rumpus as there was right away in that hollow tree! Peter Rabbit happened to be coming along that way and heard it. Peter stopped and gazed at the hollow tree with eyes and mouth wide open. Such a snarling and growling! Then out of the doorway began to fly leaves and moss. They were part of Unc’ Billy’s bed. Then Peter saw a big ringed tail hanging out of the doorway. Peter recognized it right away. No one possessed a tail like that but Bobby Coon.
In a minute Bobby followed his tail, hastily backing down the tree. Then Unc’ Billy’s sharp little old face appeared at the doorway. Unc’ Billy looked down at Peter Rabbit and grinned.
“Ah guess Mistah Coon done make a mistake when he went to bed in mah house,” said he.
And Bobby Coon sheepishly admitted that he did.
SAMMY JAY LEARNS PETER RABBIT’S SECRET
“I’m Mr. Jaybird, tee-hee-hee!
I’m Mr. Jaybird; you watch me!
You’ve got to rise ’fore break of day
If you want to fool old Mr. Jay.”
Over and over Sammy Jay hummed this, as he brushed his handsome blue and white coat. Then he laughed as he remarked to no one in particular, for no one was near enough to hear: “Peter Rabbit’s got a secret. When Peter goes about whispering, it’s a sure sign that he’s got a secret. He thinks that he can keep it from me, but he can’t. Oh, my, no! I never knew of a secret that could be kept by more than two people, and already I’ve seen Peter whisper to five. I’ll just see what Reddy Fox knows about it.”
With a flirt of his tail Sammy Jay started for the Green Meadows, where Reddy Fox was busy hunting for his breakfast.
“It’s a fine morning, Reddy Fox,” said Sammy Jay.
“It would be finer, if I could fill my stomach faster,” replied Reddy.
“That’s a pretty good secret of Peter Rabbit’s, isn’t it?” asked Sammy, pretending to look very wise.
Reddy pricked up his sharp little ears.
“What secret?” he demanded.
“If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell,” retorted Sammy Jay, just as if he knew all about it, and off he flew to hunt up his cousin, Blacky the Crow. Blacky knew nothing about Peter Rabbit’s secret, nor did Shadow the Weasel, whom he met by the way. But Sammy Jay was not in the least bit discouraged.