Just then the deep bay of a hound was heard. “There,” said Mother Wa-poose, “there’s Old Boze now. Would you like to see how I can fool him?”
“I would indeed,” said little Luke, “if you are not afraid. Old Boze is a wise, old hound, and he may catch you.”
“Oh, I’m not afraid of that,” said Mother Wa-poose. “You just sit here where you can see, and I’ll go down there and give Old Boze the time of his life. I think he must be trailing me now by the sound. I was down in the garden last night after a meal of cabbage leaves, and I suppose he has found my track.”
Mother Wa-poose sprang out of her hiding place and went down the slope ten feet at a bound. She crossed her old track near the pasture bars and hopped slowly on to the edge of the blackberry patch. There she sat till she was sure that Old Boze had found her new trail. Then she skipped here and there through the briar patch till she came out on the other side. With a great leap she cleared the fence and ran on down through the cornfield. When she was clear of that, she ran along beside the stone wall till she came to the creek. Over the creek she went at one leap; then down through the alder bushes till she came back again into the pasture. Two or three times she crossed the brook. Then she came around up through the woods to the brush pile, where little Luke was sitting. From its lower edge there was a good view all down through the pasture. There Mother Wa-poose sat up and watched the old hound, her big, round eyes shining with glee.
Old Boze followed her trail into the blackberry thicket. Round and round he followed the scent, pushing his way through the stout bushes. Every bush was armed with a thousand sharp hooks, and every hook clung to the old hound’s skin. He fairly whimpered with pain. Now and then he gave tongue, until at last he came out on the other side. But his ears were in tatters and blood drops oozed from his skin in a thousand places.
At the fence he was balked. Up and down beside the fence he ran several times, nosing the ground for the scent.
“Look at him! Look at him,” said Mother Wa-poose, fairly shaking her sides with laughter. “Isn’t he a sight? But that won’t teach him anything. He’ll do it the next time. Rabbit chasing must be lots of fun for him.”
“I really do think he enjoys it,” said little Luke.
Old Boze jumped over the fence and found the trail again. He followed it until he came to the creek. There he was puzzled. But he crossed the brook and found the trail at last. Over in the pasture he lost it again. Mother Wa-poose had been too cunning for him this time. After nosing the ground in all directions for a long time in vain, the old hound gave it up, and went back to the house.
“You see,” said Mother Wa-poose, “if it wasn’t for the fire-sticks, the hounds would not bother us much. Why will the house people be so cruel to us? We never harm them. Last fall the fire-sticks killed six of my children.” And Mother Wa-poose’s eyes filled with tears at the thought.