About this time Unc’ Billy told of having just such an experience as Peter had. It happened exactly as it did with Peter, very early in the morning, when he was passing the foot of the hill where Prickly Porky lives.
“Ah was just passing along, minding mah own business, when Ah heard a noise up on the hill behind me,” said Unc’ Billy, “and when Ah looked up, there was something coming straight down at me, and Ah couldn’t see any legs or head or tail.”
“What did you do, Unc’ Billy?” asked Bobby Coon.
“What did Ah do? Ah did just what yo’alls would have done,—Ah done run!” replied Unc’ Billy, looking around the little circle of forest and meadow people, listening with round eyes and open mouths. “Yes, Sah, Ah done run, and Ah didn’t turn around until Ah was safe in mah holler tree.”
“Pooh!” sneered Reddy Fox, who had been listening. “You’re a coward. I wouldn’t have run! I would have waited and found out what it was. You and Peter Rabbit would run away from your own shadows.”
“You don’t dare go there yourself at daybreak to-morrow!” retorted Unc’ Billy.
“I do too!” declared Reddy angrily, though he didn’t have the least intention of going.
“All right. Ah’m going to be in a tree where Ah can watch to-morrow mo’ning and see if yo’ are as brave as yo’ talk,” declared Unc’ Billy.
Then Reddy knew that he would have to go or else be called a coward. “I’ll be there,” he snarled angrily, as he slunk away.
UNC’ BILLY POSSUM TELLS JIMMY SKUNK A SECRET
Be sure before you drop a
That you’ve done nothing to offend.
A friend is always worth keeping. Unc’ Billy Possum says so, and he knows. He ought to, for he has made a lot of them in the Green Forest and on the Green Meadows, in spite of the pranks he has cut up and the tricks he has played. And when Unc’ Billy makes a friend, he keeps him. He says that it is easier and a lot better to keep a friend than to make a new one. And this is the way he goes about it: Whenever he finds that a friend is angry with him, he refuses to be angry himself. Instead, he goes to that friend, finds out what the trouble is, explains it all away, and then does something nice.
Jimmy Skunk and Unc’ Billy had been friends from the time that Unc’ Billy came up from ol’ Virginny to live in the Green Forest. In fact, they had been partners in stealing eggs from the hen-house of Farmer Brown’s boy. So when Jimmy Skunk, who had made a special call on Prickly Porky to find out if he had seen the strange creature without head, tail, or legs, told everybody that Prickly Porky had seen nothing of such a creature, he was very much put out and quite offended to hear that Unc’ Billy was telling how Prickly Porky had said that Peter might really have some reason for his queer story. It seemed to him that either Prickly Porky had told an untruth or that Unc’ Billy was telling an untruth. It made him very angry.