Reddy looked up at Sammy and snarled. It was of no use at all now to try to surprise and catch any of the family of Mrs. Grouse, so he turned around and hurried away, trying to escape from Sammy’s sharp eyes. He had gone only a little way when a sharp voice called: “Coward! Coward! Coward!” It was Chatterer the Red Squirrel.
No sooner had he got out out of Chatterer’s sight than he heard another voice. It was saying over and over:
“Dee, dee, dee!
Oh, me, me!
Some folks can talk so very brave
And then such cowards be.”
It was Tommy Tit the Chickadee. Reddy couldn’t think of a thing to say in reply, and so he hurried on, trying to find a place where he would be left in peace. But nowhere that he could go was he free from those taunting voices. Not even when he had crawled into his house was he free from them, for buzzing around his doorway was Bumble Bee and Bumble was humming:
“Bumble, grumble, rumble,
Reddy surely can run some.”
Late that afternoon old Granny Fox called him out, and it was clear to see that Granny was very much put out about something. “What is this I hear everywhere I go about you being a coward?” she demanded sharply, as soon as he put his head out of the doorway.
Reddy hung his head, and in a very shamefaced way he told her about the terrible fright he had had and all about the strange creature without legs, head, or tail that had rolled down the hill where Prickly Porky lives.
“Serves you right for boasting!” snapped Granny. “How many times have I told you that no good comes of boasting? Probably somebody has played a trick on you. I’ve lived a good many years, and I never before heard of such a creature. If there were one, I’d have seen it before now. You go back into the house and stay there. You are a disgrace to the Fox family. I am going to have a look about and find out what is going on. If this is some trick, they’ll find that old Granny Fox isn’t so easily fooled.”
OLD GRANNY FOX INVESTIGATES
In-vest-i-gate is a great big word, but its meaning is very simple. To in-vest-i-gate is to look into and try to find out all about something. That is what old Granny Fox started to do after Reddy had told her about the terrible fright he had had at the hill where Prickly Porky lives.
Now old Granny Fox is very sly and smart and clever, as you all know. Compared with her, Reddy Fox is almost stupid. He may be as sly and smart and clever some day, but he has got a lot to learn before then. Now if it had been Reddy who was going to investigate, he would have gone straight over to Prickly Porky’s hill and looked around and asked sly questions, and everybody whom he met would have known that he was trying to find out something.
But old Granny Fox did nothing of the kind. Oh, my, no! She went about hunting her dinner just as usual and didn’t appear to be paying the least attention to what was going on about her. With her nose to the ground she ran this way and ran that way as if hunting for a trail. She peered into old hollow logs and looked under little brush piles, and so, in course of time, she came to the hill where Prickly Porky lives.