GRANNY FOX CATCHES PETER RABBIT
Now listen to this little
That deals somewhat with folly,
And shows how sometimes one may be
A little bit too jolly.
No sooner was old Granny Fox out of sight, running as if she thought that every jump might be her last, than Jimmy Skunk came out from the hole under a big stump where he had been hiding, Peter Rabbit came out of the hollow log from which he had been peeping, and Unc’ Billy Possum dropped down from the hemlock-tree in which he had so carefully kept out of sight, and all three began to dance around Prickly Porky, laughing as if they were trying to split their sides.
“Ho, ho, ho!” shouted Jimmy Skunk. “I wonder what Reddy Fox would have said if he could have seen old Granny go down that hollow!”
“Ha, ha, ha!” shouted Peter Rabbit. “Did you see how her eyes popped out?”
“Hee, hee, hee!” squeaked Unc’ Billy Possum in his funny cracked voice. “Ah reckons she am bound to have sore feet if she keeps on running the way she started.”
Prickly Porky didn’t say a word. He just smiled in a quiet sort of way as he slowly climbed up to the top of the hill.
Now old Granny Fox had been badly frightened. Who wouldn’t have been at seeing a strange creature without head, tail, or legs rolling down hill straight towards them? But Granny was too old and wise to run very far without cause. She was hardly out of sight of the four little scamps who had been watching her when she stopped to see if that strange creature were following her. It didn’t take her long to decide that it wasn’t. Then she did some quick thinking.
“I said beforehand that there was some trick, and now I’m sure of it,” she muttered. “I have an idea that that good-for-nothing old Billy Possum knows something about it, and I’m just going back to find out.”
She wasted no time thinking about it, but began to steal back the way she had come. Now, no one is lighter of foot than old Granny Fox, and no one knows better how to keep out of sight. From tree to tree she crawled, sometimes flat on her stomach, until at last she reached the foot of the hill where she had just had such a fright. There was nothing to be seen there, but up at the top of the hill she saw something that made a fierce, angry gleam come into her yellow eyes. Then she smiled grimly. “The last laugh always is the best laugh, and this time I guess it is going to be mine,” she said to herself. Very slowly and carefully, so as not to so much as rustle a leaf, she began to crawl around so as to come up on the back side of the hill.
Now what old Granny Fox had seen was Peter Rabbit and Jimmy Skunk and Unc’ Billy Possum rolling over and over in the dried leaves, turning somersaults, and shouting and laughing, while Prickly Porky sat looking on and smiling. Granny knew well enough what was tickling them so, and she knew too that they didn’t dream but that she was still running away in fright. At last they were so tired with their good time that they just had to stop for a rest.