“You are the stupidest Fox I ever heard of,” scolded Granny.
“I’m no more stupid than you are!” retorted Reddy in the most impudent way.
“What’s that?” demanded Granny. “What’s that you said?”
“I said I’m no more stupid than you are, and what is more, I hope I’m not so stupid. I know better than to take a nap in broad daylight right under the very nose of Farmer Brown’s boy.” Reddy grinned in the most impudent way as he said this.
Granny’s eyes snapped. Then things happened. Reddy was cuffed this way and cuffed that way and cuffed the other way until it seemed to him that the air was full of black paws, every one of which landed on his head or face with a sting that made him whimper and put his tail between his legs, and finally howl.
“There!” cried Granny, when at last she had to stop because she was quite out of breath. “Perhaps that will teach you to be respectful to your elders. I was careless and stupid, and I am perfectly ready to admit it, because it has taught me a lesson. Wisdom often is gained through mistakes, but never when one is not willing to admit the mistakes. No Fox lives long who makes the same mistake twice. And those who are impudent to their elders come to no good end. I’ve got a fat goose hidden away for dinner, but you will get none of it.”
“I — I wish I’d never heard of Granny’s mistake,” whined Reddy to himself as he crept dinnerless to bed.
“You ought to wish that you hadn’t been impudent,” whispered a small voice down inside him.
CHAPTER XI: After The Storm
The joys and the sunshine that make
The worries and troubles that makes us sad
Must come to an end; so why complain
Of too little sun or too much rain?
— Old Granny Fox.
The thing to do is to make the most of the sunshine while it lasts, and when it rains to look forward to the corning of the sun again, knowing that conic it surely will. A dreadful storm was keeping the little people of the Green Forest, the Green Meadows, and the Old Orchard prisoners in their own homes or in such places of shelter as they had been able to find.
But it couldn’t last forever, and they knew it. Knowing this was all that kept some of them alive.
You see, they were starving. Yes, Sir, they were starving. You and I would be very hungry, very hungry indeed, if we had to go without food for two whole days, but if we were snug and warm it wouldn’t do us any real harm. With the little wild friends, especially the little feathered folks, it is a very different matter. You see, they are naturally so active that they have to fill their stomachs very often in order to supply their little bodies with heat and energy. So when their food supply is wholly cut off, they starve or else freeze to death in a very short time. A great many little lives are ended this way in every long, hard winter storm.