“I’ll teach that young scamp a lesson he won’t soon forget when I get home,” she muttered, as she watched him. Then she went back to the edge of the Big River and there she found a dead fish which had been washed ashore. It was a very good fish, and when she had eaten it Granny felt better.
“Anyway,” thought she, “I have taught him a new trick and one he is n’t likely to forget. He knows now that Granny still knows a few tricks that he doesn’t, and next time he won’t feel so sure he knows it all. I guess it was worth while even if I didn’t catch Quacker. My, but he would have tasted good!” Granny smacked her lips and started for home.
But Reddy, with a guilty conscience, was afraid to go home. And so, miserable and hungry, he hunted through the Green Forest all the long night and wished and wished that he had heeded what old Granny Fox had told him.
CHAPTER VI: Old Granny Fox Is Caught Napping
The wisest folks will make mistakes,
if they are truly wise they will profit from them.
— Old Granny Fox.
There is a saying among the little people of the Green Forest and the Green Meadows which runs something like this:
“You must your eyes wide open
To catch Old Granny Fox asleep.”
Of course this means that Old Granny Fox is so smart, so clever, so keenly on the watch at all times, that he must be very smart indeed who fools her or gets ahead of her. Reddy Fox is smart, very smart. But Reddy isn’t nearly as smart as Old Granny Fox. You see, he hasn’t lived nearly as long, so of course there is much knowledge of many things stored away in Granny’s head of which Reddy knows little.
But once in a while even the smartest people are caught napping. Yes, Sir, that does happen. They will be careless sometimes. It was just so with Old Granny Fox. With all her smartness and cleverness and wisdom she grew careless, and all the smartness and cleverness and wisdom in the world is useless if the possessor becomes careless.
You see, Old Granny Fox had become so used to thinking that she was smarter than any one else, unless it was Old Man Coyote, that she actually believed that no one was smart enough ever to surprise her. Yes, Sir, she actually believed that. Now, you know when a person reaches the point of thinking that no one else in all the Great World is quite so smart, that person is like Peter Rabbit when he made ready one winter day to jump out on the smooth ice of the Smiling Pool, — getting ready for a fall. It was this way with Old Granny Fox.
Because she had lived near Farmer Brown’s so long and had been hunted so often by Farmer Brown’s boy and by Bowser the Hound, she had got the idea in her head that no matter what she did they would not be able to catch her. So at last she grew careless. Yes, Sir, she grew careless. And that is something no Fox or anybody else can afford to do.