At last Fatty Coon rose to his feet. He felt very queer. There was a strange, tight feeling about his stomach. And his sides were no longer thin. They stuck out just as they had before winter came—only more so. And what alarmed Fatty was this: his sides seemed to be sticking out more and more all the time.
He wondered what he had been eating. Those dry things that tasted like apples—he wondered what they were.
Now, there was some printing on the outside of the box which held those queer, spongy, flat things. Of course, Fatty Coon could not read, so the printing did him no good at all. But if you had seen the box, and if you are old enough to read, you would have known that the printing said:
Now, evaporated apples are nothing more or less than dried apples. The cook of the loggers’ camp used them to make apple pies. And first, before making his pies, he always soaked them in water so they would swell.
Now you see what made Fatty Coon feel so queer and uncomfortable. He had first eaten his dried apples. And then he had soaked them, by drinking out of the brook. It was no wonder that his sides stuck out, for the apples that he had bolted were swelling and puffing him out until he felt that he should burst. In fact, the wonder of it was that he was able to get through his mother’s doorway, when he reached home.
But he did it, though it cost him a few groans. And he frightened his mother, too.
“I only hope you’re not poisoned,” she said, when Fatty told her what he had been doing.
And that remark frightened Fatty more than ever. He was sure he was never going to feel any better.
Poor Mrs. Coon was much worried all the rest of the night. But when morning came she knew that Fatty was out of danger. She knew it because of something he said. It was this:
“Oh, dear! I wish I had something to eat!”
THE TRACKS IN THE SNOW
One fine winter’s day Fatty Coon came upon the queerest tracks in the snow. They were huge—a great deal bigger, even, than bear-tracks, which Fatty had sometimes seen, for once in a while, before the weather grew too cold, and he fell into his winter’s sleep, a bear would come down into the valley from his home on Blue Mountain.
But these were six times as big as bear tracks. And Fatty felt a shiver of fear run up and down his back.
He followed the trail a little way. But he was very careful. He was always ready to scramble up a tree, in case he should suddenly see the strange animal—or rather, in case the strange animal should see him.
The great tracks led straight toward Farmer Green’s house. And Fatty did not want to go there. So he hurried home to ask his mother what he had found. Mrs. Coon listened to Fatty’s story.