Mrs. Turtle stopped then; and for a few minutes she was very busy about something. First she dug a hole in the sand. And Fatty wondered what she was looking for. But he kept very quiet. And after a time Mrs. Turtle splashed into the creek again and paddled away. But before she left she scooped sand into the hole she had dug. Before she left the place she looked all around, as if to make sure that no one had seen her. And as she waddled slowly to the water Fatty could see that she was smiling as if she was very well pleased about something. She seemed to have a secret.
Fatty Coon had grown very curious, as he watched Mrs. Turtle. And just as soon as she was out of sight he came out from his hiding place in the tall reeds and trotted down to the edge of the creek. He went straight to the spot where Mrs. Turtle had dug the hole and filled it up again. And Fatty was so eager to know what she had been doing that he began to dig in the very spot where Mrs. Turtle had dug before him.
It took Fatty Coon only about six seconds to discover Mrs. Turtle’s secret. For he did not have to paw away much of the sand before he came upon—what do you suppose? Eggs! Turtles’ eggs! Twenty-seven round, white eggs, which Mrs. Turtle had left there in the warm sand to hatch. That was why she looked all around to make sure that no one saw her. That was why she seemed so pleased. For Mrs. Turtle fully expected that after a time twenty-seven little turtles would hatch from those eggs— just as chickens do—and dig their way out of the sand.
But it never happened that way at all. For as soon as he got over his surprise at seeing them, Fatty Coon began at once to eat those twenty-seven eggs. They were delicious. And as he finished the last one he couldn’t help thinking how lucky he had been.
FATTY COON’S MISTAKE
Fatty Coon was very fond of squirrels. And you may think it strange when I tell you that not one of the squirrels anywhere around Blue Mountain was the least bit fond of Fatty Coon. But when I say that Fatty Coon was fond of squirrels, I mean that he liked to eat them. So of course you will understand now why the squirrels did not care for Fatty at all. In fact, they usually kept just as far away from him as they could.
It was easy, in the daytime, for the squirrels to keep out of Fatty’s way, when he wandered through the tree-tops, for the squirrels were much sprier than Fatty. But at night—ah! that was a very different matter. For Fatty Coon’s eyes were even sharper in the dark than they were in the daylight; but the poor squirrels were just as blind as you are when you are safely tucked in bed and the light is put out.
Yes—when the squirrels were in bed at night, up in their nests in the trees, they could see very little. And you couldn’t say they were safe in bed, because they never knew when Fatty Coon, or his mother, or his brother, or one of his sisters, or some cousin of his, might come along and catch them before they knew it.