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Grumpy Weasel was quick to see that fat Mrs. Hen swallowed every word he said as greedily as if it had been an angleworm. "Yes! You have a fine house here," he said. "But of course you're crowded," he added gloomily, to show Mrs. Hen that he knew she had no place for him.
"Oh! Not at all!" Mrs. Hen assured him.
"And the door's always shut tight at night," he added, "on account of that prowling Tommy Fox."
"Yes! We have to be careful," said Mrs. Hen.
"And there's Peter Mink, too," Grumpy went on. "Don't leave an opening big enough for him! He can get through a small hole, too—any that's big enough for his head."
At that Mrs. Hen looked startled, as if she had just remembered something that made her feel uneasy.
"He couldn't get through a rat hole, could he?" she inquired nervously.
"Why—there isn't one here, is there?" Grumpy asked.
"There is an old one," she admitted. "It hasn't been used in my time."
"If I could see it I'd know at once whether Pete could crawl through it," Grumpy Weasel said, talking to himself—or so it seemed to Mrs. Hen.
"I'll show it to you gladly!" she cried. "Do come right in and look at our rat hole, Mr. Weasel!"
As she spoke, Mrs. Hen started for the henhouse. And after her crept Grumpy Weasel, hoping that nobody else would see him. So far as he could tell, the hens were all out of doors, scratching in the dirt. But suddenly Mrs. Hen's jealous neighbor began to set up a great squawking, calling upon Mrs. Hen to be careful, for she was in great danger.
Fat Mrs. Hen turned about with a vexed look upon her handsome but somewhat stupid face.
"Walk right in!" she said to Grumpy. "I must stop and settle with her. She has gone too far." And leaving Grumpy to find the rat hole without her help, Mrs. Hen fluttered across the henyard with her head thrust forward, to give her meddlesome neighbor a number of hard pecks and so teach her to mind her own affairs.
With a low chuckle Grumpy Weasel slipped inside the henhouse, where he found himself quite alone. It took him but a few moments to discover in one corner of the building the old rat hole of which Mrs. Hen had spoken.
And then he went to the door and looked out, for Mrs. Hen and her neighbor were making a terrific racket. He saw the end of the squabble. And soon Mrs. Hen came running back, with her feathers sadly rumpled, and her comb awry.
"I settled with her," she gasped. "And now tell me about the rat hole. Could Peter Mink get through it?"
"No, he couldn't!" Grumpy Weasel said. Then he dodged strangely back into the henhouse. And though Mrs. Hen hopped in after him she couldn't find him anywhere.
She couldn't understand it.
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