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Chapter 11

XI. THE HAPPIEST COON EVER

As jolly Mr. Sun smiles down

And makes the land all bright and fair

So happiness within the heart

Spreads joy and gladness everywhere.


NOW though Bobby Coon couldn't speak the language of Farmer Brown's boy and so tell him how he longed to be free and go back to the Green Forest, he could and he did tell him in another way just what was in his heart. He told him with his eyes, though he didn't know it. You know eyes are sometimes called the windows of the soul. This means simply that as you look out through your eyes and see all that is going on about you, so others may sometimes look right in your eyes and see what is going on within your mind. Eyes are very wonderful things, and a great deal may be learned from them. Eyes will tell the truth when a tongue is busy telling a wrong story. I guess you know how hard it is when you have done wrong to look mother straight in the face-and try to make her believe that you haven't done wrong. That is because your eyes are truthful.

Looking straight into the eyes of fierce wild animals often will fill them with fear. Trainers of lions and other dangerous animals know this and do it a great deal. Fear will show in the eyes when it shows nowhere else. It is the same with happiness and contentment. So it is with sorrow and worry. Just as a thermometer shows just how warm it is or how cold it is, so the eyes show our feelings. So when Bobby Coon sat down and gazed towards the Green Forest and wished that he could tell Farmer Brown's boy how he wanted to go back there, a look of longing grew and grew in Bobby's eyes, and Farmer Brown's boy saw it. What is more, he understood it. His own eyes grew soft.

"You poor little rascal," said he, "I believe you think you are a prisoner and that you want to go back home. Well, I guess there is no reason why you shouldn't now. I'm very fond of you, Bobby. Yes, I am. I'm so fond of you that I hate to have you go, and I guess that I've kept you longer than was necessary. That leg of yours looks to me to be as good as ever, so I really haven't an excuse for keeping you any longer. I think we'll take a walk this afternoon."

If Bobby could have understood what Farmer Brown's boy was saying, it would have made him feel a great deal better. But he didn't understand, and so he continued to stare towards the Green Forest and grow more and more homesick. After dinner, Farmer Brown's boy came out and took off the collar and chain, and picked Bobby up in his arms. This time Bobby didn't have his eyes covered as he did when he had been brought from the Green Forest. Fear no longer made him want to bite and scratch. Through the Old Orchard straight to the Green Forest they went, and Bobby began to grow excited. What was going to happen? What did it mean?

Through the Green Forest straight to the place where Bobby's great hollow tree used to stand went Farmer Brown's boy. When they got there he smoothed Bobby's coat and patted him gently. Then he put him down on the ground.

"Here we are, Bobby," said he. "Now run along and find a new house and be happy. I hope you won't forget me, because I am going to come over often to see you. Just keep out of mischief, and above all keep out of the way of hunters next fall. They shall not hunt here if I can help it, but you know I cannot watch all the time. Good-by, Bobby, and take care of yourself."

Bobby didn't say good-by, because he didn't know how. But a great joy came into his eyes, and Farmer Brown's boy saw it and understood. Straight off among the trees Bobby walked. Once he looked back. Farmer Brown's boy was watching him and waved a hand.

"He was good to me. He certainly was good to me," thought Bobby. "I—I believe I really am very fond of him."

Then he went on to look for a new house. All the joy of the springtime was in his heart He was free! He was home once more in the Green Forest! He no longer feared Farmer Brown's boy!

"I'm the happiest coon in all the world!" cried Bobby.

Thornton W. Burgess

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