NOW that Bobby Coon knew what it was that had frightened him so, he felt no better than before. In fact, he felt worse. Before, he had imagined all sorts of dreadful things, but nothing that he had imagined was as bad as what he now knew to be a fact. His house, the big hollow chestnut-tree in which he had lived so long and in which he had gone to sleep so happily at the beginning of winter, was being cut down by Farmer Brown's boy and Farmer Brown himself, and Bowser the Hound was looking on. There was no other tree near enough to jump to. The only way out was down right where those keen axes were at work and where Bowser sat watching. What chance was there for him? None. Not the least chance in the world. At least, that is the way Bobby felt about it. That was because he didn't know Farmer Brown and Farmer Brown's boy.
You see, all this time that Bobby Coon had been having such a dreadful, such a very dreadful time, Farmer Brown and Farmer Brown's boy and Bowser the Hound had known nothing at all about it. Bobby Coon hadn't once entered the heads of any of them. None of them knew that the big chestnut-tree was Bobby's home. If Farmer Brown's boy had known it, I suspect that he would have found some good excuse for not cutting it. But he didn't, and so he swung his axe with a will, for he wanted to show his father that he could do a man's work.
Why were they cutting down that big chestnut-tree? Well, you see that tree was practically dead, so Farmer Brown had decided that it could be of use in no way now save as wood for the fires at home. If it were cut down, the young trees springing up around it would have a better chance to grow. It would be better to cut it now than to allow it to stand, growing weaker all the time, until at last it should fall in some great storm and perhaps break down some of the young trees about it.
Now if Bobby Coon had known Farmer Brown and Farmer Brown's boy as Tommy Tit the Chickadee knew them, and as Happy Jack Squirrel knew them, and as some others knew them, he would have climbed right straight down that tree without the teeniest, weeniest bit of fear of them. He would have known that he was perfectly safe. But he didn't know them, and so he felt both helpless and hopeless, and this is a very dreadful feeling indeed.
For a little while he peeped out of his doorway, watching the keen axes and the flying yellow chips. Then he crept miserably back to bed to wait for the worst. He just didn't know what else to do. By and by there was a dreadful crack, and another and another. Farmer Brown shouted. So did Farmer Brown's boy. Bowser the Hound barked excitedly. Slowly the big tree began to lean over. Then it moved faster and faster, and Bobby Coon felt giddy and sick. He felt very sick indeed. Then, with a frightful crash, the tree struck the ground, and for a few minutes Bobby didn't know anything at all. No, Sir, he didn't know a single thing. You see, when the tree hit the ground, Bobby was thrown against the side of his house so hard that all the wind was knocked from his body, and all his senses were knocked from his head. When after a little they returned to him, Bobby discovered that the tree had fallen in such a way that the hole which had been his doorway was partly closed. He was a prisoner in his own house.
He didn't mind this so much as you might expect. He began to hope ever so little. He began to hope that Farmer Brown and his boy wouldn't find that hollow and after awhile they would go away. And then Bowser the Hound upset all hope. He came over to the fallen tree and began to sniff along the trunk. When he reached the partly closed hole which was Bobby's doorway, he began to whine and bark excitedly. He would stick his nose in as far as he could, sniff, then lift his head and bark.
After that he would scratch frantically at the hole.
"Hello!" exclaimed Farmer Brown's boy, "Bowser has found some one at home! I wonder who it can be."