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Chapter 5


Who for his home doth bravely fight

Is doing what he knows is right.

A coward he, the world would say,

Should he turn tail and run away.

BOBBY COON couldn't run away if he wanted to. I suspect that he would have run only too gladly if there had been the least chance to. But there he was, a prisoner in his own house. He couldn't get out if he wanted to, and he didn't want to just then because he knew by the sound of Bowser the Hound's deep sniffs at his doorway, followed by his eager barks, that Bowser had discovered that he, Bobby, was at home. He knew that Bowser couldn't get in, and so he was very well content to stay where he was.

But presently Bobby heard the voice of Fanner Brown's boy, and though Bobby didn't understand what Farmer Brown's boy said, his heart sank way down to his toes just the same. At least, that is the way it felt to Bobby. You see, he knew by the sound of that voice, even though he couldn't understand the words, that Farmer Brown's boy had understood Bowser, and now knew that there was some one at home in that hollow tree.

As to that Bobby was quite right. While Farmer Brown's boy couldn't understand what Bowser was saying as he whined and yelped, he did understand perfectly what Bowser meant.

"Who is it, Bowser, old fellow? Is it a Squirrel, or Whitefoot the Wood Mouse, or that sly old scamp, Unc' Billy Possum?" asked Farmer Brown's boy.

"Bow, wow, wow!" replied Bowser, dancing about between sniffs at Bobby's doorway.

"I don't know what that means, but I'm going to find out, Bowser," laughed Farmer Brown's boy, picking up his axe.

"Bow, wow! Bow, wow, wow, wow!" replied Bowser, more excited than ever. First Farmer Brown's boy had Farmer Brown bold Bowser away from the opening. Then with his axe he thumped all along the hollow part of the tree, hoping that this would frighten whoever was inside so that they would try to run out. But Bobby couldn't get out because, as you know, his doorway was partly closed, and he wouldn't have even it he could; he felt safer right where he was. So Farmer Brown's boy thumped in vain. When he found that this was useless, he drove the keen edge of his axe in right at the edge of the hole which was Bobby's doorway. Farmer Brown joined with his axe, and in a few minutes they had slit out a long strip which reached clear to where Bobby was crouching and let the light pour in, so that he had to blink and for a minute or two had hard work to see at all.

Right away Bowser discovered him, and growling savagely, tried to get at him. But the opening wasn't wide enough for Bowser to get more than his nose in, and this Bobby promptly seized in his sharp teeth.

"Yow-w-w! Oh-o-o! Let go! Let go!" yelled Bowser.

"Gr-r-r-r-r!" growled Bobby, and tried to sink his teeth deeper. Bowser yelled and howled and shook his head and pulled as hard as ever he could, so that at last Bobby had to let go. Farmer Brown's boy hurried up to look in. What he saw was a mouthful of sharp teeth snapping at him. Bobby Coon might have been very much afraid, but he didn't show it. No, Sir, he didn't show it. What he did show was that he meant to fight for his life, liberty, and home. He was very fierce looking, was Bobby Coon, as Farmer Brown's boy peeped in at him.

Thornton W. Burgess

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