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Chapter 6

VI. SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH BOBBY COON

FARMER BROWN'S boy chuckled as he peered in at Bobby Coon, and watched Bobby show his teeth, and listened to his snarls and growls. It was very plain that Bobby intended to fight for his life. It might be an entirely hopeless fight, but he would fight just the same.

"Bobby," said Farmer Brown's boy, "you certainly are a plucky little rascal. I know just what you think; you think that my father and I cut this tree down just to get you, and you think that we and Bowser the Hound are going to try to kill you. You are all wrong, Bobby, all wrong. If we had known that this tree was your house, we wouldn't have cut it down. No, Sir, we wouldn't. And now that we have found out that it is, we are not going to harm so much as a hair of you. I'm going to cut this opening a little larger so that you can get out easily, and then I am going to hold on to Bowser and give you a chance to get away. I hope you know of some other hollow tree near here to which you can go. Its a shame, Bobby, that we didn't know about this. It certainly is, and I'm ever so sorry. Now you just quit your snarling and growling while I give you a chance to get out."

But Bobby continued to threaten to fight whoever came near. You see, he couldn't understand what Farmer Brown's boy said, which was too bad, because it would have lifted a great load from his mind. So he didn't have the least doubt that these were enemies and that they intended to kill him. He didn't believe he had the least chance in the world to escape, but he bravely intended to fight the very best he could, just the same. And this shows that Bobby possessed the right kind of a spirit. It shows that he wasn't a quitter. Furthermore, though no one knew it but himself, Bobby had been badly hurt when that tree fell. The fact is, one of Bobby's legs had been broken. Yet in spite of this, he meant to fight. Yes, Sir, in spite of a broken leg, he had no intention of giving up until he had to.

Farmer Brown's boy swung his axe a few times and split the opening in the hollow tree wider so that Bobby would have no trouble in getting out. All the time Bobby snapped and snarled and gritted his teeth. Then Farmer Brown's boy led Bowser the Hound off to one side and held him. Farmer Brown joined them, and then they waited. Bobby couldn't see them. It grew very still there in the Green Forest. Bobby didn't know just what to make of it. Could it be that he had frightened them away by his fierceness? After awhile he began to think that this was so. He waited just as long as he could be patient and then poked his head out. No one was to be seen, for Farmer Brown and his boy and Bowser the Hound were hidden by a little clump of hemlock-trees.

Slowly and painfully Bobby climbed out That broken leg hurt dreadfully. It was one of his front legs, and of course he had to hold that paw up. That meant that he had to walk on three legs. This was bad enough, but when he started to climb a tree, he couldn't. With a broken leg, there would be no more climbing for Bobby Coon. It was useless for him to look for another hollow tree. All he could do was to look for a hollow log into which he could crawl.

Poor Bobby Coon! What should he do? What could he do? For the first time his splendid courage deserted him. You see, he thought he was all alone there, and that no one saw him. So he just crouched right down there at the foot of the tree he had started to climb, and whimpered. He was frightened and very, very miserable, was Bobby Coon, and he was in great pain.

Thornton W. Burgess

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