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Hardly was old Granny Fox out of sight on her way to hunt for the chicken she had left on the hill, when Unc' Billy Possum came strolling along the Lone Little Path. He was humming to himself, for he had just had a good breakfast. One of the Merry Little Breezes spied him and hurried to meet him and tell him about how Reddy Fox had been shot.
Unc' Billy listened, and the grin with which he had greeted the Merry Little Breeze grew into a broad smile.
"Are yo' all sure about that?" he asked.
The Merry Little Breeze was sure.
Unc' Billy Possum stopped for a few minutes and considered.
"Serves that no 'count Reddy Fox right," chuckled Unc' Billy. "He done spoil mah hunting at Farmer Brown's, he raised such a fuss among the hens up there. 'Tisn't safe to go there any mo'! No, Suh, 'tisn't safe, and it won't be safe for a right smart while. Did yo' say that Granny Fox is home?"
The Merry Little Breeze hadn't said anything about Granny Fox, but now remembered that she had gone up the hill.
"Ah believe Ah will just tote my sympathy over to Reddy Fox," said Unc' Billy Possum, as he started in the direction of Reddy Fox's house. But he made sure that old Granny Fox was not at home before he showed himself. Reddy Fox lay on his doorstep. He was sick and sore and stiff. Indeed, he was so stiff he couldn't walk at all. And he was weak--weak and hungry, dreadfully hungry. When he heard footsteps, he thought old Granny Fox was bringing him the chicken after which she had gone. He felt too ill even to turn his head.
"Did you get the chicken, Granny?" he asked weakly. No one answered. "I say, did you get the chicken, Granny?" Reddy's voice sounded a little sharp and cross as he asked this time.
Still there was no reply, and Reddy began to be a little bit suspicious. He turned over and raised his head to look. Instead of old Granny Fox, there was Unc' Billy Possum grinning at him.
"Smarty, Smarty is a thief!
Smarty, Smarty came to grief!
Tried to show off just for fun
And ran too near a loaded gun.
"Yo' all certainly has got just what yo' deserve, and Ah'm glad of it! Ah'm glad of it, Suh!" said Unc' Billy Possum severely.
An angry light came into the eyes of Reddy Fox and made them an ugly yellow for just a minute. But he felt too sick to quarrel. Unc' Billy Possum saw this. He saw how Reddy was really suffering, and down deep in his heart Unc' Billy was truly sorry for him. But he didn't let Reddy know it. No, indeed! He just pretended to be tickled to death to see Reddy Fox so helpless. He didn't dare stay long, for fear Granny Fox would return. So, after saying a few more things to make Reddy feel uncomfortable, Unc' Billy started off up the Lone Little Path toward the Green Forest.
"Too bad! Too bad!" he muttered to himself. "If ol' Granny Fox isn't smart enough to get Reddy enough to eat, Ah'll have to see what we-alls can do. Ah cert'nly will."
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