XVIII. The Hunt for Reddy Fox




"Trouble, trouble, trouble, I feel it in the air; Trouble, trouble, trouble, it's round me everywhere."

Old Granny Fox muttered this over and over, as she kept walking around uneasily and sniffing the air.

"I don't see any trouble and I don't feel any trouble in the air. It's all in the sore places where I was shot," said Reddy Fox, who was stretched out on the doorstep of their home.

"That's because you haven't got any sense. When you do get some and learn to look where you are going, you won't get shot from behind old tree trunks and you will be able to feel trouble when it is near, without waiting for it to show itself. Now I feel trouble. You go down into the house and stay there!" Granny Fox stopped to test the air with her nose, just as she had been testing it for the last ten minutes.

"I don't want to go in," whined Reddy Fox. "It's nice and warm out here, and I feel a lot better than when I am curled up way down there in the dark."

Old Granny Fox turned, and her eyes blazed as she looked at Reddy Fox. She didn't say a word. She didn't have to. Reddy just crawled into his house, muttering to himself. Granny stuck her head in at the door.

"Don't you come out until I come back," she ordered. Then she added: "Farmer Brown's boy is coming with his gun."

Reddy Fox shivered when he heard that. He didn't believe Granny Fox. He thought she was saying that just to scare him and make him stay inside. But he shivered just the same. You see, he knew now what it meant to be shot, for he was still too stiff and sore to run, all because he had gone too near Farmer Brown's boy and his gun.

But old Granny Fox had not been fooling when she told Reddy Fox that Farmer Brown's boy was coming with a gun. It was true. He was coming down the Lone Little Path, and ahead of him was trotting Bowser the Hound. How did old Granny Fox know it? She just felt it! She didn't hear them, she didn't see them, and she didn't smell them; she just felt that they were coming. So as soon as she saw that Reddy Fox had obeyed her, she was off like a little red flash.

"It won't do to let them find our home," said Granny to herself, as she disappeared in the Green Forest.

First she hurried to a little point on the hill where she could look down the Lone Little Path. Just as she expected, she saw Farmer Brown's boy, and ahead of him, sniffing at every bush and all along the Lone Little Path, was Bowser the Hound. Old Granny Fox waited to see no more. She ran as fast as she could in a big circle which brought her out on the Lone Little Path below Farmer Brown's boy and Bowser the Hound, but where they couldn't see her, because of a turn in the Lone Little Path. She trotted down the Lone Little Path a very little way and then turned into the woods and hurried back up the hill, where she sat down and waited. In a few minutes she heard Bowser's great voice. He had smelled her track in the Lone Little Path and was following it. Old Granny Fox grinned. You see, she was planning to lead them far, far away from the home where Reddy Fox was hiding, for it would not do to have them find it.

And Farmer Brown's boy also grinned, as he heard the voice of Bowser the Hound.

"I'll hunt that fox until I get him," he said. You see, he didn't know anything about old Granny Fox; he thought Bowser was following Reddy Fox.



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