Read CHAPTER VIII - PETER RABBIT SENDS OUT WORD of The Adventures of Unc Billy Possum, free online book, by Thornton W. Burgess, on

It was a beautiful morning.  Everybody said so, and what everybody says is usually so.  Peter Rabbit wore the broadest kind of a smile.  He hopped and skipped all the way down the Lone Little Path on to the Green Meadows and was waiting there when Old Mother West Wind came down from the Purple Hills and, turning her big bag upside down, tumbled out all her children, the Merry Little Breezes, to play.  Peter stopped them before they had a chance to run away.  He whispered to each, and each in turn started to dance across the Green Meadows to carry the news that this was the day of Peter Rabbit’s surprise party for Unc’ Billy Possum, whose family would arrive that very morning from way down in “Öl’ Virginny.”

Sammy Jay had risen very early that morning.  Almost at once his sharp eyes had seen Peter Rabbit sending out the Merry Little Breezes.  Sammy’s wits are as sharp as his eyes, and you know it is very hard to really fool sharp wits.  Right away Sammy had guessed what the Merry Little Breezes were hurrying so for, but he sat and waited and listened.  Pretty soon he heard Drummer the Woodpecker start a long rat-a-tat-tat over by Unc’ Billy Possum’s hollow tree.  Then Sammy was sure that this was the day of Peter Rabbit’s party.  Sammy grinned as he hurried off to find Blacky the Crow and Reddy Fox and Shadow the Weasel.

Reddy was not yet out of bed, but when he heard Sammy Jay at his door, he tumbled out in a hurry.  He didn’t stop to get any breakfast, because he had planned to get all he could eat at the party.  So he hurried over to where the party was to be.  Very cautiously he crept up, and when he was quite sure that no one was about, he crawled into a hollow log which was open at one end.  There he stretched himself out and made himself as comfortable as he could.

Pretty soon Shadow the Weasel joined Reddy Fox in the hollow log, and they whispered and chuckled while they waited.  They knew that Blacky the Crow was safely hidden in the top of a tall pine, where he could see all that went on, and that Sammy Jay was flying about over the Green Meadows and through the Green Forest, pretending that he was attending wholly to his own business, but really watching all the preparations for Peter Rabbit’s party.  At the foot of a tree, in the top of which Prickly Porky the Porcupine was eating his breakfast, sat old Mr. Toad, nodding sleepily.  Sammy Jay saw him there but, smart as Sammy is, he didn’t once suspect innocent-looking old Mr. Toad.  You see, he didn’t know that old Mr. Toad had overheard all of his plans.