Read CHAPTER X - THE RUNAWAY CABBAGE of The Adventures of Unc Billy Possum, free online book, by Thornton W. Burgess, on

Reddy Fox, hiding with Shadow the Weasel in a hollow log near Unc’ Billy Possum’s home, nudged Shadow with his elbow.

“I hear some one coming,” he whispered.

Shadow peeped out.  “It’s old Mr. Toad and Prickly Porky,” he whispered back.

Something that sounded very much like a growl sounded way down deep in the throat of Reddy Fox, for Reddy has no love for Prickly Porky.

“And there comes Jimmy Skunk, with a big-goose egg under each arm!” continued Shadow, smacking his lips.  Reddy Fox wriggled up where he could peep out, too.

“My goodness!  What’s that coming down the Lone Little Path?” whispered Reddy.

Shadow looked.  Then he began to laugh, and Reddy began to laugh, too.  But it was laughter that made no sound, for Reddy and Shadow didn’t want any one to know that they were hiding there.  It was a funny sight they were peeping out at.  It certainly was a funny sight.  Down the Lone Little Path came Peter Rabbit and his cousin, Juniper the Hare, rolling a huge cabbage.

Right at the top of a little hill the cabbage got away from them.  Down it started, rolling and bounding along, with Peter Rabbit and Jumper the Hare frantically trying to catch it.  Just ahead was Johnny Chuck with a big bundle of sweet clover, which he was bringing to Peter Rabbit’s party.  He didn’t see the big cabbage coming.  It knocked his feet from under him, and down he went with a thump, flat on his back.  Right on top of him fell Jumper the Hare, who was close behind the runaway cabbage and had no time to turn aside.  Over the two of them fell Peter Rabbit.  Such a mix-up!

And the big cabbage kept right on running away.  Jimmy Skunk, who never hurries, heard the noise behind him and turned to see what it all meant.  But he didn’t have time to more than blink his eyes before the runaway cabbage hit him full in the stomach.  Down went Jimmy Skunk with a grunt.  One big egg flew over against a tree and broke.  Jimmy landed on the other, and this broke, too.

Such a sight as Jimmy Skunk was!  Egg dripped from every part of his handsome black and white coat.  It was in his eyes and all over his face and dripped from his whiskers.  Shadow the Weasel and Reddy Fox, hiding in the hollow log, laughed until the tears rolled down their cheeks, though down in the heart of Shadow was bitter disappointment, for he had planned to steal those very eggs.

Just a little way beyond Jimmy Skunk the runaway cabbage brought up with a thump against a stump on which sat Striped Chipmunk, with the pockets in his cheeks filled full of yellow corn.  The sudden bump of the big cabbage made Striped Chipmunk lose his balance, and off he tumbled, right down on to old Mr. Toad, who had just sat down behind the stump for a few minutes of rest.  It knocked all the wind out of Mr. Toad, and of course Striped Chipmunk spilled all his corn.

Prickly Porky the Porcupine heard the noise.  He looked up to see a strange thing bounding down the Lone Little Path.  Prickly Porky didn’t wait to see what it was.  He did just what he always does when he thinks there may be danger; he rolled himself up with his face hidden in his waistcoat, and when he did that, the thousand little spears hidden in his coat stood out until he looked like a giant chestnut burr.

The runaway cabbage bounced off the stump and hit Prickly Porky.  Then it stopped.  Where it had touched Prickly Porky, the sharp little spears had stuck into it, so that when Peter Rabbit and Jumper the Hare hurried up, there lay the runaway cabbage, looking for all the world like a great green pincushion.