Read CHAPTER XI - REDDY FOX GOES HUNGRY of The Adventures of Unc Billy Possum, free online book, by Thornton W. Burgess, on

Like a great green pincushion lay the runaway cabbage of Peter Rabbit and Jumper the Hare.  Every one thought it was the very best joke ever.  Jimmy Skunk had gone off to take a bath and get two more eggs for Peter Rabbit’s party.  Reddy Fox and Shadow the Weasel, peeping out from the hollow log where they were hiding, could see Jimmy on his way back with a big goose egg under each arm.  Shadow smacked his lips.  He meant to have those eggs himself.

Pretty soon all the little forest and meadow people whom Peter Rabbit had invited were gathered around the foot of Unc’ Billy Possum’s hollow tree, and each had brought something good to eat.  My, such a feast as was spread out there!  Now they were waiting for Unc’ Billy Possum, who had gone to meet his family, coming up from “Öl’ Virginny.”

Over in the top of a tall pine tree Blacky the Crow was hiding and chuckling to himself as he watched.  Reddy Fox was getting impatient.  He was hungry.  He had had no breakfast, and as he lay hiding in the hollow log, he could peep out and see all the good things, and he could smell them, too.  It seemed as if his stomach would just give him no peace at all.  He wished that Sammy Jay would bring the false message that Bowser the Hound was coming, so as to frighten all the rest away.

“I’m nearly starved!” whispered Reddy Fox.  “I hope Sammy Jay will hurry up.”

Just then they noticed that Peter Rabbit was very busy.  He hopped from guest to guest and whispered in the ear of each.

“Now I wonder what Peter Rabbit is whispering about,” said Reddy.

Suddenly the light at the end of the hollow log disappeared.  There was a queer rattling sound that sent shivers up and down Reddy’s backbone.  Prickly Porky the Porcupine had sat down with his back against the end of the hollow log, and the queer rattling sound was made by the thousand little spears in his long coat.  Reddy Fox and Shadow the Weasel were in a prison.  You see there was no other opening to the hollow log.

“Never mind,” whispered Shadow the Weasel, “he’ll go away when Sammy Jay shouts that Bowser the Hound is coming.”

Blacky the Crow, hidden in the top of the tall pine, was also wondering what Peter was whispering.  His sharp eyes watched Peter, and every time that Peter whispered in the ear of one of the little meadow or forest people, they would laugh.

Now, Sammy Jay knew nothing about all this.  By and by, when he thought that every one was there, Sammy came flying through the Green Forest, just as if he knew nothing about Peter Rabbit’s party.  Now, Sammy, with all his faults, is one of the best watchmen in the Green Forest.  If there is any danger which his sharp eyes discover, he always screams at the top of his lungs.  So, though he steals and plays tricks and makes life very uncomfortable for the others, they always stop to listen when Sammy sounds a warning.  Because Sammy knew this he felt sure of breaking up this party.

As soon as he came in sight of all the little meadow and forest people, he began to shriek at the top of his lungs.

“Run! run! run!  Here comes Bowser the Hound,” he shouted.

No one moved, and this puzzled Sammy so that he hardly knew what to do, but he kept right on shrieking, just as if Bowser was right close at hand.  Still no one moved.  Sammy stopped on a tall pine and pretended to be terribly excited.

“You had better run before Bowser gets here,” he shouted.

What do you think happened then?  Why, everybody set up a great shout.  “Ha! ha! ha!” laughed Peter Rabbit.

“Ho! ho! ho!” shouted Johnny Chuck.

“Hee! hee! hee!” giggled Danny Meadow Mouse.

“What time will Bowser get here?” asked Bobby Coon, gravely.

“Tell Bowser that we are all waiting for him,” added Jimmy Skunk.

“Is Bowser quite out of breath?” inquired Jerry Muskrat.

“I would like nothing better than to run a race with Bowser the Hound,” said Jumper the Hare, sitting up very straight.

Sammy Jay didn’t know what to do or what to say.  He was just the most disgusted looking Jay that ever flew through the Green Forest, and all the time he wondered and wondered and wondered how it could be that Peter Rabbit and his friends knew that Bowser the Hound was not in the Green Forest at all.  You see, old Mr. Toad had told Peter all about Sammy’s plan, and this is what Peter had been whispering to the others.