Read CHAPTER XIX - WHAT THE SNOW DID of The Adventures of Unc Billy Possum, free online book, by Thornton W. Burgess, on

Unc’ Billy Possum did a lot of thinking.  He was a prisoner, just as much a prisoner as if he were in a cage.  Now Unc’ Billy Possum wouldn’t have minded being a prisoner in the hen-house but for two things; he was dreadfully afraid that his old friend and partner, Jimmy Skunk, would get hungry for eggs and would get caught in the traps, and he was still more afraid that Farmer Brown’s boy would think to put his hand down under the hay in the last nest of the top row in the darkest corner.  So Unc’ Billy spent most of his time studying and thinking of some way to get out, and if he couldn’t do that, of some way to warn Jimmy Skunk to keep away from Farmer Brown’s hen-house.

If it hadn’t been for those two worries, Unc’ Billy would have been willing to stay there the rest of the winter.  It was delightfully warm and cosy.  He knew which nest Mrs. Speckles always used and which one Mrs. Feathertoes liked best, and he knew that of all the eggs laid in Farmer Brown’s hen-house those laid by Mrs. Speckles and Mrs. Feathertoes were the best.  Having all the eggs he could eat, Unc’ Billy had grown very particular.  Nothing but the best, the very best, would do for him.  So he would lie curled up in the last nest of the top row in the darkest corner and wait until he heard the high-pitched voice of Mrs. Speckles proudly crying: 

“Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut-aa-cut!  I lay the finest eggs in the world!”

Then Unc’ Billy would chuckle to himself and wait a few minutes longer for the voice of Mrs. Feathertoes, saying:  “Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut-aa-cut, cut, cut, cut!  No one lays such splendid eggs as I do!” Then, while Mrs. Speckles and Mrs. Feathertoes were disputing as to which laid the best eggs, Unc’ Billy would slip out and breakfast on both those newly laid eggs.

So for almost a week Unc’ Billy lived in Farmer Brown’s hen-house and ate the eggs of Mrs. Speckles and Mrs. Feathertoes and hid in the last nest of the top row in the darkest corner and shivered as he heard Farmer Brown’s boy tell what would happen if he caught the one who was stealing those eggs.  Sometimes the door was left open during the day, and Unc’ Billy would peep out and wish that he dared to run.  But he didn’t, for Bowser the Hound was always prowling around, and then again he was almost sure to be seen by some one.

At last one day it began to snow.  It snowed all day and it snowed all night.  Rough Brother North Wind piled it up in great drifts in front of the hen-house door and all along one side of the hen-house.  It covered the traps so deep that they couldn’t possibly catch any one.  As soon as the snow stopped falling, Unc’ Billy began to dig his way up to the top from the very hole by which he had entered the hen-house.  He didn’t like it, for he doesn’t like snow, but now was his chance to get away, and he meant to make the most of it.