Read CHAPTER XXIV - HAPPY JACK SQUIRREL HELPS UNC’ BILLY POSSUM of The Adventures of Unc Billy Possum, free online book, by Thornton W. Burgess, on

It is very startling, very startling indeed, to rush into your own storehouse, which you had supposed was empty, and run right into some one sleeping there as if he owned it.  It is enough to make any one lose his temper.  Happy Jack Squirrel lost his.

And it is very startling, very startling, indeed, to be wakened out of pleasant dreams of warm summer days by having some one suddenly jump on you.  It is enough to make any one lose his temper.  Unc’ Billy Possum lost his.

So Happy Jack sat outside on a branch of the hollow tree where his old storehouse was and scolded, and called Unc’ Billy Possum names, and jerked his tail angrily with every word he said.  And Unc’ Billy Possum sat in the doorway of the hollow tree and showed his teeth to Happy Jack and said unpleasant things.  It really was very dreadful the way those two did talk.

But Unc’ Billy Possum is really very good-natured, and when he had gotten over the fright Happy Jack had given him and began to understand that he was in one of Happy Jack’s storehouses, all his temper vanished, and presently he began to grin and then to laugh.  Now it always takes two to make a quarrel, and one of the hardest things in the world is to keep cross when the one you are cross with won’t keep cross, too.  Happy Jack tried hard to stay angry, but every time he looked at Unc’ Billy Possum’s twinkling eyes and broad grin, Happy Jack lost a little of his own temper.  Pretty soon he was laughing just as hard as Unc’ Billy Possum.

“Ho, ho, ho!  Ha, ha, ha!” they laughed together.  Finally they had to stop for breath.

“What are you doing in my storehouse, Unc’ Billy?” asked Happy Jack, when he could stop laughing.

Then Unc’ Billy told him all about how he had climbed there from another tree, so as to leave no tracks in the snow for Farmer Brown’s boy to follow.

“But now Ah want to go to mah own home in the big hollow tree way down in the Green Forest, but Ah can’t, on account of mah tracks in the snow,” concluded Unc’ Billy mournfully.

Happy Jack put his head on one side and thought very hard.  “Why don’t you stay right here until the snow goes, Unc’ Billy?” he asked.

“Because Ah ‘spects that mah ol’ woman am worried most to death,” said Unc’ Billy, in a mournful voice.  “Besides,” he added, “Ah just done found out that this right nice lil’ house belongs to one of mah neighbors.”  There was a twinkle in Unc’ Billy’s eyes.

Happy Jack laughed.  “You’re welcome to stay as long as you like, Unc’ Billy,” he said.  “You better stay right where you are, and I’ll go tell old Mrs. Possum where you are.”

“Thank yo’!  Thank yo’!  That is very kind of yo’, Brer Squirrel.  That will be a great help, fo’ it will lift a great load off mah mind,” said Unc’ Billy.

“Don’t mention it, Unc’ Billy!” replied Happy Jack and started off with the message to old Mrs. Possum, and as he scampered through the snow he said: 

   “To get yourself in trouble is a very easy thing. 
    I notice that to others it will always worries bring. 
    But getting out of trouble’s always quite the other way ­
    The more you try to wriggle out, the longer you must stay.”