Read CHAPTER XXV - HAPPY JACK SQUIRREL’S BRIGHT IDEA of The Adventures of Unc Billy Possum, free online book, by Thornton W. Burgess, on

Happy Jack Squirrel frisked along through the snow on his way to Unc’ Billy Possum’s house in the big hollow tree in the Green Forest to tell old Mrs. Possum that Unc’ Billy was safe in another hollow tree on the edge of the Green Forest, but that he didn’t dare to come home because he would leave tracks in the snow.  He found old Mrs. Possum very much worried and very much out of sorts.  You see Unc’ Billy had been gone a long time for him, and she didn’t know what had become of him.

Now of course old Mrs. Possum was very much relieved when she heard that Unc’ Billy was safe, for she had been afraid that something dreadful had happened to him.  But just as soon as she knew that he was safe, she forgot all about how worried she had been.  All she thought of was how Unc’ Billy had gone to get some fresh eggs to put in his own stomach and left her to take care of herself and eight baby Possums.

“Yo’ tell Unc’ Billy Possum that Ah don’ care if he never comes back.  Ah done got other things to bother about more’n a worthless, no’count Possum what don’ take care of his fam’ly,” she said crossly, and hurried into the house to see that the eight little Possums were properly tucked in bed, for it was a cold day, and the eight little Possums had to stay in bed to keep warm.

Happy Jack chuckled as he started back to tell Unc’ Billy Possum.  He knew perfectly well that old Mrs. Possum didn’t mean what she said.  He knew that Unc’ Billy would know that she didn’t mean it.  But he knew, and he knew that Unc’ Billy knew, that when he did get home, he would get a great scolding.  Then all of a sudden Happy Jack thought of a way for Unc’ Billy to get home without waiting until the snow melted away.  That might be a very long time, for there was a great deal of snow on the ground.

What do you suppose gave Happy Jack his idea?  Why, a tiny little snowflake that hit Happy Jack right on the end of his nose!  Yes, Sir, it was that tiny little snowflake that gave Happy Jack Squirrel his bright idea.

He hurried back to the hollow tree where Unc’ Billy was hiding and scrambled up to the doorway.

“Hello, Unc’ Billy!  You can go home to-night!” he shouted.

Unc’ Billy Possum stuck his head out of the doorway.  “What’s that yo’ say, Brer Squirrel?” he said.  “Ah don’ see as the snow has gone away, and your tracks are powerful plain to see, and Ah makes bigger tracks than yo’, Brer Squirrel.”

“Just look up in the sky, Unc’ Billy!” said Happy Jack.

Unc’ Billy looked.  The sky was full of dancing snowflakes.  They got in his eyes and clung to his whiskers.  Unc’ Billy shook his head in disgust.

“Ah don’ see anything but mo’ snow, and yo’ know Ah don’ like snow!” he said.  “What yo’ driving at, Brer Squirrel?”

Happy Jack laughed.  “Why, it’s just as simple as can be, Unc’ Billy!” he cried.  “Just as soon as it’s dark, you start for home.  It’s going to snow all night, and in the morning there won’t be any tracks.  The snowflakes will have covered them all up.”

Unc’ Billy grinned.  “Ah believe yo’ are right, Brer Squirrel, Ah believe yo’ are right!” said Unc’ Billy.

And Happy Jack was right, for Unc’ Billy got safely home that very night, and the next morning, when Farmer Brown’s boy visited the Green Forest, there wasn’t a footprint to be seen anywhere.

So Unc’ Billy Possum learned how easy it is to get into trouble and how hard to get out of it.  But he isn’t the only one who has found this out.  Just ask Unc’ Billy’s particular friend, Mistah Mocker the Mocking Bird.  He will tell you the very same thing.  He and Unc’ Billy have been in all kinds of scrapes together, and if you care to read about some of them, you may do so in the next book ­The Adventures of Mistah Mocker.