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Thornton Burgess

Poor Reddy Fox

P ETER RABBIT and Johnny Chuck stole up the hill towards the home of Reddy Fox. As they drew near, they crept from one bunch of grass to another and from bush to bush, stopping behind each to look and listen. They were not taking any chances. Johnny Chuck was not much afraid of Reddy Fox, for he had whipped him once, but he was afraid of old Granny Fox. Peter Rabbit was afraid of both. The nearer he got to the home of Reddy Fox, the more anxious and nervous he grew. You see, Reddy Fox had played so many tricks to try and catch Peter that Peter was not quite sure that this was not another trick. So he kept a sharp watch in every direction, ready to run at the least sign of danger.

When they had tiptoed and crawled to a point where they could see the door-step of the Fox home, Peter Rabbit and Johnny Chuck lay down in a clump of bushes and watched. Pretty soon they saw old Granny Fox come out. She sniffed the wind and then she started off at a quick run down the Lone Little Path. Johnny Chuck gave a sigh of relief, for he wasn't afraid of Reddy and now he felt safe. But Peter Rabbit was just as watchful as ever.

"I've got to see Reddy for myself before I'll go a step nearer," he whispered.

Just then Johnny Chuck put a hand on his lips and pointed with the other hand. There was Reddy Fox crawling out of his doorway into the sun. Peter Rabbit leaned forward to see better. Was Reddy Fox really so badly hurt, or was he only pretending?

Reddy Fox crawled painfully out on to his door-step. He tried to stand and walk, but he couldn't because he was too stiff and sore. So he just crawled. He didn't know that any one was watching him, and with every movement he made a face. That was because it hurt so.

Peter Rabbit, watching from the clump of bushes, knew then that Reddy was not pretending. He knew that he had nothing, not the least little thing, to fear from Reddy Fox. So Peter gave a whoop of joy and sprang out into view.


Peter Rabbit knew then that Reddy was not pretending.

Reddy looked up and tried to grin, but made a face of pain instead. You see, it hurt so to move.

"I suppose you're tickled to death to see me like this," he growled to Peter Rabbit.

Now Peter had every reason to be glad, for Reddy Fox had tried his best to catch Peter Rabbit to give to old Granny Fox for her dinner, and time and again Peter had just barely escaped. So at first Peter Rabbit had whooped with joy. But as he saw how very helpless Reddy really was and how much pain he felt, suddenly Peter Rabbit's big, soft eyes filled with tears of pity.

He forgot all about the threats of Reddy Fox and how Reddy had tried to trick him. He forgot all about how mean Reddy had been.

"Poor Reddy Fox," said Peter Rabbit. "Poor Reddy Fox."