The Adventures of Reddy Fox  by Thornton Burgess

Reddy Fox Disobeys

W HEN old Granny Fox had sent Reddy Fox into the house and told him to stay there until she returned home, he had not wanted to mind, but he knew that Granny Fox meant just what she said, and so he had crawled slowly down the long hall to the bedroom, way under ground.

Pretty soon Reddy Fox heard a voice. It was very faint, for you know Reddy was in his bedroom way under ground, but he knew it. He pricked up his ears and listened. It was the voice of Bowser the Hound, and Reddy knew by the sound that Bowser was chasing Granny Fox.

Reddy grinned. He wasn't at all worried about Granny Fox, not the least little bit. He knew how smart she was and that whenever she wanted to, she could get rid of Bowser the Hound. Then a sudden thought popped into Reddy's head, and he grew sober.

"Granny did  feel trouble coming, just as she said," he thought.

Then Reddy Fox curled himself up and tried to sleep. He intended to mind and not put his little black nose outside until old Granny Fox returned. But somehow Reddy couldn't get to sleep. His bedroom was small, and he was so stiff and sore that he could not get comfortable. He twisted and turned and fidgeted. The more he fidgeted, the more uncomfortable he grew. He thought of the warm sunshine outside and how comfortable he would be, stretched out full length on the door-step. It would take the soreness out of his legs. Something must have happened to Granny to keep her so long. If she had known that she was going to be gone such a long time, she wouldn't have told him to stay until she came back, thought Reddy.

By and by Reddy Fox crept a little way up the long, dark hall. He could just see the sunlight on the door-step. Pretty soon he went a little bit nearer. He wasn't going to disobey old Granny Fox. Oh, no! No, indeed! She had told him to stay in the house until she returned. She hadn't said that he couldn't look  out! Reddy crawled a little nearer to the open door and the sunlight.

"Granny Fox is getting old and timid. Just as if my eyes aren't as sharp as hers! I'd like to see Farmer Brown's boy get near me when I am really on the watch," said Reddy Fox to himself. And then he crept a little nearer to the open door.

How bright and warm and pleasant it did look outside! Reddy just knew  that he would feel ever and ever so much better if he could stretch out on the door-step. He could hear Jenny Wren fussing and scolding at some one or something, and he wondered what it could be. He crept just a wee bit nearer. He could hear Bowser's voice, but it was so faint that he had to prick up his sharp little ears and listen with all his might to hear it at all.

"Granny's led them way off on the mountain. Good old Granny!" thought Reddy Fox. Then he crawled right up to the very doorway. He could still hear Jenny Wren scolding and fussing.

"What does ail her?"

If it's hot or if it's cold,

Jenny Wren will always scold.

From morn till night the whole day long

Her limber tongue is going strong.

"I'm going to find out what it means," said Reddy, talking to himself.

Reddy Fox poked his head out and—looked straight into the freckled face of Farmer Brown's boy and the muzzle of that dreadful gun!