HE GRASS around the
But there was Farmer Brown's boy.
He had crawled on his hands and knees
without making a sound to get near enough to the home of Reddy Fox to
shoot if Reddy was outside. But there was no sign of Reddy, so Farmer
Brown's boy had hopped up, and now he was whistling as he began to dig.
His freckled face looked
Deeper and deeper grew the hole, and bigger and bigger grew the pile of
sand which he threw out. He didn't know that any one was watching him,
except Bowser the Hound. He didn't see Johnny Chuck peeping from behind
a tall bunch of meadow grass, nor Peter Rabbit peeping from behind a
tree on the edge of the Green Forest, nor Bobby Coon looking from a safe
Only Ol' Mistah Buzzard knew better. From way up high in the blue, blue sky he could look down and see many things. He could see all the little meadow and forest people who were watching Farmer Brown's boy. The harder Farmer Brown's boy worked, the more Ol' Mistah Buzzard chuckled to himself. What was he laughing at? Why, peeping out from behind an old fence corner, he could see the sharp face of old Granny Fox, and she was grinning. So Ol' Mistah Buzzard knew Reddy Fox was safe.
But the other little people of the Green Forest and the Green Meadows didn't know that old Granny Fox and Reddy Fox had moved, and their faces grew longer and longer as they watched Farmer Brown's boy go deeper and deeper into the ground.
"Reddy Fox has worried me almost to death and would eat me if he could catch me, but somehow things wouldn't be quite the same without him around. Oh dear, I don't want him killed," moaned Peter Rabbit.
"Perhaps he isn't home," said Jimmy Skunk.
"Of course he's home; he's so stiff and sore he can hardly walk at all and has to stay home," replied Johnny Chuck. "Hello, what's the matter now?"
Everybody looked. Farmer Brown's boy had climbed out of the hole. He looked tired and cross. He rested for a few minutes, and as he rested, he scowled. Then he began to shovel the sand back into the hole. He had reached the bottom and found no one there.
"Hurrah!" shouted Peter Rabbit and struck his heels together as he jumped up in the air.
And the others were just as glad as Peter Rabbit. Johnny Chuck was especially glad, for, you see, Farmer Brown's boy had once found Johnny's snug home, and Johnny had had to move as suddenly as did Granny and Reddy Fox. Johnny knew just how Reddy must feel, for he had had many narrow escapes in his short life. You can read all about them in the next book, The Adventures of Johnny Chuck.