The Adventures of Unc' Billy Possum  by Thornton Burgess

Why Unc' Billy Possum Didn't Go Home

U NC' BILLY POSSUM had a very good reason for not going home, a very good reason, indeed. Even old Mrs. Possum would have thought it was a good reason, could she have known it. But she didn't know it, and so she sat in the home in the big hollow tree in the Green Forest and worried herself almost sick, because Unc' Billy didn't come home, and she didn't know what might have happened to him.

Sometimes Unc' Billy wished that he was back in the old hollow tree, and sometimes he was glad that he was right where he was. Sometimes he felt little shivers of fear run all over him as he thought of what might become of him if he should be found. Sometimes a little tickly feeling of pleasure ran all over him, as he bit a hole in the end of a freshly laid egg and sucked the egg out of the shell.

Now Unc' Billy was very, very crafty. He had found Jimmy Skunk's tracks boldly leading up to the hen-house, so Unc' Billy had stepped as carefully as he knew how in the footprints of Jimmy Skunk, in order that Farmer Brown's boy might think that Jimmy Skunk was the only visitor to the hen-house. But with all his craft, there was one thing that Unc' Billy forgot. Yes, Sir, there was one thing Unc' Billy forgot all about. He forgot to keep his tail up. He was trying so hard to step in the footprints of Jimmy Skunk, that he forgot all about that little, smooth, handy old tail of his, and he let it drag along the snow.

When Unc' Billy was safely in the hen-house, he hurried from one nest to another. There were eggs, plenty of them. It seemed to him that nothing he had ever seen before had looked half so good as those eggs. He just ate and ate and ate until he couldn't eat another one.


He just ate and ate and ate until he couldn't eat another one.

Now a full stomach is very apt to make a sleepy head. Unc' Billy knew that the thing for him to do was to hurry home as fast as he could go, but he didn't. No, Sir, he didn't do it. The hen-house was warm and here were some of the nicest nests of hay. He was tired after his long walk from the Green Forest, for Unc' Billy had done so little walking this winter that he was rather out of practice. Why not take a teeny, weeny nap before he started back home?

Unc' Billy climbed to the very last nest in the topmost row, way up in a dark corner. It hadn't been used for a long time, but it was full of nice, soft hay. Unc' Billy curled himself up in it, and with a great sigh of contentment, closed his eyes for that teeny, weeny nap. He didn't open them again until he heard an angry voice right close to him. He peeped out. It was broad daylight, and there, just below him, was Farmer Brown's boy, looking at the empty egg-shells left by Unc' Billy. Farmer Brown's boy was angry. Yes, indeed, he was very, very angry. Unc' Billy shivered as he listened. Then he snuggled down out of sight under the hay of the nest.