The Adventures of Unc' Billy Possum  by Thornton Burgess

Where Unc' Billy Possum Was

W HERE was Unc' Billy Possum? That is what Farmer Brown's boy wanted to know. That is what Bowser the Hound wanted to know. Where was Unc' Billy Possum? He was in another hollow tree all the time and laughing till his sides ached as he peeped out and saw how hard Farmer Brown's boy worked.

"Ah done fool him that time," said Unc' Billy, as he watched Farmer Brown's boy wading off home through the snow, with Bowser the Hound at his heels.

"You certainly did, Unc' Billy! How did you do it?" asked a voice right over Unc' Billy's head.

Unc' Billy looked up in surprise. There was Tommy Tit the Chickadee. Unc' Billy grinned.

"Ah just naturally expected Ah was gwine to have visitors, and so Ah prepared a little surprise. Yes, Sah, Ah done prepare a little surprise. Yo' see, mah tracks in the snow was powerful plain. Yes, Sah, they sho'ly was! When Ah had climbed up that tree and looked down and saw all those tracks what Ah done made, Ah began to get powerful anxious. Yes, Sah, Ah done get so anxious Ah just couldn't get any rest in mah mind. Ah knew Farmer Brown's boy was gwine to find those tracks, and when he did, he was gwine to follow 'em right smart quick. Sho' enough, just before sundown, here he comes. He followed mah tracks right up to the foot of the tree whar Ah was hiding in the hollow, and Ah heard him say:

"So this is whar yo' live, is it, Mistah Possum? Ah reckon Bowser and Ah'll make yo' a call to-morrow."

"When I heard him say that, Ah felt right bad. Yes, Sah, Ah sho'ly did feel right smart bad. Ah studied and Ah studied how Ah was gwine to fool Farmer Brown's boy and Bowser the Hound. If Ah climbed down and went somewhere else, Ah would have to leave tracks, and that boy done bound to find me just the same. Ah done wish Ah had wings like yo' and Brer Buzzard.

"So po' ol' Unc' Billy sat studying and studying and getting mo' and mo' troubled in his mind. By and by Ah noticed that a branch from that holler tree rubbed against a branch of another tree, and a branch of that tree rubbed against a branch of another tree, and if Ah made a right smart jump from that Ah could get into this tree, which had a holler just made fo' me. Ah didn't waste no mo' time studying. No, Sah, Ah just moved right away, and here Ah am."

"And you didn't leave any tracks, and you didn't have any wings," said Tommy Tit the Chickadee.

"No," said Unc' Billy, "but Ah done find that yo' can most always find a way out, if yo' look hard enough. Just now, Ah am looking right smart hard fo' a way to get home, but Ah reckon mah eyesight am failing; Ah don' see any yet."

"Dee, dee, dee!" laughed Tommy Tit merrily. "Be patient, Unc' Billy, and perhaps you will."