The Adventures of Unc' Billy Possum by Thornton Burgess
Old Mrs. Possum Grows Worried
LD Mrs. Possum counted her babies to be sure that they all were
tucked snug and warm in their bed in the old hollow tree in the Green
Forest. "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight." They were
all there. Mrs. Possum looked at them with a great deal of pride and
sighed as she thought of how soon they would be leaving the old hollow
tree to see the great world and make homes for themselves. Just as
soon as the beautiful spring came, they would one by one slip away.
Mrs. Possum sighed again. She didn't like winter. No, Sir, she didn't
like winter one bit. But when she thought of how her babies would
leave her, she almost wished that spring never would come.
Sure that her babies were warm and comfortable, old Mrs. Possum went
to the door and looked out. It was plain to be seen that Mrs. Possum
was worried. That was the tenth time she had looked out in half an
hour. Her sharp little old face looked sharper than ever. It always
looks sharper when she is worried, just as the tongues of some people
always grow sharper when they are worried.
"Ah don' see what can be keepin' mah ol' man! Ah'm plumb worried to
death," muttered old Mrs. Possum.
Right that very minute she heard a noise outside that made her hurry
to the door and thrust her head out once more. It was Sammy Jay,
"Thief! Thief! Thief!" at the top of his lungs.
"He's a thief himself and just a low-down
mischief-maker, for all his
smart clo'es, but he knows a powerful lot about what is going on in
the Green Forest, and perhaps he has seen mah ol' man," said old
Mrs. Possum, as she tried to make her sharp face as pleasant as possible.
She looked over at Sammy Jay, who was in the next tree, and smiled,
and when she smiled she showed all her sharp teeth.
"Good mo'ning, Brer Jay," said she.
"Hello!" exclaimed Sammy Jay, not at all politely. "Where's Uncle
Old Mrs. Possum shook her head, and the worried look came back into
her face, although she tried hard, oh, so hard, not to let it.
"He done go out fo' a walk," replied
old Mrs. Possum. "Ah reckons
yo'all just got up, or yo' would have met up with him somewhere."
Old Mrs. Possum said this just to try to make Sammy Jay talk, for
Sammy is very quick-tempered, and quick-tempered people often say a
lot more than they mean to. You see, Mrs. Possum was quite sure that
if Sammy Jay knew how worried she was over Unc' Billy Possum, he would
refuse to tell her whether or not he had seen Unc' Billy, for Sammy
Jay is mean and loves to torment others.
Sammy's temper flared up right away. "I've been up ever since sun-up!"
he sputtered. "Your old man isn't anywhere in the Green Forest, unless
he's gone to sleep in some other hollow tree, and I wouldn't blame him
a bit if he had! No, Sir, I wouldn't blame him the least bit!"
"Keep your temper, Brer Jay!
Keep your temper, do, Oh pray!"
said old Mrs. Possum, grinning in the most aggravating way as she
turned back to her babies. She had found out what she wanted to
know—Sammy Jay had seen
nothing of Unc' Billy Possum. Old Mrs. Possum
sat down with her head in her hands. She was more worried than ever.