Gateway to the Classics: The Adventures of Ol' Mistah Buzzard by Thornton W. Burgess
The Adventures of Ol' Mistah Buzzard by  Thornton W. Burgess

Unc' Billy Meets an Old Friend

U NC' BILLY POSSUM lost no time in getting over to the dead tree in the Green Forest where Jimmy Skunk had seen the stranger go to roost for the night. Unc' Billy wanted to get there before the stranger had gone to sleep, for if it really were his old friend, Ol' Mistah Buzzard, as Unc' Billy felt sure it was, he had just got to say "howdy" that very night.

Now Unc' Billy is seldom caught napping, so though he was very sure that this was his old friend, he didn't intend to run any risk of furnishing a good supper for a hungry Hawk. So as Unc' Billy drew near the dead tree he crept up very quietly and carefully until he was where he could see the stranger clearly. There he sat on a branch of the dead tree. He was dressed in sooty black and he sat like an old man, his head drawn down and his shoulders hunched up. His head was bald and wrinkled.

Unc' Billy took one good look, and then he let out a whoop that made the stranger stretch out his long neck and begin to grin in pleased surprise.

"Hello, Ol' Mistah Buzzard! Where'd yo'all come from?" shouted Unc' Billy Possum.

"Ah reckon Ah done come straight from the sunny Souf, and Ah reckon this is the lonesomest land Ah ever done see. Ah'm going straight back where Ah come from. What yo'all staying up here fo' anyway, Unc' Billy?" said Ol' Mistah Buzzard.

Unc' Billy grinned. "Ah'm staying because Ah done like it here mighty well, and Ah reckon that yo'all is going to like it mighty well, too," replied Unc' Billy.

Ol' Mistah Buzzard shook his head. "All day Ah done try to make friends, and every one done run away. Ah don' understand it, Unc' Billy. Ah cert'nly don't understand it at all." Ol' Mistah Buzzard shook his head sorrowfully.

Unc' Billy's wits are sharp, and he had guessed right away what the trouble was. So he explained to Ol' Mistah Buzzard how he had been mistaken for a fierce Hawk, and that the reason the Green Meadows had been so lonely was because all the little meadow people had been hiding and shivering with fear as they had watched Ol' Mistah Buzzard sailing round in the sky.

Pretty soon Mistah Buzzard began to see the joke. There he had been sailing round and round in the sky and growing lonesome for some one to talk to, and there down below him had been the very ones he wanted to make friends with, every one of them frightened most to death because they mistook him for a Hawk. Ol' Mistah Buzzard began to chuckle, and then he began to laugh.

"Ah reckon Ah'll have to stay a day or two just to see if yo'all is right," said he.

"Ah reckon yo'all will," replied Unc' Billy Possum.

And Ol' Mistah Buzzard did.

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