Gateway to the Classics: The Adventures of Peter Cottontail by Thornton W. Burgess
The Adventures of Peter Cottontail by  Thornton W. Burgess

Reddy Fools Bowser the Hound

A WAY across the Green Meadows and up the hill through the Green Forest raced Reddy Fox at the top of his speed. Behind him, nose to the ground, came Bowser the Hound, baying at the top of his lungs. Reddy ran along an old stone wall and jumped as far out into the field as he could.

"I guess that will fool him for a while," panted Reddy, as he sat down to get his breath.

When Bowser came to the place where Reddy had jumped on the stone wall, he just grinned.

"That's too old a trick to fool me one minute," said Bowser to himself, and he just made a big circle, so that in a few minutes he had found Reddy's tracks again.

Every trick that Reddy had heard old Granny Fox tell about he tried, in order to fool Bowser the Hound, but it was of no use at all. Bowser seemed to know exactly what Reddy was doing, and wasted no time.

Reddy was beginning to get worried. He was getting dreadfully out of breath. His legs ached. His big, plumey tail, of which he is very, very proud, had become dreadfully heavy. Granny Fox had warned him never, never to run into the snug house they had dug unless he was obliged to save his life, for that would tell Bowser the Hound where they lived, and then they would have to move.

How Reddy did wish that wise old Granny Fox would come to his relief. He was running along the back of Farmer Brown's pasture, and he could hear Bowser the Hound altogether too near for comfort. He looked this way and he looked that way for a chance to escape. Just ahead of him he saw a lot of woolly friends. They were Farmer Brown's sheep. Reddy had a bright idea. Like a flash he sprang on the back of one of the sheep. It frightened the sheep as badly as Reddy had been frightened, when Jimmy Skunk had landed on him that morning.

"Baa, baa, baa!" cried the sheep and started to run. Reddy hung on tightly, and away they raced across the pasture.

Now Bowser the Hound trusts wholly to his nose to follow Reddy Fox or Peter Rabbit or his master, Farmer Brown's boy. So he did not see Reddy jump on the back of the sheep, and, of course, when he reached the place where Reddy had found his strange horse, he was puzzled. Round and round, and round and round Bowser worked in a circle, but no trace of Reddy could he find.

And all the time Reddy sat behind the stone wall on the far side of the pasture, getting his wind and laughing and laughing at the smart way in which he had fooled Bowser the Hound.

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