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

Reddy Fox Gets a Scare

P ETER RABBIT looked up at the silvery moon and laughed aloud. Then he kicked up his heels and laughed again as he started out across the Green Meadows towards Farmer Brown's garden. You see, Peter was suspicious, very suspicious indeed of Reddy Fox. So, as it was a beautiful night for a walk, he thought he would just run over to Farmer Brown's garden and see if he could find that bed of newly planted cabbage, about which Reddy Fox had told him.

So Peter hopped and skipped across the Green meadows, singing as he went:

"Hold, ol' Miss Moon, hold up your light!

Show the way! show the way!

The little stars are shining bright;

Night folks all are out to play."

When Peter reached Farmer Brown's garden, he had no trouble in finding the new planting of cabbage. It was tender. It was good. My, how good it was! Peter started in to fill his little round stomach. He ate and ate and ate and ate! By and by, just when he thought he couldn't eat another mouthful, he happened to look over to a patch of moonlight. For just a second Peter's heart stopped beating. There was Reddy Fox coming straight over to the new cabbage bed!

Peter Rabbit didn't know what to do. Reddy Fox hadn't seen him yet, but he would in a minute or two, unless Peter could hide. He was too far from the dear Old Briar-patch to run there. Peter looked this way and looked that way. Ha! ha! There lay Farmer Brown's boy's old straw hat, just where he had left it when the supper horn blew. Peter crawled under it. It covered him completely.

Peter peeped out from under one edge. He saw Reddy Fox standing in the moonlight, looking at the bed of newly set cabbage. Reddy was smiling as if his thoughts were very pleasant. Peter shivered. He could just guess what Reddy was thinking—how he would gobble up Peter, when once he got him away from the safety of the Old Briar-patch.

The thought made Peter so indignant that he forgot that he was hiding, and he sat up on his hind legs. Of course, he lifted the straw hat with him. Then he remembered and sat down again in a hurry. Of course, the straw hat went down quite as quickly.

Presently Peter peeped out. Reddy Fox was staring and staring at the old straw hat, and he wasn't smiling now. He actually looked frightened. It gave Peter an idea. He made three long hops straight towards Reddy Fox, all the time keeping the old straw hat over him. Of course the hat went along with him, and, because it covered Peter all up, it looked for all the world as if the hat was alive.

Reddy Fox gave one more long look at the strange thing coming towards him through the cabbage bed, and then he started for home as fast as he could go, his tail between his legs.

Peter Rabbit just lay down right where he was and laughed and laughed and laughed. And it almost seemed as if the old straw hat laughed too.

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