H ARDLY had jolly, round, red Mr. Sun thrown off his nightcap and come out from his home behind the Purple Hills for his daily climb up in the blue, blue sky, when Farmer Brown's boy started down the Lone Little Path through the Green Forest.
Peter Rabbit, who had been out all night and was just then on his way home, saw him. Peter stopped and sat up to rub his eyes and look again. He wasn't quite sure that he had seen aright the first time. But he had. There was Farmer Brown's boy, sure enough, and at his heels trotted Bowser the Hound.
There was Farmer Brown's boy, sure enough.
Peter Rabbit rubbed his eyes once more and wrinkled up his eyebrows. Farmer Brown's boy certainly had a gun over one shoulder and a spade over the other. Where could he be going down the Lone Little Path with a spade? Farmer Brown's garden certainly was not in that direction. Peter watched him out of sight and then he hurried down to the Green Meadows to tell Johnny Chuck what he had seen. My, how Peter's long legs did fly! He was so excited that he had forgotten how sleepy he had felt a few minutes before.
Half way down to Johnny Chuck's house, Peter Rabbit almost ran plump into Bobby Coon and Jimmy Skunk, who had been quarreling and were calling each other names. They stopped when they saw Peter Rabbit.
"Peter Rabbit runs away
From his shadder, so they say.
Peter, Peter, what a sight!
Tell us why this sudden fright,"
shouted Bobby Coon.
Peter Rabbit stopped short. Indeed, he stopped so short that he almost turned a somersault. "Say," he panted, "I've just seen Farmer Brown's boy."
"You don't say so!" said Jimmy Skunk, pretending to be very much surprised. "You don't say so! Why, now I think of it, I believe I've seen Farmer Brown's boy a few times myself."
Peter Rabbit made a
Bobby Coon's face wore a sober look. Yes, Sir, all the fun was gone from Bobby Coon's face.
"What's the matter?" asked Jimmy Skunk.
"I was just thinking that Reddy Fox lives over in that direction and he is so stiff that he cannot run," replied Bobby Coon.
Jimmy Skunk hitched up his trousers and started toward the Lone Little Path. "Come on!" said he. "Let's follow him and see what he is about."
Bobby Coon followed at once, but Peter Rabbit said he would hurry over and get Johnny Chuck and then join the others.
All this time Farmer Brown's boy had been hurrying down the Lone Little Path to the home old Granny Fox and Reddy Fox had moved out of the night before. Of course, he didn't know that they had moved. He put down his gun, and by the time Jimmy Skunk and Bobby Coon and Peter Rabbit and Johnny Chuck reached a place where they could peep out and see what was going on, he had dug a great hole.
"Oh!" cried Peter Rabbit, "he's digging into the house of Reddy Fox, and he'll catch poor Reddy!"