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´╗┐Title: The Adventures of Bobby Coon
Author: Burgess, Thornton W. (Thornton Waldo)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Adventures of Bobby Coon" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

provided by the Google Books


By Thornton W. Burgess

Author of "Old Mother West Wind," "The Bedtime Story-Books," etc.

With Illustrations by Harrison Cady

Boston, Little, Brown, And Company




               Some dreams are good and some are bad;

                   Some dreams are light and airy;

               Some dreams I think are woven by

                   The worst bind of a fairy.

|DREAMS are such queer things, so very real when all the time they are
unreal, that sometimes I think they must be the work of fairies,--happy
dreams the work of good fairies and bad dreams the work of bad fairies.
I guess you've had both kinds. I know I have many times. However, Bobby
Coon says that fairies have nothing to do with dreams. Bobby ought to
know, for be spends most of the winter asleep, and it is only when you
are asleep that you have real dreams.

Bobby had kept awake as long as there was anything to eat, but when Jack
Frost froze everything bard, and rough Brother North Wind brought the
storm-clouds that covered the Green Forest with snow, Bobby climbed into
his warm bed inside the big hollow chestnut tree which he called his,
curled up comfortably, and went to sleep. He didn't care a hair of
his ringed tail how cold it was or how Brother North Wind howled and
shrieked and blustered. He was so fat that it made him wheeze and puff
whenever he tried to hurry during the last few days he was abroad, and
this fat helped to keep him warm while he slept, and also kept him from
waking from hunger.

[Illustration: 0020]

Bobby didn't sleep right straight through the winter as does Johnny
Chuck. Once in a great while he would wake up, especially if the weather
had turned rather warm. He would yawn a few times and then crawl up
to his doorway and peep out to see how things were looking outside.
Sometimes he would climb down from his home and take a little walk for
exercise. But he never went far, and soon returned for another long nap.

As it began to get towards the end of winter his naps were shorter. He
was no longer fat. In fact, his stomach complained a great deal of being
empty. Perhaps you know what it is like to have a stomach complain that
way. It is very disturbing. It gave Bobby no peace while he was awake,
and when he was asleep it gave him bad dreams. Bobby knew very well
that no fairies had anything to do with those dreams; they came from a
bothersome, empty, complaining stomach and nothing else.

One day Bobby had the worst dream of all. He had prowled around a
little the night before but had found nothing wherewith to satisfy his
bothersome stomach. So he had gone back to bed very much out of sorts
and almost as soon as he was asleep he had begun to dream. At first
the dreams were not so very bad, though bad enough. They were mostly of
delicious things to eat which always disappeared just as he was about
to taste them. They made him grunt funny little grunts and snarl funny
little impatient snarls in his sleep, you know.

But at last he began to have a really, truly, bad dream. It was one
of the worst dreams Bobby ever had had. He dreamed that he was walking
through the Green Forest, minding his own affairs, when he met a great
giant. Being afraid of the great giant, he ran with all his might and
hid in a hollow log. No sooner was he inside that hollow log than up
came the great giant and began to beat on that hollow log with a great
club. Every blow made a terrible noise inside that hollow log. It was
like being inside a drum with some one beating it. It filled Bobby's
ears with a dreadful roaring. It made his head ache as if it would
split. It sent cold shivers all over him. It filled him with dreadful
fear and despair. Yes, indeed, it was a bad dream, a very, very bad


               "Oh tell me, some one, if you will

               Am I awake or dreaming still?"

|SO cried Bobby Coon to no one in particular, because no one was there
to hear him. Bobby was in a dreadful state of mind. He couldn't tell
for the life of him whether he was awake, or asleep and dreaming, and I
cannot think of a much worse state of mind than that, can you?

There was that dreadful dream Bobby had had, the dream of the dreadful
giant who had chased him into a hollow log and then beat on that log
with a great club, frightening Bobby almost to death, filling his ears
with a terrible roaring sound that made his head ache, and sending cold
shivers all over him. Bobby was trying to make up his mind to rush out
of that hollow log in spite of the dreadful giant, all in his dream you
know, when suddenly his eyes flew open and there he was safe in his bed
in the hollow chestnut tree which he called his own.

Bobby gave a happy little sigh of relief, it seemed so good to find that
dreadful experience only a dream. "Phew!" he exclaimed. "That was a bad,
bad dream!" And then right on top of that he gave a little squeal of
fear. There was that awful pounding again! Was he still dreaming? Was
he awake? For the life of him Bobby couldn't tell. There was that same
dreadful pounding he had heard in the hollow log, but he wasn't in the
hollow log; he was safe at home in his own warm bed. Had he somehow
reached home without knowing it, in the strange way that things are done
in dreams, and had the dreadful giant followed him? That must be it. It
must be that he was still dreaming. He wished that he would wake up.

Bobby closed his eyes as tightly as he knew how for a few minutes.
Pound, pound, pound, sounded the dreadful blows. Then he opened his
eyes. Surely this was his hollow tree, and certainly he felt very much
awake. There was the sunlight peeping in at his doorway high overhead.
Yet still those dreadful blows sounded--pound, pound, pound. His head
ached still, harder than ever. And with every blow he jumped, and a cold
shiver ran over him from the roots of his tail to the tip of his nose.

Never in all his life had Bobby known such a mixed-up feeling. "Is this
I or isn't it I?" he whimpered. "Am I dreaming and think I'm awake, or
am I awake and still dreaming'? I know what I'll do; I'll bite my tail,
and if I feel it I'll know that I must be awake." So Bobby took the
tip of his tail in his mouth and bit it gently. Then he wondered if he
really did feel it or just seemed to feel it. So he bit it again, and
this time he bit harder.

"Ouch!" cried Bobby. "That hurt. I must be awake. I'm sure I'm awake.
But if I'm awake, what dreadful thing is happening? Is there a real
giant outside pounding on my tree?"

Then Bobby noticed something else. With every blow his house seemed to
tremble. At first he thought he imagined it, but when he put his hands
against the wall, he felt it tremble. It gave him a horrid sinking
feeling inside. He was sure now that he was awake, very much awake. He
was sure, too, that something dreadful was happening to his hollow
tree, and he couldn't imagine what it could be. And what is more, he was
afraid to climb up to his doorway and look out to see.


|POOR, poor Bobby Coon. Now he was sure that he was really and truly
awake, he almost wished that he hadn't tried to find out. It would have
been some little comfort to have been able to keep his first feeling
that maybe it was all a bad dream. But now that he knew positively he
was awake, he knew that this terrible pounding, which at first had been
part of that bad dream, was also real. The truth is, he could no longer
doubt that something terrible was happening to his house, the big hollow
chestnut-tree he had lived in so long.

With every blow, and the blows followed each other so fast that he
couldn't count them, the big tree trembled, and Bobby trembled with it.
What could it mean? What could be going on outside? He wanted to climb
up to his doorway and look out, but somehow he didn't dare to. He was
afraid of what he might see. Yes, Sir, Bobby Coon was afraid to climb up
to his doorway and look out for fear he might see something that would
frighten him more than he was already frightened, though how he could
possibly have been any more frightened I don't know. Yet all the time it
didn't seem to him that he could stay where he was another minute. No,
Sir, it didn't. He was too frightened to go and too frightened to stay.
Now can you think of anything worse than that?

The tree trembled more and more, and by and by it began to do more than
tremble; with a dreadful, a very dreadful sinking of his heart, Bobby
felt his house begin to sway, that is, move a little from side to side.
A new fear drove everything else out of his head--the fear that his
house might be going to fall! He couldn't believe that this could be
true, yet he had the feeling that it was so. He couldn't get rid of it
He had lived in that house a long, long time and never in all that long,
long time had he once had such a feeling as now possessed him. Many a
time had rough Brother North Wind used all his strength against that big
chestnut-tree. Sometimes he had made it tremble ever so little, but
that was all, and Bobby, curled up in his snug bed, had laughed at rough
Brother North Wind. He just couldn't imagine anything really happening
to his tree.

But something _was_ happening now. There wasn't the smallest doubt about
it. The great old tree shivered and shook with every blow. At last Bobby
could stand it no longer. He just _had_ to know what was happening, and
what it all meant. With his teeth chattering with fright, he crawled up
to his doorway and looked down. Badly frightened as he was, what he saw
frightened him still more. It frightened him so that he let go his hold
and tumbled down to his bed. Of course that didn't hurt him, because it
was soft, and in a minute he was scrambling up to his doorway again.

"What shall I do? What _can_ I do?" whimpered Bobby Coon as he looked
down with frightened eyes. "I can't run and I can't stay. What can I do?
What can I do?"

Bobby Coon was horribly frightened. There was no doubt about it, he was
horribly frightened. Have you guessed what it was that he saw? Well,
it was Farmer Brown and Farmer Brown's boy chopping down the big
chestnut-tree which had been Bobby's home for so long. And looking on
was Bowser the Hound.


|NOW that Bobby Coon knew what it was that had frightened him so, he
felt no better than before. In fact, he felt worse. Before, he had
imagined all sorts of dreadful things, but nothing that he had imagined
was as bad as what he now knew to be a fact. His house, the big hollow
chestnut-tree in which he had lived so long and in which he had gone
to sleep so happily at the beginning of winter, was being cut down by
Farmer Brown's boy and Farmer Brown himself, and Bowser the Hound was
looking on. There was no other tree near enough to jump to. The only way
out was down right where those keen axes were at work and where Bowser
sat watching. What chance was there for him? None. Not the least chance
in the world. At least, that is the way Bobby felt about it. That was
because he didn't know Farmer Brown and Farmer Brown's boy.

You see, all this time that Bobby Coon had been having such a dreadful,
such a very dreadful time, Farmer Brown and Farmer Brown's boy and
Bowser the Hound had known nothing at all about it. Bobby Coon hadn't
once entered the heads of any of them. None of them knew that the big
chestnut-tree was Bobby's home. If Farmer Brown's boy had known it, I
suspect that he would have found some good excuse for not cutting it.
But he didn't, and so he swung his axe with a will, for he wanted to
show his father that he could do a man's work.

Why were they cutting down that big chestnut-tree? Well, you see that
tree was practically dead, so Farmer Brown had decided that it could be
of use in no way now save as wood for the fires at home. If it were cut
down, the young trees springing up around it would have a better chance
to grow. It would be better to cut it now than to allow it to stand,
growing weaker all the time, until at last it should fall in some great
storm and perhaps break down some of the young trees about it.

Now if Bobby Coon had known Farmer Brown and Farmer Brown's boy as Tommy
Tit the Chickadee knew them, and as Happy Jack Squirrel knew them, and
as some others knew them, he would have climbed right straight down that
tree without the teeniest, weeniest bit of fear of them. He would have
known that he was perfectly safe. But he didn't know them, and so he
felt both helpless and hopeless, and this is a very dreadful feeling

For a little while he peeped out of his doorway, watching the keen axes
and the flying yellow chips. Then he crept miserably back to bed to wait
for the worst. He just didn't know what else to do. By and by there was
a dreadful crack, and another and another. Farmer Brown shouted. So did
Farmer Brown's boy. Bowser the Hound barked excitedly. Slowly the big
tree began to lean over. Then it moved faster and faster, and Bobby Coon
felt giddy and sick. He felt very sick indeed. Then, with a frightful
crash, the tree struck the ground, and for a few minutes Bobby didn't
know anything at all. No, Sir, he didn't know a single thing. You see,
when the tree hit the ground, Bobby was thrown against the side of his
house so hard that all the wind was knocked from his body, and all his
senses were knocked from his head. When after a little they returned to
him, Bobby discovered that the tree had fallen in such a way that the
hole which had been his doorway was partly closed. He was a prisoner in
his own house.

He didn't mind this so much as you might expect. He began to hope ever
so little. He began to hope that Farmer Brown and his boy wouldn't find
that hollow and after awhile they would go away. And then Bowser the
Hound upset all hope. He came over to the fallen tree and began to
sniff along the trunk. When he reached the partly closed hole which was
Bobby's doorway, he began to whine and bark excitedly. He would stick
his nose in as far as he could, sniff, then lift his head and bark.

After that he would scratch frantically at the hole.

"Hello!" exclaimed Farmer Brown's boy, "Bowser has found some one at
home! I wonder who it can be."


               Who for his home doth bravely fight

               Is doing what he knows is right.

               A coward he, the world would say,

               Should he turn tail and run away.

|BOBBY COON couldn't run away if he wanted to. I suspect that he would
have run only too gladly if there had been the least chance to. But
there he was, a prisoner in his own house. He couldn't get out if he
wanted to, and he didn't want to just then because he knew by the sound
of Bowser the Hound's deep sniffs at his doorway, followed by his eager
barks, that Bowser had discovered that he, Bobby, was at home. He knew
that Bowser couldn't get in, and so he was very well content to stay
where he was.

But presently Bobby heard the voice of Fanner Brown's boy, and though
Bobby didn't understand what Farmer Brown's boy said, his heart sank
way down to his toes just the same. At least, that is the way it felt
to Bobby. You see, he knew by the sound of that voice, even though he
couldn't understand the words, that Farmer Brown's boy had understood
Bowser, and now knew that there was some one at home in that hollow

As to that Bobby was quite right. While Farmer Brown's boy couldn't
understand what Bowser was saying as he whined and yelped, he did
understand perfectly what Bowser meant.

"Who is it, Bowser, old fellow? Is it a Squirrel, or Whitefoot the Wood
Mouse, or that sly old scamp, Unc' Billy Possum?" asked Farmer Brown's

"Bow, wow, wow!" replied Bowser, dancing about between sniffs at Bobby's

"I don't know what that means, but I'm going to find out, Bowser,"
laughed Farmer Brown's boy, picking up his axe.

"Bow, wow! Bow, wow, wow, wow!" replied Bowser, more excited than ever.
First Farmer Brown's boy had Farmer Brown bold Bowser away from the
opening. Then with his axe he thumped all along the hollow part of the
tree, hoping that this would frighten whoever was inside so that they
would try to run out. But Bobby couldn't get out because, as you know,
his doorway was partly closed, and he wouldn't have even it he could;
he felt safer right where he was. So Farmer Brown's boy thumped in vain.
When he found that this was useless, he drove the keen edge of his axe
in right at the edge of the hole which was Bobby's doorway. Farmer Brown
joined with his axe, and in a few minutes they had slit out a long strip
which reached clear to where Bobby was crouching and let the light pour
in, so that he had to blink and for a minute or two had hard work to see
at all.

Right away Bowser discovered him, and growling savagely, tried to get at
him. But the opening wasn't wide enough for Bowser to get more than his
nose in, and this Bobby promptly seized in his sharp teeth.

"Yow-w-w! Oh-o-o! Let go! Let go!" yelled Bowser.

"Gr-r-r-r-r!" growled Bobby, and tried to sink his teeth deeper. Bowser
yelled and howled and shook his head and pulled as hard as ever he
could, so that at last Bobby had to let go. Farmer Brown's boy hurried
up to look in. What he saw was a mouthful of sharp teeth snapping at
him. Bobby Coon might have been very much afraid, but he didn't show it.
No, Sir, he didn't show it. What he did show was that he meant to fight
for his life, liberty, and home. He was very fierce looking, was Bobby
Coon, as Farmer Brown's boy peeped in at him.


|FARMER BROWN'S boy chuckled as he peered in at Bobby Coon, and watched
Bobby show his teeth, and listened to his snarls and growls. It was very
plain that Bobby intended to fight for his life. It might be an entirely
hopeless fight, but he would fight just the same.

"Bobby," said Farmer Brown's boy, "you certainly are a plucky little
rascal. I know just what you think; you think that my father and I cut
this tree down just to get you, and you think that we and Bowser the
Hound are going to try to kill you. You are all wrong, Bobby, all wrong.
If we had known that this tree was your house, we wouldn't have cut it
down. No, Sir, we wouldn't. And now that we have found out that it is,
we are not going to harm so much as a hair of you. I'm going to cut this
opening a little larger so that you can get out easily, and then I am
going to hold on to Bowser and give you a chance to get away. I hope
you know of some other hollow tree near here to which you can go. Its
a shame, Bobby, that we didn't know about this. It certainly is, and I'm
ever so sorry. Now you just quit your snarling and growling while I give
you a chance to get out."

But Bobby continued to threaten to fight whoever came near. You see,
he couldn't understand what Farmer Brown's boy said, which was too bad,
because it would have lifted a great load from his mind. So he didn't
have the least doubt that these were enemies and that they intended
to kill him. He didn't believe he had the least chance in the world to
escape, but he bravely intended to fight the very best he could, just
the same. And this shows that Bobby possessed the right kind of a
spirit. It shows that he wasn't a quitter. Furthermore, though no one
knew it but himself, Bobby had been badly hurt when that tree fell. The
fact is, one of Bobby's legs had been broken. Yet in spite of this, he
meant to fight. Yes, Sir, in spite of a broken leg, he had no intention
of giving up until he had to.

Farmer Brown's boy swung his axe a few times and split the opening in
the hollow tree wider so that Bobby would have no trouble in getting
out. All the time Bobby snapped and snarled and gritted his teeth. Then
Farmer Brown's boy led Bowser the Hound off to one side and held him.
Farmer Brown joined them, and then they waited. Bobby couldn't see them.
It grew very still there in the Green Forest. Bobby didn't know just
what to make of it. Could it be that he had frightened them away by his
fierceness? After awhile he began to think that this was so. He waited
just as long as he could be patient and then poked his head out. No one
was to be seen, for Farmer Brown and his boy and Bowser the Hound were
hidden by a little clump of hemlock-trees.

Slowly and painfully Bobby climbed out That broken leg hurt dreadfully.
It was one of his front legs, and of course he had to hold that paw up.
That meant that he had to walk on three legs. This was bad enough, but
when he started to climb a tree, he couldn't. With a broken leg, there
would be no more climbing for Bobby Coon. It was useless for him to look
for another hollow tree. All he could do was to look for a hollow log
into which he could crawl.

[Illustration: 0050]

Poor Bobby Coon! What should he do? What _could_ he do? For the first
time his splendid courage deserted him. You see, he thought he was all
alone there, and that no one saw him. So he just crouched right down
there at the foot of the tree he had started to climb, and whimpered. He
was frightened and very, very miserable, was Bobby Coon, and he was in
great pain.


               Its funny how you'll often find                That trouble's mostly in your

|ITS a fact. More than three fourths of the troubles that worry people
are not real troubles at all. They are all in the mind. They are things
that people are afraid are going to happen, and worry about until they
are sure they will happen,--and then they do not happen at all. Very,
very often things that seem bad turn out to be blessings. All of us do a
great deal of worrying for nothing. I know I do. Bobby Coon did when he
took his strange journey which I am going to tell you about.

Farmer Brown and Farmer Brown's boy and Bowser the Hound had watched
Bobby crawl out of his ruined house and start off to seek a new home.
Of course, they had seen right away that something was wrong with Bobby,
for he walked on three legs and held the fourth one up.

"The poor little chap," murmured Farmer Brown's boy pityingly. "That
leg must have been hurt when the tree fell. I hope it isn't badly hurt.
We'll wait a few minutes and see what he does."

So they waited in their hiding-place and watched Bobby. They saw him
go to the foot of a tree as if to climb it. They saw him try and fail,
because he couldn't climb with only three legs, and they saw him crouch
down then that Farmer Brown's boy was sure that Bobby's hurt was really

"We can't let that little fellow go to suffer and perhaps die," said
Farmer Brown's boy, and ran forward while Farmer Brown held Bowser.

Bobby heard him coming and promptly faced about ready to fight bravely.
When he got near enough, Farmer Brown's boy threw his coat over Bobby
and then, in spite of Bobby's frantic struggles, gathered him up and
wrapped the coat about him so that he could neither bite nor scratch.
Bobby was quite helpless.

"I'm going to take him home, and when I've made him quite comfortable,
I'll come back," cried Farmer Brown's boy.

"All right," replied Farmer Brown, with a kindly twinkle in his eyes.

So Farmer Brown's boy started for home, carrying Bobby as gently as he
could. Of course Bobby couldn't see where he was being taken, because
that coat was over his head, and of course he hadn't understood a word
that Farmer Brown's boy had said. But Bobby could imagine all sorts of
dreadful things, and he did. He was sure that when this journey ended
the very worst that could happen _would_ happen. He was quite hopeless,
was Bobby Coon. He kept still because he had to. There was nothing else
to do.

All the time he wondered where he was being taken. He was sure that
never again would he see the Green Forest. His broken leg pained him
dreadfully, but fear of what would happen when this strange journey
ended made him almost forget the pain. It was the first time in all his
life that Bobby ever had journeyed anywhere save on his own four feet,
and quite aside from his fear, it gave him a very queer feeling. He kept
wishing it would end quickly, yet at the same time he didn't want it to
end because of what he was sure would happen then.

So through the Green Forest, then through the Old Orchard, and finally
across the barnyard to the barn Bobby Coon was carried. It was the
strangest journey he ever had known and it was the most terrible, though
it needn't have been if only he could have known the truth.


               No greater joy can one attain

               Than helping ease another's pain.

|POOR Bobby Coon! His broken leg pained him a great deal, of course.
Broken legs and arms always do pain. They hurt dreadfully when they are
broken, they hurt dreadfully after they are broken, and they hurt while
they are mending. Among the little people of the Green Forest and the
Green Meadows, a broken leg or arm is a great deal worse than it is with
us humans. We know how to fix the break so that Mother Nature may mend
it and make the leg or arm as good as ever. But with the little people
of the Green Forest and the Green Meadows, nothing of this sort is
possible, and very, very often a broken limb means an early death.
You see, such a break will not mend properly, and the little sufferer
becomes a cripple, and cripples cannot long escape their enemies.

So, though he didn't know it at the time, it was a very lucky thing
for Bobby Coon that Farmer Brown's boy discovered that broken leg and
wrapped him up in his coat and took him home. Bobby didn't think it was
lucky. Oh, my, no! Bobby thought it was just the other way about. You
see, he didn't know Farmer Brown's boy, except by sight. He didn't know
of his gentleness and tender heart. All he knew of men and boys was that
most of them seemed to delight in hunting him, in frightening him and
trying to kill him. So all through that strange journey in the arms
of armer Brown's boy, up to Farmer Brown's barn, Bobby was sure,
absolutely sure, that he was being taken somewhere to be killed. He
didn't have a doubt, not the least doubt, of it.

When they reached the barn, Farmer Brown's boy put Bobby down very
gently, but fastened him in the coat so that he couldn't get out. Then
he went to the house and presently returned with some neat strips of
clean white cloth. Then he took out his knife and made very smooth two
thin, flat sticks. When these suited him, he tied Bobby's hind legs
together so that he couldn't kick with them. Then he placed Bobby on his
side on a board and with a broad strip of cloth bound him to it in such
a way that Bobby couldn't move. All the time he talked to Bobby in the
gentlest of voices and did his best not to hurt him.

But Bobby couldn't understand, and to be wholly helpless, not to be able
to kick or scratch or bite, was the most dreadful feeling he ever had
known. He was sure that something worse was about to happen. You see,
he didn't know anything about doctors, and so of course he couldn't know
that Farmer Brown's boy was playing doctor. Very, very gently Farmer
Brown's boy felt of the broken leg. He brought the broken parts
together, and when he was sure that they just fitted, he bound them in
place on one of the thin, smooth, flat sticks with one of the strips
of clean white cloth. Then he put the other smooth flat stick above the
break and wound the whole about with strips of cloth so tightly that
there was no chance for those two sticks to slip. That was so that the
two parts of the broken bone in the leg would be held just where they
belonged until they could grow together. When it was done to suit him,
he covered the outside with something very, very bitter and bad tasting.
This was to keep Bobby from trying to tear off the cloth with his teeth.
You see, he knew that if that leg was to become as good as ever it was,
it must stay just as he had bound it until Old Mother Nature could heal

So Farmer Brown's boy played doctor, and a very gentle and kindly doctor
he was, for his heart was full of pity for poor Bobby Coon.


               There's nothing like a stomach full

                   To make the world seem brighter;

               To banish worry, drive out fear,

                   And make the heart feel lighter.

|WHILE Farmer Brown's boy was playing doctor and doing his best to fix
Bobby Coon's broken leg so that it would heal and be as good as ever,
poor Bobby was wholly in despair, and nothing is more dreadful than
to be wholly in despair. There he was, perfectly helpless, for Farmer
Brown's boy had bound him so that he couldn't move. You see, Bobby
couldn't understand what it all meant. If he could have understood
Farmer Brown's boy, it would have been very different. But he couldn't,
and so his mind was all the time full of dreadful fear.

When Farmer Brown's boy had bound that broken leg so that it would be
held firmly in place to heal, he made a comfortable bed in a deep box
out of which Bobby couldn't possibly climb with that broken leg. In this
he put Bobby very gently, after taking off the bands with which he had
been bound to the board while the broken leg was being fixed. Then he
went to the house and presently returned with more good things to eat
than Bobby had seen since cold weather began. These he put in the box
with Bobby, and then left him alone.

Now at first Bobby made up his mind that he wouldn't taste so much as
a crumb. He would starve rather than live a prisoner, which was what he
felt himself to be. But his stomach was empty, the smell of those good
things tickled his nose, and in spite of himself he began to nibble. The
first thing he knew he had filled his stomach, the first good meal he
had had for many weeks, because, you know, he had been asleep most of
the winter.

Right away Bobby felt sleepy. A full stomach, you know, almost always
makes one feel sleepy. Then, too, Bobby was quite tired out with the
fright and strange experience he had been through. So he curled up, and
in no time at all he had forgotten all his troubles. And for days and
days Bobby slept most of the time. You see, he was finishing out that
long winter sleep he was used to. And this, it happens, was the very
best thing in the world for Bobby. Being asleep, he wasn't tempted to
try to pull off that bandage around the broken leg, and so the leg, had
just the chance it needed to mend.

Every day Farmer Brown's boy visited Bobby, just as a good doctor should
visit a patient, and looked carefully at the bandaged leg to make sure
that it was as it should be. And whenever Farmer Brown's boy visited
Bobby, he took some goody in his pocket to tempt Bobby's appetite, just
as if it needed tempting! Bobby would wake up long enough to eat what
had been brought and then would go to sleep again, quite as if he were
all alone.

As the weather grew warmer, Bobby grew more wakeful. Of course, he had
plenty of time in which to remember and to think. He remembered how
dreadfully frightened he had been when Farmer Brown's boy had caught him
and brought him to the barn, all because he had not really known Farmer
Brown's boy. Now everything was different, so very, very different. It
was a fact, an actual fact, that Bobby had learned to know the step
of Farmer Brown's boy, and when he heard it coming his way, he was as
tickled as once he would have been frightened. You see, Farmer Brown's
boy was very, very good to him and made so much of him that I am afraid
he was quite spoiling Bobby. Kindness had driven out fear from Bobby's
mind, and in its place had come trust. It will do it every time, if
given a chance.


|NOW though Bobby Coon was made a great deal of by Farmer Brown's boy,
and was petted and stuffed with good things to eat until it was a wonder
that he wasn't made sick, he was really a prisoner. Excepting when
Farmer Brown's boy played with him in the house, he was fastened by a
long chain. You see, when at last the bandage was taken off, and the leg
was found to have healed, Bobby was kept a prisoner that he might get
the full use of that leg once more before having to shift for himself.
Day by day the strength came back to that leg until it was as good as
ever it had been, and still Bobby was kept a prisoner. The truth is,
Farmer Brown's boy had grown so fond of Bobby that he couldn't bear to
think of parting with him.

At first, Bobby hadn't minded in the least. It was fine to have all the
good things to eat he wanted without the trouble of hunting for them,
things he never had had before and never could have in the Green Forest.
It was fine to have a warm comfortable bed and not a thing in the world
to worry about. So for a time Bobby was quite content to be a prisoner.
He didn't mind that chain at all, excepting when he wanted to poke his
inquisitive little nose into something he couldn't reach.

But as sweet Mistress Spring awakened those who had slept the long
winter away--the trees and flowers and insects, and Old Mr. Toad and
Johnny Chuck and Striped Chipmunk and all the rest--and as one after
another the birds arrived from the sunny Southland, and Bobby heard them
singing and twittering, and watched them flying about, a great longing
for the Green Forest crept into his heart.

At first he didn't really know what it was that he wanted. It simply
made him uneasy. He couldn't keep still. He walked back and forth, back
and forth, at the length of his chain. He began to lose his appetite.
Then one day Farmer Brown's boy brought him a fish for his dinner, and
all in a flash Bobby knew what it was he wanted. He wanted to go back to
the Green Forest. He wanted to fish for himself in the Laughing Brook.
He wanted to climb trees. He wanted to visit his old neighbors and see
what they were doing. He wanted to hunt for bugs under old logs and
around old stumps. He wanted to hunt for nests being built, so that
later he might steal the eggs from them. Yes, he did just this, I am
sorry to say. Bobby is very fond of eggs, and he considers that he has
a perfect right to them if he is smart enough to find them. He wanted
to be _free_--free to do what he pleased when he pleased and how he
pleased. He wanted to go back home to the Green Forest.

"Farmer Brown's boy has been very good to me, and I believe he would let
me go if only I could tell him what I want," thought Bobby, "but I can't
make him understand what I say any more than I can understand what he
says. What a great pity it is that we don't all speak the same language.
Then we would all understand each other, and I don't believe we little
folks of the Green Forest and the Green Meadows would be hunted so much
by these men creatures. There's nothing like common speech to make folks
understand one another. I know Farmer Brown's boy would let me go if he
only knew; I _know_ he would."

Bobby sat down where he could look over towards the Green Forest and
sighed and sighed, and all the longing of his heart crept into his eyes.


               As jolly Mr. Sun smiles down

                   And makes the land all bright and fair

               So happiness within the heart

                   Spreads joy and gladness everywhere.

|NOW though Bobby Coon couldn't speak the language of Farmer Brown's
boy and so tell him how he longed to be free and go back to the Green
Forest, he could and he did tell him in another way just what was in
his heart. He told him with his eyes, though he didn't know it. You know
eyes are sometimes called the windows of the soul. This means simply
that as you look out through your eyes and see all that is going on
about you, so others may sometimes look right in your eyes and see what
is going on within your mind. Eyes are very wonderful things, and a
great deal may be learned from them. Eyes will tell the truth when a
tongue is busy telling a wrong story. I guess you know how hard it is
when you have done wrong to look mother straight in the face-and try to
make her believe that you haven't done wrong. That is because your eyes
are truthful.

Looking straight into the eyes of fierce wild animals often will fill
them with fear. Trainers of lions and other dangerous animals know this
and do it a great deal. Fear will show in the eyes when it shows nowhere
else. It is the same with happiness and contentment. So it is with
sorrow and worry. Just as a thermometer shows just how warm it is or how
cold it is, so the eyes show our feelings. So when Bobby Coon sat down
and gazed towards the Green Forest and wished that he could tell Farmer
Brown's boy how he wanted to go back there, a look of longing grew and
grew in Bobby's eyes, and Farmer Brown's boy saw it. What is more, he
understood it. His own eyes grew soft.

"You poor little rascal," said he, "I believe you think you are a
prisoner and that you want to go back home. Well, I guess there is no
reason why you shouldn't now. I'm very fond of you, Bobby. Yes, I am.
I'm so fond of you that I hate to have you go, and I guess that I've
kept you longer than was necessary. That leg of yours looks to me to
be as good as ever, so I really haven't an excuse for keeping you any
longer. I think we'll take a walk this afternoon."

If Bobby could have understood what Farmer Brown's boy was saying, it
would have made him feel a great deal better. But he didn't understand,
and so he continued to stare towards the Green Forest and grow more and
more homesick. After dinner, Farmer Brown's boy came out and took off
the collar and chain, and picked Bobby up in his arms. This time Bobby
didn't have his eyes covered as he did when he had been brought from the
Green Forest. Fear no longer made him want to bite and scratch. Through
the Old Orchard straight to the Green Forest they went, and Bobby began
to grow excited. What was going to happen? What did it mean?

Through the Green Forest straight to the place where Bobby's great
hollow tree used to stand went Farmer Brown's boy. When they got there
he smoothed Bobby's coat and patted him gently. Then he put him down on
the ground.

"Here we are, Bobby," said he. "Now run along and find a new house and
be happy. I hope you won't forget me, because I am going to come over
often to see you. Just keep out of mischief, and above all keep out of
the way of hunters next fall. They shall not hunt here if I can help it,
but you know I cannot watch all the time. Good-by, Bobby, and take care
of yourself."

Bobby didn't say good-by, because he didn't know how. But a great
joy came into his eyes, and Farmer Brown's boy saw it and understood.
Straight off among the trees Bobby walked. Once he looked back. Farmer
Brown's boy was watching him and waved a hand.

"He was good to me. He certainly was good to me," thought Bobby. "I--I
believe I really am very fond of him."

Then he went on to look for a new house. All the joy of the springtime
was in his heart He was free! He was home once more in the Green Forest!
He no longer feared Farmer Brown's boy!

"I'm the happiest coon in all the world!" cried Bobby.


               "Home again! Home again! Happy am I!

               Had I but wings I most surely would fly!"

|SO sang Bobby Coon as he wandered about in the Green Forest after
leaving Farmer Brown's boy. At least, he meant it for singing. Of
course, it wasn't real singing, for Bobby Coon can no more sing than he
can fly. But it did very well to express his happiness, and that was all
it was intended to do. Bobby was happy. He was very happy indeed. Indeed
he couldn't remember ever having been quite so happy. You see, he
never before had understood fully what freedom means. No one can fully
understand what a wonderful and blessed thing freedom is until they have
lost it and then got it again.

Bobby took long breaths and sniffed and sniffed and sniffed and sniffed
the sweet smells of early spring. The Green Forest was full of them, and
never had they seemed so good to Bobby. He climbed a tree for nothing
under the sun but to know what it felt like to climb once more. Then he
climbed down to earth again and went poking around among the leaves just
for the fun of poking around. He rolled over and over from sheer joy.
Finally he brushed himself off, climbed up on an old stump, and sat down
to think things over.

"Of course," said he to himself, "the first thing for me to do is to
find a new house. I don't have to have it right away, because there
are plenty of places in which I can curl up for a nap, but it is more
convenient and much more respectable to have a house. People who sleep
anywhere and have no homes are never thought much of by their friends
and neighbors. Without a home I can have no self-respect. There's a
certain old hollow tree I always did like the looks of. Unc' Billy
Possum used to live there, but maybe he has moved. Anyway, he may be
out, and if so he will be smarter than I think he is to get me out once
I'm inside. I believe I'll look up that tree right away."

Bobby scrambled down from the stump and started down the Lone Little
Path. After a while he turned off the Lone Little Path into a hollow and
presently came to the tree he had in mind. It was straight, tall, and
big. High up was a doorway plenty big enough for Bobby Coon. He sat down
and looked up. The longer he looked, the better that tree seemed to him.
It would suit for a house first-rate. There were marks on the tree made
by claws--the claws of Une' Billy Possum. Some of them looked quite

"Looks as if Une' Billy is still living here," thought Bobby. "Well,
I can't help it if he is. If that tree looks as good inside as it does
outside, I am afraid Unc' Billy and I will have a falling out. It's
every one for himself in the Green Forest, and I don't think Unc' Billy
will care to fight me. I'm bigger and considerably stronger than he, so
if he's there, I guess I'll just invite him to move out."

Now, of course, this wasn't at all right of Bobby Coon, but it is the
way things are done in the Green Forest, and the people who live there
are used to it. The strong take what they want if they can get it, and
Bobby knew that Unc' Billy Possum would treat Happy Jack Squirrel the
same way, if he happened to want Happy Jack's house. So he climbed up
the tree, quite sure that this was the house he would take for his new
home. He was half-way up when a sharp voice spoke.

"Haven't yo' made a mistake, Brer Coon?" said the voice. "This isn't
your house."

Bobby stopped and looked up. Unc' Billy Possum was grinning down at him
from his doorway. Bobby grinned back. "It occurred to me that you might
like to move, and as I'm looking for a house, I think this one will suit
me very well," said he, and grinned again, for he knew that Unc' Billy
would understand just what he meant.

[Illustration: 0084]

Before Unc' Billy could say a word, another sharp face appeared beside
his own, and a voice still sharper than his said: "What's that no 'count
Coon doing in our tree? What's this talk Ah hear about moving? Isn't
nobody gwine to move that Ah knows of." Bobby had forgotten all about
old Mrs. Possum, and now as he saw that it was two against one he
suddenly changed his mind.

"Excuse me," said he, "I guess I've got the wrong house."


|WHEN Bobby Coon left Unc' Billy Possum's hollow tree, he went fishing.
You know he is very fond of fishing. All night long he fished and played
along the Laughing Brook, and when at last jolly, round, red Mr. Sun
began his daily climb up in the blue, blue sky, Bobby was wet, tired,
and sleepy. But he was happy. It did seem so good to be wandering about
at his own sweet will in the beautiful Green Forest once more. It struck
him now as rather a joke that he hadn't any house to go to. It was a
long, long time since he had been without a home.

"I've got to sleep somewhere," said Bobby, rubbing his eyes and yawning,
"and the sooner I find a place, the better. I'm so sleepy now I can
hardly keep my eyes open. Hello, there's a great big log over there! If
it is hollow, it will be just the place for me."

He marched straight over to the old log. It was big, very big, and to
Bobby's great joy it was hollow, with an opening at one end. He was just
going to crawl in, when Peter Rabbit popped out from behind a tree.

"Hello, Bobby Coon!" cried Peter joyously. "Where have you been? I was
over where you used to live and found your house gone, and I was afraid
something dreadful had happened to you. What did happen, and where have
you been?"

Now, tired and sleepy as he was, Bobby had to stop and talk for a few
minutes. You see, Peter was the first of his friends Bobby had met to
whom he could tell all the wonderful things that had happened to him,
and he was fairly aching to tell some one. So he sat down and told Peter
how his hollow tree had been cut down, and how his leg had been broken,
and how Farmer Brown's boy had taken him home and fixed that leg so
that Old Mother Nature could make it as well and sound as ever, and how
Farmer Brown's boy had brought him back to the Green Forest and set him
free, and how he had been fishing all night and now was looking for a
place to get a wink or two of sleep.

"Now, if you'll excuse me, Peter, I'm going to turn in for a nap," Bobby
ended, and started to crawl in the end of the hollow log.

"Oh!" cried Peter. "Oh, you mustn't go in there, Bobby!"

But Bobby didn't hear him, or if he did he didn't heed. He kept right on
and disappeared. A funny look crept over Peter's face, and presently he
began to chuckle. "I think I'll wait awhile and see what happens," said

Inside that big hollow log, Bobby found it very dry and warm and
comfortable. There was a bed of dry leaves there, and it looked very
inviting. Now ordinarily Bobby would have examined the inside of that
log very thoroughly before going to sleep, but he was so tired and
sleepy that he didn't half look around. He didn't go to the farther end
at all. He just dropped right down midway, curled up, and in no time at
all was fast asleep. It was a mistake, a very great mistake, as Bobby
was shortly to find out. Meanwhile, outside sat Peter Rabbit, although
it was already past time for him to be home in the dear Old Briar-patch.


               If friend of yours a mistake makes

                   Nor yet has found it out,

               I pray that when at last he does

                   You will not be about.

|IT is bad enough to find out for yourself that you have made a mistake,
but to have other people know it makes you feel a great deal worse. So
the kindest thing that any one can do when they know a friend has made a
mistake and it is too late to warn them, is to appear not to know of it
at all. So it wasn't nice at all of Peter Rabbit to hang around watching
that old hollow log into which Bobby Coon had crawled for a nap.

Presently Peter's long ears caught sounds from inside that hollow log.
First there was a rattling and rustling. Then came a series of grunts
and squeaks. These were followed by growls and snarls. The latter were
from Bobby Coon. He was insisting that he was going to stay right where
he was and wouldn't move an inch for any one. Peter clapped one hand
over his mouth to keep from laughing aloud when he heard that, and he
fastened his eyes, very big and round with expectation, on the opening
in the end of the hollow log. You see, Peter knew all about that log and
who lived there. That is what he had tried to tell Bobby Coon. He could
hear Bobby declaring:

"I won't move a step, not a single step. You can stay right where you
are until I finish my nap. If you come any nearer, I'll--"

Peter didn't hear the rest, if indeed Bobby finished what he had started
to say. You see, Bobby was interrupted by a great rattling and rustling
and a grunt that sounded both angry and very business-like. Once more
Bobby growled and snarled and declared he wouldn't move a step, but
Peter noticed that Bobby's voice seemed to come from nearer the open
end of the log than before. Again there was a grunt and a rattling and

Then out of the end of the old log backed Bobby Coon, still growling
and snarling and declaring he wouldn't move a step. It was too funny for
Peter to hold in any longer. He had to laugh. He couldn't help it.
Then the black nose and little dull eyes of Prickly Porky the Porcupine
appeared. In each of those little dull eyes there was just a wee spark
of anger which made them less dull than usual. It was plain that Prickly
Porky was provoked.

[Ill 0009]

As soon as he was outside, he made the thousand little spears which he
carries hidden in his coat stand on end, and made a quick little rush
towards Bobby Coon. Bobby turned tail and ran. The sight of those
sharp-pointed little spears was too much for him. He was afraid of them.
Everybody is afraid of them, even big Buster Bear. It was these little
spears brushing against the inside of the old log that had made the
rattling and rustling Peter had heard.

"The impudence of that Coon to walk into my house and go to sleep
without so much as asking if he might, and then telling me that I can't
come out until he says so! The impudence of him!" grunted Prickly Porky,
rattling his thousand little spears.

As for Bobby Coon, he realized now the great mistake he had made in not
first finding out whether any one was at home in that old log before
trying to take a nap there. It mortified him to think he had been so
careless as to make such a mistake, and it mortified him still more to
know that Peter Rabbit had seen all that had happened.


               Did you ever have the Sandman

                   Fill your eyes all full of sand

               And then have to keep them open

                   When there was no bed at hand?

|IF you have had that happen, then you know exactly how Bobby Coon felt
when he was obliged to crawl out of Prickly Porky's bed and go hunt for
another. He was so very, very sleepy that he felt almost as if he could
go to sleep standing right on his feet. This was because he had been up
all night and awake most of the day before. Now he wished that instead
of spending the night in fishing and playing about the Laughing Brook,
he had hunted for a house.

To be sleepy and not able to sleep makes Bobby cross, just as it does
most folks. So, as he hurried away from the neighborhood of Prickly
Porky and his thousand little spears, he was in a bad temper. Of course,
he knew it was his own fault that he was in such a fix, and this didn't
make him feel a bit better. In fact, it made him feel worse. It usually
is that way.

So he grumbled to himself as he went along. He didn't know where he was
going. He was too cross and sleepy and upset to do any thinking. So
he went along, aimlessly looking for a place where he might sleep
undisturbed. At last he came to a tall stump, a great big old stump that
had stood in the Green Forest for years and years. Bobby climbed to the
top of it. It was hollow, just as he had hoped. Indeed, it was just a
shell. Looking down, Bobby saw with a great deal of satisfaction that
the bottom was covered with a great mass of rotted wood. It would make a
very comfortable bed. Moreover, it was plain that no one else was using

Bobby sighed with satisfaction. It was just the place for a good long
nap. He could sleep there all day in perfect comfort. It wouldn't do
for a home, because the top was open to the sky, and on a rainy day the
inside of that stump would soon be a very wet place indeed. But for a
nice long nap on a pleasant day, it would be hard to beat. Bobby sighed
again, looked all about to make sure that no one was watching him, and
then climbed down inside.

"I guess," muttered Bobby, as he curled up on the bed of rotted wood,
which is sometimes called punk, "that at last I shall be allowed to
sleep in peace. I never was more sleepy in all my life." He yawned two
or three times, changed his position for greater comfort, closed his
eyes, and in a twinkling was asleep.

Now, though he thought no one saw him go into that old stump, some one
did. That some one was Peter Rabbit. Peter had followed Bobby just out
of curiosity. He had hidden behind trees so as to keep out of Bobby's
sight. So he had seen Bobby climb the stump and disappear inside.

"I guess," said Peter, "that this time he will sleep in peace. No one
is likely to find him there unless it should be that Sammy Jay or Blacky
the Crow happens to fly over and so discover him. They wouldn't give him
a bit of peace if they should. Hello! There's Blacky's voice now, and he
seems to be coming this way. I think I will hang around a while longer."


               Blacky the Crow is sharp of eye;

               He dearly loves to peek and pry.

               I must confess, alas! alack!

               Blacky the Crow's an imp in black.

|IT is true, I am sorry to say, that Blacky the Crow never is happier
than when he is teasing some one and making them uncomfortable. He is
an imp of mischief, is Blacky. Whatever business he has on hand he goes
about it with one eye open for a chance to have fun at the expense of
some one else. And there is little that those sharp eyes of his miss. He
sees all that there is to see. Yes, Sir, you may trust Blacky for that!

It was just the hard luck of Bobby Coon that no sooner was he asleep in
that hollow stump in the Green Forest than along came Blacky the Crow,
flying above the tree-tops on his way to his nest, but as usual watching
sharply for what might be going on below. It just happened that he flew
right over that stump, so that he could look right down inside. He saw
Bobby Coon curled up there asleep. Yes, indeed, you may be sure he saw

Blacky checked himself in his flight and hovered for an instant right
above that stump. Mischief fairly danced in his sharp eyes. Then he
turned and silently flew down and alighted on the edge of the old stump.
For a few minutes he sat there, looking down at Bobby Coon. All the time
he was chuckling to himself. Then he flew to the top of a tree and began
to call with all his might.

"Caw caw, caw, ca-a-w, caw, caw!" he called. "Caw, ca-a-w, caw!"

Almost right away he was answered, and presently from all directions
dame hurrying his friends and relatives, each one cawing at the top of
his voice and asking Blacky what he had found. Blacky didn't tell them
until the last one came hurrying up. Then he told them to go look in the
old hollow stump. One after another they flew over it, looking down, and
one after another they shouted with glee. Then as many as could find a
place on the edge of the old stump did so, while the others sat about in
the trees or flew back and forth overhead, and all of them began to caw
as hard as ever they could. Such a racket as they made!

Of course, Bobby Coon couldn't sleep. Certainly not. No one could have
slept through that racket. He opened his eyes and looked up. He saw a
ring of black heads looking down at him and mischief fairly dancing in
the sharp eyes watching him. The instant it was known that he was awake,
the noise redoubled.

"Ca-a-w, ca-a-w, ca-a-w, caw, caw, ca-a-w, caw, caw, caw!"

Bobby drew back his lips and snarled, and at that his tormentors fairly
shrieked with glee. Then Blacky dropped a little stick down on Bobby.
Another crow did the same thing. Bobby scrambled to his feet and started
to climb up. His tormentors took to the air and screamed louder than
ever. Bobby stopped. What was the use of going up where they could get
at him? They would pull his fur and make him most uncomfortable, and he
knew he couldn't catch one of them to save him. He backed down and sat
glaring up at them and telling them what dreadful things he would do to
them if ever he should catch one of them. This delighted Blacky and his
friends more than ever. They certainly were having great fun.

Finally Bobby did the wisest thing possible. He once more curled up and
took no notice at all of the black imps. Of course, he couldn't go to
sleep with such a racket going on, but he pretended to sleep. Now you
know there is no fun in trying to tease one who won't show he is teased.
After a while Blacky and his friends got tired of screaming. They had
had their fun, and one by one they flew about their business until
at last the Green Forest was as still as still could be. Bobby sighed
thankfully and once more fell asleep.


|PETER RABBIT should have been back home in the dear Old Briar-patch
long ago. He knew that Mrs. Peter was worrying. She always worries when
Peter overstays. But Peter was not giving much thought to Mrs. Peter. In
fact, I am afraid he was not giving any thought to her. You see, he was
too full of curiosity about Bobby Coon and what might happen to him. He
had been sorry for Bobby in a way, yet it had seemed like a great joke
that any one as sleepy as Bobby was shouldn't be able to sleep. So I am
afraid Peter rather enjoyed the excitement.

When finally Blacky and his friends grew tired and went about their
business, Peter began to think of getting back to the dear Old

"I guess Bobby will sleep in peace now," thought Peter. "I can't think
of anything more that possibly can happen to disturb him. Poor Bobby. He
has had a hard time getting that nap."

Still Peter hung around. He didn't know just why, but he had a feeling
that he might miss something if he left, and you know Peter never could
forgive himself if he missed anything worth seeing. So he hung around
for some time after Blacky and his friends had gone about their
business. At last he had just about made up his mind that he would
better be starting for home when he was startled by the snapping of a
little twig. Peeping out from behind a big tree, Peter stared towards
the place from which that sound had come. In a moment he saw a big black

"Buster Bear!" gasped Peter. "It's the first time I have seen him this
spring. My, how thin he is!"

Peter looked about to make sure that the way was clear for a hasty run
if it should be necessary, and then held his breath as Buster drew near.
Buster kept stopping to look and listen and sniff the air, and suddenly
Peter understood.

"He heard those noisy Crows, and he has come to see what it was all
about," thought Peter, which was just exactly the case.

Buster knew that it was just about this place that Blacky and his
friends had been making such a racket, and his greedy little eyes
searched everywhere for some sign of what had been going on. But there
was nothing to be seen but a black feather at the foot of a tall old
stump. By this Buster knew for sure that he had found the place where
Blacky and his friends had been, but there was nothing to tell him why
they had been there. Buster sat up and blinked thoughtfully. Then as he
looked at the old stump, his eyes brightened.

"I don't know what all that fuss was about," he muttered, "and I guess I
never will know, but I'm glad I came just the same. That old stump looks
to me to be rotten and hollow. I have found ant nests in many an old
stump like that, and beetles and grubs. I'll just see what this one

Buster walked over to the old stump, hooked his great claws into a
crack, and pulled with all his might. Peter Rabbit, watching, held his
breath with excitement. There was a sharp cracking sound, and then the
whole side of that old stump gave way so suddenly that Buster Bear fell
over backwards. As he did so, Bobby Coon rolled out, half awake and
frightened almost out of his wits. It was hard to say which was the most
surprised of those two cousins, Buster Bear or Bobby Coon.


               It's such a very foolish thing,

                   So silly and so heedless,

               To lose your temper when you know

                   It is so wholly needless.

|WHEN Buster Bear scrambled to his feet and saw his cousin, Bobby Coon,
scrambling to his feet, Buster straightway lost his temper. It was a
foolish thing to do, a very foolish thing to do. There really wasn't the
least excuse in the world for it. And yet Buster mustn't be blamed too
much. You see, he wasn't really himself. Ordinarily Buster is one of the
best-natured people in all the Green Forest. He doesn't begin to be
as short-tempered as ever so many others are. In fact, he isn't
short-tempered at all.

But just now Buster was hungry. He was so hungry that he couldn't think
of anything but his stomach and how empty it was. You see, so early in
the spring there was very little for him to eat, and he had to hunt and
hunt to find that little. When he had started to tear open that tall old
stump, he had hoped that inside he would find either a nest of ants, or
some of the worms and insects that like to bury themselves in rotting
wood. So when Bobby Coon came rolling out, Buster was so disappointed
that he quite lost his temper before he had time to think. He flew into
a rage. You see, he just took it for granted that Bobby Coon had been
in that hollow stump for the very same purpose that he had torn it open.
Now it never does to take things for granted. You know and I know that
Bobby Coon had crawled into that stump only to sleep.

Buster didn't know this, and Buster didn't stop to find it out. He
growled a terribly deep, ugly-sounding growl that made all of Peter
Rabbit's hair stand on end. You know, Peter was close by, hiding behind
a big tree to see all that might happen. Then Buster Bear started for
his cousin, Bobby Coon, and his little eyes seemed to fairly snap fire.

"I'll teach you to steal an honest Bear's dinner!" he growled in his
deep grumbly, rumbly voice.

Now this wasn't fair to Bobby, for Bobby had stolen no dinner. Even if
he had been hunting for food in that hollow stump, he would have done no
injustice to Buster Bear. But Buster didn't stop to think of this.

"You'll pay for it by furnishing me a dinner yourself!" growled Buster.

"But I'm your cousin!" cried Bobby, as he started to run.

"That doesn't make a bit of difference," snapped Buster. "I'm hungry
enough to eat my own brother if I had one."

All the time Buster was scrambling after Bobby Coon, and Bobby was
running for his life. Now big as he is, Buster can move very fast
when he is in a hurry, especially when he is thin and lean. Bobby Coon
squealed with fright and scrambled up a big tree faster than he ever
had scrambled up a tree before in all his life. Buster growled a deep,
grumbly, rumbly growl and started up after him.

"Oh! Oh!" cried Bobby Coon, and you may be sure he was very much awake
by this time. There was no thought of sleep in Bobby's head as he
scrambled nearly to the top of that big tree. Peter Rabbit stared in
horror. Surely Buster Bear would catch Bobby now!


|LEAVE me alone! I've never done you any harm, so leave me alone!"
whimpered Bobby Coon, as he climbed the tall tree with Buster Bear
scrambling up after him and growling all the way. For a minute or two
Bobby wished he had stayed on the ground. You see, he had forgotten that
Buster Bear could climb quite as well as he could. Now he was in the
tree, and Buster was below him, and it looked very much as if Bobby had
trapped himself.

Suddenly he remembered that Buster couldn't go out on little branches as
he could, because Buster was too big and heavy. Bobby looked about him,
and fear made his eyes quick to see. One branch reached over almost to
the top of a slender young tree growing near. If he could get over into
that tree, perhaps he could get back to the ground and run for his life.
Anyway, it was worth trying. Out along the branch went Bobby as far
as he could, and then, with his heart in his mouth, he jumped for the
slender young tree. It was a good jump, and he caught hold of a branch
of the young tree. Then he turned to see what Buster Bear was about.

[Illustration: 0116]

Now there is nothing slow about Buster Bear's wits. The moment he saw
Bobby run out on that branch, he knew just what was in Bobby's mind.

"Huh!" grunted Buster to himself. "If he thinks he can catch me napping
with such an old trick as that, he will have to think again."

He waited only long enough to make sure that Bobby would jump for the
other tree, and then Buster went down faster than he had come up. You
see, he just dropped for the last half of the distance. So by the time
Bobby Coon was half-way down the slender tree, Buster Bear was at the
foot of it, waiting for him. Poor Bobby! At first he thought he was no
better off than before. There was no other tree he could reach from this
one. Now all Buster would have to do would be to climb up and get him.
Bobby was about ready to give up in despair.

But Buster didn't climb up. He didn't even try. He just stood there at
the foot of the tree and growled. Every growl made at shiver of fright
run all over Bobby. Why didn't Buster hurry up and get him? All in a
flash it came to Bobby why Buster didn't. He didn't because he couldn't!
That was the reason. He couldn't climb that tree because it was too
_small_ for him to climb. He is such a big fellow that he has to have a
good-sized tree to get his arms around. Once more Bobby began to hope.

But Buster Bear isn't one to give up easily. No, Sir, Buster doesn't
give up until he has tried all the things he can think of. Now he stood
up and took hold of that tree almost as if he were going to try to climb
it. At first Bobby thought he was, but in a minute he found out his
mistake. Buster began to shake that tree. My, my, my, how he did shake
it! He was trying to shake Bobby Coon down.

The very first shake caught Bobby by surprise, and he very nearly lost
his hold. Then he saw what Buster was up to, and he held on for dear
life. He held on with arms and legs and teeth. Back and forth swung that
tree and Bobby with it. It was worse, very much worse, than the hardest
wind Bobby ever had been out in. But he grimly held on with claws and
teeth, and over and over he said to himself: "I won't let go. I won't
let go. I won't let go." And he didn't.


               There are heroes who are heroes

                   First in thought and then in fact.

               Others are made into heroes;

                   Quite by accident, in fact.

|REAL heroes are those who do brave deeds, knowing all the time just
what they are about, what risks they are taking, what will happen if
they fail, and yet do the brave deeds just the same. The other kind of
heroes are not real, true heroes at all, but are treated as if they were
and are made just as much of as if they were. They are the ones who do
what seem to be brave deeds, but which in truth haven't been planned at
all and have been done unintentionally. People, who in trying to save
their own lives happen to save the lives of others, always are called
heroes and are much looked up to and made of when in truth they are not
heroes at all.

Peter Rabbit is this kind of a hero. He saved Bobby Coon's life. At
least, Bobby Coon is kind enough to say he did. Anyway, he made it
possible for Bobby to escape from angry Buster Bear. So Peter is called
a hero and has been made much of. Everybody says that he was very, very
brave. But right down in his own heart, Peter knows that he doesn't
deserve any of the nice things said about him. True, he did save Bobby
Coon, but he didn't do it purposely. No, Sir. Perhaps he might have, if
he had thought of it, but he didn't think of it. What he did wasn't
the result of thinking and planning at all, but of not thinking; of
carelessness and heedlessness, if you please. But it made a hero of
Peter in the eyes of his friends and neighbors just the same. You see,
it was this way:

When Buster Bear began to shake that slender young tree, trying to shake
Bobby Coon out of it, Peter forgot everything but his desire to see what
would happen. From where he crouched, behind that big tree, he couldn't
clearly see Bobby Coon in the top of the slender young tree. So, quite
forgetting that he might be in danger himself, Peter hopped out from
behind that big tree to try to find a place where he could see better.
In his curiosity and excitement, he heedlessly forgot to watch his steps
and trod on a dry stick. It broke with a little snap.

Now, no one in all the Green Forest has keener ears than Buster Bear.
In spite of the fact that his attention was all on Bobby Coon, he heard
that little snap and whirled like a flash to see what had made it. There
sat round-eyed Peter Rabbit, staring with all his might. Without pausing
an instant, Buster sprang for Peter. He would make very good eating, as
Buster well knew, and a Rabbit on the ground was better than a Coon he
couldn't shake out of a tree.

Peter dodged just in time and with a squeal of fear away he went,
lipperty-lipperty-lip, twisting, dodging, running with all his might,
and after him crashed Buster Bear. How Peter did wish that he hadn't
been so curious, but had gone home to the dear Old Briar-patch when he
should have! He was too frightened to know when Buster Bear gave up the
chase, but kept right on running. As a matter of fact, Buster didn't
chase him far. He knew that Peter was too nimble for him to catch in a
tail-end race. So presently he gave it up and hurried back. Bobby Coon
was nowhere in sight. He had taken the chance to climb down from that
tree and run away. By leading Buster off for just those few minutes,
Peter had saved Bobby Coon, and though he hadn't done it purposely,
he got the credit just the same. He became a hero. This is a funny old
world, isn't it?


|THE very instant Buster Bear started after Peter Rabbit, down from that
tree scrambled Bobby Coon. Never in all his life had he scrambled down a
tree faster. He knew that Buster would not follow Peter far, and so he,
Bobby, had no time to lose. He would get just as far from that place as
he could before Buster should return.

So while Peter Rabbit was running, lipperty-lipperty-lip, in one
direction as fast as ever he could, Bobby Coon was running in the
opposite direction, and his black feet were moving astonishingly fast.
He didn't know where he was going, but he was on his way somewhere,
anywhere, to get out of the neighborhood of Buster Bear. So Bobby took
little heed of where he was going, but ran until he was too tired to
run any more. His heart was beating thumpity-thump-thump,
thumpity-thump-thump, and he was breathing so hard that every breath was
a gasp and hurt. He just had to stop. He couldn't run another step.

After awhile Bobby's heart stopped going thumpity-thumpity-thump, and he
once more breathed easily. He knew that he had escaped. He was safe. He
sighed, and that sigh was a happy little sigh. Then he grinned. He was
thinking of how hard he had tried to get a chance to sleep that day, and
how every time he thought he had found a bed, he had been turned out of
it almost as soon as he had closed his eyes. Bobby has a sense of fun,
and now he saw the funny side of all his experiences.

"There is one thing sure, and that is being without a home is a more
serious matter than I thought it was," said he. "I thought it would be
easy enough to find a place to sleep when I wanted to, but I've begun to
think that it is about the hardest thing I've ever tried to do. Here I
am in a strange part of the Green Forest and homeless. There's no use in
going back where I used to live, so I may as well look around here and
see what I can find. Perhaps there is an empty house somewhere near.
Most anything will do for awhile."

So Bobby began to look about for an empty house. Now, of course, he had
in mind a hollow tree or log. He always had lived in a hollow tree, and
so he preferred one now. But he soon found that hollow trees were few
and far between in that part of the Green Forest, and those he did
find didn't have hollows big enough for him. The same thing was true of
hollow logs. He was getting discouraged when he came to a ledge of rock
which was the foundation of a little hill deep in the Green Forest.

In this ledge of rock Bobby discovered a crack big enough for him to
squeeze into. Just out of curiosity he did squeeze into it, and then
he discovered that after a little it grew wider and formed the snuggest
little cave he ever had seen. It was very dry and comfortable in there.
All in a flash it came to Bobby that the only thing needed to make this
the snuggest kind of a house was a bed of dry leaves, and these were
easy to get. Bobby's eyes danced.

"I've found my new home," he declared out loud. "It can't be cut down as
my old home was; Buster Bear can't tear it open with his great claws; no
one bigger than I can get into it. It's the safest and best house in all
the Green Forest, and I'm going to stay right here."

Right then and there Bobby Coon curled up for that sleep he so much


|IN his new home in the little cave in the ledge of rocks deep in the
Green Forest Bobby Coon at last slept peacefully. There was no one to
disturb him, and so he made up for all the time he had lost. He slept
all the rest of that day, and when he awoke, jolly, round red Mr. Sun
had gone to bed behind the Purple Hills, and Mistress Moon had taken his
place in the sky.

At first, Bobby couldn't think where he was. He rubbed his eyes and
stared hard at the stone walls of his bedroom and wondered where he was
and how he came to be there. Then, little by little, he remembered all
that had happened--how he had made a mistake in thinking he could take
Unc' Billy Possum's home away from him; how he had heedlessly crept into
Prickly Porky's house for a nap, only to be driven out by Prickly
Porky himself; how he had found a splendid hollow stump but had been
discovered there by Blacky the Crow and afterward by Buster Bear; how
Buster Bear had chased him and given him a terrible shaking in the top
of a slender young tree; how Buster had stopped to chase Peter Rabbit;
how he, Bobby, had taken this chance to run until he could run no more
and found himself in a strange part of the Green Forest; how he had
looked in vain for a hollow tree in which to make a new home, and
lastly how he had found this little cave in the ledge of rock. Little by
little, all this came back to Bobby, as he lay stretching and yawning.

At last, he scrambled to his feet and began to examine his new house
more carefully than he had when he first entered. The more he studied
it, the better he liked it. Having no one else to talk to, he talked to

"The first and most important thing to look for in a house is safety,"
said he. "I used to think a good stout hollow tree was the safest place
in the world, but I was mistaken. Men can cut hollow trees down. That
is what happened to my old house. But it can't happen here. No, Sir, it
can't possibly happen here. Neither can Buster Bear tear it open with
his great claws. And the entrance is so narrow that no one of whom I
need be afraid can possibly get in here. This is the safest place I've
ever seen.

"The next most important thing is dryness. A damp house is bad, very
bad. It is uncomfortable, and it is bad for the health. This place is
perfectly dry. It will be warm in winter and cool in summer. I can't
imagine a more comfortable house. The only thing lacking is a good bed,
and that I'll soon make. On the whole, I guess the finding of this
new house is worth all I went through. Now I think I'll go out and
get acquainted with the neighborhood and see if I have got any near

So Bobby went out through the narrow entrance and began to look about to
see what he could discover. "I think," said he, "that I'll follow this
ledge and see if there are any more caves like mine. I might find a
better one, though I doubt it."

He shuffled along, light of heart and brimming over with excitement and
curiosity. You know it always is great fun to explore a strange place.
He had gone but a little way when he came to a sort of big open cave in
the rock. Bobby stopped and peered in. Almost the first thing he saw
was a bed. It was a big bed, and it was made of dry leaves and little
branches of hemlock. It was a very good bed, and it was clear that some
one had been sleeping in it very recently. Bobby's eyes grew very round.
Then he sniffed.

That one sniff was enough. Bobby turned and ran back to his new house
as fast as his legs would take him. All the pleasure he had taken in his
new home was gone. He had discovered that his nearest neighbor was none
other than Buster Bear himself!


|BOBBY COON was back in his new house, in the little cave in the rocky
ledge deep in the Green Forest, and never was he or any member of his
family more upset. You see, he had started out in high spirits to see
what was to be seen about his new home and to find out who his neighbors
might be, and he hadn't much more than started when he discovered that
his nearest neighbor was none other than Buster Bear. Wasn't that enough
to upset anybody? Anyway, it was enough to upset Bobby Coon, for only a
few hours before Buster Bear had tried to catch him and had threatened
to eat him. So all desire to spend the night looking about left Bobby
the very instant he found Buster Bear's home in that very same rocky
ledge in which his own new home was.

"What a dreadful fix, what a dreadful, dreadful fix I'm in," whined
Bobby. "Here I've found the best home I've ever had, and now I find
that Buster Bear lives almost next door. I don't dare stay here, and
I haven't any place to go. Oh, dear, oh, dear, what can a poor little
fellow like me do? I wish I were as big as Buster Bear. I do. Then I'd
fight him. I would. I'd fight him."

"Who would you fight?" demanded a great, deep, grumbly, rumbly voice
from outside his doorway.

Bobby just dropped right down where he was and shook with fright. But he
took great care not to make a sound, not the teeniest, weeniest sound.
Perhaps Buster Bear didn't know who it was he had overheard. Perhaps, if
he kept perfectly still, Buster would think he had been mistaken.

"Who are you in there, anyway?" demanded the deep, grumbly, rumbly
voice. "I didn't know any one was living here. Why don't you come out
and be sociable?"

Bobby simply shivered and kept his tongue still. For a minute or
two there was no sound from outside. Then there were three long
sniffs--sniff, sniff, sniff! They made Bobby shiver more than ever.

"Oh, ho! So it's you, Bobby Coon! It's my little Cousin Bobby!"
exclaimed the deep, grumbly, rumbly voice of Buster Bear, followed by a
chuckle. "Welcome to the old rock ledge, Bobby. Welcome to the old rock
ledge. If I am to have such a near neighbor, I'm glad it is to be you.
Come out and shake hands. Don't be so bashful. I won't hurt you."

At that Bobby pricked up his ears a little. He knew that Buster's nose
had told him all he wanted to know, and that there was no use to pretend
any longer.

"Do you really mean that, Cousin Buster?" he asked in a faint voice.

"Certainly I mean it. Of course. Why not? I usually mean what I say,"
grumbled Buster Bear.

"That's just the trouble," replied Bobby timidly. "Just a little while
ago you tried to catch me and said that you would eat me, and I thought
you meant it."

Buster Bear began to chuckle and then to laugh, and his laugh was deep
and grumbly rumbly like his voice.

"That's so, Bobby! That's so!" said he. "But that was when my stomach
was so empty that it made me lose my temper. Now my stomach is full, and
I'm really myself. You know you don't need to be afraid of me when I
am myself. Just forget that little affair. I should have, if you
hadn't reminded me of it. I'm glad you've decided to be neighborly. You
couldn't make your home in a safer place. I'm going to take a nap now.
Come over and see me when you feel like it. Be neighborly, cousin Bobby.
Be neighborly."

With this Buster Bear went shuffling along to his own house and bed. As
for Bobby Coon, he was soon in the best of spirits again. He decided to
remain right there, and he is there this very minute, I suspect, unless
he is out getting into mischief or seeking new adventures. Speaking of
adventures reminds me of some of Jimmy Skunk's.

It will take a whole book to tell you of them, so I am going to devote
the next one to Jimmy and his doings.


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