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TOM WILDCAT MAKES A DISCOVERY
When Tom Wildcat began running around with his smarting eye, Stubby looked up mighty quick to see whether there was any chance of his running away. You see, he had to be very, very careful now about trying to get away, because he probably would be safe if he lay there long enough.

“And still,” Stubby said to himself, “Tom Wildcat might fool around and watch me, and just keep on watching me, to see if I die; and then when he sees I don’t die, he might grow suspicious. And still,” he went on thinking, “if I should start to run, and old Tom should see me, then he would know I’m not poisoned, and he’d finish me sure!”

[Pg 60]So you see it was pretty hard for Stubby Woodchuck to decide what to do. Of course, if he could have been sure he could get back to his home in the stump, he would have jumped up and gone in no time. However, after he had watched the queer actions of Tom Wildcat for a while, Stubby began to be a little bolder. He thought Tom Wildcat had surely gone crazy this time. Of course he knew about the hot salve on Tom’s sore foot, but he had forgotten all about it; and even if he had remembered, he probably would not have thought that was what made the old villain tear around so.

Stubby Woodchuck was afraid, too, that since Tom Wildcat was acting so crazy, he might suddenly decide to make a meal even on a poisoned woodchuck. The more Stubby Woodchuck thought[Pg 61] of this, the more frightened he was; and the next time Tom Wildcat ran into a thicket, and squawked, and began holding his paws over his eyes, Stubby bravely stood up. Then all of a sudden, right close by, Doctor Rabbit shouted, “Run, Brother Woodchuck! Run! run!” And away went clumsy Stubby toward his stump. He thought he was done for once, when Tom Wildcat came in that direction; but Tom Wildcat did not see Stubby at all, and he got safely to his stump.

He ran in and fell down on the floor, panting so he could not speak. Sophy Woodchuck hurried around and brought out the camphor bottle. After Stubby Woodchuck had smelled the camphor a little, he was able to sit up in a chair and tell his wife what had happened.

Just as Stubby finished his strange[Pg 62] story, Doctor Rabbit burst in, and how he did laugh about Tom Wildcat’s tearing around so! And Doctor Rabbit was so glad, too, that his friend Stubby had escaped.

Doctor Rabbit said, “I was out in my front yard when I heard those terrible yowls of Tom Wildcat’s, and I hurried over to see what the trouble was. When I saw old T. Wildcat rubbing his eye with his sore foot, I knew right away it was that hot salve. And as soon as I saw my friend Stubby, I guessed what had almost happened to him.”

“What became of Tom Wildcat?” asked Stubby Woodchuck.

“Well, sir,” Doctor Rabbit said, “he finally ran over the bank and fell into the Murmuring Brook, head over heels. He crawled out as wet as any rat you ever saw. But I think the water helped his[Pg 63] eye, for he didn’t rub it any more—just looked around as if he felt terribly ashamed, and hoped no one saw him. And then he slipped over to where you had been, Friend Stubby, and you should have seen and heard him! ‘Gone!’ he said. ‘And he’s made a fool of me. He wasn’t poisoned at all! But just wait until the next time, Stub Woodchuck! And that old fat Doctor Rabbit who helped him get away—I’ll attend to him. Indeed I will.’”

“Well,” added Doctor Rabbit, “I knew I could get home as easy as anything, because I had a good start; so I yelled out and said, ‘Ha! ha! ha! Tom Wildcat, I guess we can’t fool you! Ha! ha! ha! Oh, no, not at all! Ha! ha! ha! Good day, Mr. T. Wildcat!’ Then I ran home so fast I know he didn’t get more, than a glimpse of me.”



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