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O. POSSUM’S FUNNY MISTAKE
After Stubby Woodchuck had nearly lost his life, and after Chatty Red Squirrel had nearly lost his life, all the little creatures of the Big Green Woods were greatly excited. When things like this happen to them, they talk about nothing else for a time.

When they went out of their homes every morning for something to eat, they were in constant fear of Tom Wildcat. One day Cheepy Chipmunk said he was not getting more than half enough food, because he had to spend most of his time watching out. Blue Jay said it was the same in his case. He said that every time he started to pull a worm out of the ground he had to stop several[Pg 76] times and look around. And sometimes, he said, the worm would crawl back into the ground before he could get it.

Once, Blue Jay said, when he was pulling a big worm from the ground for Jenny Jay, he thought he heard a noise behind him, and he stopped and looked around. When he turned back again, Robin-the-Red had pulled the worm out and gone away with it. After gobbling the worm, Robin came back and explained that he had been having so much bad luck in getting worms himself lately that he was about starved.

Blue Jay had accepted the apology, but he didn’t feel very good even at that. He said, “All right for this time, Mr. Robin, but hereafter I’ll thank you to let my worms alone.” I don’t think we can blame Blue Jay for being a little cross with Robin-the-Red; but they both[Pg 77] understood, because when Blue Jay got a chance, he did the very same thing with Robin.

Then O. Possum had a little trouble, too. One morning he came running in at the door of his stump and laid something down before Mandy Possum. “Well!” shouted O. Possum, “here’s a nice fat chicken for you, Mandy Possum! I guess we won’t starve if Tom Wildcat is prowling around.”

Mandy Possum went up to the chicken and turned it over. Well, sir, it proved to be nothing but an old dried-up head and a pair of chicken wings that had been lying in the farmer’s garden about a year.

“Humph!” exclaimed Mandy Possum, in great disgust. “Humph, you call that a big fat hen, do you, Mr. Possum? You grabbed it so quick and ran so fast,[Pg 78] you thought it was a big fat hen. Ha, ha, ha!” Mandy Possum laughed. “Tom Wildcat has certainly got on your nerves. Ha, ha, ha!”

Then O. Possum looked and saw the mistake he had made. “Huh!” was all he could say, he was so ashamed. And as he slipped out of doors he mumbled to himself, “I’ll get a live one.” Then, after he had sat out in the sun for a little while he began laughing all to himself. “That was a pretty good joke on me! It surely was,” O. Possum said, and he found himself enjoying the joke about as much as Mandy Possum had done.

Well, the next morning Doctor Rabbit slipped around pretty early and told his friends he was ready with his scheme. He carried a big bundle of signs, all painted with the finest black letters, and he tacked up a sign on the front door of[Pg 79] the home of each of his friends and neighbors. The little creatures were all surprised, and how they did admire Doctor Rabbit for his cleverness! They said that no one in the world but Doctor Rabbit could have thought of such a fine scheme, and they were very sure that Tom Wildcat would soon receive the surprise of his life.



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