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TOM WILDCAT IS GREATLY SURPRISED
After Doctor Rabbit had tacked up the signs, of course all the little creatures of the Big Green Woods were on the lookout for Tom Wildcat. They were sadly disappointed when he did not come right away. Stubby Woodchuck said he was afraid Tom Wildcat had seen the signs and gone away, and that they had missed the fun of seeing him run; but Doctor Rabbit said he was sure that Tom had not been over since the signs were tacked up. He said that Blue Jay and Jenny Jay had taken turns and watched constantly, and that they had not found the least track of him.

“He’ll be over again; don’t you ever think he will not,” Doctor Rabbit told[Pg 84] his friends, and continued, “He’s just taking his meals somewhere else to fool us. Likely enough he’s been paying some more visits to the farmer’s chicken roosts; and about the time he thinks we have forgotten all about him, he’ll be over here. You just watch and see!”

Well, the very day that Tom Wildcat said he believed he would go over to the Big Green Woods, he did go. Yes, sir, he went; and with his mouth just watering for Stubby Woodchuck and several others. It so happened that he did not go the way he usually went. He thought he would slip in by another way, and surprise one or two of the little creatures.

In fact, he came slipping in the back way, and so did not see any of the signs on the front doors until he slipped around in front of the Woodchucks’ house.

Now as sly as Tom Wildcat had been,[Pg 85] he had not been sly enough for Blue Jay and Jenny. They saw him coming; so they flew around quickly and told Doctor Rabbit and then all the other little creatures.

Tom Wildcat read the sign on Stubby Woodchuck’s door, and this is what it said:

Cat Cholera Here!
Come In and Help!

Well, sir, you should have seen Tom’s glarey eyes when he read that sign! They almost popped out of his head, he was so scared. And then, just a little distance away, he read exactly the same thing on the Chipmunks’ door; and there was Cheepy Chipmunk, just outside his door, acting mighty queer. You see, Cheepy Chipmunk had been watching, and now he did exactly what Doctor Rabbit had told him to do. Little Cheepy acted[Pg 86] terribly sick, and leaning up against his front door, where the sign was, he said loud enough so that Tom Wildcat could hear, “Oh, dear me; I’m so sick, and it’s awful to have to die with this old cat cholera! But anyway I hope Tom Wildcat gets it and dies from it. But I suppose he got it long ago, and is dead by this time. Yes, I suppose it was he who brought it over and gave it to us. Oh, it’s terrible!” And then Cheepy sank down to the ground and certainly looked as if he were breathing his last. Just then Mrs. Cheepy did what Doctor Rabbit had told her to do. She came staggering out of the house and fell down right beside Mr. Cheepy on the ground.

“Oh, this cat cholera is awful, and we are all going to die—I know we are!” she groaned—and she acted as if she were about gone.

[Pg 87]Well, sir, when old Tom read those signs, and when he heard what the Cheepy Chipmunks said and saw how they acted, he certainly was scared. I should say he was scared! He was more scared than he had ever been in his life. You see, there is nothing in the whole wide world that Tom Wildcat is so much afraid of as cat cholera. He knew well enough that if he got that disease he wouldn’t last long. So it is no wonder that he was scared.


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