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TOM WILDCAT BECOMES FRIGHTENED
When Tom read those signs on Stubby Woodchuck’s and Cheepy Chipmunk’s doors, and when he saw how very sick the Chipmunks acted, he started away from there that very minute. His big green eyes were very wide, and he kept looking back toward Cheepy Chipmunk’s house, so that he did not notice where he was going, and the first thing he knew he bumped right into O. Possum’s house. And there on O. Possum’s door was a big sign in black letters reading,

Cat Cholera Here!
Come In and Help!

O. Possum’s door was closed, but poor scared Tom heard a terrible groan inside.[Pg 89] You see, O. Possum had been looking out of his window and had seen Tom Wildcat coming. It was hard to groan when he did so want to laugh.

Of course Tom jumped away from O. Possum’s house in a hurry, and with eyes wider than ever, started to get out of the woods in another direction. He kept looking back toward O. Possum’s house, and pretty soon he ran against Chatty Squirrel’s house, and there was another of those terrible signs:

Cat Cholera Here!
Come In and Help!

Well, Tom Wildcat jumped back about scared stiff, and started off in another direction. This time he ran. But again he kept looking back at the signs and forgot to look where he was going. The first thing Tom Wildcat knew, he ran[Pg 90] plump against Doctor Rabbit’s house; and then he surely was more surprised and frightened than ever. Because on Doctor Rabbit’s front door was one of those same terrible signs:

Cat Cholera Here!
Come In and Help!

This was simply awful. “And so,” Tom Wildcat said in a trembling voice, “Doctor Rabbit has that dreadful disease too, and not even all his medicine can keep him from dying!” At the very thought, he let out a most terrible yell, and away he started out of those woods. And this time he did not look back. No, sir, he looked straight ahead; and how he did run and yell, he was so frightened!

The farther Tom Wildcat ran the more frightened he became, and after a while[Pg 91] he was going through those woods like a streak. Yes, sir, Tom Wildcat was terribly frightened; and he had his mind made up that he knew mighty well what he was going to do if he ever got out of those woods alive!


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