Prickly Porky in "What Reddy Fox Saw And Did"
What Reddy Fox Saw
"Who guards his tongue as he would keep
A treasure rich and rare,
Will keep himself from trouble free,
And dodge both fear and care."
The trouble with a great many people is that they remember this too late. Reddy Fox is one of these. Reddy is smart and sly and clever in some ways, but he hasn't learned yet to guard his tongue, and half the trouble he gets into is because of that unruly member. You see it is a boastful tongue and an untruthful tongue and that is the worst combination for making trouble that I know of. It has landed him in all kinds of scrapes in the past, and here he was in another, all on account of that tongue.
Jolly, round, red Mr. Sun had kicked his rosy blankets off and was smiling down on the Great World as he began his daily climb up in the blue, blue sky. The Jolly Little Sunbeams were already dancing through the Green Forest, chasing out the Black Shadows, and Reddy knew that it was high time for him to be over by the hill where Prickly Porky the Porcupine lives. With lagging steps he sneaked along from tree to tree, peering out from behind each anxiously, afraid to go on, and still more afraid not to, for fear that he would be called a coward.
He had almost reached the foot of the hill without seeing anything out of the usual and without any signs of Unc' Billy Possum. He was just beginning to hope that Unc' Billy wasn't there, as he had said he would be, when a voice right over his head said:
"Ah cert'nly am glad to see that yo' are as good as your word, Brer Fox, fo' we need some one brave like yo' to find out what this strange creature is that has been chasing we-uns."
Reddy looked up with a sickly grin. There sat Unc' Billy Possum in a pine tree right over his head. He knew now that there was no backing out; he had got to go on. He tried to swagger and look very bold and brave.
"I told you I'm not afraid. If there's anything queer around here, I'll find out what it is," he once more boasted, but Unc' Billy noticed that his voice sounded just a wee bit trembly.
"Keep right on to the foot of the hill; that's where Ah saw it yesterday. My, Ah'm glad that we've got some one so truly brave!" replied Unc' Billy.
Reddy looked at him sharply, but there wasn't a trace of a smile on Unc' Billy's face, and Reddy couldn't tell whether Unc' Billy was making fun of him or not. So, there being nothing else to do, he went on. He reached the foot of the hill without seeing or hearing a thing out of the usual. The Green Forest seemed just as it always had seemed. Redeye the Vireo was pouring out his little song of gladness, quite as if everything was just as it should be. Reddy's courage began to come back. Nothing had happened, and nothing was going to happen. Of course not! It was all some of Ryder Rabbit's foolishness. Some day he would catch Ryder Rabbit and put an end to such silly tales.
"Ah! What was that?" Reddy's sharp ears had caught a sound up near the top of the hill. He stopped short and looked up. For just a little wee minute Reddy couldn't believe that his eyes saw right. Coming down the hill straight towards him was the strangest thing he ever had seen. He couldn't see any legs. He couldn't see any head. He couldn't see any tail. It was round like a ball, but it was the strangest looking ball that ever was. It was covered with old leaves. Reddy wouldn't have believed that it was alive but for the noises it was making.
For just a wee minute he stared, and then, what do you think he did? Why, he gave a frightened yelp, put his tail between his legs, and ran just as fast as he could make his legs go. Yes, Sir, that's just what Reddy Fox did.