Prickly Porky in "Old Granny Fox Loses Her Dignity"
Old Granny Fox Loses
Unc' Billy Possum had passed the word along to Jimmy Skunk, Ryder Rabbit, and Prickly Porky that old Granny Fox would be on hand at sun-up to see for herself the strange creature which had frightened Reddy Fox at the foot of the hill where Prickly Porky lives. How did Unc' Billy know? Well, he just guessed. He is quite as shrewd and clever as Granny Fox herself, and when he told her that the only time the strange creature everybody was talking about was seen was at sun-up, he guessed by the very way she sniffed and pretended not to believe it at all that she would visit Prickly Porky's hill the next morning.
"The ol' lady suspects that there is some trick, and we-uns have got to be very careful," warned Unc' Billy, as he and his three friends put their heads together in the early evening. "She is done bound to come snooping around before sun-up," he continued, "and we-uns must be out of sight, all excepting Brer Porky. She'll come just the way she did this afternoon,—from back of the hill instead of along the holler."
Unc' Billy was quite right. Old Granny Fox felt very sure that some one was playing tricks, so she didn't wait until jolly, round, red Mr. Sun was out of bed. She was at the top of the hill where Prickly Porky lives a full hour before sun-up, and there she sat down to wait. She couldn't see or hear anything in the least suspicious. You see, Unc' Billy Possum was quite out of sight, as he sat in the thickest part of a hemlock-tree, and Ryder Rabbit was sitting perfectly still in a hollow log, and Jimmy Skunk wasn't showing so much as the tip of his nose, as he lay just inside the doorway of an old house under the roots of a big stump.
Only Prickly Porky was to be seen, and he seemed to be asleep in his favorite tree. Everything seemed to be just as old Granny Fox had seen it a hundred times before. At last the Jolly Little Sunbeams began to dance through the Green Forest, chasing out the Black Shadows. Redeye the Vireo awoke and at once began to sing, as is his way, not even waiting to get a mouthful of breakfast. Prickly Porky yawned and grunted.
Then he climbed down from the tree he had been sitting in, walked slowly over to another, started to climb it, changed his mind, and began to poke around in the dead leaves. Old Granny Fox arose and slowly stretched. She glanced at Prickly Porky contemptuously. She had seen him act in this stupid, uncertain way dozens of times before. Then slowly, watching out sharply on both sides of her, without appearing to do so, she walked down the hill to the hollow at the foot.
Now old Granny Fox can be very dignified when she wants to be, and she was now. She didn't hurry the least little bit. She carried her big, plumey tail just so. And she didn't once look behind her, for she felt sure that there was nothing out of the way there, and to have done so would have been quite undignified. She had reached the bottom of the hill and was walking along the hollow, smiling to herself to think how easily some people are frightened, when her sharp ears caught a sound on the hill behind her. She turned like a flash and then—well, for a minute old Granny Fox was too surprised to do anything but stare.
There, rolling down the hill straight towards her, was the very thing Reddy had told her about.
At first Granny decided to stay right where she was and find out what this thing was, but the nearer it got, the stranger and more terrible it seemed. It was just a great ball all covered with dried leaves, and yet somehow Granny felt sure that it was alive, although she could see no head or tail or legs. The nearer it got, the stranger and more terrible it seemed. Then Granny forgot her dignity. Yes, Sir, she forgot her dignity. In fact, she quite lost it altogether. Granny Fox ran just as Reddy had run!