Jimmy Skunk and Unc’ Billy Possum
Jimmy Skunk ambled along down the Lone Little Path through the Green Forest. He didn’t hurry. Jimmy never does hurry. Hurrying and worrying are two things he leaves for his neighbors. Now and then Jimmy stopped to turn over a bit of bark or a stick, hoping to find some fat beetles. But it was plain to see that he had something besides fat beetles on his mind.
Up the Lone Little Path through the Green Forest shuffled Unc’ Billy Possum. He didn’t hurry. It was too warm to hurry. Unlike Jimmy Skunk, he does hurry sometimes, does Unc’ Billy, especially when he suspects that Bowser the Hound is about. And sometimes Unc’ Billy does worry. You see, there are people who think that Unc’ Billy would make a very good dinner. Unc’ Billy doesn’t think he would. Anyway, he has no desire to have the experiment tried. So occasionally, when he discovers one of these people who think he would make a good dinner, he worries a little.
But just now Unc’ Billy was neither hurrying nor worrying. There was no need of doing either, and Unc’ Billy never does anything that there is no need of doing. So Unc’ Billy shuffled up the Lone Little Path, and Jimmy Skunk ambled down the Lone Little Path, and right at a bend in the Lone Little Path they met.
Jimmy Skunk grinned. “Hello, Unc’ Billy!” said he. “Have you seen any fat beetles this morning?”
Unc’ Billy grinned. “Good mo’nin’, Brer Skunk,” he replied. “I can’t rightly say I have. I had it on my mind to ask yo’ the same thing.”
Jimmy sat down and looked at Unc’ Billy with twinkling eyes. His grin grew broader and became a chuckle. “Unc’ Billy,” said he, “have you ever in your life combed your hair or brushed your coat?” You know Unc’ Billy usually looks as if every hair was trying to point in a different direction from every other hair, while Jimmy Skunk always appears as neat as if he spent half his time brushing and smoothing his handsome black and white coat.
Unc’ Billy’s eyes twinkled. “I reckons I did such a thing once or twice when I was very small, Brer Skunk,” said he, without a trace of a smile. “But it seems to me a powerful waste of time. I have mo’ important things to worry about. By the way, Brer Skunk, did yo’ ever run away from anybody in all your life?”
Jimmy looked surprised at the question. He scratched his head thoughtfully. “Not that I remember of,” said he after a little. “Most folks run away from me,” he added with a little throaty chuckle. “Those who don’t run away always are polite and step aside. It may be that when I was a very little fellow and didn’t know much about the Great World and the people who live in it, I might have run away from some one, but if I did, I can’t remember it. Why do you ask, Unc’ Billy?”
“Oh, no reason in particular, Brer Skunk. No reason in particular. Only I wonder sometimes if yo’ ever realize how lucky yo’ are. If I never had to worry about my hungry neighbors, I reckons perhaps I might brush my coat oftener.” Unc’ Billy’s eyes twinkled more than ever.
“Worry,” replied Jimmy Skunk sagely, “is the result of being unprepared. Anybody who is prepared has no occasion to worry. Just think it over, Unc’ Billy.”
It was Unc’ Billy’s turn to scratch his head thoughtfully. “I fear I don’t quite get your meaning, Brer Skunk,” said he.
“Sit down, Unc’ Billy, and I’ll explain,” replied Jimmy.