Jimmy Skunk Is True to His Word
Unc’ Billy Possum was having a bad night of it. When he had grown tired of quarreling with Jimmy Skunk, he had tried to take a nap. He had tried first one nest and then another, but none just suited him. This was partly because he wasn’t sleepy. He was hungry and not at all sleepy. He wished with all his heart that he hadn’t foolishly yielded to that fit of temper which had resulted in kicking that china nest-egg out of a nest and down on the head of Jimmy Skunk, making Jimmy so thoroughly angry.
Unc’ Billy had no intention of going down while Jimmy was there. He thought that Jimmy would soon grow tired of waiting and go away. So for quite awhile Unc’ Billy didn’t worry. But as it began to get towards morning he began to grow anxious. Unc’ Billy had no desire to be found in that henhouse when Farmer Brown’s boy came to feed the biddies.
Then, too, he was hungry. He had counted on a good meal of eggs, and not one had he found. Now he wanted to get out to look for something else to eat, but he couldn’t without facing Jimmy Skunk, and it was better to go hungry than to do that. Yes, Sir, it was a great deal better to go hungry. Several times, when he thought Jimmy was asleep, he tried to steal down. He was just as careful not to make a sound as he could be, but every time Jimmy knew and was waiting for him. Unc’ Billy wished that there was no such place as Farmer Brown’s henhouse. He wished he had never thought of eggs. He wished many other foolish wishes, but most of all he wished that he hadn’t lost his temper and kicked that egg down on Jimmy Skunk’s head. When the first light stole in under the door and the biddies began to stir uneasily on their roosts Unc’ Billy’s anxiety would allow him to keep still no longer.
“Don’ yo’ think we-uns better make up and get out of here, Brer Skunk?” he ventured.
“I don’t mind staying here; it’s very comfortable,” replied Jimmy, looking up at Unc’ Billy in a way that made him most uncomfortable. It was plain to see that Jimmy hadn’t forgiven him.
For some time Unc’ Billy said no more, but he grew more and more restless. You see, he knew it would soon be time for Farmer Brown’s boy to come to let the hens out and feed them. At last he ventured to speak again.
“I reckons yo’ done forget something,” said he.
“What is that?” asked Jimmy.
“Ah reckons yo’ done forget that it’s most time fo’ Farmer Brown’s boy to come, and it won’t do fo’ we-uns to be found in here,” replied Unc’ Billy.
“I’m not worrying about Farmer Brown’s boy. He can come as soon as he pleases,” retorted Jimmy Skunk, and grinned.
That sounded like boasting, but it wasn’t. No, Sir, it wasn’t, and Unc’ Billy knew it. He knew that Jimmy meant it. Unc’ Billy was in despair. He didn’t dare stay, and he didn’t dare go down and face Jimmy Skunk, and there he was. It certainly had been a bad night for Unc’ Billy Possum.