Jimmy Skunk Looks for Peter
Jimmy Skunk looked very hard at Sammy Jay. Sammy Jay looked very hard at Jimmy Skunk. Then Sammy slowly shut one eye and as slowly opened it again. It was a wink.
“You mean,” said Jimmy Skunk, “that you guess that Peter Rabbit knew that I was in that barrel, and that he jumped over it so as to make Reddy Fox run against it. Is that it?”
Sammy Jay said nothing, but winked again. Jimmy grinned. Then he looked thoughtful. “I wonder,” said he slowly, “if Peter did it so as to gain time to get away from Reddy Fox.”
“I wonder,” said Sammy Jay.
“And I wonder if he did it just to get Reddy into trouble,” continued Jimmy.
“I wonder,” repeated Sammy Jay.
“And I wonder if he did it for a joke, a double joke on Reddy and myself,” Jimmy went on, scratching his head thoughtfully.
“I wonder,” said Sammy Jay once more, and burst out laughing.
Now Jimmy Skunk has a very shrewd little head on his shoulders. “So that is your guess, is it? Well, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if you are right,” said he, nodding his head. “I think I will go look for Peter. I think he needs a lesson. Jokes that put other people in danger or make them uncomfortable can have no excuse. My neck might have been broken in that wild ride down the hill, and certainly I was made most uncomfortable. I felt as if everything inside me was shaken out of place and all mixed up. Even now my stomach feels a bit queer, as if it might not be just where it ought to be. By the way, what became of Peter after he jumped over the barrel?”
Sammy shook his head. “I don’t know,” he confessed. “You see, it was very exciting when that barrel started rolling, and we knew by the sounds that there was some one inside it. I guess Reddy Fox forgot all about Peter. I know I did. And when the barrel broke to pieces against that stone down there, and you and Reddy faced each other, it was still more exciting. After it was over, I looked for Peter, but he was nowhere in sight. He hadn’t had time to reach the Old Briar-patch. I really would like to know myself what became of him.”
Jimmy Skunk turned and looked down the hill. Then in his usual slow way he started back towards the broken barrel.
“Where are you going?” asked Sammy.
“To look for Peter Rabbit,” replied Jimmy. “I want to ask him a few questions.”
Jimmy Skunk ambled along down the hill. At first he was very angry as he thought of what Peter had done, and he made up his mind that Peter should be taught a lesson he would never forget. But as he ambled along, the funny side of the whole affair struck him, for Jimmy Skunk has a great sense of humor, and before he reached the bottom of the hill his anger had all gone and he was chuckling.
“I’m sorry if I did Reddy Fox an injustice,” thought he, “but he makes so much trouble for other people that I guess no one else will be sorry. He isn’t likely to bother any one for some time. Peter really ought to be punished, but somehow I don’t feel so much like punishing him as I did. I’ll just give him a little scare and let the scamp off with that. Now, I wonder where he can be. I have an idea he isn’t very far away. Let me see. Seems to me I remember an old house of Johnny Chuck’s not very far from here. I’ll have a look in that.”