UNC' BILLY POSSUM TRIES HIS OLD TRICK
HE first knowledge Unc' Billy Possum had that he was
discovered came to him through his tail. Yes, Sir, it
came to him through his tail. Farmer Brown's boy
pinched it. It was rather a mean thing to do, but
Farmer Brown's boy was curious. He wanted to see what
Unc' Billy would do. And he didn't pinch very hard, not
hard enough to really hurt. Farmer Brown's boy is too
good-hearted to hurt any one if he can help it.
Now any other of the Green Forest and Green Meadows
people would promptly have pulled their tail away had
they been in Unc' Billy's place.
 But Unc' Billy didn't.
No, Sir, Unc' Billy didn't. That tail might have
belonged to any one but him so far as he made any sign.
Of course, he felt like pulling it away. Any one would
have in his place. But he didn't move it the tiniest
bit, which goes to show that Unc' Billy has great
self-control when he wishes.
Farmer Brown's boy pinched again, just a little harder
but still Unc' Billy made no sign. Farmer Brown's boy
chuckled and began to pull on that tail. He pulled and
pulled until finally he had pulled Unc' Billy out of
his hiding-place, and he swung by his tail from the
hand of Farmer Brown's boy. There wasn't the least sign
of life about Unc' Billy. He looked as if her were
dead, and he acted as if he werew dead. Any one not
knowing Unc' Billy would have supposed that he
 Farmer Brown's boy dropped Unc' Billy on the floor. He
lay just as he fell. Farmer Brown's boy rolled him over
with his foot, but there wasn't a sign of life in Unc'
Billy. He hoped that Farmer Brown's boy really did
think him dead. That was what he wanted. Farmer Brown's
boy picked him up again and laid him on a box, first
putting a board over the hole in the floor and closing
the henhouse door. Then he went about his work of
cleaning out the henhouse and measuring out the grain
for the biddies.
Unc' Billy lay there on the box, and he certainly was
pathetic looking. A dead animal or bird is always
pathetic looking, and none was ever more so than Unc'
Billy Possum as he lay on that box. His hair was all
rumpled up, as it usually is. It was filled with dust
from the floor and bits of straw. His lips
 were drawn
back and closed. As a matter of fact, they were open
just a teeny, weeny bit, just enough for Unc' Billy to
watch Farmer Brown's boy But to have looked at him you
would have thought him as dead as the deadest thing
that ever was.
As he went about his work Farmer Brown's boy kept an
eye on Unc' Billy and chuckled. "You old fraud," said
he. "You think you are fooling me, but I know you.
Possums don't die of nothing in hens' nests. You
certainly are a clever old rascal, and the best actor
I've ever seen. I wonder how long you will keep it up.
I wish I had half as much self-control."
When he had finished his work he picked Unc' Billy up
by the tail once more, opened the door, and started for
the house with Unc' Billy swinging from
 his hand and
bumping against his legs. Still Unc' Billy gave no sign
of life. He wondered where he was being taken to. He
was terribly frightened. But he stuck to his old trick
of playing dead which had served him so well more than