REDDY FOX SNEAKS AWAY
O sneak away is to steal away trying to keep out of sight
of everybody, and is usually done only by those who for
some reason or other are ashamed to be seen. Just as
soon as Reddy Fox could see after Jimmy Skunk had
thrown that terrible perfume in Reddy's face he started
for the Green Forest. He wanted to get away by himself.
But he didn't trot with his head up and his big plumey
tail carried proudly as is usual with him. No indeed.
Instead he hung his head, and his handsome tail was
dropped between his legs; he was the very picture of
shame. You see that terrible
per-  fume which Jimmy Skunk
had thrown at him clung to his red coat and he new that
he couldn't get rid of it, not for a long time anyway.
And he knew, too, that wherever he went his neighbors
would hold their noses and make fun of him, and that no
one would have anything to do with him. So he sneaked
away across the Green
Meadows towards the Green Forest and he felt too sick
and mean and unhappy to even be angry with Sammy Jay,
who was making fun of him and saying that he had got no
more than he deserved.
Poor Reddy! He didn't know what to do or where to go.
He couldn't go home, for old Granny Fox would drive him
out of the house. She had warned him time and again
never to provoke Jimmy Skunk, and he knew that she
never would forgive him if he should bring that
terrible perfume near their
 home. He knew, too, that it
would not be long before all the little people of the
Green Forest and the Green Meadows would know what had
happened to him. Sammy Jay would see to that. He knew
just how they would point at him and make fun of him.
He would never hear the last of it. He felt as if he
never, never would be able to hold his head and his
tail up again. Every few minutes he stopped to roll
over and over on the ground trying to get rid of that
When he reached the Green Forest he hurried over to the
Laughing Brook to wash out his eyes. It was just his
luck to have Billy Mink come along while he was doing
this. Billy didn't need to be told what had happened.
"Phew!" he exclaimed, holding on to his nose.
The he turned and hurried beyond the reach of that
perfume. There he
 stopped and made fun of Reddy Fox and
said all the provoking things he could think of. Reddy
took no notice at all. He felt too miserable to
After he had washed his face he felt better. Water
wouldn't take away the awful smell, but it did take
away the smart from his eyes. Then he tried to plan
what to do next.
"The only thing I can do is to get as far away from
everybody as I can," thought he. "I guess I'll have to
go up to the Old Pasture to live for a while."
So he started for the Old Pasture, keeping as much out
of sight as possible. On the way he remembered that Old
May Coyote lived there. Of course it would never do to
go near Old Man Coyote's home for if he smelled that
awful perfume and discovered that he, Reddy, was the
cause of it he would certainly drive him out of the Old
 and then where would he go? So Reddy went to
the loneliest part of the Old Pasture and crept into an
old house that he and Granny had dug there long ago
when they had been forced to live in the Old Pasture in
the days when Farmer Brown's boy and Bowser the Hound
had hunted them for stealing chickens. There he
stretched himself out and was perfectly miserable.
"It wouldn't be so bad if I had really been to blame,
but I wasn't. I didn't know Jimmy Skunk was in that
barrel and I didn't mean to start it rolling down the
hill anyway," he muttered. "It was all an accident
and—" He stopped and into his yellow eyes crept a
look of suspicion. "I wonder," said he slowly, "if
Peter Rabbit knew that Jimmy Skunk was there and
planned to get me into all this trouble. I wonder."