To give her children what each needs
To get the most from life he can,
To work and play and live his best,
Is wise Old Mother Nature’s plan.
—Old Granny Fox.
When old Granny Fox asked Reddy how he would like to eat a dinner of Bowser the Hound’s, Reddy looked at her sharply to see if she were joking or really meant what she said. Granny looked so sober and so much in earnest that Reddy decided she couldn’t be joking, even though it did sound that way.
“I certainly would like it, Granny. Yes, indeed, I certainly would like it,” said he. “You—you don’t suppose he will give us one, do you?”
Granny chuckled. “No, Reddy,” said she. “Bowser isn’t so generous as all that, especially to Foxes. He isn’t going to give us that dinner; we are going to take it away from him. Yes, Sir, we just naturally are going to take it away from him.”
Reddy didn’t for the life of him see how it could be possible to take a dinner away from Bowser the Hound. That seemed to him almost as impossible as it was for him to climb or fly or dive. But he had great faith in Granny’s cleverness. He remembered how she had so nearly caught Quacker the Duck. He knew that all the time he had been away trying to find something for them to eat, old Granny Fox had been doing more than just rest her tired old bones. He knew that not for one single minute had her sharp wits been idle. He knew that all that time she had been studying and studying to find some way by which they could get something to eat. So great was his faith in Granny just then that if she had told him she would get him a slice of the moon he would have believed her.
“If you say we can take a dinner away from Bowser the Hound, I suppose we can,” said Reddy, “though I don’t see how. But if we can, let’s do it right away. I’m hungry enough to dare almost anything for the sake of something to put in my stomach. It is so empty that little bit of fish we divided is shaking around as if it were lost. Gracious, I could eat a million fish the size of that one! Have you thought of Farmer Brown’s hens, Granny?”
“Of course, Reddy! Of course! What a silly question!” replied Granny. “We may have to come to them yet.”
“I wish I was at them right now,” interrupted Reddy with a sigh.
“But you know what I have told you,” went on Granny. “The surest way of getting into trouble is to steal hens. I’m not feeling quite up to being chased by Bowser the Hound just now, and if we came right home we would give away the secret of where we live and might be smoked out, and that would be the end of us. Besides, those hens will be hard to get this weather, because they will stay in their house, and there is no way for us to get in there unless we walk right in, in broad daylight, and that would never do. It will be a great deal better to take Bowser’s dinner away from him. In the first place, if we are careful, no one but Bowser will know about it, and as long as he is chained up, we will have nothing to worry about from him. Besides, we will enjoy getting even with him for the times he has spoiled our chances of catching a fat chicken and for the way he has hunted us. Most decidedly it will be better and safer to try for Bowser’s dinner than to try for one of those hens.”
“Just as you say, Granny; just as you say,” returned Reddy. “You know best. But how under the sun we can do it beats me.”
“It is very simple,” replied Granny, “very simple indeed. Most things are simple enough when you find out how to do them. Neither of us could do it alone, but together we can do it without the least bit of risk. Listen.”
Granny went close to Reddy and whispered to him, although there wasn’t a soul within hearing. A slow grin spread over Reddy’s face as he listened. When she had finished, he laughed right out.
“Granny, you are a wonder!” he exclaimed admiringly. “I never should have thought of that. Of course we can do it. My, won’t Bowser be surprised! And how mad he’ll be! Come on, let’s be starting!”
“All right,” said Granny, and the two started towards Farmer Brown’s.