The Tale of Fatty Coon: Johnnie Green Loses His Pet (9/20)

Now, Farmer Green and his hired man had not chopped long before they stopped to breathe. They had not chopped long—but oh! what great, yawning holes they had made in the big chestnut! From the limb where he clung Fatty Coon looked down. The tree no longer shook. And Fatty felt better at once. You see, he thought that the men would go away, just as Johnnie had gone away the night before. But they had no such idea at all.

“Which way are you going to fell her?” the hired man asked. He said HER, meaning the TREE, of course.

“That way!” said Farmer Green, pointing toward the woods. “We’ll have to drop her that way, or she’ll fall right across the road, and of course THAT would never do.”

“But will she clear the trees on the edge of the woods?” The hired man appeared somewhat doubtful.

“Oh, to be sure—to be sure!” answered Farmer Green.

And with that they set to work again. But this time they both chopped on the same side of the tree—the side toward the woods.

Now, if Fatty Coon was frightened before, you will believe that he was still more frightened when the big chestnut tree began to sag. Yes! it began to lean toward the woods. Slowly, slowly it tipped. And Fatty was scared half out of his mind. He climbed to the very top of the tree, because he wanted to get just as far away from those men as he could. And there he waited. There was nothing else he could do. Yes! he waited until that awful moment should come when the tree would go crashing down upon the ground. What was going to happen to him then? Fatty wondered. And while he was wondering there sounded all at once a great snapping and splitting. And Fatty felt the tree falling, falling. He could hear Johnnie Green shouting. And he shut his eyes and held fast to his branch. Then came the crash.

When Fatty Coon opened his eyes he expected to see Johnnie Green all ready to seize him. But to his great surprise he was still far above the ground. You see, Farmer Green had been mistaken. Either the big chestnut tree was taller than he had guessed, or the woods were nearer than he had thought. For instead of dropping upon the ground, Fatty’s tree had fallen right against another tree on the edge of the woods. And there it lay, half-tipped over, with its branches caught fast in the branches of that other tree.

It was no wonder that Johnnie Green shouted. And he shouted still more loudly when he saw Fatty scramble out of the big chestnut and into the other tree, and out of that tree and into another, and then out of THAT tree. Fatty was going straight into the woods.

It was no wonder that Johnnie Green shouted. For he had lost his pet coon. He had lost him before he ever had him. And he was sadly disappointed.

But Fatty Coon was not disappointed, for he had not wanted to be a pet at all. And he was very glad—you may be sure—to get safely home once more.

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