XI. Granny Fox Returns
 

Up over the hill trotted old Granny Fox. She was on her way home with a tender young chicken for Reddy Fox. Poor Reddy! Of course, it was his own fault, for he had been showing off and he had been careless or he never would have gone so near to the old tree trunk behind which Farmer Brown's boy was hiding.

But old Granny Fox didn't know this. She never makes such mistakes herself. Oh, my, no! So now, as she came up over the hill to a place where she could see her home, she laid the chicken down and then she crept behind a little bush and looked all over the Green Meadows to see if the way was clear. She knew that Bowser the Hound was chained up. She had seen Farmer Brown and Farmer Brown's boy hoeing in the cornfield, so she had nothing to fear from them.

Looking over to her doorstep, she saw Reddy Fox lying in the sun, and then she saw something else, something that made her eyes flash and her teeth come together with a snap. It was Peter Rabbit sitting up very straight, not ten feet from Reddy Fox.

"So that's that young scamp of a Peter Rabbit whom Reddy was going to catch for me when I was sick and couldn't! I'll just show Reddy Fox how easily it can be done, and he shall have tender young rabbit with his chicken!" said Granny Fox to herself.

So first she studied and studied every clump of grass and every bush behind which she could creep. She saw that she could get almost to where Peter Rabbit was sitting and never once show herself to him. Then she looked this way and looked that way to make sure that no one was watching her.

No one did she see on the Green Meadows who was looking her way. Then Granny Fox began to crawl from one clump of grass to another and from bush to bush. Sometimes she wriggled along flat on her stomach. Little by little she was drawing nearer and nearer to Peter Rabbit.

Now with all her smartness old Granny Fox had forgotten one thing. Yes, Sir, she had forgotten one thing. Never once had she thought to look up in the sky.

And there was Ol' Mistah Buzzard sailing round and round and looking down and seeing all that was going on below.

Ol' Mistah Buzzard is sharp. He knew just what old Granny Fox was planning to do--knew it as well as if he had read her thoughts. His eyes twinkled.

"Ah cert'nly can't allow li'l' Brer Rabbit to be hurt, Ah cert'nly can't!" muttered Ol' Mistah Buzzard, and chuckled.

Then he slanted his broad wings downward and without a sound slid down out of the sky till he was right behind Granny Fox.

"Do yo' always crawl home, Granny Fox?" asked Ol' Mistah Buzzard.

Granny Fox was so startled, for she hadn't heard a sound, that she jumped almost out of her skin. Of course Peter Rabbit saw her then, and was off like a shot.

Granny Fox showed all her teeth. "I wish you would mind your own business, Mistah Buzzard!" she snarled.

"Cert'nly, cert'nly, Ah sho'ly will!" replied Ol' Mistah Buzzard, and sailed up into the blue, blue sky.