The Adventures of Reddy Fox by Thornton W. Burgess
IV. Reddy Fox Grows Bold
Reddy Fox was growing bold. Everybody said so, and what everybody says must be so. Reddy Fox had always been very sly and not bold at all. The truth is Reddy Fox had so many times fooled Bowser the Hound and Farmer Brown's boy that he had begun to think himself very smart indeed. He had really fooled himself. Yes, Sir, Reddy Fox had fooled himself. He thought himself so smart that nobody could fool him.
Now it is one of the worst habits in the world to think too much of one's self. And Reddy Fox had the habit. Oh, my, yes! Reddy Fox certainly did have the habit! When anyone mentioned Bowser the Hound, Reddy would turn up his nose and say: "Pooh! It's the easiest thing in the world to fool him."
You see, he had forgotten all about the time Bowser had fooled him at the railroad bridge.
Whenever Reddy saw Farmer Brown's boy he would say with the greatest scorn: "Who's afraid of him? Not I!"
So as Reddy Fox thought more and more of his own smartness, he grew bolder and bolder. Almost every night he visited Farmer Brown's henyard. Farmer Brown set traps all around the yard, but Reddy always found them and kept out of them. It got so that Unc' Billy Possum and Jimmy Skunk didn't dare go to the henhouse for eggs any more, for fear that they would get into one of the traps set for Reddy Fox. Of course they missed those fresh eggs and of course they blamed Reddy Fox.
"Never mind," said Jimmy Skunk, scowling down on the Green Meadows where Reddy Fox was taking a sun bath, "Farmer Brown's boy will get him yet! I hope he does!" Jimmy said this a little spitefully and just as if he really meant it.
Now when people think that they are very, very smart, they like to show off. You know it isn't any fun at all to feel smart unless others can see how smart you are. So Reddy Fox, just to show off, grew very bold, very bold indeed. He actually went up to Farmer Brown's henyard in broad daylight, and almost under the nose of Bowser the Hound he caught the pet chicken of Farmer Brown's boy. 'Ol Mistah Buzzard, sailing overhead high up in the blue, blue sky, saw Reddy Fox and shook his bald head:
"Ah see Trouble on the way;
But Reddy Fox thought himself so smart that it seemed as if he really were hunting for Ol' Mr. Trouble. And when he caught the pet chicken of Farmer Brown's boy, Ol' Mr. Trouble was right at his heels.