Bowser The Hound by Thornton W. Burgess
Chapter X. How Reddy Fox Investigated
In-vest-i-gate if you would know That something is or isn't so. Bowser the Hound.
To in-vest-i-gate something means to try to find out about it. Reddy Fox had heard from so many different ones about the disappearance of Bowser that he finally made up his mind that he would in-vest-i-gate and find out for himself if it were true that Bowser was no longer at home in Farmer Brown's dooryard. If it were true,--well, Reddy had certain plans of his own in regard to Farmer Brown's henhouse.
Reddy had begun by doubting that story because it seemed to have come first from Old Man Coyote. Reddy would doubt anything with which Old Man Coyote was concerned. But Reddy had finally come to believe that something certainly had happened because half a dozen times during the day he had heard Farmer Brown's boy whistle and whistle and call and call.
Just as soon as the Black Shadows came creeping out from the Purple Hills, Reddy started up towards Farmer Brown's. He didn't go directly there, because he never goes directly anywhere if there is the least chance in the world that any one may be watching him. But as he slipped along in the blackest of the Black Shadows, he was all the time working nearer and nearer to Farmer Brown's dooryard. Although he was inclined to think it was true that Bowser was not there, he was far too wise to take any unnecessary risk. He approached Farmer Brown's dooryard just as carefully as if he knew Bowser to be in his little house as usual. He kept in the Black Shadows. He crouched so low that he seemed hardly more than a Black Shadow himself. Every two or three steps he stopped to look, listen, and test the air with his keen nose.
As he drew near Bowser's own little house, Reddy circled out around it until he could see the doorway. Then he sat down where he could peek around from behind a tree and watch. He had been there only a few moments when the back door of Farmer Brown's house opened and Farmer Brown's boy stepped out. Reddy didn't run. He knew that Farmer Brown's boy would never dream that he would dare come so near. Besides, it was very clear that Farmer Brown's boy was thinking of no one but Bowser. He whistled and called just as he had done several times during the day. But no Bowser came, so after a while Farmer Brown's boy went back into the house. There was a worried look on his face.
As soon as he heard the door close, Reddy trotted right out in the open and sat down only a few feet from the black doorway of Bowser's little house. Reddy barked softly. Then he barked a little louder. He knew that if Bowser were at home, that bark would bring him out if nothing else did. Bowser didn't appear. Reddy grinned. He was sure now that Bowser was nowhere about. Chuckling to himself, he turned and trotted towards Farmer Brown's henhouse.