Bowser The Hound by Thornton W. Burgess
Chapter XI. A Little Unpleasantness
Watch a Coyote most closely when it appears that he least needs watching. Bowser the Hound.
Never in his life had Reddy Fox visited Farmer Brown's henhouse with quite such a comfortable feeling as he now had. He knew for a certainty that Bowser the Hound was not at home. He knew because he had finally crept up and peeped in the door of Bowser's little house. What had become of Bowser he didn't know, and he didn't care. It was enough to know that he wasn't about.
"I hope Farmer Brown's boy has forgotten to close that little doorway where the hens run in and out," muttered Reddy, as he trotted across Farmer Brown's dooryard. Once he stopped, and looking up at the lighted windows of the house, grinned. You see, with Bowser gone, Reddy wasn't the least bit afraid.
"If I can get into that henhouse," thought Reddy, "I certainly will have one good feast to-night. That is, I will if those stupid hens are not roosting so high that I can't get them. I'll eat one right there." Reddy's mouth watered at the very thought. "Then I'll take one home to Mrs. Reddy. If there is time we both will come back for a couple more."
So Reddy made pleasant plans as he approached Farmer Brown's henhouse. When he reached it he paused to listen to certain sounds within, certain fretful little cluckings. Reddy sat down for a minute with his tongue hanging out and the water actually dripping from it. He could shut his eyes and see those roosts with the hens crowded together so that every once in a while one would be wakened and fretfully protest against being crowded so.
But Reddy sat there only for a minute. He was too eager to find out if it would prove to be possible to get inside that henhouse. Running swiftly but cautiously past the henhouse and along one side of the henyard, he peeped around the corner to see if by any chance the yard gate had been left open. His heart gave a leap of joy as he saw that the gate was not quite closed. All he would have to do would be to push it and enter.
Reddy turned the corner quickly. Just as he put up one paw to push the gate open, a low but decidedly ugly growl made him jump back with every hair of his coat standing on end. His first thought was of Bowser. It must be that Bowser had returned! Believing in safety first, Reddy did not stop to see who had growled, but ran swiftly a short distance. Then he looked behind him. Over at the gate of Farmer Brown's henyard he could see a dark form. At once Reddy knew that it wasn't Bowser the Hound, for it had a bushy tail, while Bowser's was smooth. Reddy knew who it was. It was Old Man Coyote.