Bowser The Hound by Thornton W. Burgess
Chapter XII. The Cleverness of Old Man Coyote
Who thinks the quickest and the best Is bound to win in every test. Bowser the Hound.
The meeting of Reddy Fox and Old Man Coyote just outside the gate to Farmer Brown's henyard had been wholly unexpected to both. Reddy had been so eager to get inside that gate that when he turned the corner at the henyard he hadn't looked beyond the gate. If he had looked beyond, he would have seen Old Man Coyote just coming around the other corner. As for Old Man Coyote, he had been so surprised at sight of Reddy Fox that he had growled before he had had time to think. He was sorry the very instant he did it.
"That certainly was a stupid thing to do," muttered Old Man Coyote to himself, as he watched Reddy Fox run away in a panic. "I should have kept out of sight and let him open that gate and go inside first. There may be traps in there, for all I know. When there's likely to be danger, always let some one else find it out for you if you can." Old Man Coyote grinned as he said this.
Reddy Fox sat down at a safe distance to watch what Old Man Coyote would do. Inside, Reddy was fairly boiling with disappointment and anger. He felt that he hated Old Man Coyote more than he hated anybody else he knew of. He hated him, yet there wasn't a thing he could do about it. He didn't dare fight Old Man Coyote. All he could do was to sit there at a safe distance and watch.
The gate of the henyard was open two or three inches. For a long time Old Man Coyote stood looking through that little opening. Once or twice he thrust his nose out and sniffed cautiously around the gate, but he took the greatest care not to touch it. Finally he turned and trotted away towards the Green Forest.
Reddy sat right where he was, so surprised that he couldn't even think. He waited a long time to see if Old Man Coyote would return, but Old Man Coyote didn't return, and at last Reddy cautiously crept towards that unlocked gate. "I do believe that fellow didn't know enough to push that gate open," muttered Reddy to himself. "I always supposed Old Man Coyote was smart, but if this is an example of his smartness I'll match my wits against his any day."
All this time Old Man Coyote was not so far away as Reddy thought. He had gone only fat enough to make sure that Reddy couldn't see him. Then, creeping along in the blackest of the Black Shadows, he had returned to a place where he could watch Reddy.
"It's queer that gate should have been left unlocked," thought Old Man Coyote. "It may have been an accident, and again it may have been done purposely. There may not be any danger inside; then again there may. I'm not going to push that gate open or step inside when there is some one to do it for me. I'll just leave it for Reddy Fox to do."