Bowser The Hound by Thornton W. Burgess
Chapter XV. Reddy's Forlorn Chance
This saying is both true and terse: There's nothing bad but might be worse. Bowser the Hound.
If any one had said this to Reddy Fox during the first half hour after he discovered that he was a prisoner in Farmer Brown's henyard, he wouldn't have believed it. He wouldn't have believed a word of it. He would have said that he couldn't possibly have been worse off than he was.
He was a prisoner, and he couldn't possibly get out. He knew that in the morning Farmer Brown's boy would certainly discover him. It couldn't be otherwise. That is, it couldn't be otherwise as long as he remained in that henyard. There wasn't a thing, not one solitary thing, under or behind which he could hide. So, to Reddy's way of thinking, things couldn't possibly have been worse.
But after a while, having nothing else to do, Reddy began to think. Now it is surprising how thinking will change matters. One of the first thoughts that came to Reddy was that he might have been caught in a trap,--one of those cruel traps that close like a pair of jaws and sometimes break the bones of the foot or leg, and from which there is no escape. Right away Reddy realized that to have been so caught would have been much worse than being a prisoner in Farmer Brown's henyard. This made him feel just a wee, wee bit better, and he began to do some more thinking.
For a long time his thinking didn't help him in the least. At last, however, he remembered the chicken dinner he had felt so sure he was going to enjoy. The thought of the chicken dinner reminded him that inside the henhouse it was dark. He had been inside that henhouse before, and he knew that there were boxes in there. If he were inside the henhouse, it might be, it just might possibly be, that he could hide when Farmer Brown's boy came in the morning.
So once more Reddy went to work at that little sliding door where the hens ran in and out during the day. He already had found out that it wasn't fastened, and he felt sure that with patience he could open it. So he worked away and worked away, until at last there was a little crack. He got his claws in the little crack and pulled and pulled. The little crack became a little wider. By and by it was wide enough for him to get his whole paw in. Then it became wide enough for him to get his head half in. After this, all he had to do was to force himself through, for as he pushed and shoved, the little door opened. He was inside at last! There was a chance, just a forlorn chance, that he might be able to escape the notice of Farmer Brown's boy in the morning.