Bowser The Hound by Thornton W. Burgess
Chapter XVII. Farmer Brown's Boy Drops a Pan of Corn
Who when surprised keeps calm and cool Is one most difficult to fool. Bowser the Hound.
In his lifetime Reddy Fox has spent many anxious moments, but none more anxious than those in which he waited for Farmer Brown's boy to open the henhouse and feed the biddies on this particular morning.
From the moment when the big rooster on the topmost perch stretched forth his neck, flapped his wings, and crowed as only he can crow, Reddy was on pins and needles, as the saying is. Hiding behind a box in the darkest corner of the henhouse, he hardly dared to breathe. You see, he didn't want those hens to discover him. He knew that if they did they would make such a racket that they would bring Farmer Brown's boy hurrying out to find out what the trouble was.
Reddy had had experience with hens before. He knew that if Farmer Brown's boy heard them making a great racket, he would know that something was wrong, and he would come all prepared. This was the one thing that Reddy did not want. His one chance to escape would be to take Farmer Brown's boy entirely by surprise.
Never had time dragged more slowly. The hens were awake, and several of them flew down to the floor of the henhouse. They passed so close to where Reddy was hiding that merely by reaching out a black paw he could have touched them. Because he took particular pains not to move, not even to twitch a black ear, they did not see him. Anyway, if they did see him, they took no notice of him. How the moments did drag! All the time he lay there listening, wishing that Farmer Brown's boy would come, yet dreading to have him come. It seemed ages before he heard sounds which told him that people were awake in Farmer Brown's house.
Finally he heard a distant door slam. Then he heard a whistle, a merry whistle. It drew nearer and nearer; Farmer Brown's boy was coming to feed the hens. Reddy tried to hold his breath. He heard the click of the henyard gate as Farmer Brown's boy opened it, then he heard the crunch, crunch, crunch of Farmer Brown's boy's feet on the snow.
Suddenly the henhouse door was thrown open and Farmer Brown's boy stepped inside. In his hand he held a pan filled with the breakfast he had brought for the hens. Suddenly a box in the darkest corner of the henhouse moved. Farmer Brown's boy turned to look, and as he did so a slim form dashed fairly between his legs. It startled him so that he dropped the pan and spilled the corn all over the henhouse floor. "Great Scott!" he exclaimed. "What under the sun was that?" and rushed to the door to see. He was just in time to get a glimpse of a red coat and a bushy tail disappearing around a corner of the barn.