Bowser The Hound by Thornton W. Burgess
Chapter XL. Where was Reddy's Dinner?
Often it is better to look for a new trail than to waste time hunting for an old one. Bowser the Hound.
Reddy Fox is used to all sorts of queer happenings. Yes, Sir, he is used to all sorts of queer happenings, and as a rule Reddy is seldom puzzled for long. You see he is such a clever fellow himself that any one clever enough to fool him for long must be very clever indeed. This time, however, all the cleverness of his sharp wits did him no good. The fat hen he had hidden in a hollow stump had disappeared without leaving trace.
Reddy's first thought was that probably the farmer from whom he had stolen the fat hen had found it and taken it away. At once he began to use that wonderful nose of his searching for the scent of that farmer. Very carefully he sniffed all about the top of that old stump and inside the hollow. There wasn't the faintest scent of anybody there. Then he jumped down, and with his nose to the ground, ran all around the stump, sniffing, sniffing, sniffing. The only thing he discovered was the scent of Bowser the Hound, and he knew that Bowser had not taken that fat hen, because, as you remember, Bowser had kept right on chasing him.
Reddy began to feel afraid of that old stump. People usually are afraid of mysterious things, and it certainly was very mysterious that a fat hen with a broken neck should disappear without leaving any trace at all. Reddy sat down at a little distance and did a lot of hard thinking. He looked every which way even up in the tree tops, but all his looking was in vain. It was so mysterious that if he hadn't known positively that he was awake he would have thought it was all a dream.
But Reddy is something of a philosopher. That fat hen was gone, and there was no use in wasting time puzzling over it. There were other fat hens where that one came from, and he would just have to catch another.
So Reddy trotted through the swamp till he came to the edge of it. There his keen nose found the scent of the farmer. It didn't take him two minutes to discover that the farmer had followed Bowser the Hound to the edge of the swamp and then gone back. Eagerly Reddy looked over to the farmyard for those fat hens. They, too, had disappeared. Not one was to be seen. But there was no mystery about the disappearance of these other fat hens. He heard the muffled crow of the big rooster. It came from the henhouse. All those fat hens had been shut up. It was perfectly plain to Reddy that the farmer suspected Reddy might return, and he didn't intend to lose another fat hen. With a little yelp of disappointment, Reddy turned his back on the farm and trotted off into the woods.