An Interrupted Nap





Nimble, the fawn, stole away into the woods while his mother was

sleeping. And when he went he took great pains not to disturb her.

He was careful not to step on a single twig. For young as he was, he

knew that the sound of a breaking twig was enough to rouse his mother

instantly out of the deepest sleep. And he made sure that he didn't set

his little feet on any stones. For he knew that at the merest click of

a hoof his mother would bound up and discover that he had left her.



So Nimble trod only upon the soft carpet of pine needles and made not

the slightest noise. Meanwhile his mother slept peacefully on--or as

peacefully as anybody can who is a light sleeper and keeps one ear

always cocked to catch every stir in the forest.



She never missed her son at all until she found herself suddenly wide

awake and on her feet, ready to run. Not seeing Nimble beside her, for a

moment or two she forgot she had a child. Her only thought was to flee

from the creature that was crashing through the underbrush beyond the

old stone wall and drawing nearer to her every instant.



It was a wonder that she didn't dash off then and there. Indeed she took

one leap before she remembered who she was and that she had a youngster

named Nimble.



Then, of course, she stopped short and looked wildly around. But she saw

no little spotted fawn anywhere.



She had been startled enough, before, roused as she was out of a sound

sleep. And now she was terribly frightened.



"Nimble!" she called. "Where are you?"



"Here I am!" Nimble answered. Even as he spoke he burst into sight,

leaping the stone wall in such a way that his mother couldn't help

feeling proud of him.



"What's the matter?" she cried. "Who's chasing you?"



"Nobody's chasing me," Nimble told her. "When I saw the Fox I hurried

back here."



"The Fox!" his mother exclaimed. "Well, he won't dare touch you while I

am with you." She began to breathe easily again. If it was only a Fox

she certainly didn't intend to run. "Where did you see the Fox?" she

demanded.



"He was right over my head," Nimble said.



"My goodness!" his mother gasped. "That was dangerous. Was he on a bank

above you?"



"He was in a tree," Nimble replied.



His mother gave him a queer look.



"What's that?" she asked him sharply. "In a tree? What did he look like?

Was he red?"



"He was grayish and he had black rings around his long bushy tail; and

his long pointed nose stuck out from under a black mask."



"Nonsense!" cried Nimble's mother. "You didn't see a Fox. You saw a

Coon!"



Nimble was puzzled.



"You told me once," he reminded his mother, "that a Fox was a sly fellow

with a bushy tail and a long pointed nose. And this person in the tree

had----"



"Yes! Yes!" said his mother. "Now listen to what I say: A Fox is red.

And his tail has no rings at all. And Foxes don't climb trees."



"Yes, Mother!" was Nimble's meek answer.



He was glad to learn all that. And he was glad, too, that his mother

hadn't asked him how he happened to stray off alone into the woods.





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