Mr. Gray Squirrel certainly was mistaken, when he thought that Tommy

Fox was dead and came down out of the chestnut tree to look at him.

Tommy wasn't even ill. You remember that he was very hungry? And that

he had not been able to find anything to eat? Tommy could not climb

the tree, where Mr. Gray Squirrel sat. So the only thing left for him

to do was to make Mr. Gray Squirrel come down where _he_ was.

That was what Tommy Fox was thinking about, when he sat there on his

haunches and looked up so innocently at Mr. Gray Squirrel. As Tommy

sat there a bright idea came to him. So he held his paw to his stomach

and pretended to be ill. And as soon as he saw that Mr. Gray Squirrel

thought he was ill, Tommy fell over on his side and made believe he

was dead.

Though his eyes were shut tight, Tommy's ears were so sharp that he

could tell when Mr. Gray Squirrel came down the tree. And he could

hear him slowly picking his way nearer and nearer. Tommy's nose was

sharp, too, and he could smell Mr. Gray Squirrel. He smelled so good

that Tommy couldn't help opening one eye the least bit, just to see

him. That was when Mr. Gray Squirrel noticed that his eyelid quivered.

And Tommy saw at once that Mr. Gray Squirrel had caught that flicker

of his eyelid, and that he was frightened. Tommy knew then that he

must act quickly.

He jumped up like a flash. But quick as he was, Mr. Gray Squirrel was

even quicker. He reached the tree just ahead of Tommy Fox; and though

Tommy leaped high up the trunk, he was too late. Mr. Gray Squirrel

scrambled up the tree so fast that his big, bushy tail just whisked

across Tommy's face. And in another second he was safe in the tree-

top, chattering and scolding, and calling Tommy names.

Tommy Fox felt very foolish. He realized that if he had jumped up

without first opening his eye he would not have given Mr. Gray

Squirrel any warning; and then he would have caught the plump old

fellow. But it was too late now. Another time he would know better.

And he sneaked off, to try the same trick on one of Mr. Gray

Squirrel's friends.

It was no use. Mr. Squirrel followed him, jumping from one tree-top to

another, and made a great noise, calling after him, and jeering at

him, and telling all his friends about the mean trick Tommy had tried

to play on him.

And to Tommy's great disgust, an old crow high up in a tall tree heard

the story, and haw-hawed loudly, he was so amused. He made such a

racket that all the forest-people heard him; and Tommy knew that there

was no sense in trying to catch a squirrel around there _that_ day. He

went down into the meadow and began hunting crickets. And though he

didn't have as good a lunch as he wanted, probably he ate all that was

good for him.

MR. BLUFF'S EXPERIENCES OF HOLIDAYS MR. LISMORE AND THE WIDOW facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail