TOMMY BECOMES BOASTFUL
: The Tale Of Tommy Fox
When Johnnie Green turned Tommy Fox loose, out in the meadow, in the
moonlight, Tommy hurried across the fields as fast as he could go. You
remember that he heard a fox barking, near the foot of Blue Mountain,
and he thought it sounded like his mother. So Tommy barked, too. And
as he ran he could hear that other fox coming towards him. Pretty soon
they met, and such a joyful meeting you never saw in all your life.
t _was_ old Mrs. Fox. And she was so delighted to see Tommy that
she licked him all over with her tongue, and looked at him carefully,
to see if he was hurt anywhere. Mrs. Fox had never expected to see
Tommy again. But there he was, bigger than ever, and altogether _too_
fat, for Johnnie had fed him well; and then, there were those two hens
that Tommy had stolen.
Tommy Fox was very glad indeed to see his mother once more. He frisked
about her, and yelped, and jumped up and down. And when she saw that
Tommy had come back safe and sound Mrs. Fox danced a little bit, too.
And then she took Tommy home.
You remember that when Farmer Green caught Tommy in a trap, right at
the door of his mother's house, Mrs. Fox had been obliged to move. Her
new home was not far away from the old one. It was snug and cozy, and
on the whole was a pretty nice sort of house, though the dooryard was
not quite so sunny as she would have preferred, for the branches of a
big tree shaded it.
Tommy had to answer a great many questions. His mother wanted to know
everything that had happened to him. She was astonished when she found
that he had been in the village, right in the daytime. He was the only
fox she knew of who had ever been there. And when she heard of Tommy's
friendship with the dog Spot Mrs. Fox was more surprised than ever.
She couldn't understand it. And she shook her head over and over again
as Tommy told her what good times he and Spot had had together. Mrs.
Fox actually began to think that Tommy was telling stories.
The other forest-people, too, thought that Tommy was fibbing when he
bragged about his strange adventures. And old Mr. Crow began to cry
"Stop, liar!" after him, instead of "Stop, thief!" as he used to do.
But Tommy Fox didn't mind that very much. He knew that he was telling
the truth. And he more than half guessed that old Mr. Crow was jealous
of him, because he had so many wonderful things to tell.
Though the forest-people always listened to Tommy's stories, they
disliked him more than ever. For he was always going about boasting of
what he had seen, and what he had done, and what _his_ friend, the dog
"If you're such good friends with old dog Spot, why don't you go down
to the farm-yard and see him?" Mr. Crow said to Tommy one day. This
was long after Tommy had come back to live with his mother. In fact,
it was quite late in the fall, and the weather was growing cold.
"All right! I will!" Tommy said. He was not going to let old Mr. Crow
get the better of him. "I'll go now," Tommy said. And with that he
started down the valley toward Farmer Green's buildings.