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HOME > Classical Novels > The Bad Little Owls > CHAPTER VI A PLAN TO FOIL THE ENEMY
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 “Aough-ah!” came a sound from the little blanket tent Everybody looked. Then Stripes and Watch both knew what it was; Louie Thomson was waking up inside of it. And in the next instant, Watch the Dog and Stripes were staring at each other all alone. wasn’t there at all!  
“Oh!” Stripes. “Where has he gone?” He began turning round and round, trying to see what had become of the wicked beast.
“Where has who gone? What do you mean?” asked Watch. For the wise dog was pretending he hadn’t even seen him.
“My cousin,” Stripes explained, feeling scarier and scarier. “He came to visit me. Isn’t it too bad I hadn’t a chance to say good-bye to him?”
“Say good-bye to him?” said the dog, wagging his tail in a joking way. “How could you say good-bye to any one who wasn’t here? I’ve been here all the time, but I’m not your cousin.”
“Then I’ll say good-bye to you instead.” Stripes’s teeth were almost . “I’m going. Give my regards to my cousin if you should happen to see him.”
“Wherever are you going?” asked Watch. He was really puzzled by this time.
“I’m going——” Stripes couldn’t think for a minute where he was going. He just wasn’t going to stay in the Woods and Fields now that that bad beast had come. “I’m going with Bobby on the long flight,” he said at last. Which was very foolish because he couldn’t begin to run fast enough to keep up with a bird when it was flying. Even Rabbit can’t. But he humped himself off in a great hurry, so scared that his hair was all .
You know where Killer hid when Louie gave that big noisy yawn? He just slid back into his narrow crack between the two big stones. “I’m safe,” he to himself. “Nobody can get me out of here—not even that foolish dog. This rock is too hard digging for anybody’s toenails.” He felt shivery all right enough. Because scary folk aren’t all bad, but, deep down inside them, bad ones are always scary.
In a minute he began to hear his cousin Stripes Skunk asking Watch the Dog where he’d gone to.
He through his crack to see how soon they were going, and what do you think he saw? He saw Louie Thomson. Yes, even if Louie didn’t see him, he saw Louie squirm out from under his blanket tent. First came his tously head; then came his shoulders. “Whoever in all the woods is that?” thought the weasel, and his eyes began to pop.
Killer tried to listen and then he tried to in the direction of Louie Thomson because he just couldn’t believe his eyes. Suddenly Louie to his feet and stood up. The weasel’s hair stood up, too. Now he understood. “It’s a man!” he , and he ground his teeth in a rage. “That’s what I get for listening to the . She knows we’re deadly enemies. Just let me get out of this hole without being seen, and I’ll back to the Deep Woods in two long bounces and a tailflip. But I’ll give that lying little bird a lick with my tongue that won’t smooth her feathers!” He felt so hateful that he tried to grip his own claws into the hard stone.
Louie Thomson washed himself and dug a root, and then he went up to his house to see if his mother had saved him any breakfast. Watch took a good, long lap of water and then he sniffed about. “Wonder where everybody’s gone?” he puzzled. “I guess I’ll get some breakfast up at Louie’s house. They’ll be all through long ago at Tommy’s.” So off they strolled. And the pond was quieter yet—there wasn’t anybody there at all.
That is, anybody but Killer the Weasel, down in his nice, safe crack. And he didn’t make any noise, either. He’d gone off to sleep. He sleeps in the daytime, anyway, and he slept very soundly because there wasn’t a sound to waken him.
There wasn’t a pat, or a flutter, or a , or a , or even a sneeze, because there wasn’t any one to make them. Not even a fieldmouse! This is what happened: You remember Doctor prescribed sumach berries for poor Chaik Jay. He even went over to the Quail’s and cut down a couple of stalks with his teeth. They’re very nice, though a bit seedy for us—but that’s exactly what the birds like—so he took a taste or two himself while he watched Chaik a fine crawful.
“Well, Chaik,” he said at last, “I guess Nibble Rabbit can look after you now. I’ve got a couple of things back at the pond I must attend to.”
“Don’t go back there,” fluttered Chaik, suddenly remembering. “I overheard the Bad Little , last night, just before I got hurt. They say Killer the Weasel is coming to our Woods and Fields. Whatever will we do about it?”
“Time enough to think about it when he comes,” said the old muskrat comfortably. “No wonder you tumbled off your , if you had a dream like that.”
And that was the very minute when the baby bunny came bounding in. “Daddy Rabbit,” she , “there’s a strange beast down by the pond!”
“There! Maybe you think she’s dreaming, too!” cheeped Chaik . “It’s Killer, sure as sure! What did he look like?”
Now you remember how Killer himself all up, the way the owl’s wife had told him to, when he tried to make friends with the Woodsfolk. “Eh?” said Nibble, when the bunny finished telling about him, “that’s never Killer.”
“Then who is it?” asked the sensible muskrat. “There’s no such animal as that in all the woods—not that I ever heard tell of.”
But before even Chaik could answer him, in Stripes Skunk. “Hey! Where are my kittens?” he gasped. “Call your bunnies, Nibble! Run for your lives, everybody. Killer has come to the pond!”
And Doctor Muskrat and Nibble Rabbit and Nibble’s mate and all her bunnies, and Stripes’s own kittens, who came through the tunnels under the Pickery Things, looked at each other with their eyes as big and round as so many thorn apples, they were so scared.
Chaik Jay was the first to speak. “Poor me!” he . “He’ll eat me before sunset. My wing simply won’t fly. I can’t make it.”
“Can’t you hang on by somebody’s fur and come along?” suggested Nibble anxiously.
“It’s too slippery,” sighed poor Chaik. “I’d slip off and get hurt again.”
“Listen here, Chaik,” said Doctor Muskrat. “Your claws can still climb. This thicket is full of little, fine that won’t begin to hold up Killer. He’s as heavy as I am. Couldn’t you up and perch in the middle of them?”
“Yes,” exclaimed Nibble enthusiastically. “And the Pickery Things have thorns all over them. They pick as hard on the top as they do on the bottom. Killer hates them.”
Chaik tried. And he found he could move a great deal better than he could that morning. He slipped and stumbled and scrambled and flapped his well wing, and squawked as softly as he could when he bumped his sore one, but climb he did. “Flit along,” he cheerfully in a minute; “I wouldn’t ask a better place to perch in.” He didn’t feel as cheerful as he sounded, but he didn’t want them to get into trouble by waiting for him.
“All right,” Nibble with his feet. That’s safer than whispering. Then he remembered. “But where are we going? To the on the far-away side of the Deep Woods, where the sun goes to sleep?” The Woodsfolk didn’t know that the sun went a great deal farther than that. The near side of that marsh was as far as any of them had gone.
“We can’t run fast enough,” mourned Stripes. “He’d catch up with us before very long.”
“An I can’t run at all,” said the fat old muskrat. “I’d better go back and trust the water to hide me from him.”
“Nonsense!” sniffed Stripes. “I’ve seen him swim. We’ll all run across the Broad Field as fast as we can—he hates to leave the woods worse than anything——”
“Yes,” interrupted Nibble, his long ears as a bright idea struck him. “We’ll cross the Broad Field and we’ll hide by Tommy Peele’s barn. There’s food and water for every one. We’ll treat him as I told the fieldmice to treat you when you were fighting them—we’ll run off and leave him alone!” And he twiddled his tufty tail just to show how pleased he felt over his bright idea.

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