OLD BARNEY OWL
Well, I’m mighty glad the little rabbit lost only the fur tip to his tail. That was bad enough, but he forgot all about it the next morning when the Squirrel Brothers invited him over the ’phone to meet them at the Shady Forest Pond. He spent no time at all getting out his skates, but his mother took two minutes and a half tying a woolen muffler around his neck. She knew, like all wise mothers, that it’s lots more fun to skate when one is nice and warm.
When he reached the pond the Squirrel Brothers were already there, skating merrily over the ice.
Busy Beaver in his winter home below could hear them whirring along, cutting fancy figures in the ice, and calling merrily to one another.
After a while, when the little rabbit and the squirrel brothers had grown tired of skating, they ran over to make a call on Old Barney Owl, who lived in the Big Chestnut Tree on a small island, right in the middle of the pond.
Although it was now pretty late in the afternoon, the old gentleman owl was still asleep, and when he opened the door, his eyes winked and blinked, and at first he didn’t know them at all. In fact, he shut the door right in their faces. I suppose he thought they had knocked just to wake him up. Perhaps they had, for when the door closed with a bang they all began to laugh.
By and by Featherhead knocked again, and when Old Barney Owl opened it a second time, the naughty little squirrel said:
“Here is a nice fresh egg!”
Goodness me! When the old owl, whose eyes were still very blinky, found out it wasn’t an egg, but a snowball, he dropped it on the little squirrel’s head, and slammed the door again.
Now, if Featherhead had only gone back to his skating, all would have been well. But he didn’t. No, indeed. Instead, he knocked again, and when the old owl opened the door, that naughty squirrel dropped a snowball down his collar. Goodness gracious me! What a scuffle there was all at once, and, just like that! the old owl pulled the little squirrel into his house and closed the door.
Oh, what a scowl had Mr. Owl,
And Featherhead felt nearly dead.
He was so scared at what he’d done
He couldn’t move his feet to run.
And, goodness gracious! so would I
Have felt as if I’d surely die,
If some big giant from his tree
Had through his doorway pulled poor me.
From head to toe I’d surely quake,
And feel my frightened heart would break.
But now let’s turn the page to see
If ever Featherhead gets free.