The dirt road that led to Mr. Bumgardner’s farm was pitted and rough. It had been traveled by many trucks and wagons going to and from feed mills that were located all through the country area.
The pine trees were coated in dust from the roads and looked as if they needed a good hard shower of rain to cleanse everything. Wild daises grew along the road side giving some color to the otherwise drab area.
As the road turned sharply a tiny driveway came into view. It was so small that only a small truck could get through without sweeping the side tree limbs. About one fourth of a mile ahead stood an old farmhouse. It was once white and had a shiny tin roof. The porch wrapped all the way around the front side. There were two old trucks parked just to the right and several pieces of farm equipment, a tractor, and riding mower. Further back was an old red barn which had all the signs of farm animals. Chickens ran across the yard squawking up a storm, roosters crowing to the tops of their lungs, pigs squealing, goats butting their heads against the barn door, and ducks of all colors waddling about. To the left stood a tall silo filled with grains for food and a huge pond sat to the back. Horses and cows grazed and drank from the cool water. Persimmon trees grew everywhere shedding their orange fruits for all the wildlife to eat.Poke salad greens grew tall with their dark purple berries shining in the sunshine.
All the animals came up from the fields at night to sleep in the barn on the fresh cut hay. Mr. Bumgardner had built boxes of wood attached to the barn wall for the chickens to lay their eggs in. Each box was filled with straw so the chickens would feel comfortable sitting inside the boxes. Each night Farmer Bumgardner went out about eight o’clock and shut the barn door. Only a small kitten, duck or baby chick could come and go underneath the heavy doors. It was protection for all his farm animals. You see there was a red fox that came pillaging through the farmyard every night looking for food.
Each night Foxy Roxy would make his entrance about nine o’clock with some strange reason for the animals to come outside. The wise old owl who sat in the barn loft tried to reason with the animals as to why they should not believe the fox. But insistently the red fox came strolling up and leaned up against the barn door.
“Hey is anyone in there that is not asleep?” Foxy called loudly. He whistled a little tune as he waited for a reply.
“Go away!” The horse called out. “Everyone in here is sleeping.”
“Did you know that there is a tree full of red delicious apples just across the way? I thought you might like to go with me to eat some.” Foxy answered.
“We are tired of apples.” The cow mooed.
“Well then, how about a tree hanging full of delicious ripe figs? I’ll bet you haven’t had any of those yet.” He grinned picking his teeth with a straw.
“Get out of here and leave us alone. We all know what you are up too.” The chicken clucked.
Still the old fox continued trying to lure the tired animals out.
Finally there came a sound like thunder and the doors flew open wide. Billy Goat stood there with his horns lowered and his eyes red with fury.
“I am going to ram my horns into you and we are going to eat your for dinner!” He snorted as his feet began to dig in the dirt.
Before the fox could stand up straight and get his feet in a running position, the old Billy Goat tore loose to running straight in the direction of the fox.
Chickens flew out of their nest. Horses feet climbed up the stable walls, Cows mooed loudly, Ducks feathers flew all over the barn and little chickens rushed under the haystack for cover.
All that was left was the red shirt the fox was wearing and a pair of crock summer shoes he had been wearing. The rest was hanging high up in the oak tree, so high no one could ever reach him. He was so high he could not get down without falling. If he fell it would surely be his death.
And so it came to be that each night the fox pleaded for someone to come and help him down from the tree.
The last time anyone saw him he was covered in dust about an inch think and all that could be seen was the whites of his eyes. The eagle that lived just across the way targeted the dust bowl and quickly snatched him up and carried him away.
It doesn’t always pay to try to pretend to be doing something nice when you are really trying to do something bad.
Question: What was the fox planning to do with the farm animals?
Written by Sybil Shearin
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