Here to return to
TIMOTHY TURTLE'S remark was most surprising. It almost took Fatty Coon's breath away. And for a moment or two he even forgot the pain in his paw.
"Do you mean to say," he asked, "that you like turtles' eggs?"
"Do I?" said Timothy. "There's no better treat, in my opinion, than a tender young egg, especially if it's well mixed with sand. And, of course, twenty-seven of them are twenty-seven times as good."
"I'm sorry " Fatty told him – "I'm sorry that I ever touched the old – I mean the young – lady's eggs. And now that you've almost bitten my paw in two, please – good Mr. Turtle – let me go!" But good Mr. Turtle had no notion of freeing his prisoner.
"Not yet!" he snapped. "I'm going to bite you twenty-seven times as long, and twenty-seven times as hard – if I can."
"But it was only a mistake!" Fatty Coon moaned. "I never knew you wanted those eggs yourself."
"Take care – " said Timothy Turtle sternly – "take care that you never make such a mistake again."
"Don't do that!" Fatty Coon suddenly cried.
"Don't do what?" was Mr. Turtle's testy reply.
"Don't pull on my leg!" Fatty Coon pleaded. "You'll have me in the water in another moment, and I'll get wet, and my mother won't like it a bit."
But Timothy Turtle paid no heed to Fatty Coon's objections.
"Certainly I'll pull you into the creek," he declared. "I'm going to take you out where the water's deep, and drag you down, down, down to the very bottom. We'll have lots of fun burying ourselves in the mud. And I venture to say that you'll like it so well down there that you'll never want to come up again."
If Fatty Coon was frightened before, now he was terrified almost out of his wits. And he began to claw frantically at Timothy Turtle's head.
Luckily he had three free paws. And of these he made good use. In the shallows near the bank he struggled with all his might and main. And soon the water was churned into a muddy pool.
Fatty never knew exactly how he succeeded in breaking loose from Mr. Turtle.
Anyhow, he found himself free at last; and he lost no time in scrambling up the bank to safety.
Afterward Timothy Turtle always complained that Fatty Coon didn't "fight fair."
"He gouges," Timothy would explain. "He'd just as soon stick one of his claws into your eye as not. And I claim that's something no real gentleman will do."
Now, Fatty did not leave Black Creek at once, after his adventure with Timothy Turtle. He paused for a time, to squat on the bank and nurse his injured paw.
While he lingered there he happened to glance up. And whom should he see, sitting motionless in a tree near-by, but that old rascal, Mr. Crow!
"Oh! Naughty, naughty!" Mr. Crow cawed in a mocking voice. "You've been fighting."
"It's all your fault," Fatty growled. "If you'd minded your own affairs Timothy Turtle would never have known anything about those eggs."
"Bless your heart!" old Mr. Crow cried. "Timothy Turtle would have seized you just the same, if you'd never touched his wife's eggs. You don't know him as well as I do."
"Perhaps not!" Fatty Coon replied. "And what's more, I don't want to. I never want to see Timothy Turtle again."
Old Mr. Crow laughed merrily at that speech. But Fatty Coon only turned his back on him.
He was in no mood for laughter.