"There he goes!" cried old Granny Fox. "Don't let him sit still again!"
"I hear him!" shouted Reddy Fox, and plunged down into the snow just as Granny Fox had done a minute before. But he didn't catch anything, and when he had blown the snow out of his nose and wiped it out of his eyes, he saw Granny Fox dive into the snow with no better luck.
"Never mind," said Granny Fox, "as long as we keep him running, we can hear him, and some one of these times we'll catch him. Pretty soon he'll get too tired to be so spry, and when he is--" Granny didn't finish, but licked her chops and smacked her lips. Reddy Fox grinned, then licked his chops and smacked his lips. Then once more they took turns diving into the snow.
And down underneath in the little tunnels he had made, Danny Meadow Mouse was running for his life. He was getting tired, just as old Granny Fox had said he would. He was almost out of breath. He was sore and one leg smarted, for in one of her jumps old Granny Fox had so nearly caught him that her claws had torn his pants and scratched him.
"Oh, dear! Oh, dear! If only I had time to think!" panted Danny Meadow Mouse, and then he squealed in still greater fright as Reddy Fox crashed down into his tunnel right at his very heels. "I've got to get somewhere! I've got to get somewhere where they can't get at me!" he sobbed. And right that very instant he remembered the old fence-post!
The old fence-post lay on the ground and was hollow. Fastened to it were long wires with sharp cruel barbs. Danny had made a tunnel over to that old fence-post the very first day after the snow came, for in that hollow in the old post he had a secret store of seeds. Why hadn't he thought of it before? It must have been because he was too frightened to think. But he remembered now, and he dodged into the tunnel that led to the old fence-post, running faster than ever, for though his heart was in his mouth from fear, in his heart was hope, and hope is a wonderful thing.
Now old Granny Fox knew all about that old fence-post and she remembered all about those barbed wires fastened to it. Although they were covered with snow she knew just about where they lay, and just before she reached them she stopped plunging down into the snow. Reddy Fox knew about those wires; too, but he was so excited that he forgot all about them.
"Stop!" cried old Granny Fox sharply.
But Reddy Fox didn't hear, or if he heard he didn't heed. His sharp ears could hear Danny Meadow Mouse running almost underneath him. Granny Fox could stop if she wanted to, but he was going to have Danny Meadow Mouse for his breakfast! Down into the snow he plunged as hard as ever he could.
"Oh! Oh! Wow! Wow! Oh, dear! Oh, dear!"
That wasn't the voice of Danny Meadow Mouse. Oh, my, no! It was the voice of Reddy Fox. Yes, sir, it was the voice of Reddy Fox. He had landed with one of his black paws right on one of those sharp wire barbs, and it did hurt dreadfully.
"I never did know a young Fox who could get into as much trouble as you can!" snapped old Granny Fox, as Reddy hobbled along on three legs behind her, across the snow-covered Green Meadows. "It serves you right for forgetting!"
"Yes'm," said Reddy meekly.
And safe in the hollow of the old fence-post, Danny Meadow Mouse was dressing the scratch on his leg made by the claws of old Granny Fox.