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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/831

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811
THE BADGER AND THE FOX.

a peg. Having arranged all this to his own satisfaction, Jim picks up the large sack—he had two, a large and a small—walks out of the hollow on to the moonlit greensward, and hoots like a brown owl, three times. After this musical effort he stands cpiite still, and listens intently, but for some time the humming jar of the fern-owl, chur-chur-er-er-er-er-chur, is the only sound that reaches his ear. Suddenly he places his empty sack on the ground beside him, and is on the alert, for a sound of quickly moving feet at a distance makes itself heard. He knows what that means: Ginger and Nipper are close on the badger's track; and like the well-bred, well-trained little fox terriers that they are, they run him mute, save for the mere ghost of a whimper now and again, just enough to show they are eager to close with the poor beast.

That, however, is far from the keeper's intention; he would not let his two little beauties, game though they are, close with such a desperate antagonist as an old dog badger, if he could help it; for he knows well enough that dogs and badger would fight to the death. His plan is that they shall drive him to his burrow, and into the sack.

The best-laid plans do not succeed always, however, as is proved in this case. Nearer and nearer comes the sound of pattering feet at full speed, and behind that the heavy tread of a man who is putting his best foot foremost. Nearer they come; they will break into the moonlight in another moment; we can hear them pant, for they have run him through the cover at top PSM V38 D831 American badger.jpgAmerican Badger. speed. The lad is ready to dash down into the hollow; in fact, he has already moved to do so, when the sound of running feet stops dead; and then, in the thicket, a desperate tearing scuffle is heard going on, for Ginger and Nipper have run into and closed with him before he could reach home.

The sounds make Jim wild with excitement, and he shouts his loudest to the keeper, who is now close at hand and puffing like a steam-engine with running so hard.

"Can't ye git a badger in a sack without hollerin' like murder?" he asks angrily. "I'm a good mind—'.

What he'd a good mind to did not transpire, for the boy yelled out: "I ain't got him; they'se got him; don't ye hear 'em worryin' of him?"