Why Brother Opossum Loves Peace
One evening Brother Raccoon invited Brother Opossum to supper. They ate and talked and smoked together, and then they decided to go for a walk. When they went out, Brother Opossum's stomach was full of plums, and Brother Raccoon's stomach was full of frogs and other nice things, and both of them were very happy and gay. By and by they heard Mr. Dog. He was barking somewhere in the woods.
"What will you do if he attacks us, Brother Opossum?" asked Brother Raccoon. "Tell me, what will you do?"
"If he comes here, Brother Raccoon, I shall help you to fight him," said Brother Opossum. "And what will you do?"
"If he tries lo fight with me, I shall show him how to attack peaceful people!"
Very soon Mr. Dog ran out of the woods and saw them. He didn't stop to say, "How do you do?" but attacked them at once. Brother Opossum was nearer, and Mr. Dog attacked him first. But when Mr. Dog touched him, Brother Opossum grinned from ear to ear and fell down as if he was dead. Then Mr. Dog attacked Brother Raccoon, and that was his mistake. Brother Raccoon did not like to fight, but he was a good fighter, and he drove Mr. Dog away. After that Brother Raccoon began to brush his clothes, and Brother Opossum lay there as if he was dead. By and by he opened his eyes, looked around, then jumped to his feet and ran away as if somebody was trying to catch him.
The next time that Brother Opossum met Brother Raccoon, Brother Raccoon did not answer his "How do you do?" "Brother Opossum felt very bad, because before that Brother Raccoon and he were great friends and spent much time together.
"Why do you hold your head so high, Brother Raccoon?" asked Brother Opossum.
"I do not talk to cowards," said Brother Racoon.
Brother Opossum looked very angry.
"Who is a coward?" said he.
"You are," said Brother Raccoon. "I do not like people who lie down on the ground and pretend to be dead when their friend is fighting."
Then Brother Opossum grinned and began to laugh.
"Oh, Brother Raccoon, do you think that I did it because I was afraid? I wasn't afraid. I know that you can beat Mr. Dog, so I just lay there and watched you."
Brother Raccoon turned his nose up.
"I don't believe you. When Mr. Dog touched you, you fell down and lay there like a dead rat."
"I wanted to tell you about that," said Brother Opossum. "I wasn't afraid at all, and I was going to beat Mr. Dog; but I am very ticklish. When Mr. Dog touched me with his nose, I began to laugh, and I laughed until I fell. I can fight as well as you can, Brother Raccoon, but I can't fight when somebody tickles me."
But Brother Raccoon did not want to listen and lie went away. Brother Opossum wanted to show everybody that he was not a liar, and even to-day he always grins and falls down if somebody tickles him. And still Brother Raccoon does not believe him and thinks that he is a coward and a liar.