PART 15, December 15
The days were drawing close to Christmas. Hickory Hog had to act fast, and for a hog of his size that was going to be a little difficult. He asked all his friends to kindly stay in his shack while he was gone and keep an eye on it. There was plenty of food for them. They could eat their fill every day for a month and not begin to consume what he did in one day. If he had had to pay for his food (he didn't as he grew everything himself), the amount would have kept at least three banana republics solvent for a year, just on a week's grocery budget.
Before leaving the area he stopped off at the office of the Potatotown Press and interviewed David Potter on the likely wherabouts of the Christmas Rascal.
"Oh, he's still in the area," said the reporter, "We just got a report last night that he had taken the clothes off old widow Fillburry's scarecrow. Why, it was a scandal to the whole neighborhood to wake up and find a naked scarecrow in their midst."
"Well, then, where's that?"
"It's out east of town, actually almost to Redserville, You might go investigate and see if he left any tracks. In fact, we may be able to sort of deputize you or something and make you an assistant reporter if you come up with any valuable leads in the story."
"That doesn't matter. I just want to find him."
It took most of the day for Hickory Hog to get out to Widow Fillburry's cornpatch. And a fine cornpatch it was, all except for the scarecrow. Somebody had thrown an old blanket over it to cover its nakedness, and now it looked more like a Halloween ghost than a scarecrow. Hickory didn't want to bother the widow, so he just looked around for more tracks.
Sure enough there were some, but they were just a little confusing. They seemed to wander around here and there as though the person who had made them was deliberately trying to put a possible pursuer off the scent. That, of course, had been the Christmas Rascal's intention, but it didn't work out. Hickory had a keen eye, if he had nothing else, and he finally untangled the trail of the tracks and set off west back in the direction of Potatotown.
Once he got away from the cornpatch it was easy to follow the prints. They led into the forest, far away from any beaten track. Pretty soon it became apparent that Hickory Hog was lost.
© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie
4 years ago