Farmer Brown looked up and tipped his straw hat better in order to get the glare of the sun out of his eyes. That can’t be dear old Billy Hogg coming this way. Why he isn’t even whistling a happy tune and his hands are shoved so deeply into his pockets its likely they will burst.
“Hi there, Billy, how are you this fine day?”
“Fine day,” Billy snorted. “I’ve got a pile of work awaiting me.”
Farmer Brown looked carefully for that mischevious smile and lurking dimple that always showed up when Billy was teasing but, lo, it wasn’t there.
“You! You have a lot of work to do?”
“Yeah, and I’m gonna have to ask you to help me with it.” Billy Hogg looked so disgruntled that Farmer Brown wiped out his hanky and pretended to sneeze in order to hide a smile.
“So what happens to be the problem,” he asked, stuffing his handkerchief into the back pocket of his bib overalls.
“I’ve got to build me a new house! Another one! This will be my third one!” And he stomped his tiny, pointed hoof on the hard soil.
“Well, that’s sure too bad. What was the problem with the others?”
“ My straw one was swarmin’ with attitudes. The little beasties, Laziness and Lovin’ Pleasure and oh, all sorts of their cronies caused so much trouble that Mr. Wind had no trouble at blowing it all to bits.”
“Well, that is too bad. What about your house of logs I heard you had built; seems to me that must have been a whole lot sturdier.”
Billy looked ‘bout ready to cry. “T’was an exaggeration, sir. Taint no housa logs. Not really. I shoved a whole lot o’ twigs in the ground. Upright, ya know, and calked them good. Least ways I thought I did, but that house was haunted! Nary a night all last winter did I have any rest from the Tribulation family. Tis a wonder they didn’t tear the ole house down, but I guess they thought they were having enough fun just tormentin’ me.”
“Well, ole Billy, you sure do have a passel of troubles. Why don’t you come in and have a cup of tea. We can talk things over and see what can be done about it.”
Billy’s squinty eyes widened as wide as wide could be. Me! Come into Mr. Brown’s fine, clean farm house? Why, as long as I’ve lived one of the Hogg clan has never been invited to step over the portal of that fancy mansion!
Gotta remember to wipe my feet good, and boy oh boy, I sure hope I don’t leave hoof prints all over the place.
To be continued.