|The official "Little Stories for Bedtime" header (only adopted in some markets|
Little Stories for Bedtime May 6 to August 7, 1912. (Episodes 79-159).
|Illustration for "Who's a coward?" (May 20, 1912)|
May 13-18. Grandfather Frog is towed around on lily pad by Little Joe Otter. Their fun is disrupted by a stone thrown by Farmer Brown's Boy. Grandfather Frog tricks Farmer Brown's Boy by making him think he's caught a large trout (actually Jerry Muskrat). Farmer Brown's Boy sets traps (catching Jerry Muskrat's tail). Jerry's mother brings together a convention at the Smiling Pool to discuss what should be done about the traps. Unable to reach a consensus they agree to ask the "oracle" of the Smiling Pool, Grandfather Frog. He says he will provide his answer the following morning. (He never does.)
May 20-25. Unc' Billy Possum challenges Reddy Fox to a game of chicken involving Bowser the Hound. Unc' Billy plays dead and Bowser chases Reddy. Later Farmer Brown's Boy finds a "dead" possum in the henhouse and carries in into the barnyard. Reddy Fox thinks Unc' Billy is actually dead and spreads the news. Meanwhile Unc' Billy returns and decides to send for his family.
|Illustration for "Bobby Coon takes his own medicine." (June 1, 1912)|
|Illustration for "The runaway cabbage" (June 8, 1912)|
|Illustration for "Digger the Badger shames Johnny Chuck" (June 25, 1912)|
|Illustration for "Grandfather Frog loses a race" (June 26, 1912)|
|Illustration for "Reddy Fox gets a scare." (July 1, 1912).|
|Illustration for "Ol' Mistah Buzzard tells a story" (July 15, 1912).|
|Illustration for "The lost baby" (July 18, 1912).|
Notes on the second 13 weeksBurgess is beginning to tell longer sustained narratives during this period and the Reddy Fox character, while still a hapless would-be predator, becomes a devious charmer as well. The series, however, is still operating in fable mode, Peter Rabbit's surprise party and the big convention at the Smiling Pool being glaring examples. Animal characters still carry things in their arms, tip their hats, and make impossible gestures, such as Grandfather Frog "actually" shaking his fist at Mr. Toad (June 27, 1912).
The character of Unc' Billy Possum is from the south, joining Prickly Porky from the north (who tells stories about Indians). Digger the Badger represents the west. In fable mode, the presence of a badger (not native to Massachusetts) is acceptable, but later Burgess would have to go out of his way to justify the character's presence in the Green Meadows (and eventually Digger would be forgotten).
The animal characters (with the exception of Snapper the Turtle, who will become a major villain later) are depicted in ways that express, in general ways, characteristic settings and behaviors, though the teaching of nature facts is still not a priority. Burgess is still not rigorously careful in the facts he does present. Baby Possum, for example, is depicted hanging down trying to steal eggs from the nest of a pair of great-crested flycatchers. This is unlikely given that great-crested flycatchers are cavity nesters (a fact Burgess in future years will take pains to emphasize).
Farmer Brown's BoyFarmer Brown's Boy continues to be a nemesis of the animals during this period, setting steel traps at the Smiling Pool and the hen house and carrying his gun with the intention of killing animals he considers pests. He is also, however, depicted as a knowledgeable tracker, able to identify species by their footprints and dwellings. In explaining why FBB would gratuitously throw a stone at Grandfather Frog, Burgess (May 13, 1912) gives the reader the following passage:
He was a good natured boy, and everybody liked him; everybody but the little people of the Green Meadows and the little folks of the Green Forest. They hated him because they were afraid of him, and they were afraid of him because he was always trying to frighten them. It wasn't because he was hard hearted but because he was thoughtless.