Once upon a bright clear winter morning Brer Fox stole into Brer Rabbit's garden and dug up a big sackful of his best carrots.
Brer Rabbit didn't see him as he was visiting his friend Brer Bear at the time. When he got home he was mighty angry to see his empty carrot-patch.
"Brer Fox! That's who's been here," cried Brer Rabbit, and his whiskers twitched furiously. "Here are his paw marks and some hairs from his tail. All my best winter carrots gone! I'll make him give them back or my name's not Brer Rabbit."
He went along, lippity lip, clippity clip, and his little nose wrinkled at the fragrant smell of soup coming from Brer Fox's house.
"Now see here," he called crossly. "I just know it's my carrots you're cooking. I want them back so you'd better open your door."
"Too bad," chuckled Brer Fox. "I'm not opening my door until winter is over. I have plenty of carrots thanks to my kind friend Brer Rabbit, and a stack of other food for Christmas as well. I'm keeping my windows shut and my door bolted, so do go away. I want to enjoy my first bowl of carrot soup in peace."
At this, Brer Rabbit kicked the door, blim blam! He hammered on the door, bangety bang! It wasn't any use. My, he was in a rage as he turned away. Kind friend Brer Rabbit indeed! He stomped off, muttering furiously. But soon he grew thoughtful, then he gave a hop or two followed by a little dance. By the time he reached home he was in a mighty good temper. Brer Rabbit had a plan all worked out. He'd get his carrots back and annoy Brer Fox into the bargain!
On Christmas Eve, Brer Rabbit heaved a sack of stones on his shoulder and climbed
up onto Brer Fox's roof. He clattered round the chimney making plenty of noise.
"Who's there?" Brer Fox called. "Go away at once. I'm cooking my supper."
"It's Father Christmas," replied Brer Rabbit in a gruff voice. "I've brought a sack full of presents for Brer Fox."
"Oh, that's different," said Brer Fox quickly. "You're most welcome. Come right along down the chimney."
"I can't. I'm stuck," Brer Rabbit said in his gruff Father Christmas voice. Brer Fox unbolted his door and went outside to take a look. Certainly he could see somebody on the roof so he rushed back inside and called,
"Well, Father Christmas, don't trouble to come down the chimney yourself. Just drop the sack of presents and I'll surely catch it."
"Can't. That's stuck too," yelled Brer Rabbit and he smiled to himself. "You'll have to climb up inside your chimney, Brer Fox, then catch hold of the piece of string around the sack and you can haul it down yourself."
"That's easy," Brer Fox cried, "here I come," and he disappeared up the chimney.
Like lightning, Brer Rabbit was off that roof and in through the open doorway. There were his carrots in a sack, and on the table was a fine cooked goose and a huge Christmas pudding. He grabbed them both, stuffed them into the sack and ran. Chickle, chuckle, how he did run.
That old Brer Fox struggled up the chimney, higher and higher. He couldn't see any string but he felt it hanging down so he gave a big tug.
The sack opened and out tumbled all the stones, clatter bang, bim bam, right on Brer Fox's head. My, my, he certainly went down that chimney quickly. Poor Brer Fox! He'd lost his Christmas dinner and the carrots, and now he had a sore head. That rascally Brer Rabbit laughed and laughed but he made sure he kept out of Brer Fox's way all that Christmas Day and for some time afterwards.