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A True Story

The game was called “Fox and the Hounds,” and one boy was chosen as the fox. All the other “hounds” watched as the “fox” walked out of sight. As soon as the fox could not be seen, the hounds all began to bay and chase the fox. The first hound to pull down the fox got to be the next fox.

Mark and Byron’s home in the country had a lot of trees and brush. It was just right for the game. Scott Gillespie figured that he would show these country boys a thing or two about smart town foxes. While Mark was warning the boys about the bull nettles, Scott spotted the perfect hiding spot. A sand cave hidden in the pasture! Mark and Byron had dug it in the deep sand, using boards covered with sand for the roof.

When Scott was the fox, he tried to keep in sight as long as possible. As soon as he heard the hounds start to bay, he ran as fast as he could to the cave. He jumped in the hole and slid downwards on his back. He did not check for snakes; he did not check for anything. Then he froze and did not move at all. About a foot above his head was the biggest wasp nest he had every seen. And it was crawling with very big, red wasps!

For a long, long time, Scott got a science lesson about how giant red wasps live. He didn’t have a choice—unless he wanted a lot of pain. It made him shiver just to think about it. Only he couldn’t shiver too much. You know why. And you probably can imagine how much Scott wished he had never had the bright idea of hiding in this place. He really, really, really regretted it. But it was too late for regrets. He was in a trap.

All the other boys were searching for the “Fox.” They looked everywhere. But it seemed that Scott had vanished. Finally they got a little worried and began to call his name. Suddenly two of the boys heard a voice come out of the ground. “Help!” it called. The voice sounded scared.

“He’s in the cave!” Mark cried. All of the other boys came running. They looked in the hole. All they could see was the top of Scott’s head. He wasn’t moving. He looked desperate. What was wrong? Was he hurt?

“We found you,” they said. “Come on out of there.”

“I can’t,” Scott said, trying not to move his lips. The big, red insects seemed to be watching him carefully. “Wasps!” he moaned.

The boys could barely see the edge of the huge nest. But when they understood the problem, they began to give suggestions. “Come out really fast!” one said.

That was no good, Scott thought. No matter how fast he would move, those wasps could move faster. They would be all over him, and . . . .

“Dad’s bee mask!” another said. The helmet had a screen around it that protected the beekeeper from getting stung. But how could they get it on Scott without getting stung?

“Put the mask over the nest while Scott gets out,” someone suggested. Quickly, two boys leaned over the hole with the mask between them. Before the wasps could react, the nest was covered, and Scott shot out of there. You never saw anybody move so fast! The other boys dropped the mask, and everybody ran. How glad they were that no one got stung!

It could have all turned out differently. What if there had been a poisonous snake in that hole? What if the sand cave had collapsed? What if no one had been hunting for Scott?