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Rusty Wren

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ALL summer long Farmer Green rose while the world was still gray, before the sun climbed over the mountain to flood Pleasant Valley with his golden light.

One might think that Farmer Green would have had some trouble awaking so early in the morning. And perhaps he might have overslept now and then had he not had a never-failing alarm clock to arouse him.

It was not one of those man-made clocks, which go off with a deafening clat­ter and bring a startled body to his feet before he is really awake. No! Farmer Green had something much pleasanter than that; and it was not in his bedroom, either.

His alarm clock was in his dooryard, for it was Rusty Wren himself who al­ways warned him that day was breaking and that it was time to get up and go to work.

Every morning, without fail, Rusty sang his dawn song right under Farmer Green’s window. His musical trill, sound­ing very much like the brook that rippled its way down the side of Blue Mountain, always made Farmer Green feel glad that another day had come.

“If that busy little chap is up —” he often said, meaning Rusty Wren, of course — “if he’s up there’s no reason why I should lie here and sleep.”

And since everybody else in the house followed Farmer Green’s custom of rising early, it happened that so small a bird as Rusty Wren aroused the whole household out of their beds.

To be sure, Johnnie Green — sitting up and rubbing his eyes sleepily — sometimes wished that Rusty would skip his dawn song once in a while. And he told his father at breakfast one day that since he was not a bird, he saw no reason why he should get up with the sun.

“You needn’t,” said Farmer Green. “But you know the old saying about ‘early to bed and early to rise,’ don’t you?”

Johnnie remembered that such habits were supposed to make one “healthy, wealthy and wise.” And since he hated to take medicine, and was trying to save I enough money to buy him a gun, and dis­liked to be kept in after school for not knowing his lessons, he decided that perhaps it was just as well, after all, to fol­low Rusty Wren’s example.

Now, Farmer Green spoke so often and so pleasantly of Rusty Wren, saying that nobody could want a better little alarm clock than he, that Rusty began to take a great deal of pride in his morning task of awakening the household. It could hardly be called a task, however, because Rusty thoroughly enjoyed singing, though when he sang — as when he did anything else — he put every ounce of his strength into the effort. With his head lifted as high as his short neck would permit, and his tail (which usually stuck pertly upwards) drooping downward, as if he had for the moment forgotten it, he poured forth his music with such fervor that his small body actually trembled.

You see, Rusty Wren never did things by halves. When he did anything he was never satisfied with less than his best.

And that was another reason why Far­mer Green liked him.

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