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Rusty Wren
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“IT’S Jasper Jay!” Rusty Wren cried, as soon as he and his wife heard the hoarse cry outside their house. “He’s playing one of his tricks on us. And I’m going out and tell him exactly what I think of him.”

“Don’t forget to tell him what I think of him, too!” Mrs. Rusty said, as she let go of her husband’s coat-tails.

Then Rusty hurried through the little doorway. And there was Jasper, sitting on a limb above the house, with a cherry in his bill, which he let fall with a sly smile.

The cherry struck the roof of Rusty’s house with a loud bang! And then came the same clatter, to which the Wren fam­ily had been listening.

“Here! Stop that!” Rusty cried. Jasper Jay shrieked with laughter. “Go away!” said Rusty.

“Go away yourself!” retorted Jasper.

“This is my home,” Rusty Wren told him hotly. “And you’ve no right to come here and frighten my wife and children like this.”

“How shall I frighten them, then?” Jasper Jay asked him. “Perhaps you like this way better!” he shouted. And with that he flew straight at Rusty Wren. He was so big and he looked so cruel that Rusty turned tail and dashed back into his house again. And he was glad that his doorway was not much bigger than a twenty-five-cent piece, because he knew that Jasper Jay could never squeeze through so small an opening.

Jasper alighted on top of the house and jumped up and down on the roof, strik­ing it with his bill and screaming angrily.

“Don’t be afraid!” Rusty said to his wife. “He can’t do any harm. And after a while he’ll grow tired of staying here and he’ll go away.”

Well, Rusty was half right, at least. For Jasper Jay went away at last; but he didn’t wait until he had grown weary of his rowdyish sport.

Now, Johnnie Green happened to hear Jasper’s harsh cries. And, looking out of the window, he saw Jasper’s strange per­formance.

“That blue jay is teasing my little wrens!” Johnnie Green cried indignantly. And, catching up a potato from the kitchen table, he hurried to the door and hurled it as hard as he could at the blue-coated trouble-maker.

The potato missed Jasper Jay by less than an inch, bringing up kerplunk! against the trunk of the old cherry tree, and breaking into several pieces.

And then it was Jasper Jay’s turn to be alarmed. He jumped off the roof of Rusty Wren’s house as if he had been shot and dashed off as fast as his handsome wings could carry him. He knew of no way to tease Johnnie Green; so there was really no sense in his staying in Farmer Green’s yard any longer.

Johnnie jeered at Jasper as the fright­ened bully hurried away.

“You’d better not come skulking around here again!” he shouted.

Although the cherries hung red and juicy upon the old tree for at least a week longer, just begging to be picked — as one might say — Jasper Jay did not come back to enjoy them. He told Jolly Robin that he was entirely too busy to waste his time in an old cherry tree.

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