Here to return to
IT seemed to take Rusty Wren’s wife a long time to recover from the fright that Jasper Jay had given her. He had amused himself by dropping cherries upon the roof of her house. But the trick had not amused the Wren family in the least.
Even after Johnnie Green had driven the blue-coated rascal away from the dooryard Mrs. Rusty Wren was all aflutter. She jumped at the slightest noise. And she was so nervous that Rusty soon saw that it was a great effort for her to go abroad for food for their hungry family.
“You must stay right here at home and rest,” he urged her. “I’ll find enough for the children to eat — and for you too.” he said manfully.
And really there was nothing else that his wife could do; for her nerves were in a frightful state.
So Rusty Wren took up his task cheerfully. He found it no easy one, either. Feeding six growing youngsters had kept both their parents working every minute all day long, because the children were always clamoring for more food. And now they seemed half starved, for they had had nothing to eat all the time that Jasper Jay had kept Rusty and his wife hiding in their house.
Rusty Wren, however, was not one to complain, no matter what happened. And every day from dawn till dark he hurried out of the house to find some toothsome insect, and bring it home to drop it into somebody’s yawning mouth.
Indeed, he was so busy feeding his family that he scarcely had a chance to eat anything himself. So he grew quite thin. And though he still sang as merrily as ever, his wife noticed the change that had come over him.
Naturally, that made her worry. And since worrying was bad for her nerves, she began to grow worse instead of better.
“I don’t know what’s going to become of us,” she said at last. “As the children grow bigger they need more to eat. And I can see plainly that you’re never going to be able to provide enough for them.”
“Oh! they’ll soon be old enough to leave home and catch their own insects,” Rusty told her hopefully. “And until that time comes I’ll manage somehow, even if I have to work after dark.”
But that plan did not suit his wife at all.
“I shouldn’t care to stay alone in the house at night with six small children,” she said. “That will never do.”
“I have it!” Rusty cried suddenly. “I’ll get somebody to help me!”
Well, his wife didn’t think much of that plan, either.
“I don’t like the idea of any strange bird coining into my house,” she objected. “And you know yourself that you’ve always felt the same way about strangers.”
“I know “ he replied — ” but this is different. I’ll find a brisk young fellow somewhere. And after a day or two you won’t mind his being here. He’ll seem just like one of the family.”
It took a good deal of urging before Mrs. Rusty consented. But at last she said she was willing to give the plan a trial, though she felt sure it was bound to cause trouble, somehow.
So that is how Rusty Wren came to hang a sign outside his door, which said: