Here to return to
RUSTY WREN looked quite crestfallen as he listened to his wife’s wail. He wished that he had heeded her warning, when she declared that his hiring a boy would certainly lead to trouble.
“What’s the matter with you?” Rusty asked his helper, Chippy, Jr. “When you first came to work for us you could slip through our doorway easily enough. But now you’re altogether too big.”
Chippy, Jr., said that the entrance to their house must have shrunk.
“How could it?” Rusty demanded impatiently.
“It rained last night,” the youngster reminded him.
But Rusty Wren said, “Nonsense! The doorway’s made of tin — not wood. You have grown — that’s the whole trouble! And you’ve got us into a pretty fix.”
“I begin to think that it was all planned this way by his father,” Mrs. Rusty told her husband, “so Mr. Chippy wouldn’t have to take care of his son. But I don’t intend to adopt a big, overgrown boy like him — not when I have six small children of my own!”
Chippy, Jr., couldn’t help feeling both uncomfortable and unhappy.
“I want to go home!” he blubbered. “It’s almost my bedtime. And my father and my mother won’t like it at all if I stay here all night.”
“Well,” said Rusty Wren, “I don’t know how you’re going to leave our house if you can’t squeeze through the door. So I’ll hurry over and tell your father about this trouble, and he can break the news gently to your mother.”
Then Rusty went off, flying directly to the stone wall where the Chippy family lived. And soon he was explaining to Mr. Chippy how his son was inside their house and couldn’t leave.
Now, Mr. Chippy was unusually mild mannered. But he became greatly excited as soon as he heard Rusty’s story.
“It’s just like being caught in a trap!” he exclaimed. “And I can’t help feeling that you’ve played a trick on my son — probably to please Johnnie Green.... If you don’t set my boy free to-morrow morning at daybreak, I shall certainly make trouble for you.”
Mr. Chippy’s warning amazed Rusty Wren. But he couldn’t help laughing at the idea of anybody causing him any trouble.
“I’m so deep in trouble now,” he told Mr. Chippy, “there’s nothing you can do to make matters any worse for me. I’ve six growing children to bring up; and now I have your son to take care of; and my wife thinks everything is my fault, because I wanted to hire a boy to help me catch insects.
“So you can’t scare me by your threats. I only wish you would come to my house and take your son away with you — if you can.”
“I’ll come — and I’ll tear your house down!” Mr. Chippy cried fiercely. And he began screaming, “Chip, chip, chip, chip,” in a very shrill voice which was most annoying to hear.
Rusty Wren did not like to listen to him. So he flew back home and went to bed. He only wished that it were possible for Mr. Chippy to break into his house, and rescue Chippy, Jr. But since the house was made of tin, Rusty knew that Mr. Chippy was helpless.
“I’ll never settle in a tin house again so long as I live!” he groaned.