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SAMMY JAY SPOILS THE PLAN OF REDDY FOX
FREDDY FOX found Sammy Jay in a bad temper. Sammy had missed his usual breakfast of corn stolen from Farmer Brown's corncrib, and it had made him cross.
"Good morning," said Reddy in his politest manner, and no one can be more polite than Reddy Fox when he sets out to be.
"Morning," mumbled Sammy Jay.
"I found out something this morning which may interest you," said Reddy, taking no notice of Sammy's cross looks.
"It won't," replied Sammy positively. "It won't. Nothing interests me."
"Not even traps?" asked Reddy slyly.
"What's that?" demanded Sammy, looking at Reddy sharply.
"Oh, nothing much," replied Reddy, quite as if the matter didn't interest him especially, "only I found out something this morning that I thought you might like to see, if you wasn't such a coward."
"Who says I'm a coward?" shrieked Sammy Jay, dancing about with anger.
"I do," replied Reddy. "You don't dare go with me to-morrow morning and see what is going on at Farmer Brown's corn-crib."
"It isn't true!" Sammy shrieked. "I dare go wherever you dare go, so there, Reddy Fox!"
"Then I dare you to meet me tomorrow morning at the edge of the Green Forest at sun-up and go with me to watch Farmer Brown's corn-crib," Reddy replied.
"I'll be there!" snapped Sammy. "I'll have you to understand that you don't dare do anything that I don't dare do!" snapped Sammy, though to tell the truth he had felt his heart sink at the mere mention of Farmer Brown's corn-crib, for you remember it was there that he had had a terrible fright only the morning before.
"All right, see that you are on hand at sun-up sharp," replied Reddy and trotted away grinning, for he was smart enough to know that Sammy would risk a great deal rather than be called a coward, for no one likes to be called a coward.
Early the next morning Reddy Fox and Sammy Jay met at the edge of the Green Forest.
"Now," Reddy explained, "we will go over by the fence back of the corncrib. I will hide there, just where I hid yesterday morning, and you will hide in the evergreen-tree close by. Watch the roof of the corn-crib, and I think you will see something that may explain how you happened to be caught by the bill the other morning. But whatever you see, don't make a sound, not the least bit of a sound."
Sammy promised, and they hurried over to their hiding places. Hardly had Sammy settled himself in the evergreen-tree when he saw Chatterer jump to the roof of the corn-crib from the limb of the tree which overhung it. Almost in a flash Chatterer had disappeared through a hole just under the edge of the roof. No sooner was he out of sight, than Reddy Fox ran swiftly across to the old stone wall at the edge of the Old Orchard and hid behind it. Right away Sammy Jay guessed that Chatterer had had something to do with the terrible fright he had had at the corn-crib when his bill was caught as he pecked at the corn between the cracks in the wall.
"It wasn't a trap at all, but Chatterer!" thought Sammy and right away grew so angry that he could hardly sit still. But he wanted to see what Chatterer would do next, so he bit his tongue to keep it still. Pretty soon out came Chatterer with his cheeks stuffed full of corn. That was too much for Sammy Jay. He forgot all about his promise not to make a sound. He darted out of his hiding place and flew at Chatterer in a terrible rage, screaming at the top of his voice and calling Chatterer every bad thing he could think of. Of course Chatterer couldn't reply, because his cheeks were so stuffed with corn, but he could run. Like a little red flash he was in the tree that overhung the corn-crib and dodging around the trunk.
Over behind the stone wall Reddy Fox snarled, for with such a noise he knew it wasn't safe to stay there any longer.