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CHATTERER HITS ON A PLAN AT LAST
EACH time that Chatterer thought himself smarter than Sammy Jay, he found that he wasn't as smart as he thought he was, and this always made him feel mortified. He just couldn't admit even to himself that Sammy was the smartest, and yet here he was every day bringing corn for Sammy from Farmer Brown's corncrib whenever Sammy told him to, and running the risk of being seen by Farmer Brown's boy, all because he hadn't been able to think of some way to outwit Sammy. Once more after be had such a narrow escape from old Roughleg the Hawk, he had tried going down to his store-house at the edge of the cornfield, but he had found Roughleg on watch and had turned back. From the way Sammy Jay had grinned when he saw Chatterer coming back, Chatterer had made up his mind that Sammy knew something about how old Roughleg happened to have found out about that store-house and so been on the watch.
Now all this time, Sammy Jay was having a great deal of fun out of Chatterer's trouble. Each time that Chatterer thought of a plan to outwit Sammy, he would find that Sammy had already thought of it and a way to make the plan quite useless. You see, Sammy used to spend a great deal of his time when he was alone in the Green Forest pretending that he was in the same fix as Chatterer and then trying to think of some way out of it. So it was that Chatterer never could think of a plan that Sammy hadn't already thought of. And yet there was a way to cheat Sammy out of his fun, though not out of his corn, and it really was the fun of seeing Chatterer so worried that Sammy cared most about. Sammy had thought of it almost at once, and it seemed to him that Chatterer was very, very stupid not to think of it, too.
"He will think of it some day, and I don't see any way to upset such a simple plan," said Sammy to himself and then fell to studying some new way to torment Chatterer.
And at last Chatterer did think of it. It was such a simple plan! Probably that was why he hadn't thought of it before. All he had to do was to go over to Farmer Brown's corn-crib at break of day, before any one in Farmer Brown's house was awake, just as he had been doing, only make two or three trips and store a lot of corn in a safe hiding place in the old stone wall. Then, when Sammy Jay demanded corn, he could get it without trouble or danger. He tried it, and it worked splendidly. Sammy Jay got his corn, but he didn't get any fun, and he cared more for the fun of seeing Chatterer in trouble than he did for the corn. So, after two or three mornings, Sammy didn't come up to the Old Orchard, and Chatterer chuckled as he stored up the corn, not in one place, but in several places.
Now, while Sammy Jay seemed to have grown tired of corn, he was doing a lot of thinking. He had no idea of leaving Chatterer alone. He had just got to think of some way of upsetting Chatterer's simple plan. It was Reddy Fox who finally gave him the idea. He saw Reddy trotting down the Lone Little Path through the Green Forest, and right away the idea came to him. He would tell Reddy where Chatterer was storing the corn in the old stone wall, and Reddy would hide close by.
"Of course I don't want Reddy to catch Chatterer, but I can prevent that by warning him just in time. But he will be so frightened that he won't dare go to that place for corn again in a hurry, and so will have to go to the corn-crib for it," thought Sammy, and hurried to tell Reddy Fox about the place half way along the old stone wall where Chatterer had hidden his corn.