CHATTERER HAS HIS TURN TO LAUGH
SAMMY JAY had not been up to the Old Orchard for several days, and Chatterer the Red Squirrel was beginning to wonder if Sammy had grown tired of corn. But Chatterer had learned that it is always best to be prepared, and so every morning, when he had visited Farmer Brown's corn-crib, he had brought a generous supply back to the Old Orchard and hidden it in several secret places in different parts of the stone wall and some in a certain hollow in an old apple-tree. Chatterer couldn't quite believe that Sammy had given up all hope of making him more trouble, so he meant to be prepared.
So when Sammy did appear early one morning, Chatterer was not in the least surprised. He pretended to be glad to see Sammy. In fact, he was almost glad. You see, Sammy had so many times proved his wits to be sharper than Chatterer's, that Chatterer wanted to get even. There was a sparkle of mischief in Sammy's eyes. Chatterer saw it right away, and he guessed that Sammy had. some new plan under that pert cap of his.
"Good morning, Sammy Jay," said Chatterer, pretending to be polite. "I had begun to think that you were tired of corn. I have some very nice corn ready for you, the very best I could find in Farmer Brown's corn-crib. Will you have some this morning?"
"I believe I will," replied Sammy, also pretending to be very polite. "It is very nice of you to pick out the best corn for me, and the very thought of it makes me hungry. I believe I would like some this very minute."
As he spoke, he turned his head to hide a grin, for, thought he, "of course Chatterer will go straight to that hiding place in the stone wall and then we shall see some fun." He glanced hastily in that direction, and he saw a patch of red half hidden behind the wall, and he knew that it was the red coat of Reddy Fox. Reddy was hiding just where Sammy had told him to.
Now Chatterer had been doing some quick thinking. He remembered the sharp tricks Sammy had played on him before, and he didn't have the least doubt that Sammy had planned another. "Of course, he expects me to go straight to that place where he knows I have hidden corn for him, and if he has planned any trouble for we, that is where it will be," thought Chatterer. "I think I'll get the corn from one of the hiding places he doesn't know about."
With that Chatterer ran swiftly out along a branch of the tree he was in, leaped across to another tree and then to a third, the one in which was the hollow in which he had put some of the corn. In a few minutes he was back, with his cheeks stuffed full. Sammy Jay pretended to be very much pleased, but he ate it as if he had lost his appetite, as indeed he had. You see, he was wondering what he should say to Reddy Fox, to whom he had promised a chance to catch Chatterer. He knew that Reddy would think that it was all one of Sammy's tricks. So without waiting to finish all the corn, Sammy politely said good-by and flew away to the deepest part of the Green Forest.
"Ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho!" laughed Chatterer, as his sharp eyes spied Reddy Fox, trying to creep away without being seen. "Ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho! It's my turn to laugh. Ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho!"
And so for the time being Chatterer had the last laugh, though Sammy Jay knew well that his turn would come again, if only he were patient. But he had other things to think of. You see, he was very much interested in the adventures of Buster Bear. And if you are interested in them too, you may read all about them in another book devoted wholly to the things that happened when Buster came to live in the Green Forest.