The Tale of Jolly Robin

The Tale of Jolly Robin

Arthur Scott Bailey

Children's

NESTLINGS Of course, there was a time, once, when Jolly Robin was just a nestling himself. With two brothers and one sister—all of them, like him, much spotted with black—he lived in a house in one of Farmer Green’s apple trees. The house was made of grass and leaves, plastered on the inside with mud, and lined with softer, finer grass, which his mother had chosen with the greatest care. But Jolly never paid much attention to his first home. What interested him more than anything else was food. From dawn till dark, he was always cheeping for something to eat. And since the other children were just as hungry as he was, those four growing babies kept their parents busy finding food for them. It was then that Jolly Robin learned to like angleworms. And though he ate greedily of insects and bugs, as well as wild berries, he liked angleworms best. Jolly and his sister and his brothers could always tell when their father or their mother brought home some dainty, because the moment the parent lighted upon the limb where the nest was built they could feel their home sink slightly, from the added weight upon the branch. Then the youngsters would set up a loud squalling, with a great craning of necks and stretching of orange-colored mouths. Sometimes, when the dainty was specially big, Mr. or Mrs. Robin would say, “Cuck! cuck!” That meant “Open wide!” But they seldom found it necessary to give that order. Somehow, Jolly Robin managed to eat more than the rest of the nestlings. And so he grew faster than the others. He soon learned a few tricks, too. For instance, if Mrs. Robin happened to be sitting on the nest, to keep her family warm, when Mr. Robin returned with a lunch for the children, Jolly had a trick that he played on his mother, in case she didn’t move off the nest fast enough to suit him. He would whisper to the rest of the children. And then they would jostle their fond parent, lifting her up above them, and sometimes almost upsetting her, so that she had hard work to keep from falling off the nest. Mrs. Robin did not like that trick very well. But she knew that Jolly would not annoy her with it long. Indeed, he was only eleven days old when he left his birthplace and went out into the wide world. You see, the young folk grew so fast that they soon more than filled the house. So there was nothing their parents could do but persuade them to leave home and learn to fly. One day, therefore, Mr. Robin did not bring his children’s food to the edge of the nest and drop it into their mouths. Instead, he stood on the limb a little distance away from them and showed them a plump angleworm. The sight of that dainty was more than Jolly Robin could resist. He scrambled boldly out of the nest; and tottering up to his father on his wobbling legs, he snatched the tempting morsel out of his proud parent’s bill. Jolly never went back to the nest after that. The next day Mrs. Robin coaxed the other children from home in the same fashion. And though it may seem a heartless act, it was really the best thing that could have happened to Jolly and his sister and his brothers....
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  • 673
The Tale of Benny Badger

The Tale of Benny Badger

Arthur Scott Bailey

Children's

A GREAT DIGGER Of course, Benny Badger had the best of reasons for living on the high, dry plains. There he had for neighbors plenty of ground squirrels and prairie dogs. And it is likely that he enjoyed their company much more than they did his. If anyone had asked them, those little wild people would no doubt have confessed that they wished Benny Badger was somewhere else. But their wishes meant nothing to Benny—if he knew anything of them. Although he couldn\'t help noticing that his small neighbors hurried into their homes whenever they caught sight of him, Benny never took the hint and went away. On the contrary, when he spied a prairie dog or a ground squirrel disappearing into his burrow Benny was more than ready to go right in after him. Now, the tunnels that led to the houses of those smaller folk were too small to admit anybody as bulky as Benny Badger. But that difficulty never hindered Benny. Digging was the easiest thing he did. He had a powerful body, short, stout legs, and big feet, which bore long, strong claws. And when he started to dig his way into somebody else\'s home he certainly did make the dirt fly. He was so fond of digging that he even dug countless holes of his own, just for the fun it gave him—so far as anybody could find out. And if he had only left other folk\'s holes alone some of his neighbors would not have objected to his favorite sport. For more than one fox and coyote had been known to make his home in a hole dug by Benny Badger. And, though they never took the trouble to thank him for saving them work, they often chuckled about his odd way of having fun, and remarked among themselves that Benny must be a stupid fellow. If they really thought that, they made a great mistake. To be sure, at anything except digging he was slow and awkward. He was too heavy and squat to be spry on his feet—to chase and catch his more nimble neighbors. But no one that knew much about Benny Badger would have said that his wits were dull. They were sharp. And so, too, were his teeth, which he never hesitated to use in a fight. Left alone, Benny Badger—when he wasn\'t too hungry—was a peaceable person. But if a dog ever tried to worry him Benny had a most unpleasant way of seizing his annoyer with his powerful jaws and holding the poor creature as if he never intended to let him go. Cornered, Benny knew no such thing as fear. He had the heart of a lion, and jaws like a steel trap. And no wise dog ever let Benny get a good, firm grip on him. Usually no one saw Benny Badger except at night. He seldom left his den in the daytime except to sun himself. And even then not many noticed him. Though he did not hide when anyone surprised him while taking a sun-bath, he had a trick of lying flat in the grass without moving. And it took a sharp eye to spy him when he lay low in that fashion. Curled up asleep, with his long fur on end, he looked too comfortable to disturb. At least, that was what the ground squirrels thought. And if one of those busy little fellows ever paused to stare curiously at Benny when he was having a nap in the warm sunshine, Benny Badger had only to awake and turn his head toward the onlooker to make him scamper for home as fast as he could go....
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  • 500
The Tale of Solomon Owl

The Tale of Solomon Owl

Arthur Scott Bailey

Children's

Solomon Owl was a bit prickly, but still endured experiences that cause a young mind to remember. Upon his arrival, as a stranger, in Pleasant Valley, Solomon Owl looked about carefully for a place to live. What he wanted, especially was a good, dark hole, for he thought that the sunshine was very dismal. Though he was willing to bestir himself enough to suit anybody, when it came to hunting, Solomon Owl did not like to work. He was no busy nest-builder, like Rusty Wren.
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  • 446

The Tale of Henrietta Hen

The Tale of Henrietta Hen

Arthur Scott Bailey

Children's

I A SPECKLED BEAUTY Henrietta Hen thought highly of herself. Not only did she consider herself a "speckled beauty" (to use her own words) but she had an excellent opinion of her own ways, her own ideas—even of her own belongings. When she pulled a fat worm—or a grub—out of the ground she did it with an air of pride; and she was almost sure to say, "There! I\'d like to see anybody else find a bigger one than that!" Of course, it wouldn\'t really have pleased her at all to have one of her neighbors do better than she did. That was only her way of boasting that no one could beat her. If any one happened to mention speckles Henrietta Hen was certain to speak of her own, claiming that they were the handsomest and most speckly to be found in Pleasant Valley. And if a person chanced to say anything about combs, Henrietta never failed to announce that hers was the reddest and most beautiful in the whole world. Nobody could ever find out how she knew that. She had never been off the farm. But it was useless to remind her that she had never travelled. Such a remark only made her angry. Having such a good opinion of herself, Henrietta Hen always had a great deal to talk about. She kept up a constant cluck from dawn till dusk. It made no difference to her whether she happened to be alone, or with friends. She talked just the same—though naturally she preferred to have others hear what she said, because she considered her remarks most important. There were times when Henrietta Hen took pains that all her neighbors should hear her. She was never so proud as when she had a newly-laid egg to exhibit. Then an ordinary cluck was not loud enough to express her feelings. To announce such important news Henrietta Hen never failed to raise her voice in a high-pitched "Cut-cut-cut, ca-dah-cut!" This interesting speech she always repeated several times. For she wanted everybody to know that Henrietta Hen had laid another of her famous eggs. After such an event she always went about asking people if they had heard the news—just as if they could have helped hearing her silly racket! Now, it sometimes happened, when she was on such an errand, that Henrietta Hen met with snubs. Now and then her question—"Have you heard the news?"—brought some such sallies as these: "Polly Plymouth Rock has just laid an enormous egg! Have you seen it?" Or maybe, "Don\'t be disappointed, Henrietta! Somebody has to lay the littlest ones!" Such jibes were certain to make Henrietta Hen lose her temper. And she would talk very fast (and, alas! very loud, too) about jealous neighbors and how unpleasant it was to live among folk that were so stingy of their praise that they couldn\'t say a good word for the finest eggs that ever were seen! On such occasions Henrietta Hen generally talked in a lofty way about moving to the village to live. "They think enough of my eggs down there," she would boast. "Boiled, fried, poached, scrambled, or for an omelette—my eggs can\'t be beaten." "If the villagers can\'t beat your eggs they certainly can\'t use them for omelettes," Polly Plymouth Rock told Henrietta one day....
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  • 430
The Tale of Grunty Pig

The Tale of Grunty Pig

Arthur Scott Bailey

Children's

He was the smallest of seven children. At first his mother thought she would call him "Runty." But she soon changed her mind about that; for she discovered that even if he was the runt of the family, he had the loudest grunt of all. So the good lady made haste to slip a G in front of the name "Runty."
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  • 418
The Tale of Betsy Butterfly

The Tale of Betsy Butterfly

Arthur Scott Bailey

Children's

BEAUTY AND THE BLOSSOMS Every one of the field people in Pleasant Valley, and the forest folk as well, was different from his neighbors. For instance, there was Jasper Jay. He was the noisiest chap for miles around. And there was Peter Mink. Without doubt he was the rudest and most rascally fellow in the whole district. Then there was Freddie Firefly, who was the brightest youngster on the farm—at least after dark, when his light flashed across the meadow. So it went. One person was wiser than any of his neighbors; another was stupider; and somebody else was always hungrier. But there was one who was the loveliest. Not only was she beautiful to look upon. She was graceful in flight as well. When one saw her flittering among the flowers it was hard to say which was the daintier—the blossoms or Betsy Butterfly. For that was her name. Whoever gave it to her might have chosen a prettier one. Betsy herself always said that she would have preferred Violet. In the first place, it was the name of a flower. And in the second, her red-and-brown mottled wings had violet tips. However, a person as charming as Betsy Butterfly did not need worry about her name. Had she been named after a dozen flowers she could have been no more attractive. People often said that everybody was happier and better just for having Betsy Butterfly in the neighborhood. And some claimed that even the weather couldn\'t help being fine when Betsy went abroad. "Why, the sun just has to smile on her!" they would exclaim. But they were really wrong about that. The truth of the matter was that Betsy Butterfly couldn\'t abide bad weather—not even a cloudy sky. She said she didn\'t enjoy flying except in the sunshine. So no one ever saw her except on pleasant days. To be sure, a few of the field people turned up their noses at Betsy. They were the jealous ones. And they generally pretended that they did not consider Betsy beautiful at all. "She has too much color," Mehitable Moth remarked one day to Mrs. Ladybug. "Between you and me, I\'ve an idea that it isn\'t natural. I think she paints her wings!" "I don\'t doubt it," said Mrs. Ladybug. "I should think she\'d be ashamed of herself." And little Mrs. Ladybug pursed up her lips and looked very severe. And then she declared that she didn\'t see how people could say Betsy was even good-looking, if they had ever noticed her tongue. "Honestly, her tongue\'s as long as she is!" Mrs. Ladybug gossiped. "But she knows enough to carry it curled up like a watch-spring, so it isn\'t generally seen.... You just gaze at her closely, some day when she\'s sipping nectar from a flower, and you\'ll see that I know what I\'m talking about." Now, some of those spiteful remarks may have reached Betsy Butterfly\'s ears. But she never paid the slightest attention to them. When she met Mehitable Moth or Mrs. Ladybug she always said, "How do you do?" and "Isn\'t this a lovely day?" in the sweetest tone you could imagine. And of course there was nothing a body could do except to agree with Betsy Butterfly....
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  • 384

The Tale of Old Dog Spot

The Tale of Old Dog Spot

Arthur Scott Bailey

Children's

IALMOST TWINS Nobody ever spoke of old Spot\'s master as "old Johnnie Green." Yet the two—boy and dog—were almost exactly the same age. Somehow Spot grew up faster than Johnnie. He had stopped being a puppy by the time his young master learned to walk. And when Johnnie was big enough to play around the farm buildings his parents felt sure that he was safe so long as "old Spot," as they called the dog, was with him. Spot thought himself years older than the small boy; or at least he always acted so. If a goose hissed at little, toddling Johnnie Green, old Spot would drive the goose away, barking in a loud voice, "Don\'t you frighten this child!" If Johnnie went into the stable and wandered within reach of the horses\' heels Spot would take hold of his clothes and draw him gently back out of danger. And if Johnnie strayed to the duck pond the old dog wouldn\'t leave him even to chase the cat, but stayed right there by the pond, ready to pull his young charge out of the water in case he happened to fall in. Spot seemed to enjoy his task of taking care of Johnnie Green. It wasn\'t all work. A great deal of pleasure went with his duties, for Johnnie Green never wanted to do anything but play. And Spot wasn\'t so grown up that he couldn\'t enjoy a lively romp. For that matter, he never did get over his liking for boisterous fun. Still, there were some kinds of sport that he didn\'t care for. He wasn\'t fond of having such things as tin cans tied to his tail. He disliked to be harnessed to a toy wagon. He hated to have his ears pulled. Yet there was only one offense that ever made him growl. When Johnnie Green took a bone away from him Spot couldn\'t help warning him, with a deep, rumbling grumbling, that he was going too far, even between friends. But he never snapped at Johnnie. That growling was only Spot\'s way of teaching Johnnie Green manners. Fond as he was of his young master, Spot did not care to spend all his time playing childish games. There were grown-up things that he liked to do—things in which a toddler like Johnnie Green couldn\'t take part. Around the farmhouse there were always the cat to be teased and squirrels to be chased into trees. In the pasture there were woodchucks to be hunted; and even if he couldn\'t catch them it was fun to see those fat fellows tumble into their holes. Then there were the cows. Spot loved to help Farmer Green drive them home late in the afternoon. He acted very important when he went for the cows, always pretending that it was hard work, though he really thought it great sport. Sometimes when Johnnie Green wanted to play with Spot the old dog couldn\'t be found anywhere. He might be over the hill, visiting a neighbor\'s dog. He might be in the woods, looking for birds. He might even have followed a wagon to the village. As Johnnie Green grew older he roamed through the woods with Spot. And when Johnnie\'s father at last let him own a gun, old Spot was as pleased as Johnnie was. "I\'ve been waiting for this event for several years," Spot told the Muley Cow. She did not share his delight. "For pity\'s sake, keep that boy and his gun out of the pasture!" she bellowed. "It frightens me to have him come near me with his blunderbuss." Old Spot gave her a pitying look. "It\'s plain," he said, "that you don\'t come from a sporting family, as I do, or you\'d never speak in that fashion of a nice new shotgun. You know I\'m a sporting dog. I\'m a pointer. I point out the game for the hunters." The Muley Cow gave a sort of snort and tossed her head. "It\'s lucky for Johnnie Green," she sniffed, "that I\'m not a sporting cow, or he might not have any butter on his bread." IITEASING THE CAT When Miss Kitty Cat came to the farmhouse to live she soon showed old dog Spot that she could fight like a vixen. The first time he cornered her she put some scratches on his nose that he never forgot. And after that he always took great pains to keep out of reach of Miss Kitty\'s claws.
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  • 356
The Tale of Fatty Coon

The Tale of Fatty Coon

Arthur Scott Bailey

Children's

Fatty Coon was so fat and round that he looked like a ball of fur, with a plumelike tail for a handle. But if you looked at him closely you would have seen a pair of very bright eyes watching you. Fatty loved to eat. Yes—he loved eating better than anything else in the world. That was what made him so fat. And that, too, was what led him into many adventures. Close by a swamp, which lay down in the valley, between Blue Mountain and Swift River, Fatty Coon lived with his mother and his brother and his two sisters. Among them all there was what grown people call "a strong family resemblance," which is the same thing as saying that they all looked very much alike. The tail of each one of them—mother and children too—had six black rings around it. Each of them had a dark brown patch of fur across the face, like a mask. And—what do you think?—each of them, even Fatty and his brother and his sisters, had a stiff, white moustache! --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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  • 336
The Tale of Grandfather Mole

The Tale of Grandfather Mole

Arthur Scott Bailey

Children's

A QUEER OLD PERSON There was a queer old person that lived in Farmer Green\'s garden. Nobody knew exactly how long he had made his home there because his neighbors seldom saw him. He might have been in the garden a whole summer before anybody set eyes on him. Those that were acquainted with him called him Grandfather Mole. And the reason why his friends didn\'t meet him oftener was because he spent most of his time underground. Grandfather Mole\'s house was in a mound at one end of the garden. He had made the house himself, for he was a great digger. And Mr. Meadow Mouse often remarked that it had more halls than any other dwelling he had ever seen. He had visited it when Grandfather Mole was away from home, so he knew what it was like. Some of those halls that Mr. Meadow Mouse mentioned ran right out beneath the surface of the garden. Grandfather Mole had dug them for a certain purpose. Through them he made his way in the darkness, whenever he was hungry (which was most of the time, for he had a huge appetite!). And when he took an underground stroll he was almost sure to find a few angleworms, which furnished most of his meals. To be sure, he did not despise a grub—if he happened to meet one—nor a cutworm nor a wire-worm. The wonder of it was that Grandfather Mole ever found anything to eat, for the old gentleman was all but blind. The only good Grandfather Mole\'s eyes did him was to let him tell darkness from light. They were so small that his neighbors claimed he hadn\'t any at all. Another odd thing about this odd person was his ears. The neighbors said they couldn\'t see them, either. But they were in his head, even if they didn\'t show. And Grandfather Mole himself sometimes remarked that he didn\'t know how he could have burrowed as he did if he had been forever getting dirt in his eyes and ears. He seemed quite satisfied to be just as he was. And he used to say that he didn\'t know what good eyes were to anyone whether he was under the ground or on top of it! Liking to dig as he did, he certainly had nothing to complain about. His long nose was as good as a drill. And his front legs were just long enough so that he could reach his large, spade-like feet beyond his nose and throw the dirt back. His fur lay in one direction as easily as in another, never troubling him in the least when he was boring his way through the dry, loose soil of Farmer Green\'s garden. So in spite of what might seem great drawbacks to others, Grandfather Mole was contented with his lot. The only thing he was ever known to grumble about was the scarcity of angleworms. II WHAT THE CAT CAUGHT Everybody knew the cat at Farmer Green\'s to be a great hunter. She had long since disposed of the last mouse that was so foolish as to venture inside her home. And being very big, and not at all timid, she had made such a name for herself in the neighborhood that even the rats looked on her as a monster to be avoided. Now it often happened that this capable cat turned up her nose at the saucer of milk that Farmer Green\'s wife set before her with great regularity....
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  • 333
The Tale of Grumpy Weasel

The Tale of Grumpy Weasel

Arthur Scott Bailey

Children's

Arthur Scott Bailey (November 15, 1877 – October 17, 1949) was an American writer. He was the author of more than forty children\'s books. He was born in St. Albans, Vermont, United States, the second child of Winfield Scott Bailey and Harriet Sarah Goodhue (a girl, Ellen was born in 1876). Bailey\'s writing has been thus described by the Newark Evening News: "Mr. Bailey centered all his plots in the animal, bird and insect worlds, weaving natural history into the stories in a way that won educator\'s approval without arousing the suspicions of his young readers. He made it a habit to never \'write down\' to children and frequently used words beyond the average juvenile vocabulary, believing that youngsters respond to the stimulus of the unfamiliar."
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  • 325
The Tale of Jimmy Rabbit

The Tale of Jimmy Rabbit

Arthur Scott Bailey

Children's

Jimmy Rabbit wanted a new tail. To be sure, he already had a tail—but it was so short that he felt it was little better than none at all. Frisky Squirrel and Billy Woodchuck had fine, bushy tails; and so had all the other forest-people, except the Rabbit family. Jimmy had tried his hardest to get a handsome tail for himself. And once he had nearly succeeded. For he almost cut off Frisky Squirrel\'s big brush. But Mrs. Squirrel had appeared just in time to save her son from so dreadful a mishap. After that, Jimmy Rabbit tried to buy a tail; but no one would sell him one. Then he set out to find one, in the hope that some day some one would forget his tail and go off and leave it lying in the woods, and not be able to remember where he left it. In fact, Jimmy Rabbit often lurked behind trees and bushes, watching his neighbors as they took naps in the sunshine. But when they awaked and stretched themselves, and went trotting off, there was not one of them that didn\'t take his tail right along with him. It was disappointing. Still, Jimmy Rabbit continued his search. Now, Jimmy had decided that if he could only get a long tail he didn\'t care what color it was, if it was only a brownish yellow, to match the rest of him. And at last, as he was wandering through the woods one day, to his great joy he found almost exactly what he wanted. Lying near a heap of chips was a beautiful tail! But it was red, with a black tip. That was the only drawback about it. This tail, however, was so handsome that Jimmy made up his mind that he would wear it, anyhow, even though it did not match his coat. So with a bit of string which he had carried with him for weeks for that very purpose, he tied the red tail to his own short stub. There was great excitement among the forest-people when Jimmy Rabbit appeared among them. Most everyone told him how much better he looked. In fact, old Mr. Crow was about the only person who didn\'t say something pleasant. He only shook his head, and muttered something to himself about "handsome is as handsome does." But Jimmy Rabbit paid little attention to him. "Whose tail is that?" Mr. Crow finally asked. "Mine, of course!" Jimmy told him. "Well, you\'d better look out!" said Mr. Crow. "Unless that tail is bought and paid for, there\'s trouble ahead of you, young man." To his friends Frisky Squirrel and Billy Woodchuck, Jimmy said something about Mr. Crow in a low voice. And they laughed loudly. Whereupon Mr. Crow flew away, croaking to himself about the shocking way children are brought up nowadays. You know, Mr. Crow was a great gossip. And everywhere he went that day he spread the news about Jimmy Rabbit\'s finding a red tail in the woods. Probably that was the pleasantest day of Jimmy Rabbit\'s life. But toward evening something startled him. He had been over to the brook, to look at himself in a pool. And he was coming back towards home when some one called: "Hi, there, young fellow!" Jimmy Rabbit hurried along faster. He knew that it was a mink\'s voice. And he didn\'t like minks. Mr. Mink ran after him, calling "Stop, thief!" at the top of his voice. Jimmy Rabbit did not stop. But he glanced around. And his heart sank as he saw that Mr. Mink had no tail! At the same time Jimmy ran faster than ever....
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  • 308

The Tale of Buster Bumblebee

The Tale of Buster Bumblebee

Arthur Scott Bailey

Children's

The Tale of Buster Bumblebee is one of those charming little early 20th century children\'s stories; educational, moralistic and slightly entertaining. Bumblebee\'s family is very big that rhymes with apple tree. Buster Bumblebee\'s first home; the old house in the meadow. They\'re a very musical family, nobody knew what the exact count might have been; for in the daytime all the members of the family were bustling about, never staying in one place long enough to be counted. And at night they were all too drowsy to bother their heads over anything but sleep.
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  • 300
The Tale of Brownie Beaver

The Tale of Brownie Beaver

Arthur Scott Bailey

Children's

A QUEER PLACE TO LIVE The village near one end of Pleasant Valley where Farmer Green often went to sell butter and eggs was not the only village to be seen from Blue Mountain. There was another which Farmer Green seldom visited, because it lay beyond the mountain and was a long distance from his house. Though he owned the land where it stood, those that lived there thought they had every right to stay there as long as they pleased, without being disturbed. It was in this village that Brownie Beaver and his neighbors lived. It was a different sort of town, too, from the one where Farmer Green went each week. Over beyond Blue Mountain all the houses were built in a pond. And all their doors were under water. But nobody minded that because—like Brownie Beaver—everybody that dwelt there was a fine swimmer. Years and years before Brownie\'s time his forefathers had come there, and finding that there were many trees in the neighborhood with the sort of bark they liked to eat—such as poplars, willows and box elders—they had decided that it was a good place to live. There was a small stream, too, which was really the beginning of Swift River. And by damming it those old settlers made a pond in which they could build their houses. They had ideas of their own as to what a house should be like—and very good ideas they were—though you, perhaps, might not care for them at all. They wanted their houses to be surrounded by water, because they thought they were safer when built in that manner. And they always insisted that a door leading into a house should be far beneath the surface of the water, for they believed that that made a house safer too. To you such an idea may seem very strange. But if you were chased by an enemy you might be glad to be able to swim under water, down to the bottom of a pond, and slip inside a door which led to a winding hall, which in its turn led upwards into your house. Of course, your enemy might be able to swim as well as you. But maybe he would think twice—or even three times—before he went prowling through your crooked hall. For if you had enormous, strong, sharp teeth—with which you could gnaw right through a tree—he would not care to have you seize him as he poked his head around a corner in a dark passage of a strange house. It was in a house of that kind that Brownie Beaver lived. And he built it himself, because he said he would rather have a neat, new house than one of the big, old dwellings that had been built many years before, when his great-great-grandfather had helped throw the dam across the stream. The dam was there still. It was so old that trees were growing on it. And there was an odd thing about it: it was never finished. Though Brownie Beaver was a young chap, he worked on the dam sometimes, like all his neighbors. You see, the villagers kept making the dam wider. And since it was built of sticks and mud, the water sometimes washed bits of it away: so it had to be kept in repair. If Brownie Beaver and his friends had neglected their dam, they would have waked up some day and found that their pond was empty; and without any water to hide their doorways they would have been safe no longer....
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  • 290
The Tale of Frisky Squirrel

The Tale of Frisky Squirrel

Arthur Scott Bailey

Children's

I Frisky Squirrel Finds Much To Do Frisky Squirrel was a lively little chap. And he was very bold, too. You see, he was so nimble that he felt he could always jump right out of danger—no matter whether it was a hawk chasing him, or a fox springing at him, or a boy throwing stones at him. He would chatter and scold at his enemies from some tree-top. And it was seldom that he was so frightened that he ran home and hid inside his mother’s house. Mrs. Squirrel’s house was in a hollow limb of a hickory tree. It was a very convenient place to live; for although the tree was old, it still bore nuts. And it is very pleasant to be able to step out of your house and find your dinner all ready for you—simply waiting to be picked. Of course, Frisky Squirrel and his mother couldn’t find their dinner on the tree the whole year ’round—because it was only in the fall that there were nuts on it. But luckily there were other things to eat—such as seeds, of which there were many kinds in the woods. And then there was Farmer Green’s wheat—and his corn, too, which Frisky liked most of all. The woods where Mrs. Squirrel and her son lived were full of the finest trees to climb that anybody could wish for. And Frisky loved to go leaping from branch to branch, and from tree to tree. He was so fearless that he would scamper far out on the ends of the smallest limbs. But no matter how much they bent and swayed beneath his weight, he was never afraid; in fact, that was part of the fun. As she watched Frisky whisking about among the trees, now swinging on this branch, now leaping far out to that one, Mrs. Squirrel sometimes wondered how he could keep dashing about so madly. Though the old lady was pretty spry, herself, she was content to sit still some of the time. But Frisky Squirrel was almost never still except when he was asleep. There was so much to do! Frisky wished that the days were longer, for though he tried his hardest, he couldn’t climb all the trees in the forest. Each night he had to give up his task, only to begin all over again the next morning. If there had been nothing to do but climb the trees Frisky would have been able to climb more of them. But there were other things that took time. There were the birds, for instance. Frisky simply had to tease them. Perhaps it was just because he was so full of fun—or mischief, as it is sometimes called. Anyhow, he delighted in visiting their nests; and chasing them; and scolding at them. And it was not always the littlest birds, either, that Frisky teased. There was that loud-mouthed fellow, Jasper Jay, the biggest blue jay in the whole neighborhood. Frisky liked nothing better than bothering Jasper Jay—for Jasper always lost his temper and flew straight at Frisky. And then would follow the finest sport of all. But a time came at last when Frisky teased Jasper Jay almost once too often, though that is another story. II Frisky Squirrel has a Fall One day Frisky Squirrel came upon Jasper Jay’s nest when Jasper and his wife were both away from home....
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