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XI
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT TO CHATTERER  

WERE you ever terribly, terribly frightened?That was the way Chatterer felt. He was caught; there was no doubt about it! His sharp teeth were of no use at all on those hard wires. He could look out between them, but he couldn't get out. He was too frightened to think. His heart pounded against his sides until it hurt. He forgot all about that queer food he had so wanted to taste, and which was right before him now. Indeed, he felt as if he never, never would want to eat again. What was going to happen to him now?What would Farmer Brown's boy do to him when he found him there?

Hark! What was that?It was a step just outside the door of the corncrib. Farmer Brown's boy was coming! Chatterer raced around his little wire prison and bit savagely at the hard wires. But it was of no use, no use at all. It only hurt his mouth cruelly. Then the door of the corn-crib swung open, a flood of light poured in, and with it came Farmer Brown's boy.

"Hello!" exclaimed Farmer Brown's boy, as he caught sight of Chatterer. "So you are the thief who has been stealing our corn, and I thought it was a rat or a mouse. Well, well, you little red rascal, didn't you know that thieves come to no good end?You're pretty smart, for I never once thought of you, but you were not so smart as you thought. Now I wonder what we had better do with you."

He picked up the trap with Chatterer in it and stepped out into the beautiful great out-of-doors. Chatterer could see across the dooryard to the Old Orchard and the familiar old stone wall along which he had scampered so often. They looked just the same as ever, and yet well, they didn't look just the same, for he couldn't look at them without seeing those cruel wires which were keeping him from them.

Farmer Brown's boy put the trap down on the ground and then began to call. "Puss, Puss, Puss," called Farmer Brown's boy. Chatterer's heart, which had been thumping so, almost stopped beating with fright. There was Black Pussy, whom he had so often teased and made fun of. Her yellow eyes had a hungry gleam as she walked around the trap and sniffed and sniffed. Never had Chatterer heard such a terrible sound as those hungry sniffs so close to him! Black Pussy tried to put a paw between the wires, and Chatterer saw the great, cruel claws. But Black Pussy couldn't get her paw between the wires.

"How would you like him for breakfast?" asked Farmer Brown's boy.

"Meow," said Black Pussy, arching her back and rubbing against his legs.

"I suppose that means that you would like him very much," laughed Fanner Brown's boy. "Do you think you can catch him if I let him out?"

"Meow," replied Black Pussy again, and to poor Chatterer it seemed the awfullest sound he ever had heard.

"Well, we'll see about it by and by," said Farmer Brown's boy. "There's the breakfast bell, and I haven't fed the biddies yet."


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