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XV
FARMER BROWN'S BOY TRIES TO MAKE FRIENDS
 

Nobody lives who's wholly bad;

     Some good you'll find in every heart.

Your enemies will be your friends.

     If only you will do your part.

 ALL his life Chatterer the Red Squirrel had looked on Farmer Brown's boy as his enemy, just as did all the other little people of the Oreen Meadows, the Green Forest, and. the Smiling Pool. They feared him, and because they feared him, they hated him. So whenever he came near, they ran away. Now at first, Farmer Brown's boy used to run after them for just one thing because he wanted to make friends with them, and he couldn't see how ever he was going to do it unless he caught them. After a while, when he found that he couldn't catch them by running after them, he made up his mind that they didn't want to be his friends, and so then he began to hunt them, because he thought it was fun to try to outwit them. Of course, when he began to do that, they hated him and feared him all the more. You see, they didn't understand that really he had one of the kindest hearts in the world; and he didn't understand that they hated him just because they didn't know him.

So when Chatterer had been caught in the trap in Farmer Brown's corncrib, he hadn't doubted in the least that Farmer Brown's boy would give, him to Black Pussy or do something equally cruel; and even when he found that he was only to be kept a prisoner in a very comfortable prison, with plenty to eat and drink, he wasn't willing to believe any good of Farmer Brown's boy. Indeed, he hated him  more than ever, if that were possible.

But Farmer Brown's boy was very patient. He came to Chatterer's prison ever so many times a day and whistled and clucked and talked to Chatterer. And he brought good things to eat. It seemed as if he were all the time trying to think of some new treat for Chatterer. He never came without bringing something. At first, Chatterer would hide in his hollow stump as soon as he saw Farmer Brown's boy coming and wouldn't so much as peek out until he had gone away. When he was sure that the way was clear, he would come out again, and always he found some delicious fat nuts or some other dainty waiting for him. After a little, as soon as he saw Farmer Brown's boy coming, Chatterer would begin to wonder what good thing he had brought this time, and would grow terribly impatient for Farmer Brown's boy to go away so that he could find out.

By and by it got so that he couldn't wait, but would. slyly peep out of his little, round doorway to see what had been brought for him. Then one day Farmer Brown's boy didn't come at all. Chatterer tried to make himself believe that he was glad. He told himself that he hated Farmer Brown's boy, and he hoped that he never, never would see him again. But all the time he knew that it wasn't true. It was the longest day since Chatterer had been a prisoner. Early the next morning, before Chatterer was out of bed, he heard a step in the woodshed, and before he thought what he was doing, he was out of his hollow stump to see if it really was Farmer Brown's boy. It was, and he had three great fat nuts which he dropped into Chatterer's cage. It seemed to Chatterer that he just couldn't wait for Farmer Brown's boy to go away. Finally he darted forward and seized one. Then he scampered to the shelter of his hollow stump to eat it. When it was finished, he just had to have another. Farmer Brown's boy was still watching, but somehow Chatterer didn't feel so much afraid. This time he sat up on one of the little branches of the stump and ate it in plain sight. Farmer Brown's boy smiled, and it was a pleasant smile.

"I believe we shall be friends, after all," said he.


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