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SAMMY JAY BRINGS NEWS
PETER RABBIT had a very funny feeling. He had started out that morning with the best intentions in the world. He had meant to go straight to Chatterer the Red Squirrel and tell him how mean he had been to spy and so find the new house that Chatterer was trying to keep a secret, and then he had overheard Chatterer telling Tommy Tit the Chickadee how he had fooled Peter, and that Peter didn't know where the new house was, at all. Peter had never felt more foolish in his life. No, Sir, he never had felt more foolish in his life. Of course, if it were true that he had been fooled and really didn't know where Chatterer's new house was, there was no use in begging Chatterer's pardon, for he would only make himself still more of a laughing, stock than he was already. And yet the thing he had done was just as mean as if he had found out Chatterer's secret, and he knew that he would feel better if he owned up. He scratched his left ear with his right hind foot and then scratched his right ear with his left hind foot. He pulled his whiskers, and still he didn't know what to do.
He was still trying to decide, when he heard a great racket in the direction of the Green Forest. It was Sammy Jay, screaming noisily as usual, and he was hurrying straight up to the Old Orchard. Of course Chatterer heard him, and as soon as Sammy was within hearing, he called to him. Sammy hurried over at once.
"So here you are!" he exclaimed. "I've hunted all through the Green Forest for you until I'm quite tuckered out. I've got news for you."
"What is it?" begged Chatterer, dancing about with impatience.
"I've seen Shadow the Weasel," replied Sammy.
"Where is he?" asked Chatterer, and his voice sounded very anxious.
"He's over in the Green Forest, and he says he is going to stay there until he catches you, if he has to stay all winter," replied Sammy. "He says he is going to find you if he has to hunt through every tree in the Green Forest."
Chatterer actually turned pale for a minute. "You — you didn't tell him that I wasn't in the Green Forest, did you?" he asked.
"Of course I didn't! How could I when I didn't know it myself?" retorted Sammy scornfully.
"And — and you won't tell him when you see him again, will you, Sammy?" begged Chatterer.
"What do you take me for?" demanded Sammy angrily. "I haven't got any love for you, Chatterer, and you know it. You're a red-headed, red-coated nuisance, and I'm not a bit sorry to see you in trouble, but I wouldn't turn my worst enemy over to such a cruel, cold-blooded robber as Shadow the Weasel. He would kill me just as quickly as he would you, if he could catch me, which he can't, and I am going to make it my business to see to it that all the little people who are afraid of him know that he is about. I am going over to the Old Briar-patch right away to warn Peter Rabbit."
"You don't need to, because I am right here," spoke up Peter from his hiding place. "I am ever so much obliged to you for planning to warn me, and I'm sorry I've ever said mean things about you, Sammy Jay."
"Pooh!" replied Sammy. "You needn't be. I guess I've deserved them."
Then Sammy and Peter and Chatterer began to talk over the news about Shadow the Weasel so eagerly that not one of them saw Black Pussy stealing along the old stone wall.