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CHATTERER REMEMBERS SOMETHING
CHATTERER was disgusted with himself, with all his neighbors, and with the world in general, which is to say that Chatterer was very much put out about something. There was no doubt about it. He couldn't see anything cheerful in the sunshine nor anything pleasant in the blue, blue sky, and when any one fails to see cheerfulness in the sunshine or to find something pleasant in the blue, blue sky, there is something wrong in his own heart. That was the trouble with Chatterer. There was a great deal wrong in his heart.
In the first place, it was filled with anger, and anger, you know, will take all the joy and pleasantness out of anything. And then Chatterer was mortified. He was both angry and mortified because Sammy Jay had proved to have smarter wits than he had. So, as soon as he could do so without being seen, he slipped into his new home in the old house of Drummer the Woodpecker in an apple-tree in the Old Orchard, and there he sulked for the rest of the day. You see, Sammy Jay had made him go over to Farmer Brown's corn-crib and get him some corn right in broad daylight, and he had very narrowly escaped being seen by Farmer Brown's boy.
"If only I hadn't promised to get him corn whenever he asks me to!" he said over and over to himself, as he sulked in his home in the apple-tree. "If only I hadn't! And yet I couldn't help myself — I just had to. Now whenever he feels like it, he'll make me do as he did to-day and perhaps I won't always be so lucky. Oh, dear; oh, dear; I've got myself into a dreadful mess, and I've just got to think of some way out of it."
So all the rest of the day he thought and thought, and the more he thought the more unhappy he grew. It wasn't until just as he was going out for a breath of air before going to bed for the night that the great idea came to him.
"Stupid, stupid, stupid!" he muttered, meaning himself. "Why didn't I remember it before? You won't see me going over to that corn-crib again, Mr. Jay! I'll get you the corn if I must, but you won't have the fun of laughing at me trying to dodge Black Pussy and Farmer Brown's boy. You're smart, Mr. Jay! You're smart, but you've got to get up early in the morning to play such a trick on Chatterer twice."
Right away he felt so much better in his mind that he had a brisk run along the old stone wall and then turned in for a good night's sleep. The next day Sammy Jay appeared in the middle of the forenoon and demanded more corn. Chatterer pretended that he didn't dare go for it, but when Sammy insisted that he must, he suddenly started for — where do you think'? Why, for that store-house of his in the hollow rail at the edge of the cornfield. It was a long way to go, but that was better than running the risk of being seen by Farmer Brown's boy. It took him some time, but at last he was back with his cheeks stuffed with corn. Sammy Jay pretended to be cross because he had been kept waiting so long and grumbled all the time he was eating. He pretended to think that the corn was not as good as that from Farmer Brown's corn-crib and mumbled something about telling Shadow the Weasel if Chatterer didn't get him some corn from the crib the next day.
"You can't!" cried Chatterer in triumph. "You promised not to tell Shadow if I kept my promise and got you corn whenever you asked for it; but I didn't say where I would get it," and he chuckled to think that he had been smarter than Sammy Jay.
Sammy ate every grain and then went off, but as he went, Chatterer thought he heard something very like a chuckle. It made him thoughtful and a little uneasy, but he couldn't think of any way Sammy could get the best of him now, so he soon forgot it, and all the rest of the day he thought of how lucky it was that he had remembered that store-house in the hollow rail.