Here to return to
"I SUPPOSE – " Timothy Turtle said to his young friend, old Mr. Crow – "I suppose Mr. Alligator is a fine flier."
"He's a very powerful fellow," old Mr. Crow replied with a sly smile.
"Did you ever try to follow him?" Timothy wanted to know.
Mr. Crow shook his head.
"No!" he answered. "I shouldn't want to do that, because one never could tell when he might take a notion to jump into the water."
"Oh! Then he can swim, can he?"
"Certainly!" Mr. Crow assured him.
"Then that's another way in which he's like me!" Timothy Turtle cried. "And if I could only fly, I'd be still more like him."
"Why don't you learn?" Mr. Crow suggested wickedly.
"I'm too old," Timothy sighed.
"Not at all!" Mr. Crow hastened to assure him. "One can never be too old to try a thing."
But Timothy Turtle replied that even if he was young enough to attempt such a feat as flying, he hadn't the least idea of the way to go about it.
Old Mr. Crow was most helpful.
"I'll tell you what you ought to do," he advised. "You swim down the creek as far as the big bluff. And it will be a simple matter for you to climb up to the top of the bluff and jump off the rock that hangs high up over the water."
Timothy Turtle looked far from happy at that suggestion.
"I shouldn't care to do that," he said.
"Why not?" Mr. Crow asked him. "You know there's only one way of flying, and that's through the air."
"I might fall," Timothy objected.
"What if you did?" said Mr. Crow glibly. "You'd only fall into the water. And everybody agrees that you're a fine swimmer.. . . You aren't afraid of getting your feet wet, are you?" And he laughed loudly at his own joke.
For some reason Timothy lost his temper. Perhaps he thought Mr. Crow was disrespectful to his elders.
"Look here, young man!" he snapped, glaring angrily at old Mr. Crow. "If you're laughing at me, I'll invite you to drop down here and stand on the end of my nose."
Old Mr. Crow grew sober at once. The mere thought of perching himself in so dangerous a place was enough to put a quick end to his noisy haw-haws.
"My dear sir!" he cried. "I wouldn't dream of standing on the nose of a fine old gentleman like you. No indeedy! My manners are too good for that."
Timothy Turtle said bluntly that he had always been told that Mr. Crow was the rudest person in all Pleasant Valley – unless it was Mr. Crow's boisterous cousin, Jasper Jay.
When he heard that, Mr. Crow pretended to wipe a tear away from each of his eyes.
"I've always been misunderstood," he declared mournfully. "I'm really a kind-hearted soul. And just to prove to you that I want to be helpful, I'll meet you at the bluff any time you say, and tell you exactly what to do if you want to learn to fly. "
Timothy Turtle seemed to think that the chance was too good a one to lose.
"I accept your offer," he shouted. "And I'll start downstream this very moment."