Here to return to
TIMOTHY TURTLE reached the overhanging bluff in a surprisingly short time. But it must be remembered that he did not walk there on land, but swam down Black Creek with the current. When he crawled out upon the bank he was glad to see that old Mr. Crow was waiting for him, on a pine stump that stood near the water.
He failed utterly to notice that Mr. Crow was not alone. Hidden in all sorts of places were as many as a dozen of Mr. Crow's friends. For the old gentleman had invited his cousin, Jasper Jay, to come to the bluff "to enjoy the fun," as he expressed it.
"But don't let Timothy Turtle see you!" Mr. Crow had warned Jasper. "At least, don't let him know you're there until after he has jumped off the big rock."
Jasper Jay had given his solemn promise.
"And don't let him hear you, either," Mr. Crow had said. And Jasper had agreed to that, too, although he said that it might be a hard thing to do.
Well, Timothy Turtle crawled out upon the bank and took a long look at the high bluff above him, from which the great rock hung over the water of the creek.
"I believe – " he said to old Mr. Crow – "I believe I'd better wait till tomorrow before I try to fly. I've just had a long swim, you know. And I want to feel fresh when I take my first lesson."
"Nonsense!" Mr. Crow exclaimed. "Everything's all ready. You're not too tired, are you, to climb to the top of the bluff?"
"No," Timothy Turtle admitted.
"Then you've no reason for waiting," Mr. Crow assured him. "Coming down will be much easier than going up."
"I dare say that's true," Timothy remarked. "But I don't quite like to think about this business of flying."
"Then you certainly ought not to wait any longer," Mr. Crow urged him. "For the longer you wait the more time you'll have to think."
That appeared to Timothy Turtle to be a good bit of advice. And yet he still seemed uneasy.
"There's just one thing that troubles me," he confessed. "After I've jumped from the rock I might find that I couldn't fly. And I'd get a bad fall."
"But you'd land in the water," Mr. Crow reminded him. "And that would be much better than falling on the land.... I don't need to tell you," he added, "that water is soft. And you're a fine swimmer."
So Timothy Turtle yielded.
And thereupon he began to drag himself up the steep bluff.
It seemed to Mr. Crow that he had never known anybody to walk so slowly. But then, of course, he was in a hurry to see the fun. And it couldn't really begin until Mr. Turtle should reach the big rock and take the leap that Mr. Crow had suggested to him.
Jasper Jay and the rowdies he had brought with him stirred impatiently. And Jasper said aloud to one of them:
"What an old slow-poke he is!"
"What's that?" Timothy Turtle inquired, as he stopped and looked around at Mr. Crow.
"I didn't speak,"
Mr. Crow told him. Timothy glared at his teacher for a few moments. And
Crow began to think that Jasper Jay had spoiled the fun. But at last
Turtle plodded on. And when his back was turned old Mr. Crow flew over
place where Jasper Jay was hidden and whispered to him that he had
still or there would be trouble for him.
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