Here to return to
As soon as Johnnie Green saw Mr. Turtle he let out a loud whoop. And as soon as Mr. Turtle saw Johnnie, he scrambled up and made awkwardly for the water as fast as he could go.
But Timothy's fastest, on land, was so slow that Johnnie Green stopped him in two seconds.
Catching up a long stick, Johnnie thrust it in front of Timothy Turtle, who promptly seized it in his hooked jaws.
Johnnie Green couldn't help laughing at him.
"You're a stupid old fellow!" he cried. "You could bite that stick all day and not hurt me."
But Timothy Turtle said never a word. He wished, however, that he could shift his grip to one of Johnnie's bare toes. He rather thought, if he could have done that, that Johnnie Green would give such a yell as had never before been heard in Pleasant Valley.
But Johnnie was careful. After catching Mr. Turtle he hardly knew what to do with him. All summer long Johnnie had kept his jackknife sharp as a razor, ready to carve his initials on Mr. Turtle's hard shell whenever the chance came. The knife was in his pocket. There was Mr. Turtle before him on the sand. And yet Johnnie was puzzled.
Close at hand his captive looked fiercer than he had appeared at a distance, lying on a rock in the creek. And his jaws had closed upon the stick in a vise-like hold. Johnnie winced when he tried to imagine how he would feel with Mr. Turtle fastened firmly to a toe or a finger.
It was not a pleasant thought. But Johnnie Green soon had a happier one: why not turn the old scamp over upon his back?
Johnnie had heard that a turtle was helpless when upset in that way. And he had already made up his mind to flop this one over when he realized that even with his captive upside down there was still a certain difficulty.
To be sure, Mr. Turtle couldn't walk away. But he could bite just the same. And how was a boy going to carve his initials on anybody's back, when that person was lying on it?
Johnnie Green saw that that plan wouldn't do at all. But he turned Timothy over, just for fun, upsetting him neatly by lifting him on the stick – for Timothy had not sense enough to let go of it in time to save himself.
Johnnie stayed there only long enough to make sure that Timothy Turtle was unable to move. And he soon decided that the savage old rascal would have to lie on his back until somebody came along and tipped him over. Then Johnnie Green scampered away.
To be sure, Mr. Turtle wriggled his legs, and twisted his neck about. But all his wiggling and twisting were of not the slightest help to him.
It was the first time in his long life that he had ever found himself in that position on land. And he was both frightened and angry.
Old Mr. Crow, who had a way
of knowing when there was anything unusual going on, arrived
in time to hear
Timothy's remarks. And what he said about boys – and especially
Green – made Mr. Crow catch his breath.