Here to return to
FISHING was one of Timothy Turtle's favorite sports. He was a skillful fisherman, too. And though it only happened once that he caught more than one fish at a time, on that occasion he captured seven. This was the way it happened:
Johnnie Green had come to Black Creek to fish for pickerel. And Timothy Turtle was much annoyed when he found Johnnie fishing in the pool that he liked best of all. Timothy thought it was mean of Johnnie Green to catch his fish, in his creek.
And Timothy's beady eyes glared as he watched Johnnie from a safe hiding-place under the bank.
He saw that Johnnie Green was a good fisherman. Before he moved on he caught three big fish from that pool; and one of them – the biggest of the three – was the very fish on which Timothy Turtle had been expecting to dine that day.
It was really no wonder that he was annoyed. And when Johnnie went further up the creek to try his luck elsewhere Timothy Turtle slipped into the water and followed him.
The more fish he saw Johnnie Green catch, the angrier Timothy grew. And he went out of his way to tell a number of his neighbors what was happening.
"Something ought to be done about it!" he complained.
"Why don't you go down and speak to Farmer Green?" Peter Mink suggested.
Peter liked fish, too. And he had often said that Johnnie had no right to take food away from him, when everybody knew that there was a plenty at the farmhouse.
Timothy Turtle did not care for Peter's suggestion.
"I've no time to waste talking to Farmer Green," he said. "It seems to me a letter would be better. Now, if somebody would write a letter, and get everybody to sign his name to it, and send it down to Farmer Green by a messenger, I would do my share to help. I would tell the messenger where to leave the letter so that Farmer Green would be sure to find it." Timothy then said that he must hurry back to the creek, for he wanted to see how many fish Johnnie Green took, so the number could be mentioned in the letter. But before he left Timothy told Peter Mink to go and find somebody to write the letter. "There's old Mr. Crow," Timothy said. "You might ask him. He could use one of his quills for a pen, you know."
When Timothy Turtle reached the creek once more he found that while he was talking to Peter Mink, Johnnie Green had moved on again.
So Timothy started to follow him. But what should he see, lying on the bank right before him, but a string of seven pickerel! Johnnie Green had left them there, while he went still further up the creek to catch more.
Timothy Turtle suddenly changed his mind about sending a letter to Farmer Green. He wished that Johnnie would come there to fish every day.
"He's a kind boy, after all!" said Timothy Turtle to himself. "I never dreamed that he was catching these fish for me. But here they are, waiting for me! For Johnnie must have known that I would find them."
Timothy Turtle didn't say anything more. Of course he was only talking to himself, anyhow. And he seized the string of pickerel and waddled into the bushes, where he ate every one of those seven fish.
When Peter Mink met Timothy the next day he said he had not yet found anybody who would write the letter to Farmer Green.
"Mr. Crow told me that if it was anybody but you he might be willing to pull out one of his quills for a pen," Peter explained. "But he said that he hoped Johnnie Green would come here every day to fish, until there are no fish left for you. "
Timothy Turtle sniffed.
"You go back," he directed Peter Mink, "and tell Mr. Crow that I hope Johnnie Green will come here twice a day until he has caught every fish in Black Creek."
Peter Mink thought that that
was a queer thing for Timothy to wish. Neither he nor old Mr. Crow