Happy Jack in "Happy Jack Gets A Warning"
Happy Jack Gets
"It matters not how smart you are,
So be it you are heedless too.
It isn't what you know that counts
So much as what it is to you."
A fat Gray Squirrel is very tempting to a number of people in the Green Forest, particularly in winter, when getting a living is hard work. Almost every day Reddy and Granny Fox stole softly through that part of the Green Forest where Happy Jack Squirrel lived, hoping to surprise and catch him on the ground. But they never did. Roughleg the Hawk and Hooty the Owl wasted a great deal of time, sitting around near Happy Jack's home, hoping to catch him when he was not watching, but they never did.
Happy Jack knew all about these big hungry neighbors, and he was always on the watch for them. He knew their ways and just where they would be likely to hide. He took the greatest care to look into every such hiding place near at hand before he ventured down out of the trees, and because these hungry neighbors are so big, he never had any trouble in seeing them if they happened to be around. So Happy Jack didn't do much worrying about them. The fact is, Happy Jack wasn't afraid of them at all, for the simple reason that he knew they couldn't follow him into his hollow tree.
Having nuts stored away, he would have been perfectly happy but for one thing. Yes, Sir, there was only one thing to spoil Happy Jack's complete happiness, and that was the fear that Shadow the Weasel might take it into his head to pay him a visit. Shadow can go through a smaller hole than Happy Jack can, and so Happy Jack knew that while he was wholly safe from his other enemies, he wasn't safe at all from Shadow the Weasel. And this worried him.
Yes, Sir, it worried Happy Jack. He hadn't seen or heard of Shadow for a long time, but he had a feeling that he was likely to turn up almost any time, especially now that everything was covered with snow and ice, and food was scarce and hard to get. He sometimes actually wished that he wasn't as fat as he was. Then he would be less tempting to his hungry neighbors.
But no good comes of worrying. No, Sir, not a bit of good comes of worrying, and Happy Jack knows it.
"All I can do is to watch out and not be careless," said he, and dropped the shell of a nut on the head of Reddy Fox, who happened to be passing under the tree in which Happy Jack was sitting. Reddy looked up and showed his teeth angrily. Happy Jack laughed and scampered away through the tree-tops to another part of the Green Forest where he had some very secret stores of nuts.
He was gone most of the day, and when he started back home he was in the best of spirits, for his stores had not been found by any one else. He was in such good spirits that for once he quite forgot Shadow the Weasel. He was just going to pop into his doorway without first looking inside, a very foolish thing to do, when he heard some one calling him. He turned to see Tommy Tit the Chickadee hurrying towards him, and it was very clear that Tommy was greatly excited.
"Hello, Tommy Tit! What ails you?" exclaimed Happy Jack.
"Don't go in there, Happy Jack!" cried Tommy Tit. "Shadow the Weasel is in there waiting for you!"Happy Jack turned quite pale.
"Are you sure?" he gasped.Tommy Tit nodded as if he would nod his head off.
"I saw him go in, and he hasn't come out, for I've kept watch," said he.
"You better get away from here before he knows you are about."
That was good advice, but it was too late. Even as Tommy Tit spoke, a sharp face with red, angry eyes was thrust out of Happy Jack's doorway. It was the face of Shadow the Weasel.