Happy Jack in "What Was The Matter With Farmer Brown's Boy?"
What Was Wrong With
Farmer Brown's Boy?
"He who climbs the highest has the farthest to fall, but often it is worth the risk."
All the way home from his visit to Farmer Brown's house Happy Jack Squirrel puzzled and wondered over what he had seen. He had peeped in at a window and seen Farmer Brown's boy lying all covered up, with only his head showing. Happy Jack couldn't see very well, but somehow that head didn't look just right. One thing was sure, and that was there was something wrong with Farmer Brown's boy. He never would have been lying still like that if there hadn't been.
Happy Jack had been so troubled by what he saw that he had hardly tasted the nuts he had found on the window-sill. "I am going to make him another call to-morrow," said he when he and Tommy Tit were once more back in the Green Forest.
"Of course," replied Tommy. "I expected you would. I will be around for you at the same time. You're not afraid any more to go up there, are you?"
"No-o," replied Happy Jack, slowly. The truth is, he was still a little afraid. It seemed to him a terribly venturesome thing to cross that open dooryard, but having done it once in safety, he knew that it would be easier the next time. It was. The next morning he and Tommy Tit went just as before, and this time Happy Jack scampered across the dooryard the very first time he tried. They found things just as they had been the day before. They saw Farmer Brown's boy, but he didn't see them.
Tommy Tit was just going to tap on the window to let him know they were there, when a door inside opened, and in walked Mrs. Brown. It frightened them so that Tommy Tit flew away without tasting a single nut, and Happy Jack nearly fell as he scrambled back into the tree close by the window. You see, they never had made her acquaintance, and having her walk in so suddenly frightened them terribly. They didn't stop to think that there was nothing to fear because there was the window between.
Somehow they couldn't understand that queer stuff that they could see through but which shut them out. If they had seen Mrs. Brown go to the window and put more cracked nuts on the sill, perhaps they would have been less afraid. But they had been too badly frightened to look back, and so they didn't know anything about that.
The next morning Tommy Tit was on hand as usual, but he found Happy Jack a little doubtful about paying another visit. He wasn't wholly over his scare of the day before. It took him some time to make up his mind to go, but finally he did. This time when they reached the tree close by the house, they found a great surprise awaiting them. Farmer Brown's boy was sitting just inside the window, looking out. At least, they thought it was Farmer Brown's boy, but when they got a little nearer, they grew doubtful.
It looked like Farmer Brown's boy, and yet it didn't. His cheeks stuck way out just as Striped Chipmunk's do when he has them stuffed full of corn or nuts.
Happy Jack stared at him very hard. "My goodness, I didn't know he carried his food that way!" he exclaimed. "I should think it would be dreadfully uncomfortable."
If Farmer Brown's boy could have heard that, he certainly would have tried to laugh, and if he had—well, it was bad enough when he tried to smile at the sight of Tommy Tit and Happy Jack. He didn't smile at all but made up an awful face instead and clapped both hands to his cheeks. Happy Jack and Tommy Tit didn't know what to make of it, and it was some time before they made up their minds that it really was Farmer Brown's boy, and that they had nothing to fear.
But when they finally ventured on to the sill and, as they helped themselves to nuts, saw the smile in his eyes, though he did not smile with his mouth at all, they knew that it was he, and that he was glad that they had called. Then they were glad too.
But what was the matter with Farmer Brown's boy? Happy Jack puzzled over it all the rest of the day, and then gave it up.