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Old Mr. Crow often remarked that if Grumpy Weasel really wanted to be of some use in the world he would spend his time at the sawmill filling knot holes in boards.
"He's so slender," Mr. Crow would say, "that he can push himself into a knot hole no bigger round than Farmer Green's thumb."
Naturally it did not please old Mr. Crow when Solomon Owl went out of his way one day to tell him that he was sadly mistaken. For after hearing some gossip repeat Mr. Crow's opinion Solomon Owl—the wise old bird—had given several long hoots and hurried off, though it was broad daylight, to set Mr. Crow right.
"The trouble—" Solomon explained when he had found Mr. Crow on the edge of the woods—"the trouble with your plan to have Grumpy Weasel work in the sawmill is that he wouldn't keep a knot hole filled longer than a jiffy. It's true that he can fit a very small hole. But if you'd ever watched him closely you'd know that he's in a hole and out the other side so fast you can scarcely see what happens. He's entirely too active to fill the bill."
Old Mr. Crow made a queer noise in his throat, which showed that Solomon Owl had made him angry.
"I never said anything about Grumpy Weasel's filling any bills," Mr. Crow spluttered. "Knot holes were what I had in mind. I've no doubt, though, that you'd like Grumpy Weasel to fill your own bill."
Now, if Solomon Owl had not tried more than once to catch Grumpy Weasel perhaps Mr. Crow's retort wouldn't have made him feel so uncomfortable. And muttering that he wished when people spoke of his beak they wouldn't call it a bill, and that Mr. Crow was too stupid to talk to, Solomon blundered away into the woods.
It was true, of course, that Grumpy Weasel was about the quickest of all the furred folk in Pleasant Valley. Why, you might be looking at him as he stopped for a moment on a stone wall; and while you looked he would vanish before your eyes. It was just as if he had melted away in an instant, so quickly could he dart into a crevice between the stones.
It was surprising, too, that he could whisk himself out of sight so fast, for his body was absurdly long. But if he was long in one way he was short in another. Yes! Grumpy Weasel had the shortest temper of all the field- and forest-folk throughout Pleasant Valley. Even peppery Peter Mink was not so short-tempered as he.
So terrible tempered was Grumpy Weasel that whenever the news flashed through the woods that he was out hunting, all the small people kept quite still, because they were afraid. And even some of the bigger ones—a good deal bigger than Grumpy Weasel himself—felt uneasy.
So you can see whether or not Grumpy Weasel was welcome.
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