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Farmer Green had fenced off a piece of the old orchard. And into this new yard he turned Mrs. Pig's children.
They had a fine time there, rooting down under the sod, rubbing their backs against the trunks of the old apple trees, and sprawling in the shade when they were sleepy.
Sometimes an apple dropped from a tree. And then there was a mad scramble.
"Dear me!" said Jolly Robin's wife as she sat in the apple tree where she and her husband had a nest every summer. "Don't Mrs. Pig's children make a dreadful noise? I never knew half-grown pigs to have such loud voices. Their grunts certainly are full-sized."
Jolly Robin, who had perched himself beside his wife, looked down at their new neighbors.
"They're having a good time," he observed cheerfully. "We ought not to complain. We may be thankful that they don't climb trees and try to sing."
Jolly Robin had a way of looking on the bright side of things. It was seldom that he couldn't act cheerful. Even when he felt quite downhearted, inside, he managed usually to appear happy, outside. And now his remark put his wife in a pleasanter frame of mind.
"Imagine a pig up a tree!" Mrs. Robin tittered.
"Umph! Umph! Are you talking about me?" a voice inquired right beneath them. It gave Mrs. Robin such a start that she almost tumbled off the limb.
"No! No! We're not talking about you—not exactly!" Jolly Robin answered.
It was Grunty Pig that had spoken.
"Pardon me!" he said. "I thought I heard you mention the name, 'Pig'."
"Er—yes! We did speak of your family, in a general way," Jolly Robin admitted.
"Ah!" said Grunty Pig. "And what was it you said about us? Weren't you and your wife laughing about our climbing trees?"
Somehow Jolly Robin thought that Grunty's little eyes had a spiteful gleam as he looked upward into the tree top. And Mrs. Robin couldn't help moving to a higher limb. Grunty's glare sent a most uncomfortable shiver over her.
Jolly Robin tried his best to act at his ease.
"It was just an odd thought that popped into my head," he assured Grunty Pig. "It made Mrs. Robin giggle when I mentioned it." He laughed merrily enough. And his wife managed to smile faintly. But Grunty Pig frowned.
"I thought so!" he cried. "You Robins were poking fun at me and my brothers and sisters. Yes! And no doubt at my mother, too!"
"Oh, no!" Jolly Robin assured him. "We weren't thinking of any one in particular."
"Aha!" Grunty snorted. "You were laughing at all of us, then." And Jolly Robin could say nothing to change his opinion. "You can't fool me," Grunty declared. "You have insulted my whole family. And it's time that you learned better manners. I see that I shall have to teach you a lesson."
Well, when they heard that speech Jolly Robin and his wife had to laugh. The idea of a lesson in manners from Grunty Pig was the funniest thing on the farm.
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