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Jolly Robin and his wife told all their friends that Grunty Pig was going to teach them a lesson. The birds had many a laugh over the matter. Not till old Mr. Crow visited the orchard one day did the Robin family cease chuckling over what they called "the joke of the season."
"Don't laugh too soon!" Mr. Crow croaked. "This Grunty Pig means mischief. He isn't going to teach you the sort of lesson you've been snickering about. What he intends to do is to harm you in some way."
Now, nobody in Pleasant Valley could look gloomier than old Mr. Crow. And when he hinted darkly, in his hoarse way, that there was trouble ahead for the Robin family, he threw Jolly Robin's wife into a flutter.
"Oh, what does Grunty Pig mean to do to us?" Mrs. Robin quavered.
"I'd rather not tell you," said old Mr. Crow. "I don't want you to worry."
Mr. Crow left them then. Of course he couldn't have chosen a better way to upset Mrs. Robin. Even Jolly himself had to admit after a while that he could think of nothing that seemed to cheer his wife in the least. "I'll speak to Mr. Crow again," he told his wife. "I'll ask him just what he meant."
Alas! Mr. Crow couldn't tell him. The truth was that Mr. Crow had already told all he knew.
"I'll ask Grunty Pig himself what he means to do to us," Jolly then declared to his wife. "I've noticed that he digs every day at the foot of our apple tree. The next time he comes here I'll have a talk with him." So that very day Jolly put his question to Grunty Pig.
"What is it," he asked, "that you intend to do to us?"
"You'll find out later," said Grunty Pig. "I expect to be in the top of your apple tree before fall. And then—"
Jolly Robin couldn't wait for him to finish. He had to laugh right out, on the spot. And his wife, who had been listening eagerly, burst into the first giggle that had passed her bill for days and days.
So Grunty Pig expected to climb a tree! Mr. and Mrs. Robin gave each other a merry look. It was all too funny for words.
"Umph!" said Grunty Pig. "You won't laugh when I'm in your tree top."
"How are you going to get up here?" Jolly Robin asked him, with a wink at Mrs. Robin. "Are you going to fly?"
"No!" Grunty Pig said. "No!"
"Then you're going to climb," cried Mrs. Robin. And both she and her husband choked, as they pictured fat Grunty Pig scrambling up the trunk of the old apple tree.
"No!" Grunty Pig said. "No!"
"Well, well!" Jolly Robin exclaimed. "Don't be so short with your answers! Explain how you expect to get up into the top of our apple tree."
"I never said I expected to get up there," Grunty Pig corrected him.
"What?" cried Jolly Robin. "What?" cried his wife.
"No!" said Grunty Pig. "I said I'd be in the tree top before fall. If I work here every day around the foot of the tree I'll have it uprooted at last. And when it topples over and falls on the ground I'll have no trouble getting into the top of it."
When they heard that, Jolly Robin and his wife stopped laughing.
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