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Chapter 18

Planning a Journey

After they learned that Major Monkey was in the habit of going to Farmer Green's henhouse for eggs, the wild folk began to have a better opinion of him once more. So long as he didn't steal birds' eggs they were willing to overlook his stone-throwing--if he didn't throw too many.

Somehow they never seemed to think of Farmer Green's loss. Or if they did, no doubt they thought that he had so many eggs that he wouldn't mind losing a few now and then.

So it happened that Major Monkey found everybody most agreeable--except old Mr. Crow, who never felt the same toward him again.

But Major Monkey did not let Mr. Crow's gruffness trouble him. He had so many other cronies that he frequently remarked that he had never spent a pleasanter summer.

"I've decided"--he told Jolly Robin one day, when he stopped in the orchard to eat an apple--"I've decided to stay right here in Pleasant Valley for the rest of my life."

"My gracious!" Jolly Robin exclaimed. "Then you don't mind cold weather."

Major Monkey asked him what he meant. And it surprised him to learn that all winter long deep snow lay upon the ground, and cold winds blew, and fierce storms often raged.

Though it was a hot summer's day, Major Monkey shivered at the mere mention of such things. And he pulled his red cap further down upon his head.

"If that's the case," he said, "I certainly don't want to spend the winters here.... I don't see how you manage to live through them."

Jolly Robin laughed merrily. "Bless you!" he cried. "I don't stay here the year 'round. As soon as it begins to grow chilly I go South, where it's warm."

Now, Major Monkey looked worried when he heard about the bitter winters in Pleasant Valley. His queer face had screwed itself into even more wrinkles than it usually wore. But as soon as Jolly Robin spoke of going to a warmer place, the Major brightened at once.

"I'm going South too!" he cried. "And if you've no objection we'll travel together."

Jolly Robin said that nothing would please him more.

"I shall be glad to go with you--if my wife doesn't object," he assured the Major.

"Oh! She won't mind," said Major Monkey. "She can go with us. We'll make up a party.... She'll be lucky to go anywhere with such a famous traveller as I am."

Jolly Robin said somewhat doubtfully that he hoped Mrs. Robin would accept their plan. And then he dashed Major Monkey's high hopes by remarking, "Of course, we always fly when we go South."

The Major's face fell. He looked careworn and unhappy again.

"I don't know how to fly," he faltered. "But if you'll fly low, and slowly enough, perhaps I can run through the tree-tops fast enough to keep up with you. I hope it isn't a long trip," he added somewhat anxiously.

"It's about a thousand miles," Jolly Robin told him.

Arthur Scott Bailey

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