Major Monkey and old Mr. Crow had a long talk. They got on famously together, because the old gentleman liked to pry into other people's affairs and the Major loved to talk about himself.
In reply to Mr. Crow's questions, Major Monkey explained that he was a great traveller. And having found himself in the village a few miles away, he had taken a notion to see the surrounding country.
"This is a delightful spot," the Major remarked. "And if your neighbors are half as pleasant as you are, I think I'll stay right here for the present."
Naturally, old Mr. Crow was flattered. He couldn't remember when anybody had said he was pleasant.
"I hope you will settle in Pleasant Valley," he told Major Monkey. "As for the neighbors--well, you'll find them a queer lot, mostly."
"What's the matter with them?" the Major asked him.
Thereupon old Mr. Crow shook his head.
"They're not at all like me," he replied slowly.
"Of course, there's my cousin, Jasper Jay. He's not a bad sort--except that he's rude, noisy, and a good deal of a rascal. But the others--well, most of them are too greedy. If I didn't watch this cornfield closely some of them wouldn't care if they didn't leave a single kernel for anybody else."
"Do you like corn?" the Major inquired.
Mr. Crow swallowed once or twice before answering.
"I can eat it," he said finally. "It keeps one alive, you know. But if you've never had any, I advise you not to touch it."
Major Monkey thanked him.
"Don't mention it!" said Mr. Crow. "I'm delighted to be of help to a stranger. And if there is anything else I can do, don't hesitate to call on me."
Major Monkey thanked him again. And then he said:
"I'd like to get acquainted with all the neighbors--such as they are. And I would suggest that you give a party and invite me and a lot of people to come to it, so I can meet them."
Old Mr. Crow bit his tongue. It struck him that Major Monkey was just the least bit too forward.
"What about refreshments?" Mr. Crow asked him. "It's easy to see that you don't know the neighbors. I can tell you that they have enormous appetites--every one of them."
"Oh! that's easily arranged," said Major Monkey. "Tell everybody to be sure to have his refreshments before he comes to the party."
"A good idea!" Mr. Crow exclaimed. With that difficulty removed he was willing to give a party, for he quite liked the prospect of introducing everybody to "his old friend, Major Monkey."
"You're sure you don't know anybody in this valley except me?" Mr. Crow asked. He didn't want to divide with anyone else the honor of being a friend of anybody so imposing as the Major.
"I haven't spoken to a soul but you," Major Monkey assured him.
Mr. Crow said he was glad of that. And then he asked the Major to keep out of sight until the time came for the party to begin.
At first Major Monkey objected. And not until Mr. Crow promised to have the party that very day--an hour before sunset--did he consent to hide himself.
"Where's a good place?" he asked Mr. Crow.
"That tree is hollow," said Mr. Crow, pointing to the one in which he had first seen the Major. "Just slip inside that hole there, about half way up the trunk, and don't come out till I call you!"
Major Monkey scrambled back into the tall tree. And Mr. Crow watched him narrowly until he was out of sight. Indeed, the old gentleman even continued to stare at the hole after his friend had vanished inside it.