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Chapter 9

The Major Has a Plan


"What is your business, if I may ask?" Mr. Crow inquired of Major Monkey.

"Lately I've been spending my time travelling," the Major replied. "But you know I'm a soldier. And while I'm in Pleasant Valley I intend to form an army."

Old Mr. Crow looked somewhat worried when he heard that.

"I hope you aren't going to guard the cornfield!" he said hastily.

Major Monkey set his fears at rest.

"We'll let Farmer Green do that," he said with a wink. "This is what we'll do: we'll band ourselves together and we'll fight any strangers that come to Pleasant Valley to live."

"That's not a bad plan," Mr. Crow remarked. "But it's lucky for you that you didn't form the army before you got here yourself--else we'd have had to fight you."

"Of course!" Major Monkey agreed. "But trust me not to make such a mistake as that."

"Who's going to be in the army?" Mr. Crow wanted to know.

"Everybody!" the Major answered, with a wave of the hand that took in the whole valley.

For as long as a minute old Mr. Crow was very thoughtful.

"I shall not care to be in it unless I can be a general," he announced at last.

"Why, certainly!" said Major Monkey. "Certainly you shall be a general, Mr. Crow."

Mr. Crow swelled himself up and looked as important as he could.

"Get everybody to come to the edge of the woods, near the pasture, early to-morrow morning," Major Monkey commanded.

"Aren't you going to do any of the work?" Mr. Crow demanded. "I thought generals didn't have to do anything except look wise."

"It's easier for you to get about than it is for me. But as soon as we have our army together I'll take entire charge of it," Major Monkey informed him.

Mr. Crow was satisfied. After all, it wouldn't really be work, he told himself, to fly around and tell the people the news. In fact, the more he thought about the plan the better he liked it.

So he bade Major Monkey good-by and hurried away.

When Mr. Crow had flown out of sight the Major rolled over and over on the ground. And then he climbed a tree and swung by his tail from a limb, while he made an odd, chuckling sound.

"A general!" he said. "General Crow! Why he never wore a uniform in all his life!"

On the following morning the field-and forest-folk began gathering at the edge of the woods near the pasture almost before it was light. And when Major Monkey left his snug bed in the haystack and went to the meeting-place he found an eager throng waiting for him.

Old Mr. Crow was flitting about, talking in a loud voice, and ordering people around to his heart's content.

"Silence!" Major Monkey commanded, as soon as he arrived. Mr. Crow opened his mouth to speak. But Major Monkey cut him off short.

"The first thing a soldier has to learn is to obey," he barked.

"But I'm a general!" Mr. Crow protested.

"Well, these are general orders; so you'll have to obey 'em," said Major Monkey glibly.

And poor old Mr. Crow didn't know what to say to that.

But he couldn't help looking rather grumpy.


Arthur Scott Bailey

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