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After Snowball's trip to the village old dog Spot scarcely stirred from the farmyard. He left the woodchucks to scurry about the pasture as they pleased. For he felt that he ought to keep an eye on Snowball.
The very next time that Snowball started to follow Johnnie Green out of the yard Spot ran up to him and barked at his heels. "Go back!" Spot growled. "Don't you dare leave this yard!"
And then, to Spot's surprise, Johnnie Green picked up a stick and threatened him with it.
"You let my lamb alone!" Johnnie cried. That was bad enough, according to old dog Spot's notion. But when Johnnie shouted, "Get out!" at him, that was worse.
Spot tucked his tail between his legs and slunk away, to hide himself under the woodshed. And there he stayed for the rest of the morning and sulked.
But in the afternoon he began to feel more cheerful. For Spot had heard Mrs. Green remark that school began the next day.
That was good news. At least Spot so thought it.
"This lamb won't get much notice from Johnnie Green after to-day," Spot told Henrietta Hen. "He'll be left here in the yard. And it won't be long now before Mrs. Green tells Farmer Green to put him in the pasture with the flock. She won't have him in everybody's way. She'll get rid of him quickly. You know that when Mrs. Green makes up her mind, things generally happen to suit her."
Henrietta nodded her handsome head.
"Just what I've often told the Rooster!" she exclaimed.
Well, the following morning, as much as an hour after breakfast, Johnnie Green started up the road with some books under his arm and a lunch basket in his hand. It was the first day of school. And somehow Johnnie wasn't feeling very happy. He had dawdled about the house—so his mother said. It appeared that he was in no hurry to leave home.
Before Johnnie had reached the barn, which stood beside the road, Mrs. Green stepped out of the house and looked at him.
"You'd better get along!" she called after him. "You don't want to be late the first day of school!"
So Johnnie Green fell into a jog trot, which he kept up all the way to the red schoolhouse.
As he came in sight of the little box-like building he saw other youngsters hurrying through the doorway. And then Johnnie ran as fast as he could.
He burst inside the schoolroom just as the school mistress tapped the little bell on her desk, which meant that everybody must stop talking, because school had begun. Johnnie Green hurried to a seat. But before he reached it all the other pupils burst into a shout.
Johnnie looked around. And there, trotting across the floor, was Snowball! He had followed Johnnie all the way from Farmer Green's barn.
It was some time before things were quiet. The teacher had to ring her little bell a good many times, and even rap upon her desk with a ruler, before the boys and girls stopped laughing. And then the teacher turned to Johnnie Green and spoke to him.
"Mary!" she said. "Is this your little lamb?"
The teacher seemed surprised because her pupils began to roar at that. But she made no attempt to silence them. She did not even try to quiet a certain boy called "Red," who made more noise than all the rest together.
Meanwhile Johnnie Green's face looked like a great red apple. And it grew several shades redder when Snowball walked up to his seat and stood close beside him.
"Don't you think—" said the teacher after a while—"don't you think, Mary, that you'd better take your little lamb home?"
Johnnie Green did not answer. But he hung his head as he rose and hurried out of the schoolroom, with Snowball following close behind him.
Once outside Johnnie could hear the children still laughing. And he even thought that he could hear the teacher laughing, too.
That very morning Snowball found himself turned into the pasture where Farmer Green's flock of sheep were passing the summer. And it wasn't long before the whole barnyard was filled with the noise of gossiping tongues.
"For once," said Henrietta Hen, "the Muley Cow knew what she was talking about when she said Johnnie Green would grow tired of that white lamb."
As for old dog Spot, he told everybody that he was going up to the pasture to chase woodchucks.
And as for Johnnie Green, he told his mother that he didn't believe he'd go back to school any more.
But she said he should, and that very morning.
And things generally happened the way Mrs. Green intended.
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