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Chapter 16


Blacky the Crow is sharp of eye;

He dearly loves to peek and pry.

I must confess, alas! alack!

Blacky the Crow's an imp in black.

IT is true, I am sorry to say, that Blacky the Crow never is happier than when he is teasing some one and making them uncomfortable. He is an imp of mischief, is Blacky. Whatever business he has on hand he goes about it with one eye open for a chance to have fun at the expense of some one else. And there is little that those sharp eyes of his miss. He sees all that there is to see. Yes, Sir, you may trust Blacky for that!

It was just the hard luck of Bobby Coon that no sooner was he asleep in that hollow stump in the Green Forest than along came Blacky the Crow, flying above the tree-tops on his way to his nest, but as usual watching sharply for what might be going on below. It just happened that he flew right over that stump, so that he could look right down inside. He saw Bobby Coon curled up there asleep. Yes, indeed, you may be sure he saw Bobby.

Blacky checked himself in his flight and hovered for an instant right above that stump. Mischief fairly danced in his sharp eyes. Then he turned and silently flew down and alighted on the edge of the old stump. For a few minutes he sat there, looking down at Bobby Coon. All the time he was chuckling to himself. Then he flew to the top of a tree and began to call with all his might.

"Caw caw, caw, ca-a-w, caw, caw!" he called. "Caw, ca-a-w, caw!"

Almost right away he was answered, and presently from all directions dame hurrying his friends and relatives, each one cawing at the top of his voice and asking Blacky what he had found. Blacky didn't tell them until the last one came hurrying up. Then he told them to go look in the old hollow stump. One after another they flew over it, looking down, and one after another they shouted with glee. Then as many as could find a place on the edge of the old stump did so, while the others sat about in the trees or flew back and forth overhead, and all of them began to caw as hard as ever they could. Such a racket as they made!

Of course, Bobby Coon couldn't sleep. Certainly not. No one could have slept through that racket. He opened his eyes and looked up. He saw a ring of black heads looking down at him and mischief fairly dancing in the sharp eyes watching him. The instant it was known that he was awake, the noise redoubled.

"Ca-a-w, ca-a-w, ca-a-w, caw, caw, ca-a-w, caw, caw, caw!"

Bobby drew back his lips and snarled, and at that his tormentors fairly shrieked with glee. Then Blacky dropped a little stick down on Bobby. Another crow did the same thing. Bobby scrambled to his feet and started to climb up. His tormentors took to the air and screamed louder than ever. Bobby stopped. What was the use of going up where they could get at him? They would pull his fur and make him most uncomfortable, and he knew he couldn't catch one of them to save him. He backed down and sat glaring up at them and telling them what dreadful things he would do to them if ever he should catch one of them. This delighted Blacky and his friends more than ever. They certainly were having great fun.

Finally Bobby did the wisest thing possible. He once more curled up and took no notice at all of the black imps. Of course, he couldn't go to sleep with such a racket going on, but he pretended to sleep. Now you know there is no fun in trying to tease one who won't show he is teased. After a while Blacky and his friends got tired of screaming. They had had their fun, and one by one they flew about their business until at last the Green Forest was as still as still could be. Bobby sighed thankfully and once more fell asleep.

Thornton W. Burgess

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