Chapter 22




TOMMY TIT MAKES GOOD HIS BOAST

"Dee, dee, dee, chickadee! See me! See me!" Tommy Tit the Chickadee kept saying this over and over, as he flew from the Green Forest up through the Old Orchard on his way to Farmer Brown's dooryard, and his voice was merry. In fact, his voice was the merriest, cheeriest sound to be heard that bright, snapping, cold morning. To be sure there were other voices, but they were not merry, nor were they cheery. There was the voice of Sammy Jay, but it sounded peevish and discontented. And there was the voice of Blacky the Crow, but it sounded harsh and unpleasant. And there was the voice of Chatterer the Red Squirrel, but Chatterer was scolding just from habit, and his voice was not pleasant to hear.

So every one who heard Tommy Tit's cheery voice that cold winter morning just had to smile. Yes, Sir, they just had to smile, even Sammy Jay and Blacky the Crow. They just couldn't help themselves. When Tommy reached the stone wall that separated the Old Orchard from Farmer Brown's dooryard, his sharp eyes were not long in finding Peter Rabbit, and Happy Jack the Gray Squirrel, and Chatterer hiding in the old wall where they could peep out and see all that happened in Farmer Brown's dooryard. Looking back through the Old Orchard, he saw what looked like a little bit of the blue, blue sky flitting silently from tree to tree. It was Sammy Jay. Over in the very top of a tall maple-tree, a long way off, was a spot of black. Tommy didn't need to be told that it was Blacky the Crow, who didn't dare come any nearer.

Tommy fairly bubbled over with joy. He knew what it all meant. He knew that Peter Rabbit and Happy Jack and Chatterer and Sammy Jay and Blacky the Crow had come to see him make good his boast to Chatterer that he would eat from the hand of Farmer Brown's boy, and that not one of them really believed that he would do it. He tickled all over and cut up all sorts of capers, just for pure joy. Finally he flew over to the maple-tree that grows close by Farmer Brown's house.

"Dee, dee, dee, chickadee! See me! See me!" called Tommy Tit, and his voice sounded cheerier than ever and merrier than ever.

Then the door of Farmer Brown's house opened, and out stepped Farmer Brown's boy and looked up at Tommy Tit, and the look in his eyes was gentle and good to see. He pursed up his lips, and from them came the softest, sweetest whistle, and it sounded like "Phoe-be."

Peter Rabbit pinched himself to be sure that he was awake, for it was Tommy Tit's own love note, and if Peter had not been looking straight at Farmer Brown's boy, he would have been sure that it was Tommy himself who had whistled.

"Phoe-be," whistled Farmer Brown's boy again.

"Phoe-be," replied Tommy Tit, and it was hard to say which whistle was the softest and sweetest.

"Phoe-be," whistled Farmer Brown's boy once more and held out his hand. In it was a cracked hickory nut.

"Dee, dee, dee! See me! See me!" cried Tommy Tit and flitted down from the maple-tree right on to the hand of Farmer Brown's boy, and his bright little eyes twinkled merrily as he helped himself to a bit of nut meat.

Peter Rabbit looked at Happy Jack, and Happy Jack looked at Chatterer, and all three acted as if they couldn't believe their own eyes. Then they looked back at Farmer Brown's boy, and there on his head sat Tommy Tit.

"Dee, dee, dee, chickadee! See me! See me!" called Tommy Tit, and his voice was merrier than ever, for he had made good his boast.





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