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Mischief may not mean to be really truly bad, But somehow it seems to make other people sad; Does a mean unpleasant thing and tries to think it fun; Then, alas, it runs away when trouble has begun.
Of all the little people who live in the Green Forest and on the Green Meadows, none is more mischievous than Sammy Jay. It seems sometimes as if there was more mischief under that pert little cap Sammy Jay wears than in the heads of all the other little meadow and forest people put together. When he isn't actually in mischief, Sammy Jay is planning mischief. You see it has grown to be a habit with Sammy Jay, and habits, especially bad habits, have a way of growing and growing.
Now Sammy Jay had no quarrel with Johnny Chuck. Oh, my, no! He would have told you that he liked Johnny Chuck. Everybody likes Johnny Chuck. But just as soon as Sammy Jay found Johnny Chuck's new house, he began to plan mischief. He didn't really want any harm to come to Johnny Chuck, but he wanted to make Johnny uncomfortable. That is Sammy Jay's idea of fun--seeing somebody else uncomfortable. So he slipped away to a thick hemlock-tree in the Green Forest to try to think of some plan to tease Johnny Chuck and make him uncomfortable.
Of course he knew that Johnny had hidden his new house in the corner of Farmer Brown's old orchard because he wanted it to be a secret. He didn't know why Johnny wanted it a secret and he didn't care. If Johnny wanted it a secret, it would be fun to tell everybody about it. As he sat wondering who he should tell first; he saw Reddy Fox trotting down the Lone Little Path.
"Hi, Reddy Fox!" he shouted.
Reddy looked up. "Hello, Sammy Jay! What have you got on your mind this morning?" said Reddy.
"Nothing much," replied Sammy Jay. "What's the news?"
Reddy grinned. "There isn't any news," said he. "I was just going to ask you the same thing."
It was Sammy Jay's turn to grin, "Just as if I could tell you any news, Reddy Fox! Just as if I could tell you any news!" he exclaimed. "Why, everybody knows that you are so smart that you find out everything as soon as it happens."
Reddy Fox felt flattered. You know people who do a great deal of flattering themselves are often the very easiest to flatter if you know how. Reddy pretended to be very modest; but no one likes to be thought smart and important more than Reddy Fox does, and it pleased him greatly that Sammy Jay should think him so smart that no one could tell him any news. Sammy knew this perfectly well, and he chuckled to himself as he watched Reddy Fox pretending to be so modest.
"Have you called on Johnny Chuck at his new home yet?" asked Sammy Jay, in the most matter-of-fact way.
"No," replied Reddy, "but I mean to, soon." He said this just as if he knew all about Johnny Chuck's new home, when all the time he hadn't the remotest idea in the world where it was. In fact he had hunted and hunted for it, but hadn't found a trace of it. And all the time Sammy Jay knew that Reddy didn't know where it was. But Sammy didn't let on that he knew.
"I just happened to be up in Farmer Brown's old orchard this morning, so I thought I'd pay Johnny Chuck a call," said Sammy, and chuckled as he saw Reddy's ears prick up. "By the way, he thinks you don't know where he lives now."
"Huh!" said Reddy Fox. "As if Johnny Chuck could fool me! Well, I must be moving along. Good-by, Sammy Jay."
Reddy trotted off towards the Green Meadows, but the minute he was out of sight of Sammy Jay, he turned towards Farmer Brown's old orchard, just as Sammy Jay had known he would.
"I guess Johnny Chuck will have a visitor," chuckled Sammy Jay, as he started to look for Jimmy Skunk.
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