Chapter III. The Singers of the Smiling Pool




Mistress Spring was making everybody happy on the Green Meadows and in the Green Forest and around the Smiling Pool. With her gentle fingers she wakened one by one all the little sleepers who had spent the long winter dreaming of warm summer days and not knowing anything at all of rough, blustering Brother North Wind or Jack Frost. As they wakened, many began to sing for joy. But the clearest, loudest singers of all lived in the Smiling Pool.

It was a long time before Peter Rabbit and Johnny Chuck knew where they lived. Every night just before going to bed, Johnny Chuck would sit on his door-step just to listen, and as he listened somehow he felt better and happier; and he always had pleasant dreams after listening to the sweet singers of the Smiling Pool. Even after he had curled himself up for the night deep down in his snug bedroom, he could hear those sweet voices, and whenever he waked up in the night he would hear them.

    "Spring! Spring! Spring! Spring!
     Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful Spring!
     So gentle, so loving, so sweet and so fair!
     Oh, who can be cross when there's love in the air?
     Be happy! Be joyful! And join in our song
     And help us to send the glad tidings along!
     Spring! Spring! Spring! Spring!
     Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful Spring!"

When Johnny Chuck had first heard them, he had looked in all the tree- tops for the singers, but not one could he see. Then he had thought that they must be hidden in the bushes; but when he went to look, he found that the sweet singers were not there. It was very mysterious. Finally he asked Peter Rabbit if he knew who the sweet singers were and where they were. Peter didn't know, but he was willing to try to find out. Peter is always willing to try to find out about things he doesn't already know about. So Johnny Chuck and Peter Rabbit started out to find the sweet singers.

"I believe they are down in the old bulrushes around the Smiling Pool," said Peter Rabbit, as he stood listening with a hand behind one long ear.

So over to the Smiling Pool they hurried. The nearer they got, the louder became the voices singing:

    "Spring! Spring! Spring! Spring!
     Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful Spring!"

But look as they would, they couldn't see a single singer among the brown bulrushes. It was very strange, very strange indeed! It seemed as if the voices came right out of the Smiling Pool itself!

When Peter Rabbit made a little noise, as he hopped out on the bank where he could look all over the Smiling Pool, the singing stopped. After he had sat perfectly still for a little while, it began again. There was no doubt about it this time; those voices came right out of the water.

Johnny Chuck stared at Peter Rabbit, and Peter stared at Johnny Chuck. Nobody was to be seen in the Smiling Pool, and yet there were those voices--oh, so many of them--coming right out of the water.

"How can birds stay under water and still sing?" asked Johnny Chuck.

"Ho, ho, ho! Ha, ha, ha!"

Peter Rabbit and Johnny Chuck whirled around, to find Jerry Muskrat peeping up at them from a hole in the bank almost under their feet.

"Ho, ho, ho! That's the best joke this spring!" shouted Jerry Muskrat, and laughed until he had to hold his sides. "Birds under water! Ho, ho, ho!"



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