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NO ONE BELIEVES PETER RABBIT
Peter Rabbit sat in his secret place in the middle of the Old Briar-patch. Peter was doing some very hard thinking. He ought to have been asleep, for he had been out the whole night long. But instead of sleeping, he was wide awake and thinking and thinking.
You see early the night before Boomer the Nighthawk had told Peter that Sammy Jay was up in the far-away Old Pasture. Boomer had seen him going to bed there and had come straight down to tell Peter. This was great news, and Peter could hardly wait for Boomer to stop talking, he was so anxious to spread the news over the Green Meadows and through the Green Forest, for Peter is a great gossip and cannot keep his tongue still.
So he had hurried this way and that way, telling every one he met how Sammy Jay had moved away to the Old Pasture. But no one believed him.
"Wait and see! Wait and see!" said Jimmy Skunk.
"It's just a trick," said Bobby Coon.
"But Boomer the Nighthawk saw him up there going to bed and talked with him!" cried Peter Rabbit.
"Perhaps he did and then again perhaps he didn't," replied Bobby Coon, carefully washing an ear of sweet milky corn that he had brought down to the Laughing Brook from Farmer Brown's corn-field, for Bobby Coon is very, very neat and always washes his food before eating. "For my part," he continued, "I believe that Boomer the Nighthawk just made up that story to help Sammy Jay fool us."
"But that would be a wrong story, and I don't believe that Boomer would do anything like that!" cried Peter.
Just then there was a shrill scream of "Thief! thief! thief!" over in the alder bushes. It certainly sounded like Sammy Jay's voice.
"What did I tell you? Now what do you think?" cried Bobby Coon.
Peter didn't know what to think, and he said so. He left Bobby to eat his corn and spent the rest of the night telling every one he met what Boomer the Nighthawk had said, but of course no one believed it, and every one laughed at him, for hadn't they heard Sammy Jay screaming that very night?
So now Peter sat in the Old Briar-patch thinking and thinking, when he should have been asleep. Finally he yawned and stretched and then started along one of his private little paths.
"I'll just run up to the Green Forest and try to find Sammy Jay," he said.
So Peter hunted and hunted all through the Green Forest for Sammy Jay, and asked everybody he met if they had seen Sammy. But no one had, though every one took pains to tell Peter that they had heard Sammy in the night. At last Peter found Sticky-toes the Tree Toad. He was muttering and grumbling to himself, and he didn't see Peter. Peter stopped to listen, which was, of course, a very wrong thing to do, and what he heard gave Peter an idea.
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