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Paddy the Beaver floated in his pond and grinned in the most provoking way at Old Man Coyote, who had so nearly caught him. Old Man Coyote fairly danced with anger on the bank. He had felt so sure of Paddy that time that it was hard work to believe that Paddy had really gotten away from him. He bared his long, cruel teeth, and he looked very fierce and ugly.
"Come on in; the water's fine!" called Paddy.
Now, of course this wasn't a nice thing for Paddy to do, for it only made Old Man Coyote all the angrier. You see, Paddy knew perfectly well that he was absolutely safe, and he just couldn't resist the temptation to say some unkind things. He had had to be on the watch for days lest he should be caught, and so he hadn't been able to work quite so well as he could have done with nothing to fear, and he still had a lot of preparations to make for winter. So he told Old Man Coyote just what he thought of him, and that he wasn't as smart as he thought he was or he never would have left a foot print in the mud to give him away.
When Sammy Jay, who was listening and chuckling as he listened, heard that, he flew down where he would be just out of reach of Old Man Coyote, and then he just turned that tongue of his loose, and you know that some people say that Sammy's tongue is hung in the middle and wags at both ends. Of course this isn't really so, but when he gets to abusing people it seems as if it must be true. He called Old Man Coyote every bad name he could think of. He called him a sneak, a thief, a coward, a bully, and a lot of other things.
"You said I had warned Paddy that you were trying to catch him and that was why you failed to find him at work at night, and all the time you had warned him yourself!" screamed Sammy. "I used to think that you were smart, but I know better now. Paddy is twice as smart as you are.
"Mr. Coyote is every so sly; Mr. Coyote is clever and spry; If you believe all you hear. Mr. Coyote is naught of the kind; Mr. Coyote is stupid and blind; He can't catch a flea on his ear."
Paddy the Beaver laughed till the tears came at Sammy's foolish verse, but it made Old Man Coyote angrier than ever. He was angry with Paddy for escaping from him, and he was angry with Sammy, terribly angry, and the worst of it was he couldn't catch either one, for one was at home in the water and the other was at home in the air and he couldn't follow in either place. Finally he saw it was of no use to stay there to be laughed at, so, muttering and grumbling, he started for the Green Meadows.
As soon as he was out of sight Paddy turned to Sammy Jay.
"Mr. Jay," said he, knowing how it pleased Sammy to be called mister. "Mr. Jay, you have done me a mighty good turn today, and I am not going to forget it. You can call me what you please and scream at me all you please, but you won't get any satisfaction out of it, because I simply won't get angry. I will say to myself, 'Mr. Jay saved my life the other day,' and then I won't mind your tongue."
Now this made Sammy feel very proud and very happy. You know it is very seldom that he hears anything nice said of him. He flew down on the stump of one of the trees Paddy had cut. "Let's be friends," said he.
"With all my heart!" replied Paddy.
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