The Adventures of Paddy the Beaver
Thornton W. Burgess
THE ADVENTURES OF PADDY THE BEAVER
Thornton W. Burgess
I Paddy the Beaver Begins Work.
II Paddy Plans a Pond.
III Paddy Has Many Visitors.
IV Sammy Jay Speaks His Mind.
V Paddy Keeps His Promise.
VI Farmer Brown's Boy Grows Curious.
VII Farmer Brown's Boy Gets Another Surprise.
VIII Peter Rabbit Gets a Ducking.
IX Paddy Plans a House.
X Paddy Starts His House
XI Peter Rabbit and Jerry Muskrat are Puzzled.
XII Jerry Muskrat Learns Something.
XIII The Queer Storehouse.
XIV A Footprint in the Mud.
XV Sammy Jay Makes Paddy a Call.
XVI Old Man Coyote Is Very Crafty.
XVII Old Man Coyote is Disappointed.
XVIII Old Man Coyote Tries Another Plan.
XIX Paddy and Sammy Jay Become Friends.
XX Sammy Jay Offers To Help Paddy.
XXI Paddy and Sammy Jay Work Together.
XXII Paddy Finishes His Harvest.
CHAPTER I Paddy the Beaver Begins Work.
Work, work all the night
While the stars are shining bright;
Work, work all the day;
I have got no time to play.
This little rhyme Paddy the Beaver made up as he toiled at
building the dam which was to make the pond he so much desired
deep in the Green Forest. Of course it wasn't quite true, that
about working all night and all day. Nobody could do that, you
know, and keep it up. Everybody has to rest and sleep. Yes, and
everybody has to play a little to be at their best. So it wasn't
quite true that Paddy worked all day after working all night. But
it was true that Paddy had no time to play. He had too much to
do. He had had his playtime during the long summer, and now he
had to get ready for the long, cold winter.
Now, of all the little workers in the Green Forest, on the Green
Meadows, and in the Smiling Pool, none can compare with Paddy the
Beaver, not even his cousin, Jerry Muskrat. Happy Jack Squirrel
and Striped Chipmunk store up food for the long, cold months when
rough Brother North Wind and Jack Frost rule, and Jerry Muskrat
builds a fine house wherein to keep warm and comfortable, but all
this is as nothing to the work of Paddy the Beaver.
As I said before, Paddy had had a long playtime through the
summer. He had wandered up and down the Laughing Brook. He had
followed it way up to the place where it started. And all the
time he had been studying and studying to make sure that he
wanted to stay in the Green Forest. In the first place, he had to
be sure that there was plenty of the kind of food that he likes.
Then he had to be equally sure that he could make a pond near
where this particular food grew. Last of all, he had to satisfy
himself that if he did make a pond and build a home, he would be
reasonably safe in it. And all these things he had done in his
playtime. Now he was ready to go to work, and when Paddy begins
work, he sticks to it until it is finished. He says that is the
only way to succeed, and you know and I know that he is right.
Now Paddy the Beaver can see at night just as Reddy Fox and Peter
Rabbit and Bobby Coon can, and he likes the night best, because
he feels safest then. But he can see in the daytime too, and when
he feels that he is perfectly safe and no one is watching, he
works then too. Of course, the first thing to do was to build a
dam across the Laughing Brook to make the pond he so much needed.
He chose a low, open place deep in the Green Forest, around the
edge of which grew many young aspen trees, the bark of which is
his favorite food. Through the middle of this open place flowed
the Laughing Brook. At the lower edge was just the place for a
dam. It would not have to be very long, and when it was finished
and the water was stopped in the Laughing Brook, it would just
have to flow over the low, open place and make a pond there.
Paddy's eyes twinkled when he first saw it. It was right then
that he made up his mind to stay in the Green Forest.
So now that he was ready to begin his dam he went up the Laughing
Brook to a place where alders and willows grew, and there he
began work; that work was the cutting of a great number of trees
by means of his big front teeth which were given him for just
this purpose. And as he worked, Paddy was happy, for one can
never be truly happy who does no work.
CHAPTER II Paddy Plans a Pond.
Paddy the Beaver was busy cutting down trees for the dam he had
planned to build. Up in the woods of the North from which he had
come to the Green Forest, he had learned all about tree-cutting
and dam-building and canal-digging and house-building. Paddy's
father and mother had been very wise in the Beaver world, and
Paddy had been quick to learn. So now he knew just what to do and
the best way of doing it. You know, a great many people waste
time and labor doing things the wrong way, so that they have to
be done over again. They forget to be sure they are right, and so
they go ahead until they find they are wrong, and all their work
goes for nothing.
But Paddy the Beaver isn't this kind. Paddy would never have
leaped into the spring with the steep sides without looking, as
Grandfather Frog did. So now he carefully picked out the trees to
cut. He could not afford to waste time cutting down a tree that
wasn't going to be just what he wanted when it was down. When he
was sure that the tree was right, he looked up at the top to find
out whether, when he had cut it, it would fall clear of other
trees. He had learned to do that when he was quite young and
heedless. He remembered just how he had felt when, after working
hard, oh, so hard, to cut a big tree, he had warned all his
friends to get out of the way so that they would not be hurt when
it fell, and then it hadn't fallen at all because the top had
caught in another tree. He was so mortified that he didn't get
over it for a long time.
So now he made sure that a tree was going to fall clear and just
where he wanted it. Then he sat up on his hind legs, and with his
great broad tail for a brace, began to make the chips fly. You
know Paddy has the most wonderful teeth for cutting. They are
long and broad and sharp. He would begin by making a deep bite,
and then another just a little way below. Then he would pry out
the little piece of wood between. When he had cut very deep on
one side so that the tree would fall that way, he would work
around to the other side. Just as soon as the tree began to lean
and he was sure that it was going to fall, he would scamper away
so as to be out of danger. He loved to see those tall trees lean
forward slowly, then faster and faster, till they struck the
ground with a crash.
Just as soon as they were down, he would trim off the branches
until the trees where just long poles. This was easy work, for he
could take off a good-sized branch with one bite. On many he left
their bushy tops. When he had trimmed them to suit him and had
cut them into the right lengths, he would tug and pull them down
to the place where he meant to build his dam.
There he placed the poles side by side, not across the Laughing
Brook like a bridge, but with the big ends pointing up the
Laughing Brook, which was quite broad but shallow right there. To
keep them from floating away, he rolled stones and piled mud on
the bushy ends. Clear across on both sides he laid those poles
until the water began to rise. Then he dragged more poles and
piled them on top of these and wedged short sticks crosswise
And all the time the Laughing Brook was having harder and harder
work to run. Its merry laugh grew less merry and finally almost
stopped, because, you see, the water could not get through
between all those poles and sticks fast enough. It was just about
that time that the little people of the Smiling Pool decided that
it was time to see just what Paddy was doing, and they started up
the Laughing Brook, leaving only Grandfather Frog and the
tadpoles in the Smiling Pool, which for a little while would
smile no more.
CHAPTER III Paddy Has Many Visitors.
Paddy the Beaver knew perfectly well that he would have visitors
just as soon as he began to build his dam. He expected a lot of
them. You see he knew that none of them ever had seen a Beaver at
work unless perhaps it was Prickly Porky the Porcupine, who also
had come down from the North. So as he worked he kept his ears
open, and he smiled to himself as he heard a little rustle here
and then a little rustle there. He knew just what those little
rustles meant. Each one meant another visitor. Yes, Sir, each
rustle meant another visitor, and yet not one had shown himself.
Paddy chuckled. "Seems to me that you are dreadfully afraid to
show yourselves," said he in a loud voice, just as if he were
talking to nobody in particular. Everything was still. There
wasn't so much as a rustle after Paddy spoke. He chuckled again.
He could just feel ever so many eyes watching him, though he
didn't see a single pair. And he knew that the reason his
visitors were hiding so carefully was because they were afraid of
him. You see, Paddy was much bigger than most of the little
meadow and forest people, and they didn't know what kind of a
temper he might have. It is always safest to be very distrustful
of strangers. That is one of the very first things taught all
little meadow and forest children.
Of course, Paddy knew all about this. He had been brought up that
way. "Be sure, and then you'll never be sorry" had been one of
his mother's favorite sayings, and he had always remembered it.
Indeed, it had saved him a great deal of trouble. So now he was
perfectly willing to go right on working and let his hidden
visitors watch him until they were sure that he meant them no
harm. You see, he himself felt quite sure that none of them was
big enough to do him any harm. Little Joe Otter was the only one
he had any doubts about, and he felt quite sure that Little Joe
wouldn't try to pick a quarrel. So he kept right on cutting
trees, trimming off the branches, and hauling the trunks down to
the dam he was building. Some of them he floated down the
Laughing Brook. This was easier.
Now when the little people of the Smiling Pool, who were the
first to find out that Paddy the Beaver had come to the Green
Forest, had started up the Laughing Brook to see what he was
doing, they had told the Merry Little Breezes where they were
going. The Merry Little Breezes had been greatly excited. They
couldn't understand how a stranger could have been living in the
Green Forest without their knowledge. You see, they quite forgot
that they very seldom wandered to the deepest part of the Green
Forest. Of course they started at once, as fast as they could go,
to tell all the other little people who live on or around the
Green Meadows, all but Old Man Coyote. For some reason they
thought it best not to tell him. They were a little doubtful
about Old Man Coyote. He was so big and strong and so sly and
smart that all his neighbors were afraid of him. Perhaps the
Merry Little Breezes had this fact in mind, and knew that none
would dare go to call on the stranger if they knew that Old Man
Coyote was going too. Anyway, they simply passed the time of day
with Old Mr. Coyote and hurried on to tell everyone else, and the
very last one they met was Sammy Jay.
CHAPTER IV Sammy Jay Speaks His Mind
When Sammy Jay reached the place deep in the Green Forest Where
Paddy the Beaver was so hard at work, he didn't hide as had the
little four-footed people. You see, of course, he had no reason
to hide, because he felt perfectly safe. Paddy had just cut a big
tree, and it fell with a crash as Sammy came hurrying up. Sammy
was so surprised that for a minute he couldn't find his tongue.
He had not supposed that anybody but Farmer Brown or Farmer
Brown's boy could cut down so large a tree as that, and it quite
took his breath away. But he got it again in a minute. He was
boiling with anger, anyway, to think that he should have been the
last to learn that Paddy had come down from the North to make his
home in the Green Forest, and here was a chance to speak his
"Thief! thief! thief!" He screamed in his harshest voice.
Paddy the Beaver looked up with a twinkle in his eyes. "Hello,
Mr. Jay. I see you haven't any better manners than your cousin
who lives up where I come from," said he.
"Thief! thief! thief!" screamed Sammy, hopping up and down, he was
"Meaning yourself, I suppose," said Paddy. "I never did see an
honest Jay, and I don't suppose I ever will."
"Ha, ha, ha!" laughed Peter Rabbit, who had quite forgotten that
he was hiding.
"Oh, how do you do, Mr. Rabbit? I'm very glad you have called on
me this morning," said Paddy, just as if he hadn't known all the
time just where Peter was. "Mr. Jay seems to have gotten out of
the wrong side of his bed this morning."
Peter laughed again. "He always does," said he. "If he didn't, he
wouldn't be happy. You wouldn't think it to look at him, but he
is happy right now. He doesn't know it, but he is. He always is
happy when he can show what a bad temper he has."
Sammy Jay glared down at Peter. Then he glared at Paddy. And all
the time he still shrieked "Thief!" as hard as ever he could.
Paddy kept right on working, paying no attention to Sammy. This
made Sammy more angry than ever. He kept coming nearer and nearer
until at last he was in the very tree that Paddy happened to be
cutting. Paddy's eyes twinkled.
"I'm no thief!" he exclaimed suddenly.
"You are! You are! Thief! Thief!" shrieked Sammy. "You're
steeling our trees!"
"They're not your trees," retorted Paddy. "They belong to the
Green Forest, and the Green Forest belongs to all who love it,
and we all have a perfect right to take what we need from it. I
need these trees, and I've just as much right to take them as you
have to take the fat acorns that drop in the fall."
"No such thing!" screamed Sammy. You know he can't talk without
screaming, and the more excited he gets, the louder he screams.
"No such thing! Acorns are food. They are meant to eat. I have to
have them to live. But you are cutting down whole trees. You are
spoiling the Green Forest. You don't belong here. Nobody invited
you, and nobody wants you. You're a thief!"
Then up spoke Jerry Muskrat who, you know, is cousin to Paddy the
"Don't you mind him," said he, pointing at Sammy Jay. "Nobody
does. He's the greatest trouble-maker in the Green Forest or on
the Green Meadows. He would steal from his own relatives. Don't
mind what he says, Cousin Paddy."
Now all this time Paddy had been working away just as if no one
was around. Just as Jerry stopped speaking, Paddy thumped the
ground with his tail, which is his way of warning people to watch
out, and suddenly scurried away as fast as he could run. Sammy
Jay was so surprised that he couldn't find his tongue for a
minute, and he didn't notice anything peculiar about that tree.
Then suddenly he felt himself falling. With a frightened scream,
he spread his wings to fly, but branches of the tree swept him
down with them right into the Laughing Brook. You see, while
Sammy had been speaking his mind, Paddy the Beaver had cut down
the very tree in which he was sitting.
Sammy wasn't hurt, but he was wet and muddy and terribly
frightened--the most miserable-looking Jay that ever was seen. It
was too much for all the little people who were hiding. They just
had to laugh. Then they all came out to pay their respects to
Paddy the Beaver.
CHAPTER V Paddy Keeps His Promise.
Paddy the Beaver kept right on working just as if he hadn't any
visitors. You see, it is a big undertaking to build a dam. And
when that was done there was a house to build and a supply of
food for the winter to cut and store. Oh, Paddy the Beaver had no
time for idle gossip, you may be sure! So he kept right on
building his dam. It didn't look much like a dam at first, and
some of Paddy's visitors turned up their noses when they first
saw it. They had heard stories of what a wonderful dam-builder
Paddy was, and they had expected to see something like the
smooth, grass-covered bank with which Farmer Brown kept the Big
River from running back on his low lands. Instead, all they saw
was a great pile of poles and sticks which looked like anything
but a dam.
"Pooh!" exclaimed Billy Mink, "I guess we needn't worry about the
Laughing Brook and the Smiling Pool, if that is the best Paddy
can do. Why, the water of the Laughing Brook will work through
that in no time."
Of course Paddy heard him, but he said nothing, just kept right
"Just look at the way he has laid those sticks!" continued Billy
Mink. "Seems as if anyone would know enough to lay them across
the Laughing Brook instead of just the other way. I could build a
better dam than that."
Paddy said nothing; he just kept right on working.
"Yes, Sir," Billy boasted. "I could build a better dam than that.
Why, that pile of sticks will never stop the water."
"Is something the matter with your eyesight, Billy Mink?"
inquired Jerry Muskrat.
"Of course not!" retorted Billy indignantly. "Why?"
"Oh, nothing much, only you don't seem to notice that already the
Laughing Brook is over its banks above Paddy's dam," replied
Jerry, who had been studying the dam with a great deal of
Billy looked a wee bit foolish, for sure enough there was a
little pool just above the dam, and it was growing bigger.
Sammy was terribly put out to think that anything should be going
on that he didn't know about first. You know he is very fond of
prying into the affairs of other people, and he loves dearly to
boast that there is nothing going on in the Green Forest or on
the Green Meadows that he doesn't know about. So now his pride
was hurt, and he was in a terrible rage as he started after the
Merry Little Breezes for the place deep in the Green Forest where
they said Paddy the Beaver was at work. He didn't believe a word
of it, but he would see for himself.
Paddy still kept at work, saying nothing. He was digging in front
of the dam now, and the mud and grass he dug up he stuffed in
between the ends of the sticks and patted them down with his
hands. He did this all along the front of the dam and on top of
it, too, wherever he thought it was needed. Of course this made
it harder for the water to work through, and the little pond
above the dam began to grow faster. It wasn't a great while
before it was nearly to the top of the dam, which at first was
very low. Then Paddy brought more sticks. This was easier now,
because he could float them down from where he was cutting. He
would put them in place on the top of the dam, then hurry for
more. Wherever it was needed, he would put in mud. He even rolled
a few stones in to help hold the mass.
So the dam grew and grew, and so did the pond above the dam. Of
course, it took a good many days to build so big a dam, and a lot
of hard work! Every morning the little people of the Green Forest
and the Green Meadow would visit it, and every morning they would
find that it had grown a great deal in the night, for that is
when Paddy likes best to work.
By this time, the Laughing Brook had stopped laughing, and down
in the Smiling Pool there was hardly water enough for the minnows
to feel safe a minute. Billy Mink had stopped making fun of the
dam, and all the little people who live in the Laughing Brook and
Smiling Pool were terribly worried.
To be sure, Paddy had warned them of what he was going to do, and
had promised that as soon as his pond was big enough, the water
would once more run in the Laughing Brook. They tried to believe
him, but they couldn't help having just a wee bit of fear that he
might not be wholly honest. You see, they didn't know him, for he
was a stranger. Jerry Muskrat was the only one who seemed
absolutely sure that everything would be all right. Perhaps that
was because Paddy is his cousin, and Jerry couldn't help feeling
proud of such a big cousin and one who was so smart.
So day by day the dam grew, and pond grew, and one morning
Grandfather Frog, down in what had once been the Smiling Pool,
heard a sound that made his heart jump for joy. It was a murmur
that kept growing and growing, until at last it was the merry
laugh of the Laughing Brook. Then he knew that Paddy had kept his
word, and water would once more fill the Smiling Pool.
CHAPTER VI Farmer Brown's Boy Grows Curious.
Now it happened that the very day before Paddy the Beaver decided
that his pond was big enough, and so allowed the water to run in
the Laughing Brook once more, Farmer Brown's boy took it into his
head to go fishing in the Smiling Pool. Just as usual he went
whistling down across the Green Meadows. Somehow, when he goes
fishing, he always feels like whistling. Grandfather Frog heard
him coming and dived into the little bit of water remaining in
the Smiling Pool and stirred up the mud at the bottom so that
Farmer Brown's boy shouldn't see him.
Nearer and nearer drew the whistle. Suddenly it stopped right
short off. Farmer Brown's boy had come in sight of the Smiling
Pool or rather, it was what used to be the Smiling Pool. Now
there wasn't any Smiling Pool, for the very little pool left was
too small and sickly looking to smile. There were great banks of
mud, out of which grew the bulrushes. The lily pads were
forlornly stretched out toward the tiny pool of water remaining.
Where the banks were steep and high, the holes that Jerry Muskrat
and Billy Mink knew so well were plain to see. Over at one side
stood Jerry Muskrat's house, wholly out of water.
Somehow, it seemed to Farmer Brown's boy that he must be
dreaming. He never, never had seen anything like this before, not
even in the very driest weather of the hottest part of the
summer. He looked this way and looked that way. The Green Meadows
looked just as usual. The Green Forest looked just as usual. The
Laughing Brook--ha! What was the matter with the Laughing Brook?
He couldn't hear it and that, you know, was very unusual. He
dropped his rod and ran over to the Laughing Brook. There wasn't
any brook. No, sir, there wasn't any brook; just pools of water
with the tiniest of streams trickling between. Big stones over
which he had always seen the water running in the prettiest of
little white falls were bare and dry. In the little pools
frightened minnows were darting about.
Farmer Brown's boy scratched his head in a puzzled way. "I don't
understand it," said he. "I don't understand it at all. Something
must have gone wrong with the springs that supply the water for
the Laughing Brook. They must have failed. Yes, Sir, that is just
what must have happened. But I never heard of such a thing
happening before, and I really don't see how it could happen. He
stared up into the Green Forest just as if he thought he could
see those springs. Of course, he didn't think anything of the
kind. He was just turning it all over in his mind. "I know what
I'll do, I'll go up to those springs this afternoon and find out
what the trouble is," he said out loud. "They are way over almost
on the other side of the Green Forest, and the easiest way to get
there will be to start from home and cut across the Old Pasture
up to the edge of the Mountain behind the Green Forest. If I try
to follow up the Laughing Brook now, it will take too long,
because it winds and twists so. Besides, it is too hard work."
With that, Farmer Brown's boy went back and picked up his rod.
Then he started for home across the Green Meadows, and for once
he wasn't whistling. You see, he was too busy thinking. In fact,
he was so busy thinking that he didn't see Jimmy Skunk until he
almost stepped on him, and then he gave a frightened jump and
ran, for without a gun he was just as much afraid of Jimmy as
Jimmy was of him when he did have a gun.
Jimmy just grinned and went on about his business. It always
tickles Jimmy to see people run away from him, especially people
so much bigger than himself; they look so silly.
"I should think that they would have learned by this time that if
they don't bother me, I won't bother them, he muttered as he
rolled over a stone to look for fat beetles. "Somehow, folks
never seem to understand me."
CHAPTER VII Farmer Brown's Boy Gets Another Surprise.
Across the Old Pasture to the foot of the Mountain back of the
Green Forest tramped Farmer Brown's boy. Ahead of him trotted
Bowser the Hound, sniffing and snuffing for the tracks of Reddy
or Granny Fox. Of course he didn't find them, for Reddy and
Granny hadn't been up in the Old Pasture for a long time. But he
did find old Jed Thumper, the big gray Rabbit who had made things
so uncomfortable for Peter Rabbit once upon a time and gave old
Jed such a fright that he didn't look where he was going and
almost ran head-first into Farmer Brown's boy.
"Hi, there, you old cottontail!" yelled Farmer Brown's boy, and
this frightened off Jed still more, so that he actually ran right
past his own castle of bullbriars without seeing it.
Farmer Brown's boy kept on his way, laughing at the fright of old
Jed Thumper. Presently he reached the springs from which came the
water that made the very beginning of the Laughing Brook. He
expected to find them dry, for way down on the Green Meadows the
Smiling Pool was nearly dry, and the Laughing Brook was nearly
dry, and he had supposed that of course the reason was that the
springs where the Laughing Brook started were no longer bubbling.
But they were! The clear cold water came bubbling up out of the
ground just as it always had, and ran off down into the Green
Forest in a little stream that would grow and grow as it ran and
became the Laughing Brook. Farmer Brown's boy took off his ragged
old straw hat and scowled down at the bubbling water just as if
it had no business to be bubbling there.
Of course, he didn't think just that. The fact is, he didn't know
just what he did think. Here were the springs bubbling away just
as they always had. There was the little stream starting off down
into the Green Forest with a gurgle that by and by would become a
laugh, just as it always had. And yet down on the Green Meadows
on the other side of the Green Forest there was no longer a
Laughing Brook or a Smiling Pool. He felt as if he ought to pinch
himself to make sure that he was awake and not dreaming.
"I don't know what it means," said he, talking out loud. "No,
Sir, I don't know what it means at all, but I'm going to find
out. There's a cause for everything in this world, and when a
fellow doesn't know a thing, it is his business to find out all
about it. I'm going to find out what has happened to the Laughing
Brook, if it takes me a year!"
With that he started to follow the little stream which ran
gurgling down into the Green Forest. He had followed that little
stream more than once, and now he found it just as he remembered
it. The farther it ran, the larger it grew, until at last it
became the Laughing Brook, merrily tumbling over rocks and making
deep pools in which the trout loved to hide. At last he came to
the edge of a little open hollow in the very heart of the Green
Forest. He knew what splendid deep holes there were in the
Laughing Brook here, and how the big trout loved to lie in them
because they were deep and cool. He was thinking of these trout
now and wishing that he had brought along his fishing rod. He
pushed his way through a thicket of alders and then--Farmer
Brown's boy stopped suddenly and fairly gasped! He had to stop
because there right in front of him was a pond!
He rubbed his eyes and looked again. Then he stooped down and put
his hand in the water to see if it was real. There was no doubt
about it. It was real water--a real pond where there never had
been a pond before. It was very still there in the heart of the
Green Forest. It was always very still there, but it seemed
stiller than usual as he tramped around the edge of this strange
pond. He felt as if it were all a dream. He wondered if pretty
soon he wouldn't wake up and find it all untrue. But he didn't,
so he kept on tramping until presently he came to a dam--a
splendid dam of logs and sticks and mud. Over the top of it the
water was running, and down in the Green Forest below he could
hear the Laughing Brook just beginning to laugh once more. Farmer
Brown's boy sat down with his elbows on his knees and his chin in
his hands. He was almost too much surprised to even think.
CHAPTER VIII Peter Rabbit Gets a Ducking.
Farmer Brown's boy sat with his chin in his hands staring at the
new pond in the Green Forest and at the dam which had made it.
That dam puzzled him. Who could have built it? What did they
build it for? Why hadn't he heard them chopping? He looked
carelessly at the stump of one of the trees, and then a still
more puzzled look made deep furrows between his eyes. It looked--
yes, it looked very much as if teeth, and not an axe, had cut
down that tree. Farmer Brown's boy stared and stared, his mouth
gaping wide open. He looked so funny that Peter Rabbit, who was
hiding under an old pile of brush close by, nearly laughed right
But Peter didn't laugh. No, Sir, Peter didn't laugh, for just
that very minute something happened. Sniff! Sniff! That was right
behind him at the very edge of the old brushpile, and every hair
on Peter stood on end with fright.
"Bow, wow, wow!" It seemed to Peter that the great voice was
right in his very ears. It frightened him so that he just had to
jump. He didn't have time to think. And so he jumped right out
from under the pile of brush and of course right into plain
sight. And the very instant he jumped there came another great
roar behind him. Of course it was from Bowser the Hound. You see,
Bowser had been following the trail of his master, but as he
always stops to sniff at everything he passes, he had been some
distance behind. When he came to the pile of brush under which
Peter was hiding he had sniffed at that, and of course he had
smelled Peter right away.
Now when Peter jumped out so suddenly, he had landed right at one
end of the dam. The second roar of Bowser's great voice
frightened him still more, and he jumped right up on the dam.
There was nothing for him to do now but go across, and it wasn't
the best of going. No, indeed, it wasn't the best of going. You
see, it was mostly a tangle of sticks. Happy Jack Squirrel or
Chatterer the Red Squirrel or Striped Chipmunk would have skipped
across it without the least trouble. But Peter Rabbit has no
sharp little claws with which to cling to logs and sticks, and
right away he was in a peck of trouble. He slipped down between
the sticks, scrambled out, slipped again, and then, trying to
make a long jump, he lost his balance and--tumbled heels over
head into the water.
Poor Peter Rabbit! He gave himself up for lost this time. He
could swim, but at best he is a poor swimmer and doesn't like the
water. He couldn't dive and keep out of sight like Jerry Muskrat
or Billy Mink. All he could do was to paddle as fast as his legs
would go. The water had gone up his nose and down his throat so
that he choked, and all the time he felt sure that Bowser the
Hound would plunge in after him and catch him. And if he
shouldn't why Farmer Brown's boy would simply wait for him to
come ashore and then catch him.
But Farmer Brown's boy didn't do anything of the kind. No, Sir,
he didn't. Instead he shouted to Bowser and called him away.
Bowser didn't want to come, but he long ago learned to obey, and
very slowly he walked over to where his master was sitting.
"You know it wouldn't be fair, old fellow, to try to catch Peter
now. It wouldn't be fair at all, and we never want to do anything
unfair, do we?" said he. Perhaps Bowser didn't agree, but he
wagged his tail as if he did, and sat down beside his master to
watch Peter swim.
It seemed to Peter as if he never, never would reach the shore,
though really it was only a very little distance that he had to
swim. When he did scramble out, he was a sorry-looking Rabbit. He
didn't waste any time, but started for home as fast as he could
go, lipperty-lipperty-lip. And Farmer Brown's boy and Bowser the
Hound just laughed and didn't try to catch him at all.
"Well, I never!" exclaimed Sammy Jay, who had seen it all from
the top of a pine tree. "Well, I never! I guess Farmer Brown's
boy isn't so bad, after all."
CHAPTER IX Paddy Plans a House.
Paddy the Beaver sat on his dam, and his eyes shone with
happiness as he looked out over the shining water of the pond he
had made. All around the edge of it grew the tall trees of the
Green Forest. It was very beautiful and very still and very
lonesome. That is, it would have seemed lonesome to almost anyone
but Paddy the Beaver. But Paddy never is lonesome. You see, he
finds company in the trees and flowers and all the little plants.
It was still, very, very still. Over on one side was a beautiful
rosy glow in the water. It was the reflection from jolly, round,
red Mr. Sun. Paddy couldn't see him because of the tall trees,
but he knew exactly what Mr. Sun was doing. He was going to bed
behind the Purple Hills. Pretty soon the little stars would come
out and twinkle down at him. He loves the little stars and always
watches for the first one.
Yes, Paddy the Beaver was very happy. He would have been
perfectly happy except for one thing. Farmer Brown's boy had
found his dam and pond that very afternoon, and Paddy wasn't
quite sure what Farmer Brown's boy might do. He had kept himself
snugly hidden while Farmer Brown's boy was there, and he felt
quite sure that Farmer Brown's boy didn't know who had built the
dam. But for this reason he might, he just might, try to find out
all about it, and that would mean that Paddy would always have to
be on the watch.
"But what's the use of worrying over troubles that haven't come
yet, and may never come? Time enough to worry when they do come,"
said Paddy to himself, which shows that Paddy has a great deal of
wisdom in his little brown head. "The thing for me to do now is
to get ready for winter, and that means a great deal of work," he
continued. "Let me see, I've got to build a house, a big, stout,
warm house, where I will be warm and safe when my pond is frozen
over. And I've got to lay in a supply of food, enough to last me
until gentle Sister South Wind comes to prepare the way for
lovely Mistress Spring. My, my, I can't afford to be sitting here
dreaming when there is so much to be done!"
With that Paddy slipped into the water and swam all around his
new pond to make sure of just the best place to build his house.
Now, placing one's house in just the right place is a very
important matter. Some people are dreadfully careless about this.
Jimmy Skunk, for instance, often makes the mistake of digging his
house (you know Jimmy makes his house underground) right where
everyone who happens along that way will see it. Perhaps that is
because Jimmy is so independent that he doesn't care who knows
where he lives.
But Paddy the Beaver never is careless. He always chooses just
the very best place. He makes sure that it is best before he
begins. So now, although he was quite positive just where his
house should be, he swam around the pond to make doubly sure.
Then, when he was quite satisfied, he swam over to the place he
had chosen. It was where the water was quite deep.
"There mustn't be the least chance that the ice will ever get
thick enough too close up my doorway, said he, "and I'm sure it
never will here. I must make the foundations strong and the walls
thick. I must have plenty of mud to plaster with, and inside, up
above the water, I must have the snuggest, warmest room where I
can sleep in comfort. This is the place to build it, and it is
high time I was at work."
With that Paddy swam over to the place where he had cut the trees
for his dam, and his heart was light, for he had long ago learned
that the surest way to be happy is to be busy.
CHAPTER X Paddy Starts His House.
Jerry Muskrat was very much interested when he found that Paddy
the Beaver, who you know, is his cousin, was building a house.
Jerry is a house-builder himself, and down deep in his heart he
very much doubted if Paddy could build as good a house as he
could. His house was down in the Smiling Pool, and Jerry thought
it a very wonderful house indeed, and was very proud of it. It
was built of mud and sod and little alder and willow twigs and
bulrushes. Jerry had spent one winter in it, and he had decided
to spend another there after he had fixed it up a little. So, as
long as he didn't have to build a brand-new house, he could
afford the time to watch his cousin Paddy. Perhaps he hoped that
Paddy would ask his advice.
But Paddy did nothing of the kind. He had seen Jerry Muskrat's
house, and he had smiled. But he had taken great pains not to
let Jerry see that smile. He wouldn't have hurt Jerry's feelings
for the world. He is too polite and good-natured to do anything
like that. So Jerry sat on the end of an old log and watched
Paddy work. The first thing to build was the foundation. This was
of mud and grass with sticks worked into it to hold it together.
Paddy dug the mud from the bottom of his new pond. And because
the pond was new, there was a great deal of grassy sod there,
which was just what Paddy needed. It was very convenient.
Jerry watched a little while and then, because Jerry is a worker
himself, he just had to get busy and help. Rather timidly he told
his big cousin that he would like to have a share in building the
"All right," replied Paddy, "that will be fine. You can bring mud
while I am getting the sticks and grass."
So Jerry dived down to the bottom of the pond and dug up mud and
piled it on the foundation and was happy. The little stars looked
down and twinkled merrily as they watched the two workers. So the
foundation grew and grew down under the water. Jerry was very
much surprised at the size of it. It was ever and ever so much
bigger than the foundation for his own house. You see, he had
forgotten how much bigger Paddy is.
Each night Jerry and Paddy worked, resting during the daytime.
Occasionally Bobby Coon or Reddy Fox or Unc' Billy Possum or
Jimmy Skunk would come to the edge of the pond to see what was
going on. Peter Rabbit came every night. But they couldn't see
much because, you know, Paddy and Jerry were working under water.
But at last Peter was rewarded. There, just above the water, was
a splendid platform of mud and grass and sticks. A great many
sticks were carefully laid as soon as the platform was above the
water, for Paddy was very particular about this. You see, it was
to be the floor for the splendid room he was planning to build.
When it suited him, he began to pile mud in the very middle.
Jerry puzzled and puzzled over this. Where was Paddy's room going
to be, if he piled up the mud that way? But he didn't like to ask
questions, so he kept right on helping. Paddy would dive down to
the bottom and then come up with double handfuls of mud, which he
held against his chest. He would scramble out onto the platform
and waddle over to the pile in the middle, where he would put the
mud and pat it down. Then back to the bottom for more.
And so the mud pile grew and grew, until it was quite two feet
"Now," said Paddy, "I'll build the walls, and I guess you can't
help me much with those. I'm going to begin them tomorrow night.
Perhaps you will like to see me do it, Cousin Jerry."
"I certainly will," replied Jerry, still puzzling over that pile
of mud in the middle.
CHAPTER XI Peter Rabbit and Jerry Muskrat Are Puzzled.
Jerry Muskrat was more and more sure that his big cousin, Paddy
the Beaver, didn't know quite so much as he might about
house-building. Jerry would have liked to offer some suggestions,
but he didn't quite dare. You see, he was very anxious not to
displease his big cousin. But he felt that he simply had got to
speak his mind to someone, so he swam across to where he had seen
Peter Rabbit almost every night since Paddy began to build. Sure
enough, Peter was there, sitting up very straight and staring
with big round eyes at the platform of mud and sticks out in the
water where Paddy the Beaver was at work.
"Well, Peter, what do you think of it?" asked Jerry
"What is it?" asked Peter innocently. "Is it another dam?"
Jerry threw back his head and laughed and laughed.
Peter looked at him suspiciously. "I don't see anything to laugh
at," said he.
"Why, it's a house, you stupid. It's Paddy's new house," replied
Jerry, wiping the tears of laughter from his eyes.
"I'm not stupid!" retorted Peter. "How was I to know that that
pile of mud and sticks is meant for a house? It certainly doesn't
look it. Where is the door?"
"To tell you the truth, I don't think it is much of a house
myself," replied Jerry. "It has got a door, all right. In fact it
has got three. You can't see them because they are under water,
and there is a passage from each right up through that platform
of mud and sticks, which is the foundation of the house. It
really is a very fine foundation, Peter; it really is. But what
I can't understand is what Paddy is thinking of by building that
great pile of mud right in the middle. When he gets his walls
built, where will his bedroom be? There won't be any room at all.
It won't be a house at all--just a big useless pile of sticks and
Peter scratched his head and then pulled his whiskers thoughtfully
as he gazed out at the pile in the water where Paddy the Beaver
was at work.
"It does look foolish, that's a fact," said he. "Why don't you
point out to him the mistake he is making, Jerry? You have built
such a splendid house yourself that you ought to be able to help
Paddy and show him his mistakes."
Jerry had smiled a very self-satisfied smile when Peter mentioned
his fine house, but he shook his head at the suggestion that he
should give Paddy advice.
"I--I don't just like to," he confessed. "You know, he might not
like it and--and it doesn't seem as if it would be quite polite.
Peter sniffed. "That wouldn't trouble me any if he were my
cousin," said he.
Jerry shook his head, "No, I don't believe it would," he replied,
"but it does trouble me and--and--well, I think I'll wait
Now all this time Paddy had been hard at work. He was bringing
the longest branches which he had cut from the trees out of which
he had built his dam, and a lot of slender willow and alder
poles. He pushed these ahead of him as he swam. When he reached
the foundation of his house, he would lean them against the pile
of mud in the middle with their big ends resting on the
foundation. So he worked all the way around until by and by the
mud pile in the middle couldn't be seen. It was completely
covered with sticks, and they were cunningly fastened together at
CHAPTER XII Jerry Muskrat Learns Something
If you think you know it all
You are riding for a fall.
Use your ears and use your eyes,
But hold your tongue and you'll be wise.
Jerry Muskrat will tell you that is as true as true can be. Jerry
knows. He found it out for himself. Now he is very careful what
he says about other people or what they are doing. But he wasn't
so careful when his cousin, Paddy the Beaver, was building his
house. No, Sir, Jerry wasn't so careful then. He though he knew
more about building a house than Paddy did. He was sure of it
when he watched Paddy heap up a great pile of mud right in the
middle where his room ought to be, and then build a wall of
sticks around it. He said as much to Peter Rabbit.
Now it is never safe to say anything to Peter Rabbit that you
don't care to have others know. Peter has a great deal of respect
for Jerry Muskrat's opinion on house-building. You see, he very
much admires Jerry's snug house in the Smiling Pool. It really is
a very fine house, and Jerry may be excused for being proud of
it. But that doesn't excuse Jerry for thinking that he knows all
there is to know about house-building. Of course Peter told
everyone he met that Paddy the Beaver was making a foolish
mistake in building his house, and that Jerry Muskrat, who ought
to know, said so.
So whenever they got the chance, the little people of the Green
Forest and Green Meadows would steal up to the shore of Paddy's
new pond and chuckle as they looked out at the great pile of
sticks and mud which Paddy had built for a house, but in which he
had forgotten to make a room. At least they supposed that he had
forgotten this very important thing. He must have, for there
wasn't any room. It was a great joke. They laughed a lot about
it, and they lost a great deal of the respect for Paddy which
they had had since he built his wonderful dam.
Jerry and Peter sat in the moonlight talking it over. Paddy had
stopped bringing sticks for his wall. He had dived down out of
sight, and he was gone a long time. Suddenly Jerry noticed that
the water had grown very, very muddy all around Paddy's new
house. He wrinkled his brows trying to think what Paddy could be
doing. Presently Paddy came up for air. Then he went down again,
and the water grew muddier than ever. This went on for a long
time. Every little while Paddy would come up for air and a few
minutes of rest. Then down he would go, and the water would grow
muddier and muddier.
At last Jerry could stand it no longer. He just had to see what
was going on. He slipped into the water and swam over to where
the water was muddiest. Just as he got there up came Paddy.
"Hello, Cousin Jerry!" said he. "I was just going to invite you
over to see what you think of my house inside. Just follow me."
Paddy dived, and Jerry dived after him. He followed Paddy in at
one of the three doorways under water and up a smooth hall right
into the biggest, nicest bedroom Jerry had ever seen in all his
life. He just gasped in sheer surprise. He couldn't do anything
else. He couldn't find his tongue to say a word. Here he was in
this splendid great room up above the water, and he had been so
sure that there wasn't any room at all! He just didn't know what
to make of it.
Paddy's eyes twinkled. "Well," said he, "what do you think of
"I--I--think it is splendid, just perfectly splendid! But I don't
understand it at all, Cousin Paddy. I--I--Where is that great
pile of mud I helped you build in the middle?" Jerry looked as
foolish as he felt when he asked this.
"Why, I've dug it all away. That's what made the water so muddy,"
"But what did you build it for in the first place?" Jerry asked.
"Because I had to have something solid to rest my sticks against
while I was building my walls, of course," replied Paddy. When I
got the tops fastened together for a roof, they didn't need a
support any longer, and then I dug it away to make this room. I
couldn't have built such a big room any other way. I see you
don't know very much about house-building, Cousin Jerry."
"I--I'm afraid I don't," confessed Jerry sadly.
CHAPTER XIII The Queer Storehouse.
Everybody knew that Paddy the Beaver was laying up a supply of
food for the winter, and everybody thought it was queer food.
That is, everybody but Prickly Porky the Porcupine thought so.
Prickly Porky likes the same kind of food, but he never lays up a
supply. He just goes out and gets it when he wants it, winter or
summer. What kind of food was it? Why, bark, to be sure. Yes,
Sir, it was just bark--the bark of certain kinds of trees.
Now Prickly Porky can climb the trees and eat the bark right
there, but Paddy the Beaver cannot climb, and if he would just
eat the bark that he can reach from the ground, it would take
such a lot of trees to keep him filled up that he would soon
spoil the Green Forest. You know, when the bark is taken off a
tree all the way around, the tree dies. That is because all the
things that a tree draws out of the ground to make it grow and
keep it alive are carried up from the roots in the sap, and the
sap cannot go up the tree trunks and into the branches when the
bark is taken off, because it is up the inside of the bark that
it travels. So when the bark is taken from a tree all the way
around the trunk, the tree just starves to death.
Now Paddy the Beaver loves the Green Forest as dearly as you and
I do, and perhaps even a little more dearly. You see, it is his
home. Besides, Paddy never is wasteful. So he cuts down a tree so
that he can get all the bark instead of killing a whole lot of
trees for a very little bark, as he might do if he were lazy.
There isn't a lazy bone in him--not one. The bark he likes best
is from the aspen. When he cannot get that, he will eat the bark
from the poplar, the alder, the willow, and even the birch. But
he likes the aspen so much better that he will work very hard to
get it. Perhaps it tastes better because he does have to work so
hard for it.
There were some aspen trees growing right on the edge of the pond
Paddy had made in the Green Forest. These he cut just as he had
cut the trees for his dam. As soon as a tree was down, he would
cut it into short lengths, and with these swim out to where the
water was deep, close to his new house. He took them one by one
and carried the first ones to the bottom, where he pushed them
into the mud just enough to hold them. Then, as fast as he
brought more, he piled them on the first ones. And so the pile
grew and grew.
Jerry Muskrat, Peter Rabbit, Bobby Coon, and the other little
people of the Green Forest watched him with the greatest interest
and curiosity. They couldn't quite make out what he was doing. It
was almost as if he were building the foundation for another
"What's he doing, Jerry?" demanded Peter, when he could keep
still no longer.
"I don't exactly know," replied Jerry. "He said that he was going
to lay in a supply of food for the winter, just as I told you,
and I suppose that is what he is doing. But I don't quite
understand what he is taking it all out into the pond for. I
believe I'll go ask him."
"Do, and then come tell us," begged Peter, who was growing so
curious that he couldn't sit still.
So Jerry swam out to where Paddy was so busy. "Is this your food
supply, Cousin Paddy?" he asked.
"Yes," replied Paddy, crawling up on the side of his house to
rest. "Yes, this is my food supply. Isn't it splendid?"
"I guess it is," replied Jerry, trying to be polite, "though I
like lily roots and clams better. But what are you going to do
with it? Where is your storehouse?"
"This pond is my storehouse," replied Paddy. "I will make a great
pile right here close to my house, and the water will keep it
nice and fresh all winter. When the pond is frozen over, all I
will have to do is to slip out of one of my doorways down there
on the bottom, swim over here and get a stick, and fill my
stomach. Isn't it handy?"
CHAPTER XIV A Footprint in the Mud.
Very early one morning Paddy the Beaver heard Sammy Jay making a
terrible fuss over in the aspen trees on the edge of the pond
Paddy had made in the Green Forest. Paddy couldn't see because he
was inside his house, and it has no window, but he could hear. He
wrinkled up his brows thoughtfully.
"Seems to me that Sammy is very much excited this morning," said
he, a way he has because he is so much alone. "When he screams
like that, Sammy is usually trying to do two things at once--make
trouble for somebody and keep somebody else out of trouble; and
when you come to think of it, that's rather a funny way of doing.
It shows that he isn't all bad, and at the same time he is a long
way from being all good. Now, I should say from the sounds that
Sammy has discovered Reddy Fox trying to steal up on someone over
where my aspen trees are growing. Reddy is afraid of me, but I
suspect that he knows that Peter Rabbit has been hanging around
here a lot lately, watching me work, and he thinks perhaps he can
watch Peter. I shall have to whisper in one of Peter's long ears
and tell him to watch out."
After a while he heard Sammy Jay's voice growing fainter and
fainter in the Green Forest. Finally he couldn't hear it at all.
"Whoever was here has gone away, and Sammy has followed just to
torment them," thought Paddy. He was very busy making a bed. He
is very particular about his bed, is Paddy the Beaver. He makes
it of fine splinters of wood which he splits off with those
wonderful great cutting teeth of his. This makes the driest kind
of a bed. It requires a great deal of patience and work, but
patience is one of the first things a little Beaver learns, and
honest work well done is one of the greatest pleasures in the
world, as Paddy long ago found out for himself. So he kept at
work on his bed for some time after all was still outside.
At last Paddy decided that he would go over to his aspen trees
and look them over to decide which ones he would cut the next
night. He slid down one of his long halls, out the doorway at the
bottom on the pond, and then swam up to the surface, where he
floated for a few minutes with just his head out of water. And
all the time his eyes and nose and ears were busy looking,
smelling, and listening for any sign of danger. Everything was
still. Sure that he was quite safe, Paddy swam across to the
place where the aspen trees grew, and waddled out on the shore.
Paddy looked this way and looked that way. He looked up in the
treetops, and he looked off up the hill, but most of all he
looked at the ground. Yes, Sir, Paddy just studied the ground.
You see, he hadn't forgotten the fuss Sammy Jay had been making
there, and he was trying to find out what it was all about. At
first he didn't see anything unusual, but by and by he happened
to notice a little wet place, and right in the middle of it was
something that made Paddy's eyes open wide. It was a footprint!
Someone had carelessly stepped in the mud.
"Ha!" exclaimed Paddy, and the hair on his back lifted ever so
little, and for a minute he had a prickly feeling all over. The
footprint was very much like that of Reddy Fox, only it was
"Ha!" said Paddy again. "That certainly is the foot print of Old
Man Coyote! I see I have got to watch out more sharply than I had
thought for. All right, Mr. Coyote; now that I know you are
about, you'll have to be smarter than I think you are to catch
me. You certainly will be back here tonight looking for me, so I
think I'll do my cutting right now in the daytime."
CHAPTER XV Sammy Jay Makes Paddy a Call.
Paddy the Beaver was hard at work. He had just cut down a good-
sized aspen tree and now he was gnawing it into short lengths to
put in his food pile in the pond. As he worked, Paddy was doing a
lot of thinking about the footprint of Old Man Coyote in a little
patch of mud, for he knew that meant that Old Man Coyote had
discovered his pond, and would be hanging around, hoping to catch
Paddy off his guard. Paddy knew it just as well as if Old Man
Coyote had told him so. That was why he was at work cutting his food
supply in the daytime. Usually he works at night, and he knew
that Old Man Coyote knew it.
"He'll try to catch me then," thought Paddy, "so I'll do my working
on land now and fool him."
The tree he was cutting began to sway and crack. Paddy cut out
One more big chip, then hurried away to a safe place while the
tree fell with a crash.
"Thief! thief! thief!" screamed a voice just back of Paddy.
"Hello, Sammy Jay! I see you don't feel any better than usual
this morning," said Paddy. "Don't you want to sit up in this tree
while I cut it down?"
Sammy grew black in the face with anger, for he knew that Paddy
was laughing at him. You remember how only a few days before he
had been so intent on calling Paddy bad names that he actually
hadn't noticed that Paddy was cutting the very tree in which he
was sitting, and so when it fell he had had a terrible fright.
"You think you are very smart, Mr. Beaver, but you'll think
differently one of these fine days!" screamed Sammy. "If you knew
what I know, you wouldn't be so well satisfied with yourself."
"What do you know?" asked Paddy, pretending to be very much
"I'm not going to tell you what I know," retorted Sammy Jay.
"You'll find out soon enough. And when you do find out, you'll
never steal another tree from our Green Forest. Somebody is going
to catch you, and it isn't Farmer Brown's boy either!"
Paddy pretended to be terribly frightened. "Oh, who is it? Please
tell me, Mr. Jay," he begged.
Now to be called Mr. Jay made Sammy feel very important. Nearly
everybody else called him Sammy. He swelled himself out trying to
look as important as he felt, and his eyes snapped with pleasure.
He was actually making Paddy the Beaver afraid. At least, he
thought he was.
"No, Sir, I won't tell you," he replied. "I wouldn't be you for a
great deal, though! Somebody who is smarter than you are is going
to catch you, and when he gets through with you, there won't be
anything left but a few bones. No, Sir, nothing but a few bones!"
"Oh, Mr. Jay, this is terrible news! Whatever am I to do?" cried
Paddy, all the time keeping on at work cutting another tree.
"There's nothing you can do," replied Sammy, grinning wickedly at
Paddy's fright. "There's nothing you can do unless you go right
straight back to the North where you came from. You think you are
very smart, but--"
Sammy didn't finish. Crack! Over fell the tree Paddy had been
cutting and the top of it fell straight into the alder in which
Sammy was sitting. "Oh! Oh! Help!" shrieked Sammy, spreading his
wings and flying away just in time.
Paddy sat down and laughed until his sides ached. "Come make me
another call someday, Sammy!" he said. "And when you do, please
bring some real news. I know all about Old Man Coyote. You can
tell him for me that when he is planning to catch people he
should be careful not to leave footprints to give himself away."
Sammy didn't reply. He just sneaked off through the Green Forest,
looking quite as foolish as he felt.
CHAPTER XVI Old Man Coyote is Very Crafty.
Coyote has a crafty brain;
His wits are sharp his ends to gain.
There is nothing in the world more true than that. Old Man Coyote
has the craftiest brain of all the little people of the Green
Forest or the Green Meadows. Sharp as are the wits of old Granny
Fox, they are not quite so sharp as the wits of Old Man Coyote.
If you want to fool him, you will have to get up very early in
the morning, and then it is more than likely that you will be the
one fooled, not he. There is very little going on around him that
he doesn't know about. But once in a while something escapes him.
The coming of Paddy the Beaver to the Green Forest was one of
these things. He didn't know a thing about Paddy until Paddy had
finished his dam and his house, and was cutting his supply of
food for the winter.
You see, it was this way: When the Merry Little Breezes of Old
Mother West Wind first heard what was going on in the Green Forest
and hurried around over the Green Meadows and through the Green
Forest to spread the news, as is their way, they took the
greatest pains not to even hint it to Old Man Coyote because they
were afraid that he would make trouble and perhaps drive Paddy
away. The place that Paddy had chosen to build his dam was so
deep in the Green Forest that Old Man Coyote seldom went that
way. So it was that he knew nothing about Paddy, and Paddy knew
nothing about him for some time.
But after awhile Old Man Coyote noticed that the little people of
the Green Meadows were not about as much as usual. They seemed to
have a secret of some kind. He mentioned the matter to his
friend, Digger the Badger.
Digger had been so intent on his own affairs that he hadn't
noticed anything unusual, but when Old Man Coyote mentioned the
matter he remembered that Blacky the Crow headed straight for the
Green Forest every morning. Several times he had seen Sammy Jay
flying in the same direction as if in a great hurry to get
Old Man Coyote grinned. "That's all I need to know, friend
Digger," said he. "When Blacky the Crow and Sammy Jay visit a
place more than once, something interesting is going on there. I
think I'll take a stroll up through the Green Forest and have a
With that, off Old Man Coyote started. But he was too sly and
crafty to go straight to the Green Forest. He pretended to hunt
around over the Green Meadows just as he usually did, all the
time working nearer and nearer to the Green Forest. When he
reached the edge of it, he slipped in among the trees, and when
he felt that no one was likely to see him, he began to run this
way and that way with his nose to the ground.
"Ha!" he exclaimed presently, "Reddy Fox has been this way
Pretty soon he found another trail. "So," said he, "Peter Rabbit
has been over here a good deal of late, and his trail goes in the
same direction as that of Reddy Fox. I guess all I have to do now
is to follow Peter's trail, and it will lead me to what I want to
So Old Man Coyote followed Peter's trail, and he presently came
to the pond of Paddy the Beaver. "Ha!" said he, as he looked out
and saw Paddy's new house. "So there is a newcomer to the Green
Forest! I have always heard that Beaver is very good eating. My
stomach begins to feel empty this very minute." His mouth began
to water, and a fierce, hungry look shone in his eyes.
It was just then that Sammy Jay saw him and began to scream at
the top of his lungs so that Paddy the Beaver over in his house
heard him. Old Man Coyote knew that it was of no use to stay
longer with Sammy Jay about, so he took a hasty look at the pond
and found where Paddy came ashore to cut his food. Then, shaking
his fist at Sammy Jay, he started straight back for the Green
Meadows. "I'll just pay a visit here in the night," said he, "and
give Mr. Beaver a surprise while he is at work."
But with all his craft, Old Man Coyote didn't notice that he left
a footprint in the mud.
CHAPTER XVII Old Man Coyote is Disappointed.
Old Man Coyote lay stretched out in his favorite napping place on
the Green Meadows. He was thinking of what he had found out up in
the Green Forest that morning--that Paddy the Beaver was living
there. Old Man Coyote's thoughts seemed very pleasant to
himself, though really they were very dreadful thoughts. You see,
he was thinking how easy it was going to be to catch Paddy the
Beaver, and what a splendid meal he would make. He licked his
chops at the thought.
"He doesn't know I know he's here," thought Old Man Coyote. "In
fact, I don't believe heaven knows that I am anywhere around. Of
course he won't be watching for me. He cuts his trees at night,
so all I will have to do is to hide right close by where he is at
work, and he'll walk right into my mouth. Sammy Jay knows I was
up there this morning, but Sammy sleeps at night, so he will not
give the alarm. My, my, how good that Beaver will taste!" He
licked his chops once more, then yawned and closed his eyes for a
Old Man Coyote waited until jolly, round red Mr. Sun had gone to
bed behind the Purple Hills, and the Black Shadows had crept out
across the Green Meadows. Then, keeping in the blackest of them,
and looking very much like a shadow of himself, he slipped into
the Green Forest. It was dark in there, and he made straight for
Paddy's new pond, trotting along swiftly without making a sound.
When he was near the aspen trees which he knew Paddy was planning
to cut, he crept forward very slowly and carefully. Everything
was still as still could be.
"Good!" thought Old Man Coyote. "I am here first, and now all I
need do is to hide and wait for Paddy to come ashore."
So he stretched himself flat behind some brush close beside the
little path Paddy had made up from the edge of the water and
waited. It was very still, so still that it seemed almost as if
he could hear his heart beat. He could see the little stars
twinkling in the sky and their own reflections twinkling back at
them from the water of Paddy's pond. Old Man Coyote waited and
waited. He is very patient when there is something to gain by it.
For such a splendid dinner as Paddy the Beaver would make, he
felt that he could well afford to be patient. So he waited and
waited, and everything was as still as if no living thing but the
trees where there. Even the trees seemed to be asleep.
At last, after a long, long time, he heard just the faintest
splash. He pricked up his ears and peeped out on the pond with
the hungriest look in his yellow eyes. There was a little line of
silver coming straight toward him. He knew that it was made by
Paddy the Beaver swimming. Nearer and nearer it drew. Old Man
Coyote chuckled way down deep inside, without making a sound. He
could see Paddy's head now, and Paddy was coming straight in, as
if he hadn't a fear in the world.
Almost to the edge of the pond swam Paddy. Then he stopped. In a
few minutes he began to swim again, but this time it was back in
the direction of his house, and he seemed to be carrying
something. It was one of the little food logs he had cut that
day, and he was taking it out to his storehouse. Then back he
came for another. And so he kept on, never once coming ashore.
Old Man Coyote waited until Paddy had carried the last log to his
storehouse and then, with a loud whack on the water with his
broad tail, had dived and disappeared in his house.
Then Old Man Coyote arose and started elsewhere to look for his
dinner, and in his heart was bitter disappointment.
CHAPTER XVIII Old Man Coyote Tries Another Plan.
For three nights Old Man Coyote had stolen up through the green
Forest with the coming of the Black Shadows and had hidden among
the aspen trees where Paddy the Beaver cut his food, and for
three nights Paddy had failed to come ashore. Each night he had
seemed to have enough food logs in the water to keep him busy
without cutting more. Old Man Coyote lay there, and the hungry
look in his eyes changed to one of doubt and then to suspicion.
Could it be that Paddy the Beaver was smarter than he thought? It
began to look very much as if Paddy knew perfectly well that he
was hiding there each night. Yes, Sir, that's the way it looked.
For three nights Paddy hadn't cut a single tree, and yet each
night he had plenty of food logs ready to take to his storehouse
in the pond.
"That means that he comes ashore in the daytime and cuts his
trees," thought Old Man Coyote as, tired and with black anger in
his heart, he trotted home the third night. "He couldn't have
found out about me himself; he isn't smart enough. It must be
that someone has told him. And nobody knows that I have been over
there but Sammy Jay. It must be he who has been the tattletale. I
think I'll visit Paddy by daylight tomorrow, and then we'll see!"
Now the trouble with some smart people is that they are never
able to believe that others may be as smart as they. Old Man
Coyote didn't know that the first time he had visited Paddy's
pond he had left behind him a footprint in a little patch of soft
mud. If he had known it, he wouldn't have believed that Paddy
would be smart enough to guess what that footprint meant. So Old
Man coyote laid all the blame at the door of Sammy Jay, and that
very morning, when Sammy came flying over the Green Meadows, Old
Man Coyote accused him of being a tattletale and threatened the
most dreadful things to Sammy if ever he caught him.
Now Sammy had flown down to the green Meadows to tell Old Man
Coyote how Paddy was doing all his work on land in the daytime.
But when Old Man Coyote began to call him a tattletale and
accuse him of having warned Paddy, and to threaten dreadful
things, he straightway forgot all his anger at Paddy and turned
it all on Old Man Coyote. He called him everything he could think
of, and this was a great deal, for Sammy has a wicked tongue.
When he hadn't any breath left, he flew over to the Green Forest,
and there he hid where he could watch all that was going on.
That afternoon Old Man Coyote tried his new plan. He slipped into
the Green Forest, looking this way and that way to be sure that
no one saw him. Then very, very softly, he crept up through the
Green Forest toward the pond of Paddy the Beaver. As he drew
near, he heard a crash, and it make him smile. He knew what it
meant. It meant that Paddy was at work cutting down trees. With
his stomach almost on the ground, he crept forward little by
little, little by little, taking the greatest care not to rustle
so much as a leaf. Presently he reached a place where he could
see the aspen trees, and there, sure enough, was Paddy, sitting
up on his hind legs and hard at work cutting another tree.
Old Man Coyote lay down for a few minutes to watch. Then he
wriggled a little nearer. Slowly and carefully he drew his legs
under him and made ready for a rush. Paddy the Beaver was his at
last! At just that very minute a harsh scream rang out right over
"Thief! thief! thief!"
It was Sammy Jay, who had followed him all the way. Paddy the
Beaver didn't stop to even look around. He knew what that meant,
and he scrambled down his little path to the water as he never
had scrambled before. And as he dived with a great splash, Old Man
Coyote landed with a great jump on the very edge of the pond.
CHAPTER XIX Paddy and Sammy Jay Become Friends.
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
"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.
CHAPTER XX Sammy Jay Offers To Help Paddy.
Paddy sat looking thoughtfully at the aspen trees he would have
to cut to complete his store of food for the winter. All those
near the edge of his pond had been cut. The others were scattered
about some little distance away. "I don't know," said Paddy out
loud. "I don't know."
"What don't you know?" asked Sammy Jay, who, now that he and
Paddy had become friends, was very much interested in what Paddy
"Why," replied Paddy, "I don't know just how I am going to get
those trees. Now that Old Man Coyote is watching for me, it isn't
safe for me to go very far from my pond. I suppose I could dig a
canal up to some of the nearest trees and then float them down to
the pond, but it is hard to work and keep watch for enemies at
the same time. I guess I'll have to be content with some of these
alders growing close to the water, but he bark of aspens is so
much better that I--I wish I could get them."
"What's a canal?" asked Sammy abruptly.
"A canal? Why a canal is a kind of ditch in which water can run,"
Sammy nodded. "I've seen Farmer Brown dig one over on the Green
Meadows, but it looked like a great deal of work. I didn't
suppose that anyone else could do it. Do you really mean that you
can dig a canal, Paddy?"
"Of course I mean it," replied Paddy, in a surprised tone of
voice. "I have helped dig lots of canals. You ought to see some
of them back where I came from."
"I'd like to," replied Sammy. "I think it is perfectly wonderful.
I don't see how you do it."
"It's easy enough when you know how," replied Paddy. "If I dared
to, I'd show you."
Sammy had a sudden idea. It almost made him gasp. "I tell you
what, you work and I'll keep watch!" he cried. "You know my eyes
are very sharp."
"Will you?" cried Paddy eagerly. "That would be perfectly
splendid. You have the sharpest eyes of anyone whom I know, and I
would feel perfectly safe with you on watch. But I don't want to
put you to all to that trouble, Mr. Jay."
"Of course I will," replied Sammy, "and it won't be any trouble
at all. I'll just love to do it." You see, it made Sammy feel
very proud to have Paddy say that he had such sharp eyes. "When
will you begin?"
"Right away, if you will just take a look around and see that it
is perfectly safe for me to come out on land."
Sammy didn't wait to hear more. He spread his beautiful blue
wings and started off over the Green Forest straight for the
Green Meadows. Paddy watched him go with a puzzled and
disappointed air. "That's funny," thought he. "I thought he
really meant it, and now off he goes without even saying
In a little while back came Sammy, all out of breath. "It's all
right," he panted. "You can go to work just as soon as you
Paddy looked more puzzled than ever. "How do you know?" he asked.
"I haven't seen you looking around."
"I did better than that," replied Sammy. "If Old Man Coyote had
been hiding somewhere in the Green Forest, it might have taken me
some time to find him. But he isn't. You see, I flew straight
over to his home in the Green Meadows to see if he is there, and
he is. He's taking a sun bath and looking as cross as two sticks.
I don't think he'll be back here this morning, but I'll keep a
sharp watch while you work."
Paddy made Sammy a low bow. "You certainly are smart, Mr. Jay,"
said he. "I wouldn't have thought of going over to Old Man
Coyote's home to see if he was there. I'll feel perfectly safe
with you on guard. Now I'll get to work."
CHAPTER XXI Paddy and Sammy Jay Work Together.
Jerry Muskrat had been home at the Smiling Pool for several days.
But he couldn't stay there long. Oh, my, no! He just had to get
back to see what his big cousin, Paddy the Beaver, was doing. So
as soon as he was sure that everything was all right at the
Smiling Pool he hurried back up the Laughing Brook to Paddy's
pond, deep in the Green Forest. As soon as he was in sight of it,
he looked eagerly for Paddy. At first he didn't see him. Then he
stopped and gazed over at the place where Paddy had been cutting
aspen trees for food. Something was going on there, something
queer. He couldn't make it out.
Jus then Sammy Jay came flying over.
"What's Paddy doing?" Jerry asked.
Sammy Jay dropped down to the top of an alder tree and fluffed
out all his feathers in a very important way. "Oh," said he,
"Paddy and I are building something!"
"You! Paddy and you! Ha, ha! Paddy and you building something!"
"Yes, me!" snapped Sammy angrily. "That's what I said; Paddy and
I are building something."
Jerry had begun to swim across the pond by this time, and Sammy
was flying across. "Why don't you tell the truth, Sammy, and say
that Paddy is building something and you are making him all the
trouble you can?" called Jerry.
Sammy's eyes snapped angrily, and he darted down at Jerry's
little brown head. "It isn't true!" he shrieked. "You ask Paddy
if I'm not helping!"
Jerry ducked under water to escape Sammy's sharp bill. When he
came up again, Sammy was over in the little grove of aspen trees
where Paddy was at work. Then Jerry discovered something. What
was it? Why a little water-path led right up to the aspen trees,
and there, at the end of the little water-path, was Paddy the
Beaver hard at work. He was digging and piling the earth on one
side very neatly. In fact, he was making the water-path longer.
Jerry swam right up the little water-path to where Paddy was
working. "Good morning, Cousin Paddy," said he. "What are you
"Oh," replied Paddy, "Sammy Jay and I are building a canal."
Sammy Jay looked down at Jerry in triumph, and Jerry looked at
Paddy as if he thought that he was joking.
"Sammy Jay? What's Sammy Jay got to do about it?" demanded Jerry.
"A whole lot," replied Paddy. "You see, he keeps watch while I
work. If he didn't, I couldn't work, and there wouldn't be any
canal. Old Man Coyote has been trying to catch me, and I wouldn't
dare work on shore if it wasn't that I am sure that the sharpest
eyes in the Green Forest are watching for danger."
Sammy Jay looked very much pleased indeed and very proud.
"So you see, it takes both of us to make this canal; I dig while
Sammy watches. So we are building it together," concluded Paddy
with a twinkle in his eyes.
"I see," said Jerry slowly. Then he turned to Sammy Jay. "I beg
your pardon, Sammy," said he. "I do indeed."
"That's all right," replied Sammy airily. "What do you think of
"I think it is wonderful," replied Jerry.
And indeed it was a very fine canal, straight, wide, and deep
enough for Paddy to swim in and float his logs out to the pond.
Yes, indeed, it was a very fine canal.
CHAPTER XXII Paddy Finishes His Harvest.
"Sharp his tongue and sharp his eyes--
Sammy guards against surprise.
If 'twere not for Sammy Jay
I could do no work today."
When Sammy overheard Paddy the Beaver say that to Jerry Muskrat,
it made him swell up all over with pure pride. You see, Sammy is
so used to hearing bad things about himself that to hear
something nice like that pleased him immensely. He straightway
forgot all the mean things he had said to Paddy when he first saw
him--how he had called him a thief because he had cut the aspen
trees he needed. He forgot all this. He forgot how Paddy had made
him the laughingstock of the Green Forest and the Green Meadows
by cutting down the very tree in which he had been sitting. He
forgot everything but that Paddy had trusted him to keep watch
and now was saying nice things about him. He made up his mind
that he would deserve all the nice things that Paddy could say,
and he thought that Paddy was the finest fellow in the world.
Jerry Muskrat looked doubtful. He didn't trust Sammy, and he took
care not to go far from the water when he heard that Old Man
Coyote had been hanging around. But Paddy worked away just as if
he hadn't a fear in the world.
"The way to make people want to be trusted is to trust them" said
he to himself. "If I show Sammy Jay that I don't really trust
him, he will think it is of no use to try and will give it up.
But if I do trust him, and he knows that I do, he'll be the best
watchman in the Green Forest."
And this shows that Paddy the Beaver has a great deal of wisdom,
for it was just as he thought. Sammy was on hand bright and early
every morning. He made sure that Old Man Coyote was nowhere in
the Green Forest, and then he settled himself comfortably in the
top of a tall pine tree where he could see all that was going on
while Paddy the Beaver worked.
Paddy had finished his canal, and a beautiful canal it was,
leading straight from his pond up to the aspen trees. As soon as
he had finished it, he began to cut the trees. As soon as one was
down he would cut it into short lengths and roll them into the
canal. Then he would float them out to his pond and over to his
storehouse. He took the larger branches, on which there was
sweet, tender bark, in the same way, for Paddy is never wasteful.
After a while he went over to his storehouse, which, you know,
was nothing but a great pile of aspen logs and branches in his
pond close by his house. He studied it very carefully. Then he
swam back and climbed up on the bank of his canal.
"Mr. Jay," said he, "I think our work is about finished."
"What!" cried Sammy, "Aren't you going to cut the rest of those
"No," replied Paddy. "Enough is always enough, and I've got
enough to last me all winter. I want those trees for next year.
Now I am fixed for the winter. I think I'll take it easy for a
Sammy looked disappointed. You see, he had just begun to learn
that the greatest pleasure in the world comes from doing things
for other people. For the first time since he could remember,
someone wanted him around land it gave him such a good feeling
down deep inside! Perhaps it was because he remembered that good
feeling that the next spring he was so willing and anxious to
help poor Mrs. Quack. What he did for her and all about her
terrible adventures I will tell you in the next book.
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