Then Caesar sprang up with such a sudden outburst at Clawina that she had to save herself by jumping up on a shelf. “I’ll teach you to keep quiet when I want to sleep,” bawled Caesar. “Of course I know that there is some talk about draining the lake this year. But there’s been talk of this many times before without anything coming of it. And that draining business is a matter in which I take no stock whatever. For how would it go with the game if Takern were laid waste. You’re a donkey to gloat over a thing like that. What will you and I have to amuse ourselves with, when there are no more birds on Takern?”
Sunday, April seventeenth.
A couple of days later Jarro was so well that he could fly all about the house. Then he was petted a good deal by the mistress, and the little boy ran out in the yard and plucked the first grass-blades for him which had sprung up. When the mistress caressed him, Jarro thought that, although he was now so strong that he could fly down to Takern at any time, he shouldn’t care to be separated from the human beings. He had no objection to remaining with them all his life.
But early one morning the mistress placed a halter, or noose, over Jarro, which prevented him from using his wings, and then she turned him over to the farm-hand who had found him in the yard. The farm-hand poked him under his arm, and went down to Takern with him.
The ice had melted away while Jarro had been ill. The old, dry fall leaves still stood along the shores and islets, but all the water-growths had begun to take root down in the deep; and the green stems had already reached the surface. And now nearly all the migratory birds were at home. The curlews’ hooked bills peeped out from the reeds. The grebes glided about with new feather-collars around the neck; and the jack-snipes were gathering straws for their nests.
The farm-hand got into a scow, laid Jarro in the bottom of the boat, and began to pole himself out on the lake. Jarro, who had now accustomed himself to expect only good of human beings, said to Caesar, who was also in the party, that he was very grateful toward the farm-hand for taking him out on the lake. But there was no need to keep him so closely guarded, for he did not intend to fly away. To this Caesar made no reply. He was very close-mouthed that morning.
The only thing which struck Jarro as being a bit peculiar was that the farm-hand had taken his gun along. He couldn’t believe that any of the good folk in the cottage would want to shoot birds. And, beside, Caesar had told him that the people didn’t hunt at this time of the year. “It is a prohibited time,” he had said, “although this doesn’t concern me, of course.”
The farm-hand went over to one of the little reed-enclosed mud-islets. There he stepped from the boat, gathered some old reeds into a pile, and lay down behind it. Jarro was permitted to wander around on the ground, with the halter over his wings, and tethered to the boat, with a long string.