So saying, he picked up a stone, and was going to throw it.
Rollo begged him not to kill that pretty little bird but he paid no attention to what Rollo said. He threw the stone with all his force; but fortunately it did not hit the bird. It struck the limb that the bird was perched upon, and shivered it to fragments, and the bird flew away, terrified.
“Now, what did you do that for?” said Rollo; “you might have hit him.”
“Hit him!” said he; “I meant to hit him, to be sure.”
“But what good does it do to kill little birds? I found one this morning, and I would not kill him for any thing.”
“Where did you find him?” said Jim.
Rollo then told the boys all about his finding a little bird, in its nest floating in the brook, and about their naming him Mosette; as is described in the story called “BLUEBERRYING;” and Jim said, if he had found him, he would have put him on a fence, for a mark to fire stones at. “I would have made him peep, I tell you,” said he.
Rollo said he would not have him killed on any account. He was going to carry him home, and feed him, and tame him.
“But where is he now?” said Jim.
“O, we hid him behind a stone, down at the foot of the mountain, where our horses are tied.”
“But how can you find him again?” said Jim.
“O,” said Rollo, “we know; it was behind the corner of a stone, just in the bushes, where we tied the horse.”
Jim winked at the other boys when Rollo said this, though Rollo did not see it. He was vexed with Rollo, because he reproved him for stoning the bird.
“I would set him up for a mark, if I had him,” said Jim. “I wish I had been there when you found him; I would have taken him away from you.”
“No, you would not have taken him away. Jonas would not let you.”
“Jonas! who is Jonas? and what do you think I care for Jonas?” said he.
He then came up to Rollo, and looked into his basket, and saw it nearly full of large ripe blueberries.
“And I believe,” said he, “that you have stolen some of my berries out of my basket, while I have been sitting here.”
“No, I have not,” said Rollo. “I have not touched your basket.”
“You have,” said Jim, fiercely, “and I will have them back again. Besides, I put some into yours, while you went to your father. So half the berries in your basket are mine.”
This was a lie; but bad boys, like Jim, will always lie, when they have any thing to gain by it. He came up to Rollo, and began to pull his basket away from him. Rollo struggled against him, and began to cry. But Jim was too strong for him: he tipped his basket over, poured a great many of the berries into his own basket, and the rest were spilled over on to the ground. Then, angry at Rollo’s screams and cries, he trampled on all the berries that were on the ground, and was beginning to run away. Rollo caught hold of the skirt of his coat, screaming all the time for his father. Jim turned round, and struck Rollo with his fist, knocked him down, and then he and the other boys set off, as fast as they could run, through the bushes; and they disappeared just as Rollo’s father and Jonas came hastening to his aid.