Sammy went. He was mad clear through, and yet he didn’t know what to make of it. Were they just trying to make him mad, or had he really been screaming in his sleep? He flew over to the Smiling Pool. Jerry Muskrat looked up and saw him.
“What were you yelling about in the night, Sammy Jay?” asked Jerry.
This was too much. Sammy Jay let his wings and his tail droop dejectedly and hung his head.
“I don’t know. I really don’t know anything about it,” he said.
SAMMY JAY THINKS HE’S GOING CRAZY
“Sammy Jay screams all day long,
And now what do you think?
Why, Sammy sits and yells all night
And doesn’t sleep a wink!”
Everywhere he went Sammy Jay heard that shouted after him. Dozens and dozens of times a day he heard it. At first he lost his temper and was the very maddest Jaybird ever seen on the Green Meadows or in the Green Forest.
“It isn’t true! It isn’t true! It isn’t true!” he would scream at the top of his lungs.
And then everybody within hearing would shout: “It is true!”
Sammy would just dance up and down and scream and scream and scream, he was so angry. And then he was sure to hear some one pipe up:
“Sammy’s mad and we are glad,
And we know how to tease him!
But some dark night he’ll get a fright,
For Hooty’ll come and seize him!”
That really began to worry him. At first he had thought that it was all a joke on the part of the little people of the Green Forest and the Green Meadows, and that they had made up the story about hearing him in the night. Then he began to think that it might be true that he did talk in his sleep, and this worried him a whole lot. If he did that, Hooty the Owl would surely find him sooner or later, and in the morning there wouldn’t be anything left of him but a few feathers from his fine coat.
The more he thought about it, the more worried Sammy Jay became. He lost his appetite and began to grow thin. He kept out of sight whenever possible and no longer screamed “Thief! thief!” through the Green Forest. In fact his voice was rarely heard during the day. But it seemed that he must be talking just as much as ever in the night. At least everybody said that he was. Worse still, different ones said that they heard him in different places in the Green Forest and even down on the Green Meadows. Could it be that he was flying about as well as talking in his sleep? And nobody believed him when he said that he was asleep all night. They thought that he was awake and doing it purposely. They might have known that he couldn’t see in the night, for his eyes are made for daylight and not for darkness, like the eyes of Boomer the Nighthawk and Hooty the Owl. But they didn’t seem to think of this, and insisted that almost every night they heard him down in the alders along the Laughing Brook. Yet every morning when he awoke, Sammy would find himself just where he went to sleep the night before, safely hidden in the thickest part of a big pine-tree.