They all heard it. Sammy Jay heard it, too, and scratched himself to be sure that he was awake and sitting there in the big pine-tree.
“It’s my voice, and it isn’t my voice, for I haven’t made a sound, and it’s over in the alders while I’m here in my own big pine-tree,” muttered Sammy Jay to himself. “I’m glad I kept awake, but—
“Maybe I’m going crazy!
My wits are getting hazy!
That’s surely me,
Yet here I be!
Oh, dear, I sure am crazy!”
THE MYSTERY GROWS
“Can a body be a body,
Yet not a body be?
Tell a body, anybody,
Didst such a body see?”
Of course it was Sammy Jay who was humming such a foolish-sounding rhyme as that. But really, it wasn’t so foolish in Sammy’s case, after all. He had sat up wide awake all night just to try to find out why it was that all the little meadow and forest people had complained that he spent part of each night screaming “Thief! thief! thief!” just as he does in the daytime. Now he knew. Sitting in the dark in his big pine-tree, he had heard his own voice, or what sounded like his own voice, screaming down in the alders by the Laughing Brook. Sammy had scratched himself to be sure that he was really and truly awake and not dreaming, for there was his voice down in the alders, and there was himself sitting in the big pine tree with his mouth closed as tight as he could shut it. Did ever a Jaybird have anything so queer as that to puzzle him?
Anyway, Sammy Jay knew that he didn’t scream in his sleep, and there was a whole lot of comfort in that. He could eat with a better appetite now. You see, when he had been told that he was screaming in the night, Sammy had been afraid that he was doing it in his sleep; and if he was doing that, why, some dark night Hooty the Owl might hear him and find him, and that would be the end of him. Now he knew that he could go to sleep in peace, just as he always had.
Sammy Jay brushed and smoothed out his handsome blue coat and made himself as pert and smart-appearing as possible. He had been so worried lately that he hadn’t taken much care of himself, which is very unusual for Sammy Jay. Now, however, he felt so much better that he began to think about his looks. When he had finished dressing, he started for the alders beside the Laughing Brook just to have a look around. Of course he didn’t expect to find his voice down there, for who ever saw a voice? Still he thought that he might find something that would explain the mystery.
He hunted all around in the thicket of alders beside the Laughing Brook, but nothing unusual did he find. Then for a long time he sat as still as still can be, studying and thinking. Finally he thought to himself: “I’ll just see how my voice really does sound down here,” and opening his mouth he screamed:
“Thief! thief! thief!”