“What sort of a bird is it?” asked Sammie, who now had no wish to jump. “I’m sure it can’t be very harmful. The only birds that I have to look out for are owls, eagles and hawks, and it isn’t any of them.”
“No, I’m not one of them,” spoke the bird with the long legs, snapping its bill as if sharpening it. “I’m a blue heron, that’s what I am, though some folks think I’m a stork or a crane.”
“Well,” spoke Sammie, “you’re not dangerous, are you?”
“Not for you,” went on the blue heron, and he snapped his beak again, just like two knives being sharpened. “I came for that fellow,” and the bird lowered the leg it had hidden under its feathers and pointed at the frog. “I came for you,” the heron went on. “You’re wanted at once. What’s your name?”
Sammie Littletail thought the bird might have asked the frog’s name first before saying that Bully was wanted, but the bird did not seem to consider this.
“What’s your name?” the long-legged bird asked again.
“Bully,” answered the frog, in a trembling, croaking voice.
“Humph!” exclaimed the heron. “That’s a good name. Mine is Billy. Bully and Billy go well together. I’m called Billy because I have such a long bill, you see,” the heron explained to Sammie Littletail. “But enough of this. I’ve come for you, Bully. I’m hungry. I’m going to eat you. That’s why you’re wanted at once and immediate.”
“I—I think there’s some mistake,” faltered Bully.
“No mistake at all,” snapped the heron. “It’s in all the books. Cranes, storks and herons always eat frogs, mice and-so-forth. I never ate any and-so-forth, but I imagine it must be very nice. At any rate, I’m going to eat you!” and he snapped his bill like three knives being sharpened.
“Oh, are you?” cried Bully, the frog, and he suddenly gave a great jump, greater even than that which the Jumping Frog that Mark Twain wrote about gave, and into the pond he plunged, and went right to the bottom. Now, what do you think about that? Yes, sir, he went right to the bottom, where the blue heron couldn’t get him, and then he called up, in a voice which sounded very hoarse because it came from so far under water:
“Ha! Who got left?”
“I suppose he means me,” spoke the heron to Sammie, and the bird, very much annoyed, fanned itself with its long leg. “I don’t believe that’s fair,” the heron went on. “It’s in all the books,” and then, with a great flapping of wings, the tall creature flew away, and Bully, the frog, came out.
“You had a narrow escape,” said Sammie.
“Oh, I’m used to that,” replied the frog. “Now, let’s practice jumping.”
Which they did, only the frog always jumped into the water and Sammie remained on dry land, so they never could tell who was the best at it. Then they played other games, and became very good friends. The frog pond was very near the new burrow where Sammie lived, and the two used to meet quite often. One day the frog said: