Happy Jack was more frightened than hurt. To be sure, it is not at all comfortable to have one’s tail pulled, but Happy Jack wouldn’t have minded this so much had it not been so unexpected, or if he could have seen who was pulling it. And then, right inside Happy Jack didn’t feel a bit good. Why? Well, because he was doing a dreadful thing, and he knew that it was a dreadful thing. He had broken into somebody’s storehouse to steal. He was sure that it was Striped Chipmunk’s storehouse, and he wouldn’t admit to himself that he was going to steal, actually steal. But all the time, right down deep in his heart, he knew that if he took any of those hickory nuts it would be stealing.
But Happy Jack had been careless. When he had made the doorway big enough for him to crawl inside, he had left his tail hanging outside. Some one had very, very softly stolen up and grabbed it and begun to pull. It was so sudden and unexpected that Happy Jack yelled with fright. When he could get his wits together, he thought of course Striped Chipmunk had come back and was pulling his tail. When he thought that, he got over his fright right away, for Striped Chipmunk is such a little fellow that Happy Jack knew that he had nothing; to fear from him.
So as fast as he could, Happy Jack backed out of the hole and whirled around. Of course he expected to face a very angry little Chipmunk. But he didn’t. No, Sir, he didn’t. Instead, he looked right into the angry face of his other cousin, Chatterer the Red Squirrel. And Chatterer was angry! Oh my, my, how angry Chatterer was! For a minute he couldn’t find his voice, because his anger fairly choked him. And when he did, how his tongue did fly!
“You thief! You robber! What are you doing in my storehouse?” he shrieked.
Happy Jack backed away hurriedly, for though he is much bigger than Chatterer, he has a very wholesome respect for Chatterer’s sharp teeth, and when he is very angry, Chatterer is a great fighter.
“I—I didn’t know it was your storehouse,” said Happy Jack, backing away still further.
“It doesn’t make any difference if you didn’t; you’re a thief just the same!” screamed Chatterer and rushed at Happy Jack. And what do you think Happy Jack did? Why, he just turned tail and ran, Chatterer after him, crying “Thief! Robber! Coward!” at the top of his lungs, so that every one in the Green Forest could hear.
STRIPED CHIPMUNK’S HAPPY THOUGHT
Waste seems to me a dreadful
It works to lose and not to win.
Thrift will win; it cannot
Between them ’tis for you to choose.
Striped Chipmunk sat on a mossy old log, laughing until his sides ached. “Ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho! Oh, dear! Oh, dear! Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho!” laughed Striped Chipmunk, holding his sides. Over in the Green Forest he could still hear Chatterer the Red Squirrel crying “Thief! Robber!” as he chased his big cousin, Happy Jack, and every time he heard it, Striped Chipmunk laughed harder.