but once a year,
And when it comes it brings good cheer,”
said Striped Chipmunk to himself as he watched his guests depart.
HAPPY JACK DOES SOME THINKING
To call another a thief doesn’t make him one.
Happy Jack sat up in a chestnut tree, and his face was very sober. The fact is, Happy Jack was doing some very hard thinking. This is so very unusual for him that Sammy Jay stopped to ask if he was sick. You see he is naturally a happy-go-lucky little scamp, and that is one reason that he is called Happy Jack. But this morning he was thinking and thinking hard, so hard, in fact, that he almost lost his temper when Sammy Jay interrupted his thoughts with such a foolish question.
What was he thinking about? Can you not guess? Why, he was thinking about those big, fat hickory nuts that Striped Chipmunk had had for his Thanksgiving dinner, and how Striped Chipmunk had given him some of them to bring home. He was very sure that they were the very same nuts that he had watched grow big and fat in the top of the tall hickory tree and then had knocked down while chasing his cousin, Chatterer. When they had reached the ground and found the nuts gone, Happy Jack had at once suspected that Striped Chipmunk had taken them, and now he felt sure about it.
But all at once things looked very different to Happy Jack, and the more he thought about how he had acted, the more ashamed of himself he grew.
“There certainly must have been enough of those nuts for all of us, and if I hadn’t been so greedy we might all have had a share. As it is, I’ve got only those that Striped Chipmunk gave me, and Chatterer has only those that Striped Chipmunk gave him. It must be that that sharp little cousin of mine with the striped coat has got the rest, and I guess he deserves them.”
Then all of a sudden Happy Jack realized how Striped Chipmunk had fooled him into thinking that the storehouse of Chatterer was his storehouse, and Happy Jack began to laugh. The more he thought of it, the harder he laughed.
“The joke certainly is on me!” he exclaimed. “The joke certainly is on me, and it served me right. Hereafter I’ll mind my own business. If I had spent half as much time looking for hickory nuts as I did looking for Striped Chipmunk’s storehouse, I would be ready for winter now, and Chatterer couldn’t call me a thief.”
Then he laughed again as he thought how Striped Chipmunk must have enjoyed seeing him pulled out of Chatterer’s storehouse by the tail.
“What’s the joke?” asked Bobby Coon, who happened along just then.
“I’ve just learned a lesson,” replied Happy Jack.
“What is it?” asked Bobby.
Happy Jack grinned as he answered:
“I’ve found that
greed will never, never pay.
It makes one cross and ugly, and it drives one’s friends away.
And being always selfish and always wanting more,
One’s very apt to lose the things that one has had before.”