HAPPY JACK IS AFRAID TO GO HOME
Safety first is the best rule to insure a long life.
Happy Jack didn’t dare go home. Can you think of anything more dreadful than to be afraid to go to your own home? Why, home is the dearest place in the world, and it should be the safest. Just think how you would feel if you should be away from home, and then you should learn that it wouldn’t be safe for you to go back there again, and you had no other place to go. It often happens that way with the little people of the Green Meadows and the Green Forest. It was that way with Happy Jack Squirrel now.
You see, Happy Jack knew that Shadow the Weasel is not one to give up easily. Shadow has one very good trait, and that is persistence. He is not easily discouraged. When he sets out to do a thing, usually he does it. If he starts to get a thing, usually he gets it. No, he isn’t easily discouraged. Happy Jack knows this. No one knows it better. So Happy Jack didn’t dare to go home. He knew that any minute of night or day Shadow might surprise him there, and that would be the end of him. He more than half suspected that Shadow was at that very time hiding somewhere along the way ready to spring out on him if he should try to go back home.
He had stayed in the room of Farmer Brown’s boy until Mrs. Brown had come to make the bed. Then he had jumped out the window into the big maple tree. He wasn’t quite sure of Mrs. Brown yet. She had kindly eyes. They were just like the eyes of Farmer Brown’s boy. But he didn’t feel really acquainted yet, and he felt safer outside than inside the room while she was there.
“Oh dear, oh dear!
What shall I do?
I have no home, and so
To keep me warm and snug and safe
I have no place to go!”
Happy Jack said this over and over as he sat in the maple tree, trying to decide what was to be done.
“I wonder what ails that Squirrel. He seems to be doing a lot of scolding,” said Mrs. Brown, as she looked out of the window. And that shows how easy it is to misunderstand people when we don’t know all about their affairs. Mrs. Brown thought that Happy Jack was scolding, when all the time he was just frightened and worried and wondering where he could go and what he could do to feel safe from Shadow the Weasel.
Because he didn’t dare to go back to the Green Forest, he spent most of the day in the big maple tree close to Farmer Brown’s house. The window had been closed, so he couldn’t go inside. He looked at it longingly a great many times during the day, hoping that he would find it open. But he didn’t. You see, it was opened only at night when Farmer Brown’s boy went to bed, so that he would have plenty of fresh air all night. Of course Happy Jack didn’t know that. All his life he had had plenty of fresh air all the time, and be couldn’t understand how people could live in houses all shut up.