When he reached the tall hickory tree, what do you think was happening? Why, those big, fat nuts were rattling down to the ground on every side, just as if Old Mother West Wind was shaking the tree as hard as she could. But Old Mother West Wind wasn’t there at all. No, Sir, there wasn’t even one of the Merry Little Breezes up in the tree-tops. The big fat nuts were rattling down just on account of the dreadful quarrel of Striped Chipmunk’s two foolish cousins, Happy Jack and Chatterer.
It was all because Happy Jack was greedy. Chatterer had climbed the tree, and now Happy Jack, who is bigger but not so spry, was chasing Chatterer round and round and over the tree-top, and both were so angry that they didn’t once notice that they were knocking down the very nuts over which they were quarreling.
Striped Chipmunk didn’t stop to listen to the quarrel. No, Sir-ee! He stuffed a big fat nut in each pocket in his cheeks and scampered back to his splendid new storehouse as fast as his little legs would take him. Back and forth, back and forth, scampered Striped Chipmunk, and all the time he was laughing inside and hoping his big cousins would keep right on quarreling.
HAPPY JACK AND CHATTERER FEEL FOOLISH
If you get and spend a penny,
Then of course you haven’t any.
Be like me—a Happy Jack—
And put it where you’ll get it back.
Happy Jack and Chatterer were out of breath. Happy Jack was puffing and blowing, for he is big and fat, and it is not so easy for him to race about in the tree-tops as it is for his smaller, slim, nimble cousin, Chatterer. So Happy Jack was the first to stop. He sat on a branch ’way up in the top of the tall hickory tree and glared across at Chatterer, who sat on a branch on the other side of the tall tree.
“Couldn’t catch me, could you, smarty?” taunted Chatterer.
“You just wait until I do! I’ll make you sorry you ever came near my hickory tree,” snapped Happy Jack.
“I’m waiting. Besides, it isn’t your tree any more than it’s mine,” replied Chatterer, and made a face at Happy Jack.
Happy Jack hopped up as if he meant to begin the chase again, but he had a pain in his side from running so hard and so long, and so he sat down again. Right down in his heart Happy Jack knew that Chatterer was right, that the tree didn’t belong to him any more than to his cousin. But when he thought of all those big, fat nuts with which the tall hickory tree had been loaded, greedy thoughts chased out all thoughts of right and he said to himself again, as he had said when he first saw his cousin, that Chatterer shouldn’t have one of them. He stopped scolding long enough to steal a look at them, and then—what do you think Happy Jack did? Why, he gave such a jump of surprise that he nearly lost his balance. Not a nut was to be seen! Happy Jack blinked. Then, he rubbed his eyes and looked again. He couldn’t see a nut anywhere!