“Of course we’ll waken Grandfather Frog in time for him to get away with nothing more than a great scare,” said Little Joe Otter, as they hurried along. “It will be such fun to see his big goggly eyes pop out when he opens them and sees Longlegs just ready to gobble him up! And won’t Longlegs be hopping mad when we cheat him out of the breakfast he is so sure he is going to have!”
They reached the Smiling Pool before Longlegs, who had taken a roundabout way, and they hid among the bulrushes where they could see and not be seen.
“There’s the old fellow just as I left him, fast asleep,” whispered Billy Mink.
Sure enough, there on his big green lily-pad sat Grandfather Frog with his eyes shut. At least, they seemed to be shut. And over on top of his big house sat Jerry Muskrat. Jerry seemed to be too busy opening a fresh-water clam to notice anything else; but the truth is he was watching all that was going on. You see, he had suspected that Billy Mink was going to play some trick on Grandfather Frog, so he had warned him. When he had seen Longlegs coming towards the Smiling Pool, he had given Grandfather Frog another warning, and he knew that now he was only pretending to be asleep.
Straight up to the Smiling Pool came Longlegs the Blue Heron, and on the very edge of it, among the bulrushes, he dropped his long legs and stood with his toes in the water, his long neck stretched up so that he could look all over the Smiling Pool. There, just as Little Joe Otter had said, sat Grandfather Frog on his big green lily-pad, fast asleep. At least, he seemed to be fast asleep. The eyes of Longlegs sparkled with hunger and the thought of what a splendid breakfast Grandfather Frog would make. Very slowly, putting each foot down as carefully as he knew how, Longlegs began to walk along the shore so as to get opposite the big green lily-pad where Grandfather Frog was sitting. And over in the bulrushes on the other side, Little Joe Otter and Billy Mink nudged each other and clapped their hands over their mouths to keep from laughing aloud.
THE PATIENCE OF LONGLEGS THE BLUE HERON
Patience often wins the day
When over-haste has lost the way.
If there is one virtue which Longlegs the Heron possesses above another it is patience. Yes, Sir, Longlegs certainly has got patience. He believes that if a thing is worth having, it is worth waiting for, and that if he waits long enough, he is sure to get it. Perhaps that is because he has been a fisherman all his life, and his father and his grandfather were fishermen. You know a fisherman without patience rarely catches anything. Of course Billy Mink and Little Joe Otter laugh at this and say that it isn’t so, but the truth is they sometimes go hungry when they wouldn’t if they had a little of the patience of Longlegs.
Now Grandfather Frog is another who is very, very patient. He can sit still the longest time waiting for something to come to him. Indeed, he can sit perfectly still so long, and Longlegs can stand perfectly still so long, that Jerry Muskrat and Billy Mink and Little Joe Otter have had many long disputes as to which of the two can keep still the longest.