Every feather on Whitetail’s head was standing erect with rage, and he looked very fierce and terrible. At last he saw a chance, or thought he did, and shot down. But all he got was a feather from that great wing which Longlegs kept in front of him, and before he could get away, that long bill had struck him twice, so that he screamed with pain. So they fought and fought, till the ground was covered with feathers, and they were too tired to fight any longer. Then, slowly and painfully, old Whitetail flew away over the Green Meadows, and with torn and ragged wings, Longlegs flew heavily down the Laughing Brook towards the Big River, and both were sore and stiff and still hungry.
“Dear me! Dear me! What a terrible thing and how useless anger is,” said Grandfather Frog, as he climbed back on his big green lily-pad in the warm sunshine.
GRANDFATHER FROG’S BIG MOUTH GETS HIM IN TROUBLE
Grandfather Frog has a great big mouth. You know that. Everybody does. His friends of the Smiling Pool, the Laughing Brook, and the Green Meadows have teased Grandfather Frog a great deal about the size of his mouth, but he hasn’t minded in the least, not the very least. You see, he learned a long time ago that a big mouth is very handy for catching foolish green flies, especially when two happen to come along together. So he is rather proud of his big mouth, just as he is of his goggly eyes.
But once in a while his big mouth gets him into trouble. It’s a way big mouths have. It holds so much that it makes him greedy sometimes. He stuffs it full after his stomach already has all that it can hold, and then of course he can’t swallow. Then Grandfather Frog looks very foolish and silly and undignified, and everybody calls him a greedy fellow who is old enough to know better and who ought to be ashamed of himself. Perhaps he is, but he never says so, and he is almost sure to do the same thing over again the first chance he has.
Now it happened that one morning when Grandfather Frog had had a very good breakfast of foolish green flies and really didn’t need another single thing to eat, who should come along but Little Joe Otter, who had been down to the Big River fishing. He had eaten all he could hold, and he was taking the rest of his catch to a secret hiding-place up the Laughing Brook.
Now Grandfather Frog is very fond of fish for a change, and when he saw those that Little Joe Otter had, his eyes glistened, and in spite of his full stomach his mouth watered.
“Good morning, Grandfather Frog! Have you had your breakfast yet?” called Little Joe Otter.
Grandfather Frog wanted to say no, but he always tells the truth. “Ye-e-s,” he replied. “I’ve had my breakfast, such as it was. Why do you ask?”
“Oh, for no reason in particular. I just thought that if you hadn’t, you might like a fish. But as long as you have breakfasted, of course you don’t want one,” said Little Joe, his bright eyes beginning to twinkle. He held the fish out so that Grandfather Frog could see just how plump and nice they were.