In a few minutes more Mr. Crow had crossed another mountain. He was sailing away from home like a kite that has broken its string. And he was rising so high in the air that he was beginning to grow uneasy. He began to wonder what he had better do.
Of course, there was one thing he didn’t have to worry about—and that was falling. But he did want to go home.
You might suppose that he would have done that long before. But the trouble was, he didn’t want to lose his umbrella. He thought a great deal of it; and he didn’t know where he could get another. (You must not forget that it was the only umbrella in Pleasant Valley.)
Old Mr. Crow had a hard time deciding just what to do. First, he thought he would let go of the umbrella. Then he thought he wouldn’t. Next, he thought he would. And after that he thought he wouldn’t, again.
Perhaps he would still be changing his mind like that if something hadn’t happened. Anyhow, all at once the umbrella turned inside out. And Mr. Crow began to fall.
But he didn’t fall far. For as soon as he realized what was going on he let go of his umbrella-handle, spread his wings, and soared down to the ground.
He made no attempt to find his way home until the next day, but spent the night in an evergreen grove. And he didn’t feel as badly about losing his umbrella as you would have thought, for he said that ever since he had owned it he had caught a wetting when it rained. And since that was the case, he was better off without an umbrella, anyhow.
A RACE WITH THE TRAIN
Old Mr. Crow was fond of gay clothes. Perhaps it was because he was so black that he always chose bright colors. Anyhow, so long as he could wear a bright red coat and a yellow necktie—or a bright red necktie and a yellow coat—he was generally quite happy.
All his neighbors knew who he was as far as they could see him. No matter if they caught only a flash of yellow or of red, they were pretty safe in saying, “There goes old Mr. Crow!”
Well, it happened that during the summers that he spent in Pleasant Valley Mr. Crow sometimes went on excursions.
“It’s so dull here!” he would often say. “I like to see things happen, once in a while.” And that was the reason why he was often to be seen flying far down to the other end of the valley, over the village. There were many interesting sights there.
What Mr. Crow liked most of all was to watch the trains puffing along the railroad, which ran close to the river in that part of Pleasant Valley.
Sometimes he flew directly over the trains and raced with them. He often claimed that they were always trying to beat him. “But they can’t do it,” he boasted.
At last there came a day when something happened that made Mr. Crow feel prouder than ever. He had gone down to the village, wearing his bright red coat. And a little way beyond the furthest house he perched in a tree by the side of the railroad and waited for the train to pass. He had heard it snorting at the station and he knew it was about to start.