Anyhow, Mr. Crow suddenly decided that he would have to fly southward, after all. He was disappointed, because he didn’t like the thought of having to make so long a journey. Moreover, he had his new blue coat with the yellow spots, which Mr. Frog had made for him. It was a handsome coat. And everybody said it was very becoming to Mr. Crow. But he knew it was altogether too warm to wear to his home in the South where the weather was sure to be mild.
“I’ll have to leave my new coat behind,” he said to himself in a sad voice. “It’s almost too heavy to wear even here, though it is fall. I hate to do it; but I’d better take it off and hide it somewhere. There might be some cold days next spring when I’d be glad of a thick, warm coat.”
So the old gentleman started to unbutton his new coat, which he had worn all day, ever since Mr. Frog had slipped it on him early in the morning. Anyone might think that it would have been an easy matter to unbutton the coat, for Mr. Frog had sewed a double row of big brown buttons down the front of it. But for some time Mr. Crow fumbled with one of them in vain.
“Ha!” he exclaimed at last. “This is stupid of me! I’m trying to unbutton the wrong row of buttons.” Then he fumbled with one of the buttons of the other row. But strange to say, he was no more successful than before. He struggled with all the buttons in that row (there were five of them). And then he tried the other five, one after another.
Mr. Crow couldn’t understand it. He wanted more than ever to take the coat off, because his efforts to unbutton it had made him quite warm.
“I shall have get somebody to help me,” he said at last. “It may be that my eyesight is failing—though I haven’t noticed before that there was anything the matter with it.... There’s my cousin, Jasper Jay! I’ll ask him to unbutton my coat.” And he called to Jasper, who had just alighted on a stump not far away.
To Mr. Crow’s dismay, his cousin refused to assist him.
“I know you too well,” said Jasper Jay. “You want to play some trick on me. If the buttons were on the back of your coat I might help you. But they’re right in front of you; and they’re so big that a blind person couldn’t help finding them, even on the darkest night.... No! You can’t fool me this time!”
“Very well!” Mr. Crow croaked. “If you won’t help me, there are plenty of other people who’ll be glad to.” And he flew away in something very like a temper.
To Mr. Crow’s surprise he couldn’t find anyone that would unbutton his new coat for him; like Jasper Jay, everybody was afraid that Mr. Crow meant to play a trick on him.
Mr. Crow was beginning to be frightened. He had called on all his friends in Pleasant Valley except one. And if that one should refuse, Mr. Crow didn’t know what he could do. He had liked his spotted coat. But now he began to hate it. And he wanted to slip out of it and never see it again.