Then there came a morning at last, as he soared down upon the cornfield, when he noticed that the huge scarecrow was gone. There was another—a shorter—figure in its place. But to careless Mr. Crow’s glance it seemed no different from the scarecrows he had known all his life. He paid little or no attention to the image. It wore the big pan upon its head—he observed that much. And it made him laugh.
Then Mr. Crow began to scratch for his breakfast. But he had not eaten a single kernel when a terrible roar broke the early morning stillness. And there was a sound as of hail falling all around him.
Mr. Crow knew right away what had happened. The scarecrow had come to life and tried to shoot him! And if ever a bird hurried away from that field, it was old Mr. Crow.
It was almost night before he remembered that he had had nothing to eat all day. And so anybody can see how frightened he was....
Farmer Green walked home to his own breakfast with his gun resting upon his shoulder.
“I didn’t get him,” he told Johnnie. “But I must have scared him out of a year’s growth.”
A GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT
After Farmer Green came so near shooting him, Mr. Crow lost his taste for corn for a whole year. He was afraid it would never come back to him. And he worried so much that he grew quite thin and his feathers began to look rusty. His friends were somewhat alarmed about his health, many of them saying that if they were in Mr. Crow’s place they would be careful.
Now, strange as it may seem, that was exactly Mr. Crow’s trouble. He was too careful! He was always on the lookout for a gun, or a trap. And being constantly on guard was bad for his nerves.
Luckily, a winter spent in the South did a great deal to improve Mr. Crow’s health, as well as his state of mind. When he came back to Pleasant Valley the following March he told his cousin Jasper Jay that he really felt he would be able to eat corn again.
As the spring lengthened, that feeling grew upon Mr. Crow. And when planting-time arrived the black rascal had his old look again.
It was a very solemn look—unless you regarded him closely. But it was a very sly, knowing look if you took the pains to stare boldly into his eye.
Farmer Green would have liked to do that, because then he might have caught old Mr. Crow. As it happened, he did catch sight of Mr. Crow the very first day he began to plant his corn.
“I declare—there’s that old crow again!” he exclaimed. “He’s come back to bother me once more. But maybe I’m smarter than he thinks!”
Mr. Crow knew better than to come too near the men who were working in the cornfield. He just sat on the fence on the further side of the road and watched them for a while. And he was getting hungrier every minute. But he had no chance to scratch up any corn that day.