The next day, however, the men had moved further down the field. Mr. Crow had been waiting for that. He flew to the edge of the ploughed ground, which they had planted the afternoon before, and dug up a kernel of corn.
He didn’t stop to look at it. He knew it was corn—just by the feeling of it. And it was inside his mouth in a twinkling.
And in another twinkling it was outside again—for Mr. Crow did not like the taste at all.
“That’s a bad one!” he remarked. And then he tried another kernel—and another—and another. But they were all like the first one.
Thereupon, Mr. Crow paused and looked at the corn. And he saw at once that there was something wrong. The kernels were gray, instead of a golden yellow. He pecked at one of them and found that the gray coating hid something black and sticky.
That was tar, though Mr. Crow did not know it. And the gray covering was wood-ashes, in which Farmer Green had rolled the corn after dipping it in tar. The tar made the corn taste bad. And the wood-ashes kept it from sticking to one’s fingers.
“This is a great disappointment,” said Mr. Crow very solemnly. “Of all the mean tricks that Farmer Green has played on me, this is by far the meanest. It would serve him right if I went away and never caught a single grasshopper or cutworm all summer.”
But there were two reasons that prevented Mr. Crow’s leaving Pleasant Valley. He liked his old home. And he liked grasshoppers and cutworms, too. So he stayed until October. And the strange part of it was that he never once discovered that Farmer Green had planted tarred corn only in a border around the field. Inside that border the corn was of the good, old yellow kind that Mr. Crow liked.
And so, for once, Farmer Green out-witted old Mr. Crow.
By the end of the summer his corn had grown so tall and borne so many big ears that Farmer Green took some of it to the county fair. And everybody who saw it there said that it was the finest corn that ever was seen in those parts.
MR. CROW IN TROUBLE
After Mr. Crow found that Farmer Green had put tar on his corn, Mr. Crow was so angry that he flew for a good many miles before stopping. And then, as he started to walk along the limb that lead to his house in the tall elm, he noticed for the first time that he could hardly move his right foot.
He looked down and he was startled when he saw that his foot was many times its usual size. Moreover, it did not look like a foot at all, being a strange, huge, shapeless thing.
Old Mr. Crow was alarmed. Never in all his life had he found himself in such a plight. He stayed at home only long enough to tie his foot up in a bandage, which made it look bigger than ever. And then he hurried off as fast as he could fly to call upon Aunt Polly Woodchuck, who was said to be an excellent doctor.