He told her.
“Ah!” said Aunt Polly. “It’s your mistake—and not mine. You ate what was in your left-hand pocket, instead of what was in the right-hand one. If you had followed my instructions everything would have been all right.”
Old Mr. Crow felt very much ashamed. There was nothing he could say. So he slunk away and moped for three days.
Though he did not know it, the trouble with his foot was simply this: He had daubed so much tar on his foot, in Farmer Green’s cornfield, that the soft earth had stuck to it in a big ball.
Mr. Crow recovered his spirits at last. And neither he nor Aunt Polly Woodchuck ever discovered that he never had gout at all. He forgave her, at last, for having cured his foot too quickly, for the affair gave him something to talk about for a long time afterward. He never tired of telling his friends about the trouble he had had.
But many of the feathered folk in Pleasant Valley grew very weary of the tale before they heard the last of it.
THE NEW UMBRELLA
Old Mr. Crow was feeling very happy, because he had a new umbrella—the only umbrella that was owned for miles around. And wherever Mr. Crow went, the umbrella went too, tucked snugly under his wing.
There was only one thing that could have made Mr. Crow feel any happier; and that was rain. As soon as it rained he intended to spread the umbrella over his head and go to call upon all of his friends.
But not a drop of rain had fallen for weeks. And so far as old Mr. Crow could judge, there wasn’t a single sign of a storm anywhere. Nevertheless, he continued to carry his umbrella every time he stirred away from his house. And although the weather was so dry, he found a good deal of pleasure in showing his umbrella to his neighbors.
Now, old Mr. Crow had a cousin of whom you have heard. His name was Jasper Jay; and he was a great dandy. He always took pride in his handsome blue suit, of which he was very vain.
Being an inquisitive fellow, Jasper Jay was much interested in Mr. Crow’s umbrella. Whenever he met Mr. Crow he asked the old gentleman to spread the umbrella; and once Mr. Crow had let Jasper hold it for as long as ten seconds, “just to see how it felt.”
After that Jasper Jay could not get the umbrella out of his mind. He began calling at Mr. Crow’s house every day; and all the time he was there he never took his eyes off the umbrella.
At last the two cousins met in the woods one day. As usual, Mr. Crow had his umbrella tucked under his wing. But when Jasper asked him to spread it, Mr. Crow refused.
“I can’t keep putting my umbrella up and down,” he said. “If I did, the first thing I knew it would be worn out; and then what would happen to me if it should rain?”
“You’d get wet,” said Jasper Jay.