Sammy Jay called the three others together under the Lone Pine and told them all about Peter Rabbit’s plan and how they had been left out. Of course Blacky the Crow and Reddy Fox and Shadow the Weasel were angry, very angry indeed, for no one likes to be left out of a good time. The more Sammy Jay told them, the angrier they grew; and the angrier they grew, the more Sammy Jay chuckled, way down inside. Sammy had a plan, and the angrier the others grew, the more likely were they to help him.
“You wait till I catch Peter Rabbit!” said Reddy Fox and showed all his teeth. He quite forgot that, despite all his smartness, he never yet had caught Peter Rabbit.
Blacky the Crow scratched his head thoughtfully. “We can spoil his surprise by telling Unc’ Billy Possum all about it beforehand,” said he.
Sammy Jay winked at each of the others. He cleared his throat and looked all around, to make sure that no one else was near. Then he leaned forward and whispered: “Let’s invite ourselves to the party.”
“What do you mean?” exclaimed the others, all together.
“Just what I say,” replied Sammy. “We’ll be the real surprise. Before the party begins, you will hide close to where it is to be. When everybody has got there and brought all the good things to eat, I’ll come flying along and scream: ‘Here comes Bowser the Hound!’ Of course every one will run away, and we’ll have all the good things to eat.”
“Haw! haw! haw! The very thing! We’ll all be there,” cried Blacky the Crow.
The four little scamps shook hands and separated. As they went across the Green Meadows, Sammy Jay’s voice floated back to the Lone Pine. He was singing, although he has a very poor voice for singing, and this was his song:
[Illustration: “What do you mean?” exclaimed the others all together.]
“Some folks think they’re
Oh, la me! Oh, la me!
Like the knave who stole the tart—
Oh, la me! Oh, la me!
Some folks will waken up some day—
And find they can’t fool Mr. Jay!”
“Is that so? Really now, I want to know,” said old Mr. Toad, crawling from under the very piece of bark on which Sammy Jay had sat when he told his plan. Then old Mr. Toad winked slowly and solemnly at jolly, round, red Mr. Sun and started off to find Peter Rabbit.
PETER RABBIT SENDS OUT WORD
It was a beautiful morning. Everybody said so, and what everybody says is usually so. Peter Rabbit wore the broadest kind of a smile. He hopped and skipped all the way down the Lone Little Path on to the Green Meadows and was waiting there when Old Mother West Wind came down from the Purple Hills and, turning her big bag upside down, tumbled out all her children, the Merry Little Breezes, to play. Peter stopped them before they had a chance to run away. He whispered to each, and each in turn started to dance across the Green Meadows to carry the news that this was the day of Peter Rabbit’s surprise party for Unc’ Billy Possum, whose family would arrive that very morning from way down in “Ol’ Virginny.”