Willie slept well and soundly after his midnight adventures and in the morning appeared at the breakfast table promptly. He ate enough to make up for what he had missed the night before, then enough to last until noon time. When he finished his mother said:
“Now Willie, go out and watch the garden again, your father did not get around to putting up the netting yesterday, and mind, if I catch you reading another book you will not get off as easily as you did yesterday.”
Willie first made a trip to his room, then to the sewing room.
“What are you doing, Willie?” came the maternal voice.
“Nuthin’, just lookin’ for my cap, I’m going out now.”
Once more out where he could watch the hens, Willie proceeded to unload his pockets. He brought to light some sheets of paper, a pencil, a large needle, a spool of black linen thread and all of the soaked corn he had been able to put in his pockets.
He tore the paper in strips about an inch wide and three inches long. On each slip he wrote, “Please keep us home.” On the other side, “Conclusive Evidence.”
He cut pieces of string, linen thread, about six inches long, some longer. With the aid of the needle he threaded a piece of corn on one end of each string, on the other end he tied one of the slips of paper. When all were finished he scattered them broadcast over and about the garden.
“Willie, come to dinner.”
No Willie appeared on the scene.
“Willie, dinner is ready.”
Still no sign of the lad and his mother started after him with a queer look in her eye.
Strange was the sight her eyes beheld as she came around the corner into the front yard. Hens fled before her approach but such funny looking hens; they all had more or less tags flying from their bills. They had swallowed the corn but the strings and tags were beyond their ability to masticate and they blew out defiantly in the breeze. One tag had become loosened and Mrs. Brown picked it up and read the scribbled words. While she was thinking just what she ought to do to Willie, Mrs. Baker came across the yard, bristling like a frightened porcupine.
“What have you been doing to my hens?” she demanded.
Mrs. Brown, like the efficient woman she was, saw her opportunity and rose to the occasion.
“Your hens, Mrs. Baker, why nothing. I have been in the kitchen all the morning until I just came out to call Willie to dinner. Willie has been keeping the hens out of my garden, not your hens, you know you have assured me your hens never come over here.”
Thinking discretion the better part of valor Mrs. Baker suddenly remembered something that needed immediate attention and she hastened to attend to it.
Mrs. Brown watched her out of sight, smiling in appreciation of the genius she had raised, then she turned and confronted Mrs. Jones, coldly angry.