He did not pick out the easiest way to go. Oh, no! He chose the very steepest places to slide down. And as he went slipping down the steepest cliff of all he came upon something that gave him a great surprise. For he saw, built right in the crack of a ledge, a big bird’s nest made of sticks. It was the biggest bird’s nest Cuffy had ever seen; and in it were two great white eggs. They were the greatest white eggs Cuffy had ever seen, too.
How lucky! At least, that was what Cuffy thought then. For he was very fond of birds’ eggs, and his climb had made him even hungrier than usual. He stopped then and there and with one rap of the paw he broke one of the eggs and began to eat it.
Cuffy was enjoying his lunch very much. He had almost finished the first egg and was just about to turn to the other when he heard a deafening scream.
Cuffy looked all around. He thought that perhaps there was a pig up there on the mountain. But no! He couldn’t see a thing. Then came that cry again. This time it was louder. And it seemed to come from right over Cuffy’s head. He looked up then. And there was an enormous bird dropping right down on top of him! It seemed to Cuffy that its wings stretched as wide as the branches of the great pine tree in his father’s front-yard. He never even dreamed that there could be as big a bird in the whole world. And during that one instant that Cuffy’s little beady bright eyes were turned upwards he saw that the great bird had a wicked, hooked beak and claws that were as sharp as his own, and ever so much longer.
One look was enough for Cuffy. He turned and tumbled down the steep cliff, head over heels, with the eagle following him.
MRS. EAGLE IS ANGRY
Yes! It was an eagle’s nest that Cuffy Bear had found, And Mrs. Eagle had caught him eating her eggs. It was no wonder that she was wild with rage. And it was no wonder that Cuffy ran for his life.
He landed in a heap at the foot of the first cliff, jumped up like a flash and in a twinkling he was rolling heels over head down another cliff.
Again Cuffy fell in a heap at the bottom. Again he jumped up. And again he started to run. But this time, alas! Mrs. Eagle seized him. She pounced down upon his back; and she sunk her claws right into Cuffy’s neck. Then Mrs. Eagle flapped her wings as hard as she could flap them. And Cuffy felt himself rising.
Soon the earth was far, far beneath Cuffy. And he was the most frightened little bear you could imagine. He was afraid Mrs. Eagle would drop him, and that he would fall down, down, down onto the rocks below. And he was afraid that Mrs. Eagle wouldn’t drop him, too. Because if she didn’t Cuffy felt only too sure that she would take him home and that she and Mr. Eagle would eat him for their dinner.
You see, Cuffy Bear was in a sad fix. And for my part, when I first heard of his plight I did not see how he was ever going to get out of it alive.