Mr. Crow has a very solemn look—unless you regard him closely. But it is a very sly, knowing look, if you take pains to stare boldly into his eyes. Like many human beings, he is fond of clothes, and he particularly likes gay ones, but perhaps that is because he is so black himself. Anyhow, so long as he can wear a bright red coat and a yellow necktie—or a bright red necktie and a yellow coat—he is generally quite happy. One fall Mr. Crow decides to stay in Pleasant Valley during the winter, instead of going South, and he remembers all at once that he will need some warm clothing. Now, Mr. Frog, the tailor, and Jimmy Rabbit, the shoemaker, know just how to talk to Mr. Crow to sell their merchandise, playing upon his vanity to buy the latest, and even to “set the styles,” but they have to be pretty keen and sly to get the best of Mr. Crow in the end. Mr. Crow has his good points as well as his bad ones, and he helps Farmer Green a lot more than he injures him it is said. Nevertheless, Farmer Green does not figure that way,—and in justice to old “Jim Crow,” you should read of his adventures for yourself.
All the folks down in Pleasant Valley know Solomon Owl. Well, it’s this way. If you hear Solomon Owl on a dark night when his “Wha-Wha! Whoo-ah!” sends a chill ’way up your spine, and if you see him you can never forget him, either. He has great, big, staring eyes that make you feel queer when you look at his pale face. No, sir, little folks like Mr. Frog, the tailor, certainly don’t like to have any visits from Solomon Owl when Solomon has a fine appetite. To be sure, Farmer Green isn’t happy when Solomon steals some of his fine chickens, and neither are the chickens for that matter. But Solomon doesn’t have all the fun on some one else. Oh no! Reddy Woodpecker knows how to tease him by tapping with his bill on Solomon’s wooden house in the daytime, when every owl likes to sleep and dream of all the nice frogs and fat chickens they are going to feast on the next night, and then, out comes Solomon all blinking with his big, black eyes. But this wise owl, who really isn’t as wise as he looks, you know, finds a good way to fool Reddy and the rest of the folks who like to annoy him, and lives his own happy life.
Jasper Jay really is a good sort of a fellow even though he does make a dreadful racket when he is around; but that is his way of talking. He just likes to tease for the fun of teasing and so naturally he gets into lots of scraps and seems bound to get into more. Of course, lots of folks in Pleasant Valley don’t like him because he plays tricks and pranks on them and makes them feel all ruffled up. Why, he even thinks he can spoil the Singing Society, but do you know, the Society fools Jasper himself. And that time Jimmy Rabbit teaches Jasper Jay some manners down by the cedar tree—the poor jay stays there until his feet are frozen in the water before he finds out—well—you may discover for yourself what happens next.