“Don’t eat anything for a week,” she directed. “And fly against tree-trunks as hard as you can. Then come back here after seven days.”
Solomon Owl went off in a most doleful frame of mind. It seemed to him that he had never seen so many mice and frogs and chipmunks as he came across during the following week. But he didn’t dare catch a single one, on account of what Aunt Polly Woodchuck had said.
His pains, however, grew less from day to day—at least, the pains that had first troubled him. But he had others to take their place. Hunger pangs, these were! And they were almost as bad as those that had sent him hurrying to see Aunt Polly Woodchuck.
On the whole, Solomon passed a very unhappy week. Flying head foremost into tree-trunks (as Aunt Polly had instructed him to do) gave him many bumps and bruises. So he was glad when the time came for him to return to her house in the pasture.
Solomon’s neighbors had been so interested in watching him that they were all sorry when he ceased his strange actions. Indeed, there was a rumor that Solomon had become very angry with Farmer Green and that he was trying to knock down some of Farmer Green’s trees. Before the end of that unpleasant week Solomon had often noticed as many as twenty-four of the forest folk following him about, hoping to see a tree fall.
But they were all disappointed. However, they enjoyed the sight of Solomon hurling himself against tree-trunks. And the louder he groaned, the more people gathered around him.
“How do you feel now?” Aunt Polly Woodchuck asked Solomon Owl, when he had come back to her house after a week’s absence.
“No better!” he groaned. “I still have pains. But they seem to have moved and scattered all over me.”
“Good!” she exclaimed with a smile. “You are much better, though you didn’t know it. The wishbone is broken. You broke it by flying against the trees. And you ought not to have any more trouble. But let me examine you!” she said, prodding him in the waistcoat once more.
“This is odd!” she continued a bit later. “I can feel the wishbone more plainly than ever.”
“That’s my own wishbone!” Solomon cried indignantly. “I’ve grown so thin through not eating that it’s a wonder you can’t feel my backbone, too.”
Aunt Polly Woodchuck looked surprised.
“Perhaps you’re right!” said she. “Not having a wishbone of my own, I forgot that you had one.”
A look of disgust came over Solomon Owl’s face.
“You’re a very poor doctor,” he told her. “Here you’ve kept me from eating for a whole week—and I don’t believe it was necessary at all!”
“Well, you’re better, aren’t you?” she asked him.
“I shall be as soon as I have a good meal,” replied Solomon Owl, hopefully.
“You ought not to eat anything for another week,” Aunt Polly told him solemnly.