During the day, however, Solomon Owl he was quiet about it. One reason for his silence then was that he generally slept when the sun was shining. And when most people were sleeping, Solomon Owl was as wide awake as he could be.
He was a night-prowler—if ever there was one. And he could see a mouse on the darkest night, even if it stirred ever so slightly.
That was unfortunate for the mice. But luckily for them, Solomon Owl couldn’t be in more than one place at a time. Otherwise, there wouldn’t have been a mouse left in Pleasant Valley—if he could have had his way.
And though he didn’t help the mice, he helped Farmer Green by catching them. If he did take a fat pullet once in a while, it is certain that he more than paid for it.
So, on the whole, Farmer Green did not wood-lot. And for a long time Solomon raised no objection to Farmer Green’s living near Swift River.
But later Solomon Owl claimed that it would be a good thing for the forest folk if they could get rid of the whole Green family—and the hired man, too.
Upon his arrival, as a stranger, in Pleasant Valley, Solomon Owl looked about carefully for a place to live. What he wanted especially was a good, dark hole, for he thought that sunshine was very dismal.
Though he was willing to bestir himself enough to suit anybody, when it came to hunting, Solomon Owl did not like to work. He was no busy nest-builder, like Rusty Wren. In his search for a house he looked several times at the home of old Mr. Crow. If it had suited him better, Solomon would not have hesitated to take that it was altogether too light to please him.
That was lucky for old Mr. Crow. And the black rascal knew it, too. He had noticed that Solomon Owl was hanging about the neighborhood. And several times he caught Solomon examining his nest.
But Mr. Crow did not have to worry long. For as it happened, Solomon Owl at last found exactly what he wanted. In an old, hollow hemlock, he came across a cozy, dark cavity. As soon as he saw it he knew that it was the very thing! So he moved in at once. And except for the time that he spent in the meadow—which was considerably later—he lived there for a good many years.
Once Fatty Coon thought that he would drive Solomon out of his snug house and live in it himself. But he soon changed Solomon Owl—so Fatty discovered—had sharp, strong claws and a sharp, strong beak as well, which curled over his face in a cruel hook.
It was really a good thing for Solomon Owl—the fight he had with Fatty Coon. For afterward his neighbors seldom troubled him—except when Jasper Jay brought a crowd of his noisy friends to tease Solomon, or Reddy Woodpecker annoyed him by rapping on his door when he was asleep.
But those rowdies always took good care to skip out of Solomon’s reach. And when Jasper Jay met Solomon alone in the woods at dawn or dusk he was most polite to the solemn old chap. Then it was “How-dy-do, Mr. Owl!” and “I hope you’re well to-day!” And when Solomon Jasper, that bold fellow always felt quite uneasy; and he was glad when Solomon Owl looked away.