Solomon spent several nights looking for a good place to pass his days. And in the end he decided on the meadow. It would be convenient, he thought, when he was hunting meadow mice at dawn, if he could stay right there, without bothering to go into the woods to sleep.
Since there were no trees in the meadow, but only a few scrubby bushes along the stone wall, one might naturally make the mistake of thinking that there could not possibly be a nook of any kind that would suit Solomon Owl, who could never sleep soundly unless his bedroom was quite dark.
But there was one hiding place that Solomon liked almost as well as his home in the hollow hemlock. And that was Farmer Green’s haystack. He burrowed into one side of it and made himself a snug chamber, which was as dark as a pocket—and ever so much quieter. What pleased Solomon most, however, was this: Nobody knew about that new retreat except himself.
Even if Reddy Woodpecker should succeed in finding it, he never could disturb Solomon by drumming upon the haystack. If Reddy tried that trick, his bill would merely sink noiselessly into the hay.
So Solomon Owl at last had a good day’s rest. And when he met Reddy Woodpecker just after sunset, Solomon was feeling so cheerful that he said “Good-evening!” quite pleasantly, before he remembered that it was Reddy who had teased him so often.
“Good-evening!” Reddy Woodpecker replied. He seemed much surprised that Solomon Owl should be so agreeable. “Can you hear me?” Reddy asked him.
“Perfectly!” said Solomon.
“That’s strange!” Reddy Woodpecker exclaimed. “I was almost sure you had suddenly grown deaf.” And he could not understand why Solomon Owl laughed loud and long.
“Wha-wha! Whoo-ah!” Solomon’s deep-voiced laughter rolled and echoed through the woodland.
But Reddy Woodpecker did not laugh at all.
Reddy Woodpecker had a very good reason for not laughing when he met Solomon Owl. Of course, he knew nothing whatever of Solomon’s new hiding place in the haystack. And that very morning Reddy had invited a party of friends to go with him to the hemlock grove where Solomon Owl had always lived, “to have some fun,” as Reddy had explained.
For a long time he had knocked and hammered and pounded at Solomon Owl’s door. But for once Solomon’s great pale face did not appear.
“Where’s the fun?” Reddy’s friends had wanted to know, after they had waited until they were impatient.
And Reddy Woodpecker could only shake his head and say:
“I can’t understand it! It’s never happened like this before. I’m afraid Solomon Owl has lost his hearing.”
Reddy Woodpecker’s friends were no more polite than he. And they began to jeer at him.
“You didn’t hammer loud enough,” one of them told him.