Meanwhile, Solomon Owl roamed restlessly through the woods. There was only one place in the neighborhood where he could get a pullet. That was at Farmer Green’s chicken house. And for some reason he did not care to visit the farm buildings until it grew darker.
So he amused himself by making the woods echo with his strange cry, “Whoo-whoo-whoo, whoo-whoo, to-whoo-ah!” And now and then he threw in a few “wha-whas,” just for extra measure.
Many of the forest folk who heard him remarked that Solomon Owl seemed to be in extra fine spirits.
“Probably it’s the hunter’s moon that pleases him!” Jimmy Rabbit remarked to a friend of his. “I’ve always noticed that old Solomon makes more noise on moonlight nights than at any other time.”
The hunter’s moon, big and yellow and round, was just rising over Blue Mountain. But for once it was not the moon that made Solomon Owl so talkative. He was in fine feather, so to speak, because he was hoping to have a fat pullet for his supper. And as for the moon, he would have been just as pleased had there been none at all that night. For Solomon Owl never cared to be seen when he visited Farmer Green’s chicken house.
It was some three hours after sunset when Solomon Owl at last reached Farmer Green’s place. All was quiet in the chicken house because the hens and roosters and their families had long since gone to roost. And except for a light that shone through a window, the farmhouse showed not a sign of life.
Everything was as Solomon Owl wished it—or so he thought, at least, as he alighted in a tree in the yard to look about him. He wanted no one to interrupt him when he should go nosing around the chicken house, to find an opening.
To his annoyance, he had not sat long in the tree when the wood-shed door opened. And Solomon stared in amazement at the strange sight he saw.
A great head appeared, with eyes and mouth—yes! and nose, too—all a glaring flame color. Solomon had never seen such a horrible face on man or bird or beast. But he was sure it was a man, for he heard a laugh that was not to be mistaken for either a beast’s or a bird’s. And the worst of it was, those blazing eyes were turned squarely toward Farmer Green’s chicken house!
Solomon Owl was too wary to go for his fat pullet just then. He decided that he would wait quietly in the tree for a time, hoping that the man would go away.
While Solomon watched him the stranger neither moved nor spoke. And, of course, Solomon Owl was growing hungrier every minute. So at last he felt that he simply must say something.
“Who-who-who-are-you?” he called out from his tree.
But the strange man did not answer. He did not even turn his head.
“He must be some city person,” Solomon Owl said to himself. “He thinks he’s too good to speak to a countryman like me.”