It was late in the afternoon of the second day when rough Brother North Wind decided that he had shown his strength and fierceness long enough, and rumbling and grumbling retired from the Green Meadows and the Green Forest, blowing the snow clouds away with him. For just a little while before it was time for him to go to bed behind the Purple Hills, jolly, round, red Mr. Sun smiled down on the white land, and never was his smile more welcome. Out from their shelters hurried all the little prisoners, for they must make the most of the short time before the coming of the cold night.
Little Tommy Tit the Chickadee was so weak that he could hardly fly, and he shook with chills. He made straight for the apple-tree where Farmer Brown’s boy always keeps a piece of suet tied to a branch for Tommy and his friends. Drummer the Woodpecker was there before him. Now it is one of the laws of politeness among the feathered folk that when one is eating from a piece of suet a newcomer shall await his turn.
“Dee, dee, dee!” said Tommy Tit faintly but cheerfully, for he couldn’t be other than cheery if he tried. “Dee, dee, dee! That looks good to me.”
“It is good,” mumbled Drummer, pecking away at the suet greedily.” Come on, Tommy Tit. Don’t wait for me, for I won’t be through for a long time. I’m nearly starved, and I guess you must be.”
“I am,” confessed Tommy, as he flew over beside Drummer. “Thank you ever so much for not making me wait.”
“Don’t mention it,” replied Drummer, with his mouth full. “This is no time for politeness. Here comes Yank Yank the Nuthatch. I guess there is room for him too.”
Yank Yank was promptly invited to join them and did so after apologizing for seeming so greedy.
“If I couldn’t get my stomach full before night, I certainly should freeze to death before morning,” said he. “What a blessing it is to have all this good food waiting for us. If I had to hunt for my usual food on the trees, I certainly should have to give up and die. It took all my strength to get over here. My, I feel like a new bird already! Here comes Sammy Jay. I wonder if he will try to drive us away as he usually does.”
Sammy did nothing of the kind. He was very meek and most polite. “Can you make room for a starving fellow to get a bite?” he asked. “I wouldn’t ask it but that I couldn’t last another night without food.”
“Dee, dee, dee! Always room for one more,” replied Tommy Tit, crowding over to give Sammy room. “Wasn’t that a dreadful storm?”
“Worst I ever knew,” mumbled Sammy. “I wonder if I ever will be warm again.”
Until their stomachs were full, not another word was said. Meanwhile Chatterer the Red Squirrel had discovered that the storm was over. As he floundered through the snow to another apple-tree he saw Tommy Tit and his friends, and in his heart he rejoiced that they had found food waiting for them. His own troubles were at an end, for in the tree he was headed for was a store of corn.