Now there is nothing that Jerry Muskrat likes better than carrot. So he didn’t stop to wonder how it got there. He just reached out for the nearest piece and ate it. Then he reached for the next piece and ate it. Then he did a funny little dance just for joy. When he was quite out of breath, he sat down to rest. Snap! Something had Jerry Muskrat by the tail! Jerry squealed with fright and pain. Oh, how it did hurt! He twisted and turned, but he was held fast and could not see what had him. Then he pulled and pulled, until it seemed as if his tail would pull off. But it didn’t. So he kept pulling, and pretty soon the thing let go so suddenly that Jerry tumbled head first into the water.
When he reached home, Mother Muskrat did his sore tail up for him. “What did I tell you about traps?” she asked severely.
Jerry stopped crying. “Was that a trap?” he asked. Then he remembered that in his fright he didn’t even see it. “Oh, dear,” he moaned, “I wouldn’t know one to-day if I met it.”
Jolly round, red Mr. Sun looked down on the Smiling Pool. He almost forgot to keep on climbing up in the blue sky, he was so interested in what he saw there. What do you think it was? Why, it was a convention at the Big Rock, the queerest convention he ever had seen. Your papa would say that it was a mass-meeting of angry citizens. Maybe it was, but that is a pretty long term. Anyway, Mother Muskrat said it was a convention, and she ought to know, for she is the one who had called it.
Of course Jerry Muskrat was there, and his uncles and aunts and all his cousins. Billy Mink was there, and all his relations, even old Grandfather Mink, who has lost most of his teeth and is a little hard of hearing.
Little Joe Otter was there, with his father and mother and all his relations even to his third cousins. Bobby Coon was there, and he had brought with him every Coon of his acquaintance who ever fished in the Smiling Pool or along the Laughing Brook. And everybody was looking very solemn, very solemn indeed.
When the last one had arrived, Mother Muskrat climbed up on the Big Rock and called Jerry Muskrat up beside her, where all could see him. Then she made a speech. “Friends of the Smiling Pool and Laughing Brook,” began Mrs. Muskrat, “I have called you together to show you what has happened to my son Jerry and to ask your advice.” She stopped and pointed to Jerry’s sore tail. “What do you think did that?” she demanded.
“Probably Jerry’s been in a fight and got whipped,” said Bobby Coon to his neighbor, for Bobby Coon is a graceless young scamp and does not always show proper respect to his neighbors.
Mrs. Muskrat glared at him, for she had overheard the remark. Then she held up one hand to command silence. “Friends, it was a trap — a trap set by Farmer Brown’s boy! a trap to catch you and me and our children!” said she solemnly. “It is no longer safe for our little folks to play around the Smiling Pool or along the Laughing Brook. What are we going to do about it?”