“I wish I had let some one else keep watch,” said Jerry to himself.
Then the big stranger had spoken. He had said: “Hello, Jerry Muskrat! Don’t you know me?” and his voice hadn’t sounded the least bit angry. Then he had told Jerry that he was his big cousin, Paddy the Beaver, and he hoped that they would be friends.
Now everything was just as it had been before — the strange pond, the dam, Jerry himself and the big stranger, and the black shadows of the night — and yet somehow, everything was different, all because a few pleasant words had been spoken. A great fear had fallen away from Jerry’s heart, and in its place was a great hope that after all there wasn’t to be any trouble. So he replied to Paddy the Beaver as politely as he knew how. Paddy was just as polite, and the first thing Jerry knew, instead of being enemies, as Jerry had all along made up his mind would be the case when he found the builder of the dam, here they were becoming the best of friends, all because Paddy the Beaver had said the right thing in the right way.
“But you haven’t told me yet what you made those holes in my dam for, Cousin Jerry,” said Paddy the Beaver finally.
Jerry didn’t know just what to say. He was so pleased with his big new cousin that he didn’t want to hurt his feelings by telling him that he didn’t think that dam had any business to be across the Laughing Brook, and at the same time he wanted Paddy to know how he had spoiled the Laughing Brook and the Smiling Pool. At last he made up his mind to tell the whole story.
Paddy the Beaver listened to all that his small cousin, Jerry Muskrat, had to tell him about the trouble which Paddy’s dam had caused in the Laughing Brook and the Smiling Pool.
“You see, we who live in the Smiling Pool love it dearly, and we don’t want to have to leave it, but if the water cannot run down the Laughing Brook, there can be no Smiling Pool, and so we will have to move off to the Big River,” concluded Jerry Muskrat. “That is why I tried to spoil your dam.”
There was a twinkle in the eyes of Paddy the Beaver as he replied: “Well, now that you have found out that you can’t do that, because I am bigger than you and can stop you, what are you going to do about it?”
“I don’t know,” said Jerry Muskrat sadly. “I don’t see what we can do about it. Of course you are big and strong and can do just as you please, but it doesn’t seem right that we who have lived here so long should have to move and go away from all that we love so just because you, a stranger, happen to want to live here. I tell you what!” Jerry’s eyes sparkled as a brand new thought came to him. “Couldn’t you come down and live in the Smiling Pool with us? I’m sure there is room enough!”