“It’s Grandfather Frog,” cried Paddy the Beaver.
“No, it’s Spotty the Turtle,” said Jerry Muskrat.
“It’s both,” replied Paddy, beginning to laugh.
Just then Spotty tumbled over another waterfall which he hadn’t seen, and of course Grandfather Frog went with him and lost his hold on Spotty’s back.
“I have an idea!” cried Paddy.
“What is it?” asked Jerry.
“Why, Grandfather Frog can ride on my flat tail,” replied Paddy, “and then we’ll go slow enough for Spotty to keep up with us.”
And so it was that just as the first moonbeams kissed the Smiling Pool, out of the Laughing Brook swam the merriest party that ever was seen.
“Chugarum!” said Grandfather Frog. “It is good to be home, but I think I would travel often, if I could have the tail of Paddy the Beaver for a boat.”
“The fair Green Meadows spreading wide,
The Smiling Pool and Laughing Brook —
They fill our hearts with joy and pride;
We love their every hidden nook.”
So said Jerry Muskrat, as he climbed up on the Big Rock in the middle of the Smiling Pool, with Paddy the Beaver beside him, and watched the dear Smiling Pool dimpling and smiling in the moonlight, as he had so often seen it before the great trouble had come.
“Chugarum!” said Grandfather Frog in his great deep voice from the bulrushes. “One never knows how great their blessings are until they have been lost and found again.”
The bulrushes nodded, as if they too were thinking of this. You see their feet were once more in the cool water. Paddy the Beaver seemed to understand just how every one felt, and he smiled to himself as he saw how happy these new friends of his were.
“It surely is a very nice place here, and I don’t wonder that you couldn’t bear to leave it,” said he. “I’m sorry that I made you all that trouble and worry, but you see I didn’t know.”
“Oh, that’s all right,” replied Jerry Muskrat, who was now very proud of his big cousin. “I hope that now you see how nice it is, you will stay and make your home here.”
Paddy the Beaver looked back at the great black shadow which he knew was the Green Forest. Way over in the middle of it he heard the hunting-call of Hooty the Owl. Then he looked out over the Green Meadows, and from way over on the far side of them sounded the bark of Reddy Fox, and it was answered by the deep voice of Bowser the Hound up in Farmer Brown’s dooryard. For some reason that last sound made Paddy the Beaver shiver a little, just as the voice of Hooty the Owl made the smaller people of the Green Forest and the Green Meadows shiver when they heard it. Paddy wasn’t afraid of Hooty or of Reddy Fox, but Bowser’s great voice was new to him, and somehow the very sound of it made him afraid. You see, the Green Meadows were so strange and open that he didn’t feel at all at home, for he dearly loves the deepest part of the Green Forest.