Everybody looked at everybody else in dismay. Then everybody began to talk at once, and if Farmer Brown’s boy could have heard all the things said about him, his cheeks certainly would have burned. Indeed, I am afraid that they would have blistered. Such excitement! Everybody had a different idea, and nobody would listen to anybody else. Old Mr. Mink lost his temper and called Grandpa Otter a meddlesome know-nothing. It looked very much as if the convention was going to break up in a sad quarrel. Then Mr. Coon climbed up on the Big Rock and with a stick pounded for silence.
“I move,” said he, “that in as much as we cannot agree, we tell Great-Grandfather Frog all about the danger and ask his advice, for he is very old and very wise and remembers when the world was young. All in favor please raise their right hands.”
At once the air was full of hands, and everybody was good-natured once more. So it was agreed to call in Great-Grandfather Frog.
CHAPTER III: The Oracle Of The Smiling Pool
Grandfather Frog sat on his big green lily-pad with his eyes half closed, for all the world as if he knew nothing about the meeting at the Big Rock. Of course he did know, for there isn’t much going on around the Smiling Pool which he doesn’t see or at least hear all about. The Merry Little Breezes, who are here, there, and everywhere, told him all that was going on, so that when he saw Jerry Muskrat and Little Joe Otter swimming towards him, he knew what they were coming for. But he pretended to be very much surprised when Jerry Muskrat very politely said: “Good morning, Grandfather Frog.”
“Good morning, Jerry Muskrat. You’re out early this morning,” replied Grandfather Frog.
“If you please, you are wanted over at the Big Rock,” said Jerry.
Grandfather Frog’s eyes twinkled, but he made his voice very deep and gruff as he replied: “Chugarum! You’re a scamp, Jerry Muskrat, and Little Joe Otter is another. What trick are you trying to play on me now?”
Jerry Muskrat and Little Joe Otter looked a wee bit sheepish, for it was true that they were forever trying to play tricks on Grandfather Frog. “Really and truly, Grandfather Frog, there isn’t any trick this time,” said Jerry. “There is a meeting at the Big Rock to try to decide what to do to keep Farmer Brown’s boy from setting traps around the Smiling Pool and along the Laughing Brook, and everybody wants your advice, because you are so old and so wise. Please come.”
Grandfather Frog smoothed down his white and yellow waistcoat and pretended to think the matter over very seriously, while Jerry and Little Joe fidgeted impatiently. Finally he spoke.
“I am very old, as you have said, Jerry Muskrat, and it is a long way over to the Big Rock.”
“Get right on my back and I’ll take you over there,” said Jerry eagerly.