“When all the traps have been found, drop a stick or a stone in each. That will spring them, and then they will be harmless. Then you can bury them deep in the mud. But don’t eat any of the food until you have sprung all of the traps, for just as likely as not you will get caught. When all the traps have been sprung, why not bring all the good things to eat which you find around them to the Big Rock and have a grand feast?”
“Hurrah for Grandfather Frog! That’s a great idea!” shouted Little Joe Otter, turning a somersault in the water.
Every one agreed with Little Joe Otter, and immediately they began to plan a grand hunt for the traps of Farmer Brown’s boy. The Muskrats and the Otters started to search the banks of the Smiling Pool, and the Coons and the Minks, all but Billy, started for the Laughing Brook. Billy climbed up on the Big Rock to watch, and Grandfather Frog slowly swam back to his big green lily-pad to wait for some foolish green flies for his breakfast.
Everybody was excited. Yes, Sir. everybody in the Smiling Pool and along the Laughing Brook was just bubbling over with excitement. Even Spotty the Turtle, who usually takes everything so calmly that some people think him stupid, climbed up on the highest point of an old log where he could see what was going on. Only Grandfather Frog, sitting on his big green lily-pad and watching for foolish green flies for his breakfast, appeared not to know that something unusual was going on. Really, he was just as much excited as the rest, but because he is very old and accounted very, very wise, it would not do for him to show it.
What was it all about? Why, all the Minks and the Coons and the Otters and the Muskrats, who live and play around the Smiling Pool and the Laughing Brook, were hunting for traps. Yes, Sir, they were hunting for traps set by Farmer Brown’s boy, just as Grandfather Frog had advised them to.
Jerry Muskrat and Little Joe Otter were hunting together. They were swimming along close to shore just where the Laughing Brook leaves the Smiling Pool, when Jerry wrinkled up his funny little nose and stopped swimming. Sniff, sniff, sniff, went Jerry Muskrat. Then little cold shivers ran down his backbone and way out to the tip of his tail.
“What is it?” asked Little Joe Otter.
“It’s the man-smell,” whispered Jerry.
Just then Little Joe Otter gave a long sniff. “My, I smell fish!” he cried, his eyes sparkling, and started in the direction from which the smell came. He swam faster than Jerry, and in a minute he shouted in delight.
“Hi, Jerry! Some one’s left a fish on the edge of the bank: What a feast!”
Jerry hurried as fast as he could swim, his eyes popping out with fright, for the nearer he got, the stronger grew that dreadful man-smell. “Don’t touch it,” he panted. “Don’t touch it, Joe Otter!”