“Of course they look all right,” replied Jerry, “but what I want to know is if they see all right. Look over at that bank.”
Little Joe Otter looked over at the bank. He stared and stared, but he didn’t see anything unusual. It looked just as it always did. He told Jerry Muskrat so.
“Then it must be my eyes,” sighed Jerry. “It certainly must be my eyes. It looks to me as if the water does not come as high up on the bank as it did yesterday.”
Little Joe Otter looked again and his eyes opened wide. “You are right, Jerry Muskrat!” he cried. “There’s nothing the matter with your eyes. The water is as low as it ever gets, even in the very middle of summer. What can it mean?”
“I don’t know,” replied Jerry Muskrat. “It is queer! It certainly is very queer! Let’s go ask Grandfather Frog. You know he is very old and very wise, so perhaps he can tell us what it means.”
Splash! Jerry Muskrat and Little Joe Otter dived into the Smiling Pool and started a race to see who could reach Grandfather Frog first. He was sitting among the bulrushes on the edge of the Smiling Pool, for the lily-pads were not yet big enough for him to sit on comfortably.
“Oh, Grandfather Frog, what’s the matter with the Smiling Pool?” they shouted, as they came up quite out of breath.
“Chugarum! There’s nothing the matter with the Smiling Pool; it’s the best place in all the world,” replied Grandfather Frog gruffly.
“But there is something the matter,” insisted Jerry Muskrat, and then he told what he had discovered.
“I don’t believe it,” said Grandfather Frog. “I never heard of such a thing in the springtime.”
Grandfather Frog sat among the bulrushes on the edge of the Smiling Pool. Over his head Mr. Redwing was singing as if his heart would burst with the very joy of springtime.
“Tra-la-la-lee, see me! See me!
Happy am I as I can be!
Happy am I the whole day long
And so I sing my gladsome song.”
Of course Mr. Redwing was happy. Why shouldn’t he be? Here it was the beautiful springtime, the gladdest time of all the year, the time when happiness creeps into everybody’s heart. Grandfather Frog listened. He nodded his head. “Chugarum! I’m happy, too,” said Grandfather Frog. But even as he said it, a little worried look crept into his big goggly eyes and then down to the corners of his big mouth, which had been stretched in a smile. Little by little the smile grew smaller and smaller, until there wasn’t any smile. No, Sir, there wasn’t any smile. Instead of looking happy, as he said he felt, Grandfather Frog actually looked unhappy.