He was thinking of this, as he sat up to look over the Green Meadows. His heart gave a great throb. What was that over near the lone elm-tree? It was—yes, it certainly was another Chuck! Could it be the old gray Chuck come back for another fight? A great anger filled the heart of Johnny Chuck, and he whistled sharply. The strange Chuck didn’t answer. Johnny ground his teeth and started for the lone elm-tree. He would show this other Chuck who was master of the Green Meadows!
WHY JOHNNY CHUCK DIDN’T FIGHT
Anger is an awful thing;
It never stops to reason.
It boils right over all at once,
No matter what the season.
It was so with Johnny Chuck. The minute he caught sight of the strange Chuck over by the lone elm-tree, anger filled his heart and fairly boiled over, until he was in a terrible rage. Of course it was foolish, very foolish indeed. The strange Chuck hadn’t said or done anything to make Johnny Chuck angry, not the least thing in the world, excepting to come down on to the Green Meadows. Now the Green Meadows are very broad, and there is room for many Chucks. It was pure selfishness on the part of Johnny Chuck to want to drive away every other Chuck.
But anger never stops to reason. It didn’t now. Johnny Chuck hurried as fast as his short legs could take him towards the lone elm-tree, and in his mind was just one thought—to drive that strange Chuck off the Green Meadows and to punish him so that he never, never would dare even think of coming back. So great was Johnny’s anger that every hair stood on end, and as he ran he chattered and scolded.
“I’ll fix him! These are my Green Meadows, and no one else has any business here unless I say so! I’ll fix him! I’ll fix him!”
Then Johnny would grind his teeth, and in his eyes was the ugliest look. He wasn’t nice to see, not a bit nice. The Merry Little Breezes of Old Mother West Wind didn’t know what to make of him. Could this be the Johnny Chuck they had known so long, the good-natured, happy Johnny Chuck whom everybody loved? They drew away from him, for they didn’t want anything to do with any one in such a frightful temper. But Johnny Chuck didn’t even notice, and if he had he wouldn’t have cared. That is the trouble with anger. It crowds out everything else, when it once fills the heart.
When Johnny had first seen the stranger, he had thought right away that it was the old gray Chuck with whom he had had such a terrible fight the day before and whom he whipped. Perhaps that was one reason for Johnny Chuck’s terrible anger now, for the old gray Chuck had tried to drive Johnny Chuck off the Green Meadows.
But when he had to stop for breath and sat up to look again, he saw that it wasn’t the old gray Chuck at all. It was a younger Chuck and much smaller than the old gray Chuck. It was smaller than Johnny himself.