Johnny never has forgotten this, and when it is really necessary that he should work, no one works harder than he does. But he always first makes sure that it is necessary work and that he will not be wasting his time in doing foolish, unnecessary things.
And now Johnny Chuck was the busiest he had ever been in all his life. If he felt lazy these beautiful spring days, he didn’t have time to think about it. No, Sir, he actually didn’t have time to remember that he is naturally lazy. You see, he had a family to look out for—three babies to find sweet, tender young clover for and to teach all the things that every Chuck should know, and to watch out for, that no harm should come to them. So Johnny Chuck was busy, so busy that he hardly had time to get enough to eat.
Every morning Johnny would come out as soon as jolly, round, red Mr. Sun began his daily climb up in the blue, blue sky. He would look this way and look that way to make sure that Reddy Fox or Granny Fox or Redtail the Hawk or Bowser the Hound or any other danger was nowhere near. And he never forgot to look up in the apple-trees to make sure that Sammy Jay was not there. Then he would call to Polly Chuck and the three baby Chucks.
Polly Chuck would come out with a very worried air, and after her would come the three funny little baby Chucks, who would roll and tumble over each other on the doorstep. When he thought they had played enough, Johnny Chuck would lead the way along a little private path which he had made through the grass. After him, one behind another, would trot the three little Chucks, and behind them would march Polly Chuck, to see that none went astray.
When they reached the patch of tender, sweet, young clover, Johnny Chuck would sit up very straight and still, watching as sharp as he knew how for the least sign of danger. When the three little stomachs were full of sweet, tender, young clover, he would proudly lead the way home again, and then as before he would sit up very straight and watch for danger, while the three baby Chucks sprawledout on the doorstep for a sun-nap.
Oh, those were busy days for Johnny Chuck, and anxious days, too! You see he had not forgotten that Sammy Jay had found out his secret, and he hadn’t the least doubt in the world that Sammy Jay would tell Reddy Fox. So, from the first thing in the morning until the very last thing at night, Johnny Chuck was on the watch for danger.
And all the time, though Johnny didn’t know it, a pair of sharp eyes were watching him from a snug hiding-place in one of the old apple-trees. Whose were they? Why, Sammy Jay’s, to be sure. You see, Sammy Jay hadn’t told Johnny Chuck’s great secret, after all.
THE SCHOOL IN THE OLD ORCHARD
Little Foxes, little
Little Squirrels, Mice and Mink,
Just like little boys and girls,
Go to school to learn to think.